Song Review: Miyan ki Malhar| Version: Coke Studio Pakistan 2013


If legend is to be believed, once the Mughal emperor Akbar asked his court musician Tansen to sing Raga Deepak, the raga of fire. The effect was such that all the lamps in the courtyard lit up themselves, and Tansen’s body became so hot that he had to sit in the nearby river to cool himself. However, the river began to boil, and it became apparent that Tansen would soon boil to death. He set out on a search to find someone who could sing Raga Malhar to cure him. In due course he reached Vadnagar, in Gujarat, where he found two sistersTana and Riri, whom he asked for help. They agreed to sing Raga Malhar to cure him. When they sang the Raga, rains came down in torrents, which cooled Tansen’s body immediately.

Miyan ki Malhar is a variation of the Malhar raga and was introduced by Tansen and the tone material; the melodic movements in Miyan ki malhar are rather serious and slow, moving more in the lower tetra-chord.

What I stumbled upon was an incredible cover of this raga, by Coke Studio.
Featuring three vocalists, Ayesha Omar, Fariha Pervez and Zara Madani, the song was recorded at different locations on different days and has three very distinct segments.

Ayesha starts off with a longing for rain at a time when the thunder is erupting in the skies and torrential winds are blowing, but not a drop of rain is shed. Cymbals, drums, the piano and a mild acoustic guitar accompany her soft vocals.

Bijli chamke, jiyara tarse.’

A flute solo succeeds this in what seems like a conglomeration of sea shells, sitars, matki and a jaltarang.

Fariha Pervez moves the notch higher with a thumri-raga blend and changes the mood from fusion to mainstream classical. She speaks of the dark clouds and how they scare her with their monstrous might. Throughout her segment, thunder sounds can be heard in the background.

‘Chamak chamak chamke bijuriya, dhamak dhamak dhamke daamaniya.’

A smooth transition into a blazing hard rock track is observed with rapidly beating drums and knife-like guitar work.

Zara Madani sings the raga overpowering this already dominant background. From a tranquil longing for the rain, the songs turn into a blazing blast of joy and celebration as the rains do fall eventually. So much so that, the extent becomes frightening; yet worthwhile, nonetheless.

‘Bijuri chamke, garje, barse.’

About the About

Samreen Chabra

Samreen Chabra (MCM College 36)

18 years old. Writer. Theatre Artist. As a writer I don’t restrict myself at all and experiment with genres as much as I can. Writing for me has always been about introducing a new line of thought, or just something to ponder upon. More precious than the content, is the feeling that comes along with it. And I hope to give my readers the same heartening experience.



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