Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Vay MeiN Chori Chori" - ReshmaN, Meesha Shafi & Lata Mangeshkar

Coke Studio is Rohail Hyatt's innovative and extremely popular music program on Pakistani TV. Since his days as one of the original band members of Vital Signs in the early 90's he has come a long way as a highly respected and sought-after music producer who is creatively showcasing the breadth of Pakistan's indigenous music talent from well-known veterans to unfamiliar but promising young performers. Coke Studio is in the midst of its third season this summer and amongst several excellent performances thus far, Meesha Shafi's "ambient and trippy" revival of "Vay meiN chori chori" has been widely admired both for her deep, resonant voice and the quality of the vocals. In part the popularity of the song owes something to the young, attractive and charismatic presence of Meesha Shafi and the anticipation that behind the raw talent she is a potential star in the making. As the daughter of TV actress Saba Pervaiz, her performing arts pedigree is an additional marketing boon. "Vay meiN chori chori" is a revival of a song that was first performed by the virtuosic folk singer ReshmaN several decades ago. Here is Meesha Shafi's version:

ReshmaN, the popular Pakistani folk singer with a stentorian voice, is best known for her raw, almost primal renditions of Punjabi and Rajasthani folk songs. She was born in Loha village in Rajasthan in 1947 in a gypsy family which moved to the Pakistani side of that desert terrain after partition. She is often reverently referred to as the "Voice of the Desert". Here is ReshmaN's version of "Chori, Chori":

While listening to Meesha Shafi's version, I felt right away that I had heard the melody before in an Indian film song. Finally, after humming a few bars I recalled that Lata Mangeshkar's wonderful song "Yara sili sili" from the film "Lekin" is the exact same composition. That 1991 film starring Vinod Khanna and Dimple Kapadia is set in Rajasthan so it is not surprising that a Rajasthani folk melody would be used. Once I went to YouTube to look at a video of "Yara sili sili" all sorts of hostile comments from internet Indians and Pakistanis unpleasantly confirmed that it is indeed the same "dhun". Personally, I think it takes nothing away from the masterful and atmospherically different song sung by Lata. The added bonus are Gulzar's lyrics. Here is Lata singing "Yara sili sili" behind Dimple Kapadia's moving lips:

Photo:  A young ReshmaN


Gurpreet Toor said...

Nicely written !!!!!

Mohsin said...

Thats might be the reason that I couldnt relate it back to the legendary Reshmam after listening Messha shafi version, the tune and the song both pointing to different memory references.

Anonymous said...

So many 'comments from internet Indians and Pakistanis' are so unpleasant, so illiterate, so hateful

that wiser and saner Indian and Pakistanis mostly stay away