The Ms. Marvel Universe, Through the Songlines

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Jo kuch bhi seekha, galtiyon se hi toh seekha maine
Khud ko sambhala, Gir ke hi toh uthna seekhe maine
Jab bhi bikhri toh, bikhar ke simatna seekha maine
Jab khwaab toote, tab bhi unko Poora krna seekha maine…
Duniya toh bolti thi bolti rahegi, Himmat ka hai parwana, parwaz hai hoslon ka

(All I learned, I learned from my mistakes
I stood, I fell and I learned how to get back up
Every time I scatter, I learned to step back
When dreams were shattered, I learned to make them come true
The world has always spoken, will continue to do so
But the butterfly is brave and the flight is brave)

These powerful lines of 22 years, based in Karachi musician Eva B, Pakistan’s first female rapper and latest music sensation who raps under the guise of an English name and a hijab, is featured in her latest song, Rozi. Eva comes from Eve, the first wife, and B is for her Baloch identity, while the tenacity in her lyrics is an attempt to talk about her life and struggles as he sat in Lyari – the Baluchi neighborhood which is known more for its violence than its socially sensitive musicians. A few years ago, Eva B found inspiration in Eminem, Queen Latifah and Indian rapper DIVINE, and continues to speak truth to power.

The song appears along the end credits of the first episode of the recent series, Ms Marvel, the last in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rapped in Hindustani, the ditty is an attempt to match Eva B’s lyrics with the life and times of Ms. Marvel – Kamala Khan – a 16-year-old Pakistani teenager trying to navigate life in Jersey City, USA -United. The song may sound a little amateurish in terms of its interpretation, but its significance lies in Eva B discovering it. soul and her difficult life as a woman. Life’s difficulties may be different for Eva B and Kamala, but the knot of thought and similarity in dealing with life’s problems ties them together.

The song was co-produced by American musician and violinist L Subramaniam’s daughter, Gingger Shankar. Rozi and many other hand-picked pieces by music supervisor Dave Jordan and his team are a distinct character on the show, as if they were a voice inside Kamala’s head.

In the multipolar world we currently inhabit, the roots of ethnic stereotypes seem to run deeper than we might have once thought. Somewhere in the middle of this parochial, restless global space is this Marvel Cinematic Universe, which contains the effervescent Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani) – who is busy finding herself. At hand are adolescent treatment issues problems to not fit in, to be obsessed with her favorite actor, Shah Rukh Khan, to wonder about the pain of the partition inflicted by her family and to argue with her parents about what is best for her life . His existence is fueled by his universe of Captain Marvel fandom, his most compelling connection to American culture. Soon, an unpopular dark-haired child geek finds superpowers and some confidence.

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Kamala Khan in the Ms Marvel series, based on the comic book series of the same name, is Marvel’s first Muslim superheroine. Besides breaking this basic stereotype, what is imperative is that Kamala Khan’s existence in popular culture is also the need of the hour. It’s one of the few times Muslim characters in a series are not classified into one of two categories – bad or worse. But it’s not just about a suspicious portrayal of Muslim characters or the stereotype of all South Asian characters as Indians who speak with a weird theatrical accent, eat spicy food, and dress weirdly. The world Ms. Marvel co-creator and series executive producer Sana Ahmed is building for Kamala is simple and ordinary, with its own cultural likes and dislikes, like any family from any part of the world. . It’s the ordinary in Khan’s otherwise extraordinary superhero life that’s all-important. And a young Muslim woman, a statistic often shunned in the mainstream, finally finds a meaningful voice on screen. Cultural representation is devoid of the typical negative the stereotypesdistrust and strange subtle racism and it is significant.

Eva B, Pakistan’s first female rapper and latest musical sensation who raps under the guise of an English name and a hijab (Surce: Eva B/Facebook)

And it is this daily life marked by music that serves as the narrator of the show. While Rozi is a glimpse into Kamala’s journey to become who she wants to be, there’s also Pakistan’s beloved classic Ko Ko Korina from the 1966 film Armaan. The catchy number sung by playback singer Ahmed Rushdi at the time, came out months after the Indo-Pakistani War and was about the perfect woman the film actor was looking for. “Ko Ko Korina,” the gibberish phrase was soon dominating the airwaves and lifting the spirits of a broken subcontinent. In Ms. Marvel, he plays in an oriental market where Kamala is shopping with her mother for her brother’s wedding and gorging on sweets, fascinated by junk food. jewelry and giving measures for his shararas.

Kamala is a family that dances to Ye mera dil pyaar ka deewana by Asha Bhosle and Bol harippa by Pritam at their son’s wedding. There is also Tere bina by AR Rahman from Guru, in addition to the fun Joote do paise lo. There are splashes of once hugely popular singer Nahid Akhtar’s Sohniye I love you (1987), Pakistani film Baabul Veer and Coke Studio’s Peechhe Hatt. Oh Nanba (Lingaa) by AR Rahman, sung by SP Balasubrmaniam, Jalebi Baby by Canadian-Indian singer, rapper and producer Tesher, Raja Kumari’s Goddess, Ritviz’s Sage and Disco Gully by Ishq Bector, Kully Bhamra and Angus Campbell are from other songs on the soundtrack, which has been carefully curated. The family doesn’t like the sitar and tabla music – the American choice for background music when it comes to representing families from the subcontinent.

There’s also Riz Ahmed’s Deal, with him as the backdrop for Kamala’s first day of school and Oye hoye, a collaboration between Nooran Sisters, Brooklyn’s Evan Giia and New York music duo Memba.

The music for the series sticks to the current trend of including existing tracks to suit the needs of the Ms. Marvel universe. But what’s interesting is that it wonderfully adds to the mood of the series and reminds that inside Kamala’s red and blue superhero suit, is a young Pakistani girl with her ethnicity in tow. We’ll have to see how a carefully crafted soundtrack by Laura Karpman and well-arranged tracks by Jordan deepen Kamala Khan’s story in future episodes. For now, the charm is in fourth gear.

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