Coke Studio India. June 17th. 7 PM. MTV.

Coke Studio is finally in India. And while there may be questions about the credibility of the show and comparisons to its much older Pakistani counterpart, I am quite hopeful and almost sure that this will be a wonderful experience for us.

For now, here is some detail about the show, mostly about who all are gonna be there on the show.

The show will have twenty artistes. While the top Bollywood line of the show comprises of Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan, KK and Sunidhi Chauhan, we’ll also see Kailash Kher, Richa Sharma, Shruti Pathak, and Benny Dayal from Bollywood singers.

Besides, there will be Raghu Dixit, or should I say The Raghu Dixit Project, the well known name from Bangalore; once so popular Colonial Cousins – Hariharan and Leslie Lewis; comparatively lesser known Bollywood singers Harshdeep Kaur and Akriti Kakkar (Harshdeep is winner of two television reality shows and has even sung for A R Rahman in Rang De Basanti, Akriti has almost twenty movies to her credit where she has sung); and the singer of mora saiyyan, aankhon kay sagar, mitwa, and many more, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan.

Then there are Sabri Brothers*, Aftab and Hashim Sabri, qawwali singers who have sung for Hindi films as well, my best memory being of Allah Allah from Yeh Dil Ashiqana (no idea how crappy the movie was but the songs were good, the qawwali being one of the best) and Tumse mil ke dil ka hai jo haal from Main hoon na.

Also the show will have Sufi singers Puranchand and Pyarelal Wadali i.e. Wadali Brothers there too. The pair has also sung a couple of songs for Bollywood, the latest being Rangrez in Tanu weds Manu.

In lesser known singers, which could and should make the real life of the show, there will be Assamese Bihu specialist Khagen Gogoi, Tamilnadu’s once-a-singer-at-thirteen Chinna Ponnu, another Assamese Mausam Gogoi, maker of boatmen band Majhi Mallah Saurav Mandal and New Delhi’s eclectic music group Advaita.

What is still a confusion though, is that while the list above is given on the ‘Artists’ page of the Coke Studio website, there is another sentence that says ‘The collaborations are so eclectic as to bring together Shafqat Ali and Shruti Pathak, Sunidhi Chauhan and Wadali Brothers, Kailash Kher and Papon, Shankar Mahadevan and Khogen Da, and Bombay Jayshree, Richa Sharma and Rashid Khan among others‘ while going by the list, I won’t find Papon, Bombay Jayshree and Rashid Khan on the show.

* My guess is that there is some mix up regarding them on the Coke Studio’s official website, they claim that Sabri Brothers are a Pakistani Qawwali party.

Tanu weds Manu (aka Mannu Bhaiyya)

When ten seconds into an album you know that you’re almost going to dance to this tune, you know what quality it is going to be. Well, Tanu Weds Manu happens to be something like that. As Lehmber Hussainpuri croons a Very Punjabi Saddi Gali in a Pritam-meets-Amit-Trivedi way, one is bound to dance to his tune. Yet another wonderful tune and arrangement from RDB, adding to their list of singles in Bollywood.

The next thing out there is Mohit Chauhan’s Kitne dafe dil ne kaha, that is Yun hi. The song isn’t so typical Mohit Chauhan, but has a slight ’90s-early 2000s element attached to the music, with all the Tabla, flute and more of Indian instruments. At the same time, lyrics are wonderful and Mohit unquestionably has to be beautiful in such a song. Do listen to the song, and give it time if it does need that.

The next song Piya, sung by Roop Kumar Rathod, has a classical feel to it. While the song may not sound all that great for the first time, after listening to it for a few times, it’s quite a treat to listen to. Especially some parts of the song (for example ‘Pal na kate ab sakhi re piya bin’) are really beautiful.

The next is Wadali Brothers’ Rangrez mere, a qawwali that takes you into old times with its very real arrangements. While I don’t know how much people are going to like it, the thing I loved in the song is the real Qawwali feel you get. Except that in a few places the Qawwali needed to pause a bit more, everything seems to be quite fine. Do try this one.

MANNU BHAIYA. When I talk of the album, THIS is the song I talk about. While a friend of mine (who also happens to write reviews) thought it had a Vishal Bhardwaj touch, I felt, and still feel that the song has a similarity with the early songs of A R Rahman. While Mannu bhaiyya ka karihen has got an addictive beat, rest of the song is a good mix of some easy-going music and lets-talk-about-it lyrics. A must listen thing, like it or not is your decision.

The last original song of the album is Mika’s Jugni, another Punjabi song in the album that is not so happening as Saddi Gali, but good nonetheless. A typical Mika song, Jugni will make you dance to it, but not precisely the first time you listen to it. First you listen to the song, take the words in, and then your feet go on the techno-tunes of the song.

As the last track comes Krsna’s own version of Rangrez, where he puts the qawwali arrangements in almost background, giving more emphasis on words. While one good thing about the song is that you get every word clear, Krsna sings the composer’s track, with its unmistakable truthfulness. For example, by the time he comes to sing karvat bhi rang.. salvat bhi rang, he’s almost lost in the song and when you’re not writing a review, you’re lost in the song too. 🙂 Definitely engaging. Completely loved it.

Overall, Tanu Weds Manu is a complete surprise package and while one was expecting a good movie, the wonderful album has raised the expectations from the movie even further. As for the album, the other surprising thing besides quality is the variety present here. Accolades for Krsna for such a debut.