Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Elimination Round

Elimination round of Pepsi Battle of the Bands 2017 was full of surprises, ill-fated and bad-decisions from the judges. It seemed strange why all three judges were agreeing and dis-agreeing together on every performance. A certain disliked by one judge was disliked by others too and vice versa.   

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21 bands were short listed for elimination round out of which initially only 06 were to proceed further, but due to immense amount of talent available judges requested for addition 04 bands to proceed further totalling to 10 bands proceeding. Finally all agreed on 08 bands moving forward and 13 bands facing elimination.  

Decision to choose Badnaam over Naksh and V-Sell was decent one, whereas preferring Roots over E-Sharp and OB Positive wasn’t easily digestible.

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Eliminating Khamaaj was the worst the judges could do, lead vocalist of Khamaaj was by far the best find of this year’s Pepsi Battle of the Bands and I am sure that his vocal chords are more powerful than both male judges Farooq and Fawad and his vocal tone and signing style is also extra ordinary. Don’t know if both male judges were afraid to choose someone better themselves. Kashmir was a decent selection.   

Disqualification of Positive was another blunder by judges, even Pindi Boys didn’t show up with all band members but they weren’t asked a single question then why did they ask a very silly question ending up in dis-qualification.  

Choosing Madlock over Sikandar ka mandar and The Grovers; The Quetta Boys was very okay as Madlock had that flare to go ahead, but choosing very mediocre band Aura and highly over-rated Jasim & The Pindi Boys left a bad taste

Choosing Shajr over Ehl-e-Rock was another pathetic decision, whereas Darvesh deserved to proceed.

Overall after watching this elimination round I have serious doubts about the abilities of judges to choose better outfits.

This round ended by a performance by Aaroh with Farooq on vocals who is only good giving recording performance and his live performance is a bit below average and I am sure bands like Khamaaj and Kashmir can perform better than Aaroh.

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Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 02

Pepsi Battle of the Bands is back with episode 02 with Ayesha Omer as host and same judges Fawad Khan, Farooq Ahmed and Meesha Shafi.

Ehl-e-Rock was the first act of Episode 02 and according to them Ehl-e-Rock is not just a name but it’s an ideology and brother hood fraternity for rock lovers and rock followers. Band was formed in 2009 and they have working together since then with hard rock being their main genre. They did change coupe of vocalist from time to time with currently Waqar Younus as their frontman. They have already released an English album “words of mass destruction”. They performed their original number named as “Junoon”, Waqar’s vocals were fully energetic and are here to stay and his vocals jelled well with the music. Music arrangement was also up there. Felt like a complete performance and one of the judge Farooq called them a power house.

Khamaaj is a though and Khamaaj is a raag too and they named it Khamaaj due to the reason that their no was no other band with this name and this band with nine members is been together for two years now. From their original ‘Bezubaan’ which is sufi rock song with tabla and Junooni type guitar tone, its seems that their guitarist is inspired by Salman Ahmed (Junoon). Khamaaj should try to create their own style of music. Their vocalist stood out and is by the best I have heard in first two episodes of Pepsi Battle of the Bands 2017. His vocal chords and vocal tone sets him apart from the rest and I predict him to be the next ‘Atif Aslam’. Sound of Tabla felt good after quite a while. This band needs to jam a lot more and if they improve their music arrangements and music style a bit they are sure winners of this Pepsi Battle of the Bands.

Nafs is a three piece band and they performed “main shah” by Manjhi Faqeer and apart from impressive vocal tone of vocalist there is not to mention about their performance. Music arrangements need improvement a lot and they need to add some more members to perform better on-stage.

Badnaam another three piece band and they are into sufi rock music with sufiana kalaam, their vocalist Ahmed Jillani said he was a big fan of Farooq and that was the real destroying part of their performance. They performed their original number ‘Alif Allah’ and Ahmed Jillani was trying too hard to copy Farooq’s style of vocals. I have feeling that Ali Azmat’s style of vocals suit your type of music a lot more then Farooq’s, so if you feel like copying go for Ali Azmat not Farooq. Rest all stuff like music arrangements, composition and lyrics were good enough.

E-Sharp started off in 2005 as band and they have also released their album by name of ‘bahadur yarr jung’ during 2015 which was success on social media. They have also released their second album during this year. They performed their original number ‘chaahay sau saal’ with pretty oridinary performance, nothing seemed very special just a normal type of band and their music was arranged well and had a feeling like “‘heard it before” feel to it.

Yoon is a band from Swat where music has too folk in it and Yoon is trying to infuse western elements into folk music of Swat. They are first band with a Rubab player and they also have a tabla player with them too and according to them they have introduced a new style of music which is getting appreciated very well. They performed ‘chaap tilak by Amir Khusru’, vocalist lacked accents and tone for this type of song was missing too. Tabla and Rubab gave a good feel to it but overall very hollow, empty and disappointing performance.

Darvesh is someone who deeply lost in love of lord as said by the band Darvesh and naming band Darvesh was due to their deep love with music. They have been together for two years and are like family. They are started off with three members and are now 10 members. They are here to introduce a genre qawwali rock and their original number ‘Sawali’ written by grand-mother of Saad Ali Khan had a feel good factor to it. Music arrangements and composition were very pretty ordinary and overall a very ordinary type of performance.

