Coke Studio At MTV Season 3 Episode 5 (Papon) – Review

papon coke studioAngaraag Papon Mahanta. The only producer in the Coke Studio at MTV Season 3 lineup who is known less as a composer and more as a singer. But whoever has heard his The Story So Far or Tokari from the final episode of last season would have no doubt regarding the Assamese powerhouse’s skills as a composer. And the teasers promised a folk-rich episode, so there was much excitement leading up to this one. And here are my thoughts after watching it.

Baisara Beera – Staying true to his roots, Papon kicks off the episode picking up a lovely Assamese Holi geet and fusing it with an equally beautiful folk piece from the other end of the country, Rajasthan in a loosely desh raag-flavored mélange. The rich arrangement too sees a lovely fusion of folk and western – Sugana Ram’s ravanahatha, harmonium stud Akhlak Warsi, Aslam and Hanif Dafrani’s dholaks all seamlessly melding with Kalyan Baruah and Deepak Saikia’s guitars and Tanmay Ray’s drums among other things. Icing on the cake is of course the singing – Papon is flawless as usual with the nuanced rendition, and giving him solid competition is Bhojpuri star singer Kalpana Patowary.

Khumaar – Papon’s sonorous rendition of the pleasant tune rules supreme in the pop-based Khumaar, even as Kalyan Baruah and Jeenti Dutta provide a breezy guitar-led template to go with him. That shehnai from Omkar Madhukar Dhumal (the same person who played shehnai in Amit Trivedi’s Season 2 episode) in the second half is a nice touch.

Tauba – This one sees African and Latino elements combined in an addictive package, with some Assamese folk thrown in for good measure. Once again the guitars are fabulously employed, particularly towards the end, and so are the African rhythms (Sanket Naik, Kirti Prabar Das) and the accordion by Sameer Chiplunkar. On the vocal front, the chorus comprising of Shannon Donald, Crystal Sequeira and Gwen Dias is spot on, and the outlandish sounds from Papon & co. in the interludes lend well to the African-ness of the song. Oddly enough it is the lead singing by Benny Dayal that is found wanting among all this, in comparison.

Benaam Khwaahishein – First ghazal of the season. First ghazal on the show in fact, unless I am missing something from Season 1. And a piece quite fitting of that honor too, if it is. Firstly there is a beautiful (bageshri raag?) tune from Papon, and then there is an outstanding rendition by Anweshaa Dutta (the same girl who at the age of 13 did that brilliant singing of Mere Dholna from Bhool Bhulaiya on Voice of India) with excellent support from Sanket on the tabla and Pritam Ghoshal on sarod. Nirmalya Humtoo Dey’s duduk cameo only adds to the beauty of the song. The pick of the episode, this one.

Dinae Dinae – More Assamese folk in Papon’s voice, this time with the man strumming along on the tokari as well. In the first half that is. In the latter half the song takes a surprise yet smooth turn towards Punjabi folk, and in comes Harshdeep Kaur singing what she does best. The song then heads towards a crescendo-esque finish with both singers combining their styles. (Incidentally Papon & Harshdeep are the only vocalists to have featured in all three seasons of Coke Studio at MTV)

Jhumoor – Final song is where Papon presents a North East folk composition without fusing it with any other genre (discounting the electric guitars and drums that is, they have been pretty much omnipresent in this episode). Dulai Manki and Simantha Shekhar give an authentic rendition of the Assamese tea garden song alongside the composer. That surprise change in pace in between acted as a deterrent for me, but nice listen otherwise.

So Papon delivers in Season 3 what Shantanu Moitra did in Season 2 – a winning set of songs replete with folk and classical elements.

Top Recos: Benaam Khwaahishein, Baisara Beera, Dinae Dinae

Vipin says:

🙂 yeah very well sung by Kalpana.

Vipin says:

Sorry had missed this comment. Wow, thanks for that detailed description of Khumaar. Shall go through the song again today to pay attention to the bass. And once again glad you agree with my review otherwise. 🙂


Ravish K says:

loving Bisara Beera.loving it the more I listen.#slow poison.and look at the designing of the song nd the girl hitting the right notes with beautiful singing.shes just awesome.can I have her nos pls…….

Prashant says:

There we go.The review of the most anticipated episode of Cs@MTv S03E05.This time Vipin, u sir, is bang on target..I’ve got nothing to point out something odd this time around.Damn (U bereaved me of all the fun i had.Period.) !!! Now,allow me to highlight the things i liked about this episode & review.

My personal favorite which has become more of an obsession is “Khummar”.Vaibhav Modi had me when he penned down “Salvaton pe likhi,Karvatien ek hazaar,Dheemi aanch pe jaise,ghulta rahe malhaar.”…”Moondi aakhon mein mehka sa,beeti raat ka ye khumaar” just elevated it.I can go on narrating zillion features of this track-right from Papon’s soulful singing prowess,Kalyan’s acoustic solo,and shuttle electronica mixing grandly with every snare the drummer hit,the toned down shehnai tune during the final mix so that the shrillness of the instrument doesn’t stick out in this mellowed composition,those various layers in the song,the Bass player (Deepak)

Out of these what impressed me the most,was the bass-guitar & the mix that gave it a pattern so distinct that u can follow each bass tone while u’r in a journey with this song.Thas was trippy as hell.Thats what CsPak (the counterpart) is best known for,right..
Bass naturally resonated when “moushiqui” was discovered by some random God of medieval times.Sadly,Indian composers don’t seem to believe in the concept.There may be a few more,but i have come across only 4 songs since the day i quit Bollywood & became an Independent music scene loyalist, that gave Bass its due importance & executed it to perfection – #Nitin Sawhney’s Tere Khayal (S02E04), #Nandini Srikar’s single PaPaPa9goitis, #Advaita’s track (Words) from their sophomore album-The Silent Sea,& now #Papon’s “Khumaar”.It only took a genius mind of Rohail Hyatt to understand this simple plan & execute it to perfection.Although Cokestudio@Mtv’s western section is way more tight than our counterparts,but they produce tunes that sounds Big.Be it Dasht-e-tanhai or Koi Labda,or any other song of CSPak – The distinctly bass pattern,which is kept odd to the rest of the tune,in an distinct effort to make it stick out than the rest,is what gives the composition a serene feel.There is a reason why Musical Pundits dig over the Pak version,and why it is such a hit.

Hence my obsession for Khumaar & increased respect for Papon as a composer.I find complete solace in it.It goes down well with a joint in my hand too.Exactly for the reasons mentioned above.And since this review didn’t speak much about this song,i spewed my obsession into it.Hope i don’t end up looking like an idiot,after giving all these vivid descriptions about compositions and all,without having a hint of knowledge about how to differentiate Desh Raag from Malkauns,or Bhairavi or any other,for that matter.Just a listener’s mind.And i’m not a Bass Player.

Done with Khumaar,What i liked about this review is the honesty with which u write,Vipin..And it was apparent in ur description for “Tauba”.Going safe & showering praises for the composition & singing is easy for a track that arguably has been the most talked about,and most viewed one too.But glad u pointed out Benny’s lacking vocals compared to Papon’s beautiful arrangements.That was exactly the reason why i opted not to buy this song as well.Bingo ! Yeah,There we go,again.

Pheww,Have to stop here but not before adding this to my comment – I had bought Khumaar,Benaam Khwaahishein & Dinae Dinae 2 days back,but only after going through ur review,I bought Baisara Beera as well.And I’m starting to love it now.