Rule number one for attempting to re-vamp for what is possibly Pakistan's favourite cricketing anthem (Jazba Junoon is a close contender): don't destroy it.
The much-awaited Coke Studio song for the ICC World Cup 2015 has cricket fans divided over the platform’s rendition of Matt Slogett and Kasey Carlone's famed 1992 hit 'Who Rules The World' — a song that transports cricket lovers back in time to the Melbourne Cricket Ground where former cricketer Imran Khan lifted cup for Pakistan.
Titled ‘Phir Se Game Utha Dain’, the song released Wednesday night features various Coke Studio artistes and celebrities and is dedicated to the frenzied passion of Pakistanis during the 1992 World Cup — Pakistan's golden moment in cricket when the green shirts lifted their first and only World Cup trophy .
With Atif Aslam, Faisal Kapadia, Asrar and Jimmy Khan on the vocals, the crisp video features celebrities like Aamina Sheikh, Adnan Siddiqui and Adnan Malik among others, singing and cheering along with the vocalists.
Coke has made a massive effort to piggyback on the nostalgia and appeal of the Sloggett hit — the two-minute video even features the legendary Javed Miandad, and the opening is (literally) the very same chorus:
"The world is coming down, the flags are up. Who's gonna be No.1? Who's gonna take up the cup?"
The upbeat segment where the drums are bolstered by the catchy "Josh mein ha jahan" is super catchy, but sadly is the only high point of a song that really just falls flat; the vocals are too soft and the percussions much too polite on an ear thirsting to listen to a rousing anthem
The release, just weeks ahead of Pakistan's first World Cup 2015 match with historic arch-rival India on Feb 15, appears to have disappointed fans who were already smarting from Pepsi's unattractive bright green cricket kit.
It's a democracy: Adnan Siddiqui
Speaking about the song, actor Adnan Siddiqui said that the listeners have the right to judge the song according to their own tastes.
“It’s a democracy and it’s their right. However, instead of paying attention to criticism we need to focus on the positive aspect of the song—that it has brought together so many people from the fraternity, be it composers, actors, singers or musicians. Instead of focusing on negativity, we should now look forward to the main cause behind the song, which is the World Cup," said Adnan.
He added: "This is the reason the song is a rendition of the 1992 official song, that it’s ’92 all over again, the grounds are Australasian, the team is at number six position and like then, the form is similar as well so yes, ‘zabardast’ miracles do happen and they can happen again.
That being said, even if the team doesn’t bring the Cup home, we will still support its fight and our prayers would be with them."
|Imran Khan at the 1992 World Cup. – Pnoto credit: dannews.co.nz|
Don't compare, says Amina Sheikh
Amina Sheikh had similar views about the reaction.
“Personally I would not compare the original with the rendition because one is the extension of the other. It should be viewed as an effort to reunite that ownership. It’s fine if people are criticising it, it’s their right but I feel that it needs to be taken as an effort by Strings to recreate that phase of celebration, to cheer up our team as it goes on the field.”
“The song is basically a symbol of unity and teamwork as so many stars from the fraternity came together—recreating the spirit when Pakistan gets on the ground to give it a shot at World Cup.
"When you look at our timeline, this gives you hope about progressiveness. Strings tapped into that nostalgia when the ball was in our court. With current situation in the light of recent events— our spirits falling apart — this will give out that message of hope and unity and what better way to use that '92 World Cup anthem.”
Pakistanis who have pinned their hopes on captain Misbah-ul-Haq are hoping the team overcomes the setback of missing players like Saeed Ajmal and injuries like Junaid Khan. Even the players are all nerves, with all-rounder Haris Sohail spooked by an apparition that "shook" his bed.
|The team behind the World Cup song, 'Phir Se Game Utha Dain'. – Twitter|