Instead of invoking patriotism and jazba, #CSNationalAnthem portrayed disrespect and injustice
It’s become common practice for brands to associate themselves with humanitarian work and patriotism in order to gain extra mileage in the public eye.
Recently, Coke Studio launched its own version of the national anthem. Considering that it had the likes of Shafqat Amanat Ali, Ali Zafar, Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Ali Noor, it should have been a beautiful rendition, but it was anything but that.
I have quite a few issues with this version of the national anthem. Firstly, I find it ridiculous that they thought it was okay to call it the #CSNationalAnthem and not the Pakistani national anthem. Has branding become that important now? Is it more important than our own patriotism?
Secondly, the execution, direction and composition are a complete disaster. For something that was meant to invoke patriotism within its listeners, it seemed to quell it instead. But what I found extremely disrespectful was how the guitarist was sitting instead standing throughout the national anthem. The producers should have looked into that matter. It’s common courtesy to stand when you hear the national anthem, forget when you’re playing it!
As for the composition, starting with Esakhelvi, who wasn’t the best choice since his voice is too husky. Furthermore, the beauty of any anthem is its vocals, not the music, but in this particular instance, the music overshadows the vocals on numerous occasions.
To be honest, the anthem is not inspiring or motivating at all. The singers didn’t look optimistic or zealous. Rather, they looked way too serious and sombre; for instance, Farhan Saeed’s sad expression, why so glum, chum? It’s a national anthem rendition, not a funeral march. Where’s the passion?
The following verse, ‘Painda Taabinda Baad’ required the singers to be more enthusiastic; instead they made it sound so gloomy that it almost broke my heart. Where’s the jazba? Clearly, not here.
Moreover, when we say ‘Saya-e-Khudaa-e-Zuljalal’, we bow our heads in respect, but the singers in Coke Studio’s version did not do so.
People usually sing the national anthem with all the fervour, but this rendition just seemed like it was forced. It felt as if they were mouthing the words without realising the actual meaning behind them, thus doing complete injustice to what our national anthem stands for.
What was most surprising for me though was how #CSNationalAnthem was trending on Twitter. Dozens of people used the term ‘goosebumps’ to describe the effect Coke Studio’s version of the national anthem had on them. It had the opposite effect on me. It was only a handful of Twitter accounts that were praising the Coke Studio national anthem. The general public view, however, was negative and most Coke Studio followers were extremely disappointed.
— Talha Butt (@_TalhaButt) August 6, 2017
Goosebumps! Beautiful ❤️
— Komal Shahid (@ArmedWithWords) August 4, 2017
— Rimsha (@AreJZee) August 4, 2017
— Abeer (@DMisHaram) August 4, 2017
— رمشاء (@RamshaPakistani) August 4, 2017
— Syed Junaid Ul Haq (@SyedJunaidUlHaq) August 5, 2017
— Al Husna Parveen (@husnaaftab) August 4, 2017
— 🇵🇰. ہمیشہ کیلئے (@ibn_Pakistan) August 4, 2017
— Zoya Altaf (@zoya_altaf) August 4, 2017
Continuing to produce such shoddy renditions will only reflect poorly on Coke Studio.
Lastly, thanks to Coke Studio, people will be sitting and listening to this version of the national anthem during Independence Day celebrations, and that isn’t right. Out of respect, we need to stand up whenever we hear our national anthem. We need to sing it with excitement, we need to show our true spirit for our country. Shouldn’t this have been given more thought before it was released?
If this version of the national anthem is anything to go by, Coke Studio’s upcoming season already seems like an impending disappointment.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.