Tag Archives: Kashmir

10 Things To Improve In Pepsi Battle Of The Bands

Pakistani music happened to me back in 1989 when I was hardly 5 years old and living with my mother in Karachi because my father was and still working in Jeddah. My broken memories of watching PTV in 1989 are a Puppet Show featuring Uncle Sargam, TV drama Jangloos, and songs of Allan Fakir and Mohammed Ali Shehki.

Pakistani pop music culture has always been rich. Many notable music bands became globally known among the South Asian communities like Junoon and Vital Signs. My last fondness towards Pakistani music was in the first decade of this century when many new musical bands emerged like Aaroh, Entity Paradigm, Fuzon, Noori, Mekaal Hasan Band, and Call.

In the recent times, Coke Studio and Nescafé Basement aided and gave favor to the global listeners to observe the quality, richness, and creativity in Pakistani music culture. A further addition to scrutinizing more upcoming talents, Battle Of The Bands has given the nation another musical platform to take the center stage and sought the attention.

Battle of the Bands, sponsored by Pepsi began back in 2002 in one of the local channels. It took 15 years to repackage the whole new competition under the same name and sponsor. Why season two came that late? I really don’t know but I will say it was a musical tragedy given the fact that the toppers from the inaugural season were Aaroh, Entity Paradigm and Mekaal Hasan Band and such competition didn’t return in the times when Pakistani music was beginning to decline. Imagine if PBOTB was happening every year, how many brilliant bands had emerged.

With two fresh seasons in two years, the audience has realized that Pakistani music is knocking the global doors and they have talent enough to mesmerize the listeners. Kashmir and Bayaan have deservingly won their respective seasons and hearts. And with such a magnitude of success, PBOTB has a lot of promises to attract the viewers.

But the producers/show-runners of PBOTB need to focus on this whole arrangement of the show. There are a few issues which they need to work on if they have to grab and attract more viewers and collect more critical appreciation.

This blog is about the factors which can make this show more impressive and raise its rank. I am forwarding 10 important points PBOTB needs to focus on when they begin working on the fourth season.

10. NO BIZARRE AUDITIONS

This point is not meant to fume insult nor I am encouraging to mock the participants. But this is everywhere. Some performances really come up contrary to our expectations. The performance could have been better but sometimes turn out to be actually funny or weird.

We like to see the reactions of the judges and how they respond to the artistic disaster. From the marketing point of view, such auditions can be covered in the episode to make the viewers observe how the platform didn’t enjoy the justice and the band miserably failed to perform. Millions of viewers love to watch funny auditions or funny moments in a musical show on the social media no matter how old those videos are.

09. CHANGE THE HOST AND THE DIALOGUES

I may be taken rudely by the readers to reflect this point. Ayesha Omer is a very popular name in Pakistan showbiz but I strictly believe that she hasn’t done justice with the hosting role in both the seasons. The problem is not if she lacks glamour as she is a very charming personality. The problem is that she looks very under qualified or unfit for hosting a musical series focusing on the bands. This is not her cup of tea.

Plus the dialogues written for Ayesha Omer are very flat, old and monotonous. She states the obvious. Some buddy please change this phrase, “Don’t Go Anywhere, We Will Return After A Short Break”. How is this tiresome line still acceptable in 2018?

If the show presenter fails to serve the viewers and get their attention, it will be boring to listen to her and wait for her departure to enjoy the show. In my opinion, Anoushey Ashraf or Mathira will do more justice hosting a musical show.

08. RESTRICTED MUSICAL VARIETIES

Alright, this is the battle between the bands. And we have discovered numerous promising bands on this platform who will give their fans pleasure on their beats. But I have observed that every band who is showing up is restricted to the understanding of the musical band. Under the inception of bands, no one is trying to do something different.

The bands either turned Western, performed rock and tried to be loud or went completely opposite i.e., either went Eastern Classic or focused on Sufi. How many musical instruments have been tried by all the bands in these two seasons? Almost every musical band have their members on the set of different guitars, keyboards, and drums. Fine! I am not complaining. These are the basic instruments for helping in composing any track. But why most of the bands do not think out of a parameter. How many bands came up with the idea of playing the flute, violin, mouth organ, trumpet, bongo, or harmonica?

I am not asking to bring a grand piano to the stage and play. But what my ears want is to be seduced by a composition which gives freshness, a new feeling. They are selling the same product in different ways.

The upcoming bands must learn from Meesha Shafi! Unorthodox and giving music a new space, a new dimension. In the finale of season 2, she performed with a speaker and had a guy on the saxophone. In the finale of season 3, Meesha Shafi, in one of the darkest and the deepest tracks ever composed, introduced Tibetan bowls in Pakistani music.

