Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 01

Pepsi Battle of the Bands is back with a bang and this time with Ayesha Omer as host and on judges panel Fawad Khan frontman of ‘Entity Paradigm’ who stood runners-up of first edition of Pepsi Battle of the Band. Farooq Ahmed frontman and lead vocalist of ‘Aaroh’ winners of first edition of Pepsi Battle of the Band is also on judges’ seat. Third judge is Meesha Shafi whose credentials to be a judge aren’t enough and she be selecting new talented bands when she isn’t that established herself.

Again Pepsi Battle of the Band comes at a time just like late 90’s when many band were fading out. Junaid Jamshed from Vital Signs had started a solo flight, Awaz also disintegrated was also fading, Junoon was facing wrath of government after their ‘ehtisaab’ song and when Ali Azmat shouted ‘lota, lota’ during a concert in Lahore, Junoon were banned to perform in Punjab by Manzoor Ahmed Watto’s government. This trend gave rise to solo acts and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Junaid Jamshed, Ali Haidar, Sajjad Ali, Abrar-ul-Haq, Hadiqa Kiani, Saleem Javaid, Ahmed Jahanzeb and many more started to rule the music stage.

This time around Pepsi Battle of the Bands got an over-whelming response from budding musicians and bands as approximately 100+ bands poured in from all over Pakistan to prove their mettle and only 06 to proceed to main round competition was expected to be intense too. Winner of main round aka grand finale will get an album deal which includes producing + recording + editing + mixing at any leading studio, concert and tours throughout Pakistan and royalty album throughout.

Review on some of the bands that performed;

Naksh means impression and they are here to inspire, according to Naksh they had been performing together for last 15, 16 years. Three brothers and a school friend had been jamming together since then their lead vocalist Mehak joined them recently. Mehak feels that there is a good chemistry between them while producing music. They performed Bolo Bolo by Sajjad Ali with nicely arrange music, played well and sung by Mehak’s powerful, bassy yet flat vocals.

Positive had a very positive feel to them, they were also part of Pepsi Battle of the Band’s first season and did make it top ten even at that time, Positive said that thinking should be optimistic and with a positive attitude. Positive sang a very soulful song Kalab by Allan Fakeer, which was sung exceptinaly well by the lead vocalist Yousuf and tabla & flute added soulful flavour to its full content.

Pindi Boys led by Jasim Ahmed were a very disappointing, although they have released some of their music on social media but even that couldn’t help them to grasp the in-demand music. Lyrics and compositions are done by Jasim and then music is arranged with all members while jamming. They neither sounded any different nor were they any near to Pakistaniayat as claimed. They sang their original track titled ‘Pindi Boys’, which failed to impress at any stage.

Kashmir was the first real rock band of the evening with real rock attitude and music also, they started off during 2012, first had a difficult name to their band now are called as Kashmir, according to their lead vocalist Bilal; their basic genre alternative rock but they also mix and fuse music of other genres. They performed Hamesha by EP and their performance was 30% of what EP sang at first season of Pepsi Battle of the Bands.  Vocalist could have added a little more fire but failed to do so. Wes Khan lead guitarist was highly praised by Fawad Khan for his excellent playing style and referred him to Slash.

Bari the Band two piece band, sang Yaara by Aaroh and surely they sang much much better then Farooq. Music could have been a bit better.

Madlock from Lahore is a three piece band into alternative rock music as claimed, but when you get to hear them on stage they were too soft to start off with and followed very flat kind of high pitched vocals, music arrangement was also very mediocre type but end scream was scintillating.

Shajr sang ya Ali by Mekaal Hasan, sung exceptionally well but was missing the kind of vocal tone required for this kind of song, it seemed that they had jammed very hard for this performance, and their overall performance was okay, with only vocal tone not matching the mood of the song.

Soul Anesthetics performed their original song and from very outset of their performance they seemed to be out sorts, very dull sounding music with equally disappointing vocal performance.

