Coke Studio: Are we Going Too Far with Our Criticism?

By Hammad Faisal

We Pakistanis have always been a passionate nation. No matter what the matter was, we’d always be the ones who’d go to extreme lengths to make our points, our thoughts and our feelings known to the masses.

This passion has grown to extreme heights no matter what the issue has been, whether it be politics, cricket, football and specifically music.

Coke Studio, is no different. The musical masterpiece played a big part in our journey towards the revival of Pakistani Music.

The concept was new, unique, exhilarating & exciting. What started as an adaption to help improve the Pakistan Music Industry turned out to be the single greatest thing to happen to it, escalating us and our music beyond our wildest dreams and dare I say it, beyond our neighbors as well.

The show has given us a revival of old legendary songs as well as an introduction to genre of music we weren’t familiar with. It combined with what we knew, and what we were new to, to create something… Amazing.

And we loved it, we shared it with our friends, we went on to social media to talk about it. It was a fever that was slowly shaping the nation and was presumed to be the focal point of old and new artists to showcase their talent.

Fast forward 10 years later, the 10th season of the show. The fever is just as high as it ever was, and with that comes expectations. Fans eagerly await the next song to dazzle them, but this time what I saw astounded me.

Posts after posts of insensitive, mind blowing hatred for the 10th season of the show. People straight up calling it “unwatchable” and “the worst thing on social media” is a bit much even for a passionate nation such as us.

It’s astounding that a show which has given us introductions to such acclaimed and widely recognized new talents like Momina Mustehsan and Ali Sethi, who I could have sworn everyone was swooning over, was so excruciatingly criticised.

From people calling Coke Studio, the best thing to have ever happened to music and then calling on Strings to “quit ruining the show” is just plain disrespectful.

We are all allowed to criticize, criticism is fair game. But there’s a thin line between criticism and disrespect. These artists are here for YOU, they are performing for YOU, YOU matter to them more than you realize.

One song, that you apparently “hated” as you want to ban the whole thing? Need I remind you of the state of our music industry before Coke Studio dropped into the fray?

We were floating, unable to recognize what we wanted to do with our talent. Some of it was “escaping” to India to earn and get recognition while some just faded into oblivion, Coke Studio gave the industry (and me) hope that we are finally on the right track.

Look at some of these masterpieces. Works of art like this have earned Coke Studio Pakistan a reputation. We’re not just a Bollywood rip off anymore in terms of our music, we’re finally standing on our own two feet.

We’re doing it through our own talent and our own hard work. You can’t tell me we would have unearthed the talent we currently have on any other platform other than Coke Studio, the same Ali Sethi that everyone around me swoons and goes to concerts for became even more prominent BECAUSE of Coke Studio.

You don’t “cancel” it all because you didn’t like a song. You don’t abuse artists because you didn’t like a song. You don’t ridicule talent because you didn’t like a song.

Support the industry with criticism, support the show with criticism but draw the line when it comes to said criticism and hatred for the sake of hatred.

We need to understand that we look up to some of these artists and we’d always want more outstanding performances from them so I’d wind in the abuse and hatred if I were you.

The hate made me upset and I know we’re all very passionate and we feel for the things we watch. We want the best, but there is better way to go about things. The human way. The Pakistani way.

About the Author:

Hammad Faisal is a freelance writer who loves putting into words everything he is passionate about. Sports, music, tech, pop culture and current affairs are subjects that fire him up.