I thought it might be unfair to slam Coke Studio India for not matching up to the magnificence that is Coke Studio Pakistan. In its first week anyway. So I waited a month, and from what's been trotted out till now, it looks like that sudden burst of brilliance everyone here's been hoping for isn't forthcoming this season.
Two songs, one from our Coke Studio, the other from Pakistan's. "Chitthiye" is limpid, inoffensive, swamped by the same all-pervasive synth sound that won't leave any of CSI's songs alone. It's...what's the word...contented. "Alif Allah-Jugni", on the other hand, is a stream of energy so taut driving that it sounds like it couldn't settle down if it wanted to. Why this difference? It's not the singers; Chauhan and the Wadalis are in the same vocal league as Shafi and Lohar. It's in the attiutude. It's the difference between rock and pop. It's in the annoying girl-group chorus they have in "Chittiye". It's the reason why Pakistan produces great rock bands and we don't, and why their Coke Studio success is something we have not, and from the looks of it, will not replicate.