Aura was another disappointing performance by with too much inspiration ColdPlay, they failed to produce anything unique.

OB Positive, another three piece band and they have doing music together for almost ten years now, for them music is passion. They performed aeitebaar by Vital Signs and although they sang it well but vocals of both didn’t synchronize which effected their performance to some extent. If both vocalist go their ways, they may end up well.

The Bands Are Back!

Pepsi is proud to launch Battle of the Bands again, after a 15 year hiatus. Fawad Khan, Meesha Shafi, Shahi Hassan, Farooq Ahmed and Atif Aslam were confirmed as the official judges for Pepsi’s eponymous musical reality show. The five powerhouses appeared together at a Press Conference held by Pepsi Pakistan at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi.

This comes after the release of Pepsi Battle of the Bands launch song, a mashup rendition of Alamgir’s ‘Dekha Na Tha’ and ‘Do Pal Ka Jeevan’ by Vital Signs.

Fans, the world over, are elated to see Fawad Khan returning to his musical roots, a feat he has been preparing for since the past 6 months – where he is joined by, Meesha Shafi, Atif Aslam, Farooq Ahmed and Shahi Hasan to preside over the newest wave of emerging talent in Pakistan, with Ayesha Omar acting as the host of Battle of the Bands.

Fawad started off his career as a contestant of Battle of the Bands back in 2002 with his band EP, so the franchise has come back full circle with a semi-finalist band member returning at the peak of his career to be part of the judging panel, and Shahi Hasan, an integral member of the country’s most famous pop group, Vital Signs, is back to mentor new talent in Pakistan.

Farooq Ahmed, from Aaroh, winners of the first Battle of the Band returns as a guest judge for the audition episodes. He has been lending his musical ability and status as the returning champion of the franchise to help bring forward a new age of band culture to the nation.

Hundreds of audition videos poured in from all over the country and 36 bands made the cut for the audition rounds; they will be a part of musical history in the making, a forum renowned for establishing creating original music in Pakistan. Pepsi had held auditions for Battle of the Bands earlier on in the year and the top bands are being mentored to be part of the biggest musical show in Pakistan.

The season consists of 8 episodes which will include the celebrity judges, Fawad, Meesha and Farooq for the auditions, and then the addition of Atif Aslam and Shahi Hasan for the battle rounds. Two power-packed episodes have already been launched which have been received phenomenally well by the media and music fans alike. In this press event, the Top 8 bands were also announced who are now going into the Main Rounds of the program. These talented Top 8 bands are from different music genres and their names are: Kashmir, Darvesh, Roots, Badnaam, Aura, Madlock, Shajr and Jasim & The Pindi Boys.

The Marketing Director of Pepsi Pakistan, Mr. Salman Butt said “Pepsi has always taken great pride in showcasing musical talent in Pakistan and Pepsi Battle of the Bands is our chance to do it all over again!”

The bands are the true stars of the show, and Battle of the Bands will highlight their Journeys from underground rock groups till they become household names! Special focus will also be aimed at the importance of the grooming and styling that goes into becoming a great music band.

Not only is Pepsi’s Battle of the Bands a turning point in Pakistan’s music industry; it is a convergence of some of the most brilliant minds in entertainment. With the Grammy nominated, Faisal Rafi directing and leading music production, along with his incredible music team, Pepsi Battle of the Bands is truly a force to be reckoned with. Saad bin Mujeeb from Green Chillies Production is the video producer of the show.

Several high end fashion designers and celebrity stylists have been taken on board by Pepsi to dress and style the judges and the bands.

Pepsi has specially flown in UK based director, Andrew Bramley particularly known for being the video director of the band Coldplay for 9 years. He is joined by DOP, Nick Collier, renowned for his work on shows like the X Factor and the Olympics games, and Jack Linnekar who is the lighting programmer.

International Advertising Limited, Saatchi and Saatchi are the executive producer of the Battle of the Bands, while Proximity Advertising is handling digital content. Catalyst Public Relations is providing PR, Image Consultancy and Celebrity Management services.

