KARACHI: While Abida Parveen aficionados anxiously await the release of her Coke Studio 9 performance, biding time with Noor-e-Azal, the singing icon surprised them by collaborating with Indian music director duo Salim-Sulaiman on a new single. Released on Eid, Noor E Ilahifound its space instantly, with praises pouring in from all around.
Although Abida has simply featured on a track not made by her, Noor E Ilahi just goes to prove that Salim-Sulaiman are stuck in a rut and cannot do much good even with her by their side. What started withShukran Allah and Rab Rakha and got a little repetitive with Bismillah,Allahu Akbar and Astagfirullah, has now turned into a cliché so mediocre that it really is a shame.
The recipe of throwing in an Arabic chorus, a few random verses about praying and remaining steadfast, accompanied by a rubab or a sarod to keep it ethnic, does not produce a Sufi song, if there really is anything like that to begin with. The video shows Abida singing in Islamabad, a group of backing vocalists recording their piece in Canada and the Merchant brothers sitting in Mumbai with the musicians. Parallel to this runs a small storyline featuring the very talented Pankaj Tripathi. The visual storytelling, however, does not really enhance the overall experience, thanks to the run-of-the-mill nature of the composition.
Abida clearly worries little about hits and misses; she has been doing what she does best for decades and her canvas is naturally bigger. Salim-Sulaiman, on the other hand, need to rethink the method since with the arrival of the Amit Trivedis, Ram Sampaths and Sachin-Jigars, things are no more the same with Bollywood music.