Fifty-two years since its release, Ko Ko Korina is still all the rage and the recent surge in its popularity was all due to Ahad Raza Mir and Momina Mustehsan. Their Coke Studio rendition may very well go down in history as the show’s most hated song ever. But every cloud has a silver lining, right?
The whole conundrum inspired a Sindhi singer Jigar Jalal to come up with his own version of the song. In what is possibly the first video of the series titled Goth Studio, Jalal begins by saying, “Agar Ahad aur Momina Ko Ko Korina gaa sakte hain to Jigar Jalal kyun nahi?” (If Ahad and Momina can sing Ko Ko Korina, why can’t Jigar Jalal?)
While the intention behind the video might be to make fun of the Mir-Mustehsan rendition, Goth Studio’s version frankly delivers a better listening experience. Its vernacular instrumentation and Jalal’s Sindhi accent adds a new energy into the lyrics.
But what really makes it a thing of beauty is the presentation. Adding his own verse in the beginning, Jalal sings, “Jungle me dhoonda, ke sheharon me dhoonda, magar mujh ko Ko Ko Korina kahin nahi mili,” (I looked for Ko Ko Korina in jungles and cities but couldn’t find her anywhere). You see, there is a conversation happening here; Jalali is talking to his friend Ustad Bajai Wala. He asks him, “Phir aashiq kya karay?” (What must a lover do now?)
His suggestion, “Tauba,” sets up the context of the song, making it more situational than just dropping out of thin air. Here is a Sindhi topi and black sunglasses wearing, Ektara-playing lover who, unable to find his beloved, is singing in her memory.
While the Coke Studio version sounded like Mir had no Raza in the song and Mustehsan didn’t believe in the lyrics, Jalal puts all his jigar in it. The result is a fresh cover which, at the very least, is fun to listen to. It captures the essence of the original in that it’s foot-tapping and equally energetic.
What’s more is that the music video makes use of the 1980s MTV style of fast-cutting and frantic camera movement that’s still prevalent in Sindhi media. Jalal’s Ko Ko Korina, in all its glory, is a revolution that we don’t deserve, but desperately need. I would say, more than considering this rendition as a mockery of Mir-Mustehsan’s cover, it should be enjoyed as a stand-alone offering.