Whether born in the 1970s or 1990s, there is not one person who does not know who Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was. His magical voice reigns the hearts of millions till date. There is not one voice even close to that of Khan Sahab’s. His kalaams, qawwalis & songs still leave the listeners entranced.
Numerous artists have covered Ustad NFAK’s songs and kalaams and a lot have done a great job I might add. Nonetheless, those songs don’t lose their charm even if sung and covered a thousand times over.
Coke studio has taken inspiration of songs & kalaams from various legendary artists in the past seasons and re-composed them. From Madam Noor Jehan to Reshma to Munni Begum to Nazia Hassan to Sabri Brothers. Sometimes the little venture is a record- smashing hit, sometimes an epic fail.
This season, Coke Studio pays tribute to Ustad NFAK by re-composing one of his best songs. “Aafreen Aafreen” begins with a soft magical melody coming straight out of Kashan Admani’s guitars in the form of strums, accompanied by the backing vocals which contribute a great deal in creating the perfect aura. Then begins Rahat Fateh Ali Khan “aisa dekha nahi … khoobsurat koi” in his ancestral, spell-binding voice, maintaining the legacy of the maestro UNFAK and leaving the listeners beguiled and overcome with nostalgia, especially when “husn-e-janaan ki tareef mumkin nahi” began spreading its charm all over.
While RFAK’s voice works its charm, Momina’s tender vocals create an aura of sensuality and endearment. The coke studio debutante makes a perfect counterbalance as she performs her own set of additional lyrics (written by F K Khalish) and beautifully transitions back into “Aafreen Aafreen”
The magical voices of the two powerhouse of talent sound even more magical when accompanied with the subtle drumming, the strumming, Imran Akhoond’s unmistakable transition from one chord to another, Mannu bhai’s flawless bass playing and the entire house band doing their best.
The song builds as Rahet Fateh Ali Khan takes the entire song ten notches higher with his hereditary gift of Raag and ends just as beautifully as it had begun.
The song was Coke Studio’s venture to show the world that the magic of Ustad NFAK’s lyrics and voice still lives on. However, they did miss out the most beautiful part of the song due to which the listeners were slightly disappointed. Which part you ask ?
“Aankhein dekhein tou mai.. dekhta rehgaya
Jam do aur dono hi.. do aatisha
Aankhein ya maiqadey ke wo do baab hain
Aankhein Unko Kahun.. ya kahun khuwab hain
Aankhein neechi hueen tou haya ban gayi
Aankhein oonchi hui tou dua ban gayi
Aankhein uth kar jhuki tou adaa bangayi
Ankhein Jhuk kar uthi tou qaza ban gayi
Aankhein Jin mai hai qaid aasmaan o zameen
Nargisi nargigi.. surmai surmai”
Alas, the heartache!
The song would have been a much bigger and better hit.
In a nutshell, “Aafreen Aafreen” has become an all-time anthem for Coke Studio fans, Ustad NFAK fans and listeners in general. Kudos to Coke Studio! (ESPECIALLY to Faakhir Mehmood)