Coke Studio's creator Rohail Hyatt. Photo: Coke Studio

The recent season of the popular Pakistani music show Coke Studio received a mixed to negative reaction. One rendition of a popular Pakistani cover song became the final blow to the disappointing season. The rendition of the popular Pakistani song Ko Ko Korina originally sung by the late Pakistani singer Ahmed Rushdi in the 1966 Pakistani film Armaan was regarded as one of the most disappointing songs of the entire show. It led to a Twitter rift between Pakistani Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari and one of the vocalists of the rendition, Momina Mustehsan. Even the BBC didn’t shy away from joining in.

This was not the first time that Coke Studio landed in controversy for ruining an original song with a poor rendition. In 2017, when Coke Studio was in its 10th season, the rendition of the popular song Sayonee, originally by Pakistani rock band Junoon, received a similarly negative reaction.

Now as the show is about to enter its 12th season, it’s fate is largely undecided. However, an update regarding the show has the audience celebrating as Rohail Hyatt, the show’s original creator, will return to after a gap of five years. Hyatt produced the first six seasons of Coke Studio and was then replaced by Pakistani pop band Strings as music producers from the seventh till the 10th season and the 11th season was produced by Ali Hamza, a member of Pakistani rock band Noori.

Hyatt’s return has certainly generated a rush of excitement among fans,  but will his return will change anything?

Coke Studio during the Rohail Hyatt era

When it began in 2008, expectations were high as Hyatt was a popular name in Pakistan’s music industry. Having been a member of one of Pakistan’s most popular pop groups, Vital Signs, whose songs have become classics, people were highly excited.

The arrival of the show came during a tragic time in Pakistan as terrorist attacks in the country were frequent. However, Coke Studio’s entry into the Pakistani market marked a sigh of relief.

As expected, the first season received critical acclaim and the seasons that followed during Hyatt’s time received positive reviews as well. There were obviously hits and misses but it enjoyed a good reception overall. Coke Studio Pakistan’s success led to it becoming an international franchise and similar formats were adopted in India, the Arab world and Africa.

Throwback To What Coke Studio Looked Like With Rohail Hyatt

In order to celebrate Rohail Hyatt’s return to Coke Studio after five years, here’s a throwback to all the gems he gave us. 🎶 🎧UPDATE: Kadi Ao Ni was produced by Strings.

Posted by MangoBaaz on Friday, 25 January 2019

Hyatt left the series in 2014 citing personal reasons, which left many people disappointed and wondering who would take charge of the show and whether they would maintain the standards set by Hyatt.

Dear friends, I wish to thank you all for the love and support you have shared with me over the years. As the producer…

Posted by Rohail Hyatt on Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Coke Studio after Rohail Hyatt

After Hyatt’s departure, the duo Faisal Kapadia and Bilal Maqsood of the Pakistani pop band Strings took over. People were unhappy about Hyatt’s unexpected departure but still had high hopes for Strings. They did not disappoint, although there were obvious hits and misses, as was the case during Hyatt’s time. Unfortunately, a blow came in 2017 when it was in its 10th season and the rendition of the popular song Sayonee, originally by the Pakistani band Junoon, elicited a largely negative reaction. Following season 10, Strings left the show to focus on their music and also became the judges of the third season of a rival music show, Pepsi Battle of the Bands.

Strings leaves Coke Studio

Hottest news of the week: Strings and Coke Studio part ways:’s next for Coke Studio? Who should direct it next?

Posted by Patari on Tuesday, 31 October 2017

New music producers joined season 11, namely Ali Hamza, a member of the popular Pakistan rock band Noori, and musician Zohaib Kazi. While their initiative Coke Studio Explorer, a new spin-off that set out to explore undiscovered musicians throughout Pakistan received praise, the reactions to the 11th season, on the other hand, were mixed to negative. The rendition of the popular Pakistani song Ko Ko Korina received largely negative reviews.

Story of Faqeera, Shamu Bai and Vishnu, Coke Studio Explorer 2018

From Deewan Lal Chand, Sindh, to being part of #CokeStudioExplorer, we bring you the story of Shamu Bai & Vishnu as they pay homage to their land which imbibes the core musical DNA of South Asia. #CokeStudio #Faqeera

Posted by Coke Studio on Thursday, 5 July 2018

Rohail Hyatt’s return

Hyatt is set to return as music producer this year and while the excitement over his return is understandable, people are wondering how he will successfully run Coke Studio in the era of music streaming platforms, the rise of independent artists and competition from rival music shows such as Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Strepsils Stereo, Cornetto Pop Rock and Nescafe Basement. Nescafe Basement has already released a full promo song of the fifth season and will prove to be a strong contender to Coke Studio.

The audience’s frustration over the renditions of the songs Sayonee and Ko Ko Korina was not the only problem with the last two seasons but the reality was that people became tired of Coke Studio’s attempts to continuously revive old songs, a concept that had become monotonous.

The other issue was the lack of emerging artists, as it was criticized for its large pool of already established artists. Coke Studio Explorer did manage to resolve this; however, the things in Coke Studio itself still remained the same. Hopefully, these things will be addressed by Hyatt and apart from that, there is no doubt that the veteran musician has other tricks up his sleeve as well regarding the new season.

Hyatt, a music visionary, surely has good things in mind for Coke Studio and the forthcoming season looks promising.

Is Rohail really back?

Bae ki qasam, this is the BEST news of the day. #CokeStudio #RohailHayatt

Posted by Patari on Friday, 25 January 2019

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