The show airs every Sunday evening on all major TV Channels. Every episode is also available on Pepsi Pakistan’s website: http://www.pepsibattleofthebands.com 

Sarfraz Ahmed gets the all-new BMW X1

Dewan motors and JS Bank take immense pleasure in presenting all-new BMW X1, sports activity vehicle to our national hero Mr. Sarfraz Ahmed, captain of Pakistan’s Cricket Team.

On behalf of our chairman, Dewan Yousuf Farooqui, and our chief executive officer, Ms Nabiha Dewan Yousuf; Dewan Motors is pleased to present the all-new BMW X1, sport activity vehicle (SAV) to our national hero, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Captain of the Pakistan Cricket Team” said Mr. Kashif Riaz, Director Operations at Dewan Motors.

“It is under Sarfraz Ahmed’s brave and visionary leadership that Pakistan won its third major ICC tournament. He not only let from the front, but inspired every single team member to raise their level to invincible heights. “Joy” is the core brand value of BMW and Sarfraz Ahmed has filled our entire nation with “Joy” and we are sure that this BMW X1 will bring joy to Sarfraz Ahmed and his family”, added Mr. Kashif Riaz.

Present at the ceremony, both Dewan Motors’ and JS Bank’s management jointly handed over the keys of the brand-new BMW X1 sDrive18i to the wining captain at Dewan Motors sales office in Karachi.

“Sarfraz Ahmed is an exceptional cricketer and a tremendous inspiration for the whole nation. His leadership and performance throughout the Champions Trophy will last forever in our minds. The way he led our young cricket team in such a pressure tournament was remarkable. We hope that he continues to serve Pakistan and inspires our youth for years to come”, said Mr. Kamran Jafar, Group Head – Corporate & Retail Banking at JS Bank.

“Sales of BMW X1 is doing well and approximately 400 units of BMW X1 were sold since its launch here in Pakistan and furthermore selling BMW vehicles is an immense pride and brings about lots of joy. BMW X1 is an entry level sports vehicle also referred as ‘sport activity vehicle” SAV, and collaboration with JS Bank has also improved sales of BMW X1 and other BMW vehicles. Dewan Motors currently has five sales and after-sales facilities in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and in near future Faisalabad will also feature the list of cities where Dewan Motors would be present”, said Ms. Saba Hoor Head of Sales & Marketing at Dewan Motors.

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ON MY WAY TO WONDERLAND by Obaid ur Rahman

Sanat Initiative Art gallery brought something very unique and new for art fraternity by exhibiting 3d street-art with chalk at their gallery with exhibits from Obaid-ur-Rahman.

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Speaking to our correspondent 3D artist Obaid-ur-Rahman informed that this is his first solo exhibition and it’s also first time when 3D street-art with chalk in being exhibited/displayed at any art gallery for which thanked Mr. Amin Merchant from Sanat Initiative Art gallery for appreciating his art-work and giving him an opportunity to exhibit his art here at Sanat.

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Obaid-ur-Rahman started painting three years ago on paper, initially all paintings were on paper then he proceeded to paint on hard-boards and then on-wards to walls. After some time all walls were utilized from there on he moved out where the world was waiting for him.

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Without any proper training nor degree from any art school meant that he was on his own and with any backing of art school it was very difficult for Obaid-ur-Rahman to get recognized but social media helped. He searched all over internet for 3D Chalk Art and found many artist of his type. One of them was Tracey Leestum from America who became an inspiration for him. Tracey Leestum was amazed with his art-work which was without any proper training, she not only praised his art-work but also encouraged him to move out of box.

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Participating in an exhibition in Germany was an amazing experience for him where participation with legends meant a lot, future plans are to participate in exhibitions in USA,  again in Germany and more solo shows here in Karachi.

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Mehrunisa V Lub U

From the moment I heard from a friend that Saqib Sameer is responsible the story and content of movie “Mehrunisa V Lub U” my heart sank and I wasn’t expecting much & then trailer came out and my doubts doubled for something miserable.

