There is such a thing as ‘trying too hard’. By which I really mean ‘trying too hard to be like Coke Studio Pakistan’. MTV India has managed, over previous two seasons of this admittedly promising format, to give us a fair number of winners. Sadly, on Season 3, the number of clunkers is far greater.
Take the song Kattey, for instance, composed by Ram Sampath and brought to life by Rajasthani Folk singer Bhanvari Devi. She nails it almost instantly, but is brought crashing down by the intervention of British Indian rapper Hard Kaur’s astonishingly trite lyrics. AR Rahman can’t save the show either. He comes close, singing the evocative Naan Yen with his sister Rayhanah, but fails to do anything out of the ordinary with two other tracks — Jagaao Mere Des Ko and Zariya.
Singer Hard Kaur
Paiyada, composed by Ram Sampath and sung by Aruna Sairam, saves Disc One. A traditional Carnatic padam, one can sense the yearning here despite the language barrier. Peer Jalani, featuring Manga Khan and Clinton Cerejo, is another winner, if not an immediately obvious one.
Music composer Ram Sampath
If there is an artiste who makes a compelling case for why you ought to buy this collection anyway, it is Angaraag Mahanta aka Papon, who brings the tracks Khumaar and Dinae Dinae to life on Disc Two. The former, composed by the Assamese musician himself, reveals his versatility as a vocalist; the latter, blending Folk from Assam with Sufi music from Punjab, pretty much epitomises what this programme is all about — enabling two unlikely musicians or genres to grope their way to common ground.
Singer Clinton Cerejo