Several versions of the partition have been played out for us in the form literature, films and music. One such tale is that of Husna and Javed. 

It wouldn’t be wrong to term ‘Husna’ as one of the most dynamic collaborations on Coke Studio. Composed by Piyush Mishra and produced by Hitesh Sonik for MTV Coke Studio Season Two, Husna and Javed’s story is symbolic of the India-Pakistan partition of 1947.

By blending Indian percussions with an acoustic guitar arrangement, Hitesh has tried to recreate the looming sense of grief reflected in the original poem by Piyush Mishra.  

“I come from a family that has been a victim of partition. My father was seven-years old when it happened and used to narrate incidents about the time, this always left me imagining what must’ve happened. All that has never left me and maybe they were at their peak when we were working on ‘Husna.’ I was at home, looking for home,” shares Sonik.

Accompanied by Kalyan Baruah and Sanjay Joseph on guitar, Darshan Doshi on drums, Jarvis Menezes on keys, Anupam Deghatak on percussion, Paras Nath on flute and the supremely talented Mohini Dey on bass, Sonik has brought to life the tragic tale of Husna and Javed.

Hitesh vividly remembers the first time he heard Piyush Mishra sing ‘Husna’ more than a decade ago. “I was spellbound. Had never imagined there could be a romantic aspect to the horrors of the partition that followed India’s independence. Maybe coming from a family that was a victim of those times made it echo deeper within me. Though not deeper than what the genius of Piyush Mishra saw in it.”

“There was a beautiful limitation of recording everything live. That helps you zero down on what is and what isn’t possible logistically. The instruments used in the song were a result of that.”

Hitesh also had a great deal of responsibility to portray Piyush’s storytelling through his music, while also bringing out the nostalgia and anger in equal parts from the original poem.

“Coke Studio to me was and will always remain the one and only platform that has a perfect blend of artist independence fused with responsibility”

Commanding in its appeal, the song is akin to a theatrical and Hitesh shares how he adapted the poem to suit the platform, “Coke Studio to me was and will always remain the one and only platform that has a perfect blend of artist independence fused with responsibility. To try and be true to that understanding or interpretation one has no choice but to be honest to the core within. Thankfully for me the liberties and caution that I took with this song resonates well with the audience.”

An important aspect of giving diligent musical justice to the lyrics of any song, is striking a perceptive understanding between a composer and producer, “I’d had a working relationship with him (Piyush Mishra) before we did Coke Studio. Thankfully that has helped us in having a trust in each other. Not much was said. He knew the song had imprinted upon me and was happy to be a witness through most of it,” says Sonik.

Lastly, Hitesh has tried to take the song to a crescendo, which is symbolic of the chaos in Husna and Javed’s story. Ending the song in tumultuous high, the song talks about the anguish and sorrow Husna and Javed experience, also emblematic of what both the nations experienced during the partition.

An appreciator of electronic music and orchestral fused with a world sound, Hitesh recently scored the music for Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety and Hichki. For Hitesh, Coke Studio is the only platform which offers an artist creative liberty with responsibility and this has helped him consistently produce brilliant music for the platform. “More power to fizz,” he smiles.