I have been to theatre plays of Saqib Sameer and these theatre plays were the only reason why I wasn’t expecting much from a movie written by Saqib Sameer. His style of acting, directing, producing and writing suits Lahori audience more as Karachi’s theatre scene has evolved a lot as compared to Lahore. I don’t remember any theatre play from Saqib Sameer with-out eunuchs, I guess he seems to be too fond of them. Saqib is also fond of Indian actors, names of many of them were splattered all around the movie.

Hugging is also not that common or it’s like almost non-existent in our society and this movie had too much of it, which gave a feeling of an Indian movie with Pakistani cast. I wonder why we never ever copy better stuff from India why always pathetic kind of stuff.

Story revolves around a girl named Mehrunia (Sana Jawaid), who has hardly been given a role of substance and besides that she is hardly a good actor but her on-screen beauty covers well for her. Director has done well to focus on her beautiful face, as she is just a pretty face nothing else.

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Danish Taimoor and seasoned actors like Nayyer Ijaz & Jawaid Sheikh have done their best to avert a complete disaster, but third class content / dialogues were damaging enough.

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Story had too much predictably, vulgar-ness & cheap dialogues but despite all this, the way some important social issues were discussed / highlighted is commendable. Topics like post-marriage issues for girls and then cleanliness were highlighted very positively.

Music seems okay and cinematography varied from excellent to mediocre and below par, whereas most of the dances apart from Amna Ilyas were very ugly; one serious advice for all the directors / producers / choreographers; Please stop showing dance scenes as this current generation of Pakistani actors really don’t know how to dance. If you are adamant on showing dance then either bring-back dancing queens of yesteryears or bring someone from India. Same can be said about fight scenes, there are many good karate clubs in Karachi and in Lahore from where you can easily get a good fight choreographer.

Yasir Nawaz with his direction has done well in bit and pieces, whereas acting skills of Danish Taimoor, Jawaid Shieikh and Nayyar Ijaz did brilliant mostly. Senior actors like Qavi Khan should opt for better roles instead of these filler type roles

Movie ends with a nice and crisp message from Yasir Nawaz whic is worth mentioning here; keep your neighborhood clean, keep your city clean and keep your country clean.

Here comes “Mehrunisa V Lub u”

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Release dates of “Mehrunisa V Lub U” were announced yesterday at the press meet held in Karachi which is going to be Eid-ul-Fittar of 2017.

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Press meet hosted by Madiha Imam was well attended by large number media personals from social media & print media, celebrities, socialites etc.    

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Expectedly this movie “Mehrunisa V Lub U” may do commercially well and can come out as a first Pakistani hit movie of 2017 as I am not expecting much from other Pakistani movies. 

Leading guy Danish Taimoor was asked why he chose “Mehrunisa V Lub U”?, he said: Yasir Nawaz was the main reason and then script from Saqib Sameer was also hard to resist, he further said that he finds himself lucky to be working with Yasir Nawaz, who know his craft very well.

Debutant Sana Javed said that: overall experience was great, it was an excellent team effort and Yasir Nawaz knows what he is doing and that helps a lot and according to Sana Javed she always wanted to act in a film and when she saw the script she instantly said yes. She further said that she considers herself to be lucky to offered form such a big platform on Pakistan film industry in a leading role.

Nida Yasir one of the co-producer also spoke in length about her role in the movie; she mostly focused on dresses mostly collaborated with designers and she made sure that all the actors and actresses looked their best.

Script was written by veteran stage actor Saqib Sameer, who informed that story was from Yasir Nawaz and penned the script accordingly to suit the mood of Pakistani audience. He learned a lot from this project and for him it was like a dream come true and now it’s upto the audience to decide the fate of the movie.

Other co-producer Hasan Zia thanked everyone, especially Gulzaar for writing lyrics for first time for any movie, he also thanked Nigah Hussain for choreography and his old friend Seemab Hussain for composing the music for the movie.