On the concluding note, best act of the episode 02 was definitely Khamaaj, closely followed by Ehl-e-Rock, Badnaam and Darvesh. I see Khamaaj as a clear winner here.

Punjab-Nahi-Jaun-Gi (review)

Story of “Punjab Nahi Jaun Gi” is based on typical story of male chauvinist who happens to be filthy rich to get away with almost anything. The story seems to be inspired by many Pakistani movies of 90’s era, where the hero gets his way all through the movie till the end.

Here hero Fawad Khagga has all the elements that a 90’s hero of our movies use to boast like being rich, riding high on horses/muscle cars, being macho, arrogant, forcing his love and finally heroine giving in to his ways, so start off with there is nothing new in the story, same old story with a (doubtful) happy ending.IMG_2490

Director of the movie Nadeem Beyg did splendid job with not a single dull moment throughout the entire movie and that coupled with some of the best cinematography of this year will be the real treat for cine-goers.

As for acting Humayoon Saeed leads with power packed performance and literally fits-well in to his character Fawad Khagga. Humayoon Saeed seems to be improving by every passing day and his role as Fawad Khagga is by far Humayoon’s best on-screen performance closely followed by his role as Irtaza in Bin Roye.

Mehwish Hayat looks exceptionally beautiful and with her excellent and stunning performance, she can be described as beauty with talent. Senior actors like Sohail Ahmed, Saba Hameed, Waseem Abbas did well with their roles. Whereas Urwa Hocane, Azfar Rehman and Ahmed Butt need to do more on their acting skills. Very senior actor like behroze Sabzwari should have avoid doing this type of roles with hardly two or maybe three dialogues.

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Music was also on the better side, apart from ‘raat ka nasha’, rest all songs were very soulful and had a melodious feel to them and fitted well into movie. Dance sequences were choreographed well, especially ‘24 7 lak hilna’ was choreographed very well.

Overall I would rate this movie 4/5 as it has all elements like big names, decent direction, typical punjabi story, romance, action, suspense, music and dances to make it a success with masses.

Four reasons why you should write everyday.

You should be writing at least 250 words every day, come what may and here are four (04) reasons why should be writing every day.

  1. Knowledge: If you write consistently, it will be on a topic that you know, typically your work or passion. But writing will force you to research ideas, concepts and information about your subject that you may not have bothered with before. You will notice that your original level of knowledge of your subject before writing was sub 2% and consistently writing will scale it 5 to 50 times.
  2. Clarity: Most authors write for themselves or maybe they realise that after years. Writing is a meditation. It brings the writer more clarity than the reader. It’s the best way to help yourself .
  3. Connectivity: If you write bite sized, snacks content, you will begin to attract zillions of readers, most of whom you will have never met otherwise. To make more and more “contacts”, write. No social events like parties, games, conferences come near.
  4. Contribution: As you age, your ability to go out of your way to help people will diminish but your some skills will not diminish. Your gift of knowledge is the most sacred element you have within yourself and that why you remember most of your school teachers so fondly today. Your pen or your keyboard or maybe your smartphone can make you immortal, if you have write every day.

DATE NIGHT, a musical comedy

The duo of Shaan Lashari and Dawar Lashari returns to stage, with another knee slapping, rib cracking act “Date Night”. The script penned by Derek Benfield has been adapted for the Pakistani audience in the form of a musical. This hilarious rendition comes from creative acumen of the director Dawar Lashari and Shaan Lashari, who already have established themselves as renowned names in theatre scene in Lahore.

Due already has hugely successful plays such as “Boeing Boeing (2009), Bird-Cage (2010) and Date Night Lahore (2017) under their belt, and they have proven that they have the talent and experience to put up quality productions that do not compromise on the aesthetics of theatre.

Director of the show Dawar Lashari said that “Date Night is a farce which takes you through the story at a very swift pace and when I was going through the script, I decided to cut out every scene that does not move the story forward or builds towards the climax. So every scene has an important story to tell.  The movements of the characters have choreographed in such a way that they have aesthetic value as well as functionality. Three dance routines, one in first act, another in second act and one at the end, will add a quirky fun element to this play”.

All the scenes have been kept to last maximum 4 minutes and you will see multiple entries and exits a rhythm that will surprise you. The set is designed in a symmetry to three level, the lowest one being the lobby of a hotel, next level are rooms of that hotel and third level is the balcony. Rest is for you to imagine and I hope that you enjoy the show”.

Date Night has a decent story by Derek Benfield adapted well to suit our Pakistani audiences, has excellent music, is well directed, has decent dance routines with equally good choreography and has some of the best actors in Pakistani theatre.

Shaan Lashari as Ferris and Sheherzade Noor Peerzada (Vidya Balan look alike) as Helen were almost perfect on stage with not a single missing/lacking element is their performance, their acting, facial expressions (especially Sheherzade Noor Peerzada), dialogue deliveries, body language and accent were up-to the mark, although their dances could have been a bit better, but overall a very scintillating performance from these two rising stars.

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Waleed Zaidi as Roger aka Mr. Smith, Shah Fahad as Geoff aka Mr. Smith and Mahnoor Khan as Sally were also good enough with theirs roles and but their performance could have been much better with with-out some over-acting, flat & expression-less faces and lousy body language at many instances.

Date Night is a musical comedy drama not be missed and is highly recommended for theatre enthusiasts. Date Night will performed every day at Karachi Arts Council at-least once (maybe more) till 27th August 2017.

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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