Fashion Pakistan Week 2017 Winter / Festive – Day 01

After a very impressive start a-day before at the House of Shamaeel Anasri, expectation were quite high for the main event of FPW17 Winter / Festive. With new management, new public relations firm, new media partner, new set of sponsors and a new venue, expectations were higher than anticipated, but all turned sour before leaving the venue.

Red carpet was to start at 06:30pm, but hardly any guests arrived by 07:30pm and very few celebrities were spotted on the red carpet, which crowded by photographers, cameramen etc. Not many celebrities besides fashion fraternity chose to come.

main event was to start at 07:30pm, but started a bit after 09:00 pm and it seems as FPW is losing it charm, instead of progressing further and mastering the craft of managing events of this magnitude, the management of FPW failed miserably. After being in business for ten years they could have improved, but they chose not to.

Inside the main event hall, air-conditioning didn’t seemed to be working efficiently. Ramp was designed in T-shape and seating arrangements were such that they gave a very hollow looking feel to the show. Throughout the show there were just too many vacant seats here and there. Overall it was a stark contrast between this show and the ones held previously.

Among few positives points of the show was the flow of the show, which was at par with previous ones, choreography was spot-on, designers showed some very brilliant looking dresses and most of models walked the ramp perfectly, whereas show-stoppers should learn to walk the ramp too.

First to hit the show was Misha Lakhani who showcased her creations which were a mixture of mughal styled fused into modern Indian eastern styled. Looked very elegant and very sophisticated.

Next in-line to showcase her creations gorgeous and beautiful Aamna Aqeel whose creations titled ‘Palace Wonderland’ had a royal feel to it. Bridal dress worn by Mehreen Raheel was one the best creation of Amna Aqeel closely followed by sari wore by Nadia Hussain. On the final note Amna Aqeel being a head taller than most of the models, walked the ramp with such ease and confidence that she literally outshone almost all the models with her stark beauty and her elegant walk.

Erum Khan was next to showcase her talent as a dress designer, her creation titled as Bridal Odyssey’ had too much to them but even then was the best show of the evening. Sunita Marshall was first with a very elegant and royal looking dress which made her look like a princess Raja’s darbar from twentieth century. Rabya Chaudary also adorned one the best dress from Erum Khan’s collection.

Husan Ara by Obaid Sheikh was due next which had a pure eastern feel to it, Areeba Habib and Maha displayed some of creative work of Obaid Sheikh, while his other work had feel good effect to it too. His show stopper Ghana Ali could have walked better on the ramp, but she sure did adorn one best creation of Obaid Sheikh.

Saira Rizwan’s collection Glitterati had its highs and lows with Sunita Marshall again stealing the limelight with best creation from Saira Rizwan closely followed by Fouzia Aman who wore something of a new type of creation, a new type of sari. On Saira Rizwan’s show, finally got to see a zero sized model in Pakistan for the first time. A zero sized model seemed too good as here we get to see too many plus size models. Showstopper Sumbul Ibqal wasn’t even recognizable to most of the crowd as they didn’t even budge at her entry nor did she impress with her shabby walk.

Last to showcase on day one was Suffuse with Jaipur & CO, with collection called Asteria and first dress looked more like a very fashionable and expensive sleeping gown, followed by some Cinderella type dresses. Mehreen Raheel displayed the best dress created by the team at Suffuse. Jewellery for this show was by Jaipur & Co.

On the concluding note, not a very promising first day of Fashion Pakistan Week 2017, let see what comes up on day two.

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Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 06

Episode 06 of Pepsi Battle of the Bands, season two knock out round can also be referred as semi-final of this competition with only top three banding remaining now.

This episode started off with celebrity performance from Asrar which was very powerful, energetic and explosive and was the real highlight of episode.

Moving back to contestants, Roots were first to perform and they decided opted for traditional folk song ‘peera ho’, which was also sung by Khalid Anum during late 90’s. Voice of Rutaba Yaqub didn’t suit the music style of this song. Roots nearly destroyed the peera ho and tried best to kill the essence of it. Music produced also wasn’t very firey. After this performance Roots should walk out on their own rather than waiting for judges to ask them to leave.

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Second to hit the stage was Kashmir, who sang ‘mehdah ishq vi toon by Pathanay Khan’. Song started soft and mellow and vocalist brought it up very nicely and was full of soul. Kashmir has been my favourite song from the beginning till this knockout stage.

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Badnaam performed ‘bismillah karraan by Nadeem Abbas’, perfect start with excellent and perfect vocals and equally excellent support by other band members. Probably first flawless performance of season two of Pepsi Top of the Pops. Can’t say more on it. Even though not on my favourite list but this band seems like a potential winner.