Amna Ilyas said; I wasn’t expecting much from myself but have given my best and let see how masses react to it.

“Mehrunisa V Lub U” will be released in Pakistan and in Middle East during this Eid-ul-Fittar as stated by Nina Kashif from Urdu1 and she said later on it will be released all over the world. Target audience for this movie is from age of 05 onwards till 80 years.

Music didn’t impress me that much even though lyrics are by legendary Gulzaar & music is composed by Seemab Hussain and Choreography by Nigah Hussain.

In the end Yasir Nawaz Director and co-producer of this “Mehrunisa V Lub U” said that he has put his heart and soul in this movie and has tried his best not to repeat the mistakes and errors that occurred during his previous movie “wrong number”, according to him all have worked very hard and was hopeful for same result as of his previous movie. 

HYUNDAI COMES BACK TO PAKISTAN WITH AL-HAJ GROUP.

Hyundai a famous automotive pioneer recognized all over the world, has now joined hands with Pakistan’s very progressive business group ‘Al-Haj Group’ with the purpose of introducing top-of-the-line heavy commercial vehicles through a technology transfer contract (TTC).

For this purpose Al-Haj has specifically launched their ‘Al-Haj Hyundai (Pvt.) Limited’, which will aim to upgrade the standards of high quality commercial vehicles with Hyundai’s excellent quality and product support and Al-Haj Group’s dedication and name in the Pakistan market since 1960.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has the potential to facilitate 4% of the global trade volumes to pass through Pakistan by the year 2020. It will accelerate the economic growth of Pakistan and several other countries in the surrounding region, through the development of a 21st century Maritime Silk Road, encompassing a modern trade and infrastructure network.

With the demand of heavy duty vehicles on a sharp rise, Al-Haj Hyundai (Pvt.) Limited will initially introduce;

  1. ‘XCIENT’ a heavy duty truck with different variants,
  2. ‘UNIVERSE’ luxury buses for intercity travel,
  3. ‘MIGHTY’ medium and light duty trucks

Al-Haj Hyundai (Pvt.) Limited also plans to introduce various other products of HYUNDAI in cargo and passenger handling segments in near future.

Chief Executive Officer of Al-Haj Hyundai (Pvt.) Limited, Mr. Bilal Khan Afridi thanked Mr. Muhammad Zubair Umar, Governor of Sindh for his patronage and gracing the event and further thanked Mr. Bae Kyungsik, Chairman of Hyundai Global Motors Co., Limited for attending this event.

He stated that: “This joint venture with Hyundai Motors is a wonderful business opportunity for both the companies, and will not only provide employment opportunities, but will also upgrade the standards of local commercial product segments with advance Technology and High Quality products.” He further said that: “initially Al-Haj Group plans to invest Pk Rs 1.5 billion without any financial assistance from any financial institute or from their foreign partner.” As of today Al-Haj Group stands 04th on the list of passenger vehicles and 02nd on the list of commercial vehicles.

Al-Haj Hyundai (Pvt.) Limited also plans to construct a state-of-the-art manufacturing cum assembling plant, for HYUNDAI-HCV vehicles. For the plant, the company has already purchased 30 acres of land on the main National Highway, near Pakistan Steel. The first phase of the plant will be operational by May 2018.

Mr. Bae Kyungsik, Chairman of Hyundai Global Motors Co., Limited, greeted everyone present at the opening ceremony and paid heartiest congratulations to Al-Haj Hyundai (Pvt.) Limited from Korea for becoming a partner and family of Hyundai. We at Hyundai are convinced that Al-Haj Group has strong leadership, is well organized and well equipped automobile company.

Mr. Bae Kyungsik said; “Pakistan is a big country with large population, well developed industry, hard-working people and we at Hyundai are confident that Pakistan will continue to grow economically, keeping in mind how well Pakistan overcame the difficulties during recent past. All these has proven the superiority and excellence of Pakistan worldwide. I have no doubt that Pakistan will continue to grow and prosper”.

