Dressed in a slightly outlandish, vintage style seventies, floral button-down one musician stood out from the crowd at the red carpet of the Coke studio launch – modern-day maestro Ali Sethi.
His tribute to ghazal legend Mehdi Hassan ‘Ranjish hi Sahi’ was one of the strongest songs in the first episode of Coke Studio 10 – perhaps because it is so very simple and honest. Full of sorrow and longing, his rendition of Ahmed Faraz’s words is painful.
But not because he was pining for an old flame.
Sethi, who launched his career with another iconic ghazal Aaj Janey ki Zidd Na Karo, told Edition that for him the performance was not about channeling a lost love or a forgotten romance rather hope for more united Pakistan.
“The song is about the anguish and ecstasy of loss,” the musician said, “and as the nation celebrates its 70th anniversary we need to come together despite our differences.”
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His unique interpretation of the classic takes is timely and relevant bearing in mind the precarious political situation in Islamabad. As I read the lyrics from the perspective of a country that still struggles with its identity, I hope that we can find more than ranjish in our collective futures.
Kis kis ko bataaenge
Judaayi ka sabab hum
Tu mujh se khafa hai to zamaane ke liye aa
Ranjish hi sahi dil hi dukhaane ke liye aa
Ranjish hi sahi
How will we explain this separation, my love?
Granted you are displeased with me, but still
Come to me, if only to silence the world’s questions
If heartbreak is my fate, then come break my heart again