After three performances Badnaam was declared to be safe and remaining two bands Kashmir and Roots were declared to be in the danger and were to fight again for only one remaining spot in the final.

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Roots came back very strongly and they performed their original song ‘pagal sa, ye dil’ which was their first near perfect performance. Everything seemed to worked for them for this song, their vocals (with a bit of Shania Twain), composition, music arrangements felt perfect.

Kashmir also came back very strongly with their original song ‘soch’, started soft and mellow as its turning out to the style of Kashmir, Bilal has created own style of singing and along-with Vais Khan who happens to Fawad Khan’s favourite and drummer Shane J.Anthoney will do wonders on stage.

Finally judges thought that that Roots should leave and Kashmir should stay on, felt like a decent decision as Roots performed in-consistently whereas Kashmir and Badnaam were consistent throughout.

Now eagerly waiting for the final between Badnaam and Kashmir. 

Fashion Pakistan Week 17 launched by Shamaeel Ansari’s “The Blue Tulip”.

The opening show of Fashion Pakistan Week 17 winter festive titled “The Blue Tulip” by Shamaeel Ansari was held to showcase her signature world of luxury, where historical influences from the Ottoman Empire merge with intricate craftsmanship and modern silhouettes to create an opulent collection that has set just the right tone for Fashion Pakistan Week 2017 Winter Festive.

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Show titled “The Blue Tulip” was declared open by none other the maestro himself Mr. Deepak Perwani Chairman of Fashion Pakistan Council after which models adorned the ramp with elegant, exquisite collection of Shamaeel Ansari. First to hit the ramp was Fouzia Aman, followed by Sunita Marshall, Nadia Hussain, Sadaf Kanwal, Areeba Habib and Amna Ilyas.

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Luxurious collection “The Blue Tulip” by Shamaeel Ansari was a huge success and was well attended by leading diplomats, industrialists, celebrities, socialites, fashion fraternity and media personnel.

Show styled and curated by style director Ehtesham Ansari.

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Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 05

Episode 05 of Pepsi Battle of the Bands, season two a battle between last four contestants and from these four only three will proceed further, with one very unlucky band to head home.

Zeb Bangash started off the proceeding with her song ‘sureela samandir’, which had some Nazia Hasan into too and was very melodious to listen too.

Jasim and The Pindi Boys were first to hit the stage with the song ‘yes love by Dr & Billa’, which was by far the best performance by this band. It was an overall good attempt from them.

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Then it was Badnaam with ‘sham-e-qalandar’ folk song / traditional song, stared off with a bang and exploded right away, overall a very explosive performance full of energy and with it a very traditional feel to it. Vocalist Ahmed Jillani is next level guy, he should be up their taking centre stage with all the legends.

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Kashmir came in next with ‘waqt by EP’, although not as good as Fawad would have done so, but musically good to enough for ears. Bilal’s vocals are not meant for this type of song. He should concentrate on even more mellow songs. Music arrangements were awesome and fit for head-banging.

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Officially Roots were the final act the day with ‘mera dil nahi available by Vital Signs’, and vocalist almost destroyed the essence of original song. This song gave me a a very miserable feeling, although some parts sung well and music was arranged well.

Badnaam and Roots were declared to safe ahead of Kashmir, I think judges were not in their senses while deciding this one, and then remaining two bands Kashmir and Jasim and the Pindi Boys were asked to perform again.

Jasim and the Pindi Boys sang ‘dil mai tum by Bunny’ which was a pretty mediocre performance at this stage and then Kashmir sang their original song ‘faisaly’ which was better performance as compared to Jasim and the Pindi Boys, judges also thought same and asked Kashmir to proceed further and Jasim and the Pindi Boys were asked to leave.

Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 04

Episode 04 of Pepsi Battle of the Bands, season two was to be battle between last six contestants and from these six four were to proceed further, whereas two very unlucky were to head home. Theme of this episode was is original songs from the bands.

Sara Haider started off the proceeding with her song ‘zindagi’, which was very soulful and had feelings to it, but needs to work on her urdu accent, some of her pronunciations were very indianized, but over very energetic performance.

Kashmir were first to hit the stage with their original song ‘buddha baba’ from Bial’s childhood memories, started in a very soft and mellow fashion with Bilal’s vocal standing out. Overall above-average composition with a very fresh feel to it. Music was arranged nicely and their performance was without much errors.