Hyundai operates the world’s largest integrated automobile manufacturing facility in Ulsan, South Korea, which has an annual production capacity of 1.6 million units, covering 193 countries.

Mr. Kim Dong-Gi, Consul General of Republic of Korea also thanked Mr. Muhammad Zubair Umar, Governor of Sindh and all high officials from Hyundai Global Motors Co., Limited including Chairman Mr. Bae Kyungsik and President Mr. Hyeong Rae, Lee and hoped for a prosperous Al-Haj Hyundai (Pvt.) Limited.

Mr. Muhammad Zubair Umar, Governor of Sindh congratulated top management of Al-Haj Group at the launch of Hyundai plant and thanked diplomats from Republic of Korea, high official from Hyundai Global Motors Co., Limited and all the participants of the event. He said that Hyundai’s presence is a proof that Karachi is now a place to be. All the stake holders are on-board and worrying time is far and over.

Governor Sindh, stressed that; we are business friendly people and we welcome foreigners with open hearts. He said that the reason why more and more motorways are being built is that we know that more and vehicles would be coming to our country sooner. Pakistan has a very bright and better future.

Later-on Governor Sindh, distributed keys to key customers of Al-Haj Group and then formally unveiled vehicles on display UNIVERSE, ‘XCIENT’ and ‘MIGHTY’ and then was the first person see these vehicles thoroughly.

CHAI CHOWK

‘Chai Chowk’ although not a new entrant in Karachi’s latest trend of dhaaba’s has been serving their delicacies for almost 08 months now. With a very humble and soft start ‘Chai Chowk’ is gaining momentum at a quick speed and among many reasons, one is that it’s only of its kind dhabba at peaceful and quite neighbourhood of Nishat Commercial with adequate security.

‘Chai Chowk’ is a brainchild of two young and self-taught entrepreneurs Wali Ahad Qureshi and Yaseen Nini who had been together since their school days. They are eagerly assisted another dear friend Omer Yaseen.

According to Yaseen Nini, this is their first outlet and they plan to expand further by opening outlets in different parts of Defence, Clifton maybe Muhammad Ali Society also, although you don’t get to see green-belts in Clifton and Muhammad Ali Society such luxury is only available here in Defence and concerned authorities here are also co-operative to some extent. According to Mr. Yaseen Nini their main focus on desi and traditional delicacies and desi stuff has great potential.

Wali Ahad Qureshi stressed the need of hygiene all over and informed that ‘Chai Chowk’ is fumigated after every 10 ~ 15 days and repainted alternate months to keep the place neat and clean and as tidy as possible. He further said that they also focus on ambiance and presentation of edible items and raw materials like pizza sauces, olives, mushrooms, jalapenos are sourced from best available brands in the market.

Most sought after items are definitely chai and paratha and with 17 types of Paratha’s on their menu the most popular ones are Tawa Pizza Paratha, Tawa Pepperoni Paratha, Royal Club Sandwich, French Fries with different sauces and mint lemonade. Apart from many hits they also had a fair share of flops Achaari Paratha was launched with much enthusiasm but couldn’t do well, same was the case with Hummos Paratha, Malai Parahta.

Right now Ramzan is just around the corner and both young and energetic entrepreneurs are very much excited about their plans for Ramzan. During Sehri plans are to introduce 7 different types of omelettes, doodh soda, doodh, karrak bun and chaaj etc. For Iftaar traditional items like chats, pakorray, samosay + Nuggets & chicken pops will be introduced along with regular menu. For dinner, plans are to introduce Bar-b-Que.

On concluding note Yaseen Nini said; my message to newcomers to this evolving sector is to work with honesty and work hygienically for fair competition.

Wali Ahad Qureshi on his concluding note said; do take this business very seriously and give it its due time, by giving time you learn a lot and soon your entire setup is in your finger-tips.