British pop star Ed Sheeran’s dance-hall infused chart-topper Shape of You went to No.1 in 30 countries. It spawned multiple Indian cover versions soon afterwards, but the creativity shows no sign of decline.
There’s a new version now, intended as a tribute to biriyani, and it might be the most hilarious version yet. Featuring Bengaluru comedians Ahmed Shariff, Praveen Kumar and Sanjay Manaktala, it is an all-inclusive ode to India’s (almost) favourite food.
According to the name, there’s no need for debate about where biryani comes from. Also, it can accommodate not only prawn and chicken besides the original meats, it also sits perfectly with adjectives like Mughlai, Bengali, Lakhnavi, and Hyderabadi. For, when it comes to flavoured rice and meaty goodness, there’s no question of picking favourites.
But it’s not only food that Sheeran’s earworm goes well with. Here’s singer Ranjini Hannah mixing songs in Hindu and Telugu with a side of Shape of You to great effect.
Naturally, a Carnatic version cannot be too far behind. Musicians Aditya Rao, Vinod Krishnan and Mahesh Raghvan give it a decidedly classic music twist. It might even be catchier than the original.
A digital marimba intro that’s so close to Sia’s “Cheap Thrills,” she should probably demand credit. Lyrics about hitting the bar to find a date that would sound more natural coming from Pitbull. Syncopated rhythms that could have come from producer and previous collaborator Pharrell. Multitracked falsetto harmony vocals straight from Justin Timberlake’s bag of tricks. And…mercy, that chorus: a lascivious ode to a woman’s body you’d sooner expect to hear from Usher or even Justin Bieber.