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Durvesh came on then with their original track titled ‘sadaye darvesh”, which according to them has all their heart and soul in it. Excellent try it was, they surely did put all their heart and soul into it. Very powerful vocals with equally powerful and fiery music to match it. Truly amazing to listen to, just by listen to this song takes you to next level. Best performance of episode 04.

Jasim and the Pindi Boys performed their original song ‘korina’, which reminded me again that Jasim and the Pindi Boys is the most over-rated band of this season two. This song doesn’t have much to it, at times looked exciting but overall not impressive song at all.

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‘Khirkhiyaan’ was up next by Roots, with good music arrangements and equally good composition, but with weak lyrics and not matching vocal tone ruined it altogether. Vocals and music didn’t synchronize well enough.

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Madlock also had the same problem composition and music arrangements excellent but vocals were missing at that level. Their song ‘kab hoga’ had better lyrics as compared to previous performer, but on other aspects they were on same level with Roots. Music and vocals were going opposite directions.

Badnaam was the final act of the day with their song ‘khawaja ki dewaani’, and with a soft start and was expecting it to explode a bit early and but explodes a bit late. Vocals of Ahmed Jillani is the best part of this song.

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Judges preferred Roots and Pindi Boys over Durvesh and MadLock, which was a very pathetic decision, both Roots and Pindi Boys are highly over-rated and should have been sent home.

Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 03

Episode 03 of Pepsi Battle of the Bands, season two was the start of knock out rounds where from eight chosen contestants two were to head home and six were to proceed further.

Another development at this stage was Farooq moving out as judge and Shahi and Atif Aslam moving in as judges. Now revised judge’s panels consists of Atif Aslam, Shahi Hussain, Fawad Khan and Meesha Shafi.   

This episode started off with celebrity performance from one and only Atif Aslam who sang ‘yaad tehari’ which is his latest number to hit the market. Song had very powerful, energetic and explosive vocals which are now a trade-mark of Atif Aslam.

First band to hit the stage were Darvesh who sang ‘Allah hi dega’ by Sounds of Karachi, overall performance was near excellent, didn’t leave much for criticism.

Second band was Jasim and Pindi Boys who sang ‘jabsay hm howay jawan by Vital Signs’, and they have improved a lot from their previous performance but their vocalist needs to work more to make it to big stage.

Aura performed ‘dekha na tha by Alamgir’, which was more of a disappointment, especially from vocals perspective, music arrangement were creative and were excellent but vocalist didn’t fit well to the mood of the song. Although it was better re-make, but wasn’t expecting this kind of performance from Aura’s vocalist.  

Next in line was Madlock who sang ‘kahan hoon mai by EP’, musically started off with a band, but when vocals came in, it was very disappointing.

Kashmir performed ‘mera piyar by Aamir Zaki’, which was a very sentimental due to sad depart of maestro Amir Zaki, this song brought excellent feelings and memories. They Kashmir performed this song was truly amazing, vocals from Bilal gave this song an altogether new dimension and now this is song is on my favourite list. Composition, music arrangements and vocals all had sentimental values to them, this is surely next level stuff.

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Next were Badnaam who performed ‘kaala jorra paya, which is a famous folk song’, started off with very impressive vocals + powerful, explosive and very unique vocal tone. By far most unique and most powerful vocals of season two. Rest all was impressive too.   

Shajr tried a very difficult song which was ‘kisay da yaar by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’, and it sure was an excellent try, but was probably too much for Shajr. Singing Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is not an easy task for anyone. Even Rahat Fateh Ali Khan prefers not to sing this one during his shows. Vocals of Shajr aren’t meant for this type of song, she really messed it up. Although backup music was strong enough to support it.

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Roots performed ‘iss bar millo by Hadiqa Kiani & Aamir Zaki’ and this was another forgeable performance with not much to say on it.

At the end of show two Aura and Shajr left the battle and six bands Darvesh, Jasim & Pindi Boys, Madlock, Kashmir, Badnaam and Roots were to proceed further.   

Capri Cinema, a lost jewel in the midst traffic congestion & pollution.

As part of the Vasl Rooftop Talks Series, Vasl Artists’ Association hosted Canadian artist Althea Thauberger, who is visiting Karachi for a project based upon Capri Cinema as part of the Karachi Biennale 2017.

Althea Thauberger will be speaking about her research alongside curator and art critic, Zarmeene Shah, followed by a discussion on the upcoming Karachi Biennale 2017 (KB17) project based upon Capri Cinema which Althea Thauberger has conceptualized with her collaborators Ammad Tahir, Momin Zafar, Vajdaan Shah and Zehra Nawab.

Althea Thauberger spoke highly about one the best single screen cinema in Karachi i.e. Capri Cinema followed by Zarmeene Shah and collaborators Ammad Tahir, Momin Zafar, Vajdaan Shah and Zehra Nawab who all shared their fond memories of Capri Cinema.

Last person to take centre stage and speak about Capri Cinema was Chaudary Farrukh Rauf, Chief Operating Officer of Capri Cinema who has been in-charge of affairs for few years now.

Speaking about Capri Cinema he said; “Capri has a seating capacity of 820 which are divided into three classes, which allows us to cater to all income groups. Lower deck consisting of two classes known as front class which will cost a cine-goer only 200, whereas medium class will cost 300 and I usually recommend this class for best viewing. Thirdly we have gallery on upper deck will costs 400.   

He further added that: “not only it’s the largest in Karachi, but it also has the best sound quality and best picture quality and having opening 1968, Capri Cinema as nearly half a century’s worth of glamorous history during which it has been synonymous with high quality films, all-encompassing sound, and enchanting picture quality; all housed in a comfortable, friendly and inviting family environment facilitated by ample parking space. Due to all this we are now rated as one of the best-maintained ‘Single Screen General Audience Cinema’ in Pakistan”.

He went on to say that: “few years back our clienteles were mostly males but now this trend is changing and now females also come in numbers. Pretty recently we had renovated rest-rooms in the upper deck which are now as good as any that you will see in any five star hotel and are plans are to upgrade/renovate rest-rooms in the lower deck also”.

Chaudary Farrukh Rauf said that; “all top directors, producers, actors, distributors come to Capri Cinema to see where their film stands among the masses and the rowdy & noisy crowd gives them an idea where their film stands. Vice versa same is the case with the audience who come to Capri Cinema to see, feel and experience a movie on the biggest screen, with best sound, best picture quality and also one of the most economical one in the city.”

So the conclusion would be that; if you haven’t watched a movie in Capri Cinema then you are missing something, so if you really want to experience a movie go and watch it a Capri Cinema, it will be an experience that you will never forget.

Na Maloom Afraad 2

“Na Maloom Afraad 2” being a sequel of 2014’s comedy thriller Pakistani movie “Na Maloom Afraad” had very high expectations which weren’t fulfilled.  From a tragic prologue to a very predictable epilogue “Na Maloom Afraad 2” co-written and directed by young, energetic and very talented Nabeel Qureshi had its highs and lows.

Story-line was predictable and that too coupled with over-flow of sponsors was very disgusting too. Cinematography was eye catching and selection of locations were good too, as most of the movie was shot in in Cape Town, South Africa I was expecting even more quality.

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Best part of “Na Maloom Afraad 2” was some excellent acting by Fahad Mustafa, Jawaid Sheikh, Mohsin Abbas, Nayyar Ijaz & Saleem Mairaj. None of the female actors seemed impressive enough with Hania Amir being pretty mediocre and over-doing, whereas Urwa Hocane and Marina Khan’s roles were easily forgotten once the movie ended.

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Biggest positive point of “Na Maloom Afraad 2” was not Nabeel Qureshi nor Fizza Ali, but Fahad Mustafa who has now proved himself to be the biggest thing in Pakistani movie circuit. I personally think that Fahad Mustafa is now the highest-rated male actor in Pakistani movie circuit, during last couple of years he has done better than most of his competitors like Shaan Shahid, Humayoon Saeed and even Fawad Khan. His screen appearance, his acting skills, facial expressions, body language and his dialogue deliveries can easily be compared with any top rated actor across the border. We can now proudly say that we have a hero material who has proved himself without crossing any borders. Fahad Mustafa’s performance in Actor-in-Law and now in this “Na Maloom Afraad 2” has raised the bar to a level where it won’t be easy ride for others.

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Another actor who stood out with acting skills was Saleem Mairaj, who is turning out to a cult favourite among the crowd. The way he portrayed himself as a typical Karachi gangster in a foreign country, especially South Africa was truly commendable.

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Veterans Jawaid Sheikh and Nayyar Ijaz were good as usual and occasionally Nayyar Ijaz stole the limelight from leading stars

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“Na maloom afraad 2” left a sour taste with its very weak and predictable story, third class content (like; avoid getting raped), below par music and over flow of sponsors (like; I’m lovin’ it). There are certain ways to please your sponsors, but the way chosen here especially for McDonalds was really pathetic.

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“Na maloom afraad 2” is a must watch movie for Fahad Mustafa fans but else doesn’t have much to it.  

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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 singing 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.

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.