Then there is a performance factor. Most of the performances by the bands on the stage were dull. The craziness and excitement were generally low. Tamasha band in the season 3 was the rare case who performed with the needed passion.

07. REDUCE THE EPISODE MINUTES

Why the episode has to be of at least 80 minutes? Why not reduce to 40 minutes? Do the bands need to perform a full song? Let’s assume if every band comes to the stage to perform for 5 minutes that means approximately 13 or 14 performances are covered each episode which is quite less. And this is what I am talking about an 80-minute episode.

The format and the continuity needs a helping hand, an idea or an approach to construct an episode with more ingenuity. In your limited presentation, you sometimes lose the purpose. I would rather agree on 16 episodes of 40 minutes instead of 8 episodes of 80 minutes. The other reason for keeping the episode that long is because the participants are less. But why less?

06. LIMITED CONTENTS

The hype you build among the viewers, the sources applied to the show are very limited. Only 8 episodes in almost 45 days! Each episode of at least 80 minutes! There were a host and a quartet of judges. The bands came and gave a full performance. The judges judged, off the bands went, “meet you in the next episode”, and curtains. That’s it?

The creative team should work and bring more ideas in the programming to add more content in such a lengthy episode. Not saying to make the show fake and dramatic as it happens in many musical shows. But the audience today need add-ins. Show the audience behind the scenes, reactions, their stories, from where they came from? How difficult has been this journey? What were they before they stepped to this platform? Show the discussions between the judges on and off. Between the screen time, share some past memories and achievements in Pakistan music culture. Give some interesting facts about the show and the judges with time.

Why did we only meet the families of the toppers in the grand finale? Why not give a couple of minutes of personal segments from some of the bands? Some musical stories are painful, some band members have a few lines to say. They can be covered, why not? Give some feeling, put some money on the contents to make the episode more exciting.

05. ADD MORE LOCATIONS

Apologies if my knowledge is incorrect but I think most of the participants from the different cities have traveled to Karachi to perform in the auditions. I think it is better if the panel of jury tour themselves to 3-5 most important cities. Not all the musical bands are financially stable enough to travel the city for the auditions. But Pepsi can afford expenses, right? The concern should be that Team PBOTB cover most of the bands in their cities. There is every chance that those bands who are financially poor are more talented than the toppers.

If Team PBOTB tour to the cities, there is a chance that those bands who had excuses to travel can save the expenses and participate straight to their city and try their luck. With more opportunities open, the judges will get to catch more attention and make their selections more easily.

In my opinion, the five most important touring cities should be Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta, and Peshawar. Bring three of the best bands from each center. Then do your general proceedings with 15 best talents in your show.

04. RIDICULOUS FINALE WIND-UPS

I am sure many of the readers will agree here with me that the ending of the finale episodes of both season 2 and 3 was pretty ordinary. With such a tremendous hype built in the show and on the social media, millions of viewers watched the grand finale of the seasons and impatiently spent their 80 minutes and waited for the grand announcement. When the winner was announced; multi-colored paper confetti were released, the prize cheques to the toppers were handed and the trophy was lifted by the winner, and then the hosts concludes the show. This all happened in two minutes.

We noticed even the families of the toppers stepped to the stage after the announcement to meet their loved ones. The hosts could have bothered asking hardly a couple of questions on the stage to them but didn’t.

What the show-runners should do is give some respect to the toppers and let them speak some lines about these moments. Show their celebrations behind the scene after the conclusion of the show. Allow or request the toppers to send a motivational message to the coming bands and future participants.

03. RAISE THE PRIZE MONEY, FFS!

To be perfectly honest with you, any figure in the prize money less than a Crore rupees is awful, contemptible and revolting, keeping in mind that this musical series is produced by none other than *drum rolls* PEPSI!

The runner-up gets 25 Lac (0.25 Crore) rupees and the winner gets 50 Lac (0.50 Crore) rupees with an album deal, concerts across Pakistan and lifetime royalties. 50 Lac? What is 50 Lac in 2018? And remember, this 50 Lac is not for an individual but for the band. No matter how many members exist in the band, this amount will definitely be divided.

The producers should consider this matter and improve the figures. Because when the viewers across the world notice and realize how much amount the toppers are winning in their currency, their jaws will drop.

02. LACKS FEMINISM

It is a sorry state that despite 71 years have crossed to the country’s inception, most of the women still do not have the freedom to make their own decisions, choose their careers and ambitions, befriend a man, go in a relationship, choose or wish someone her husband. And when it comes to the art, more objections are compelled and the doors are closed by their own families. Singing, dancing, and modeling for a woman in many houses become a family issue with the hashtag #LogKiyaKahenge (what will people say).

And this is the very critical reason, that only 4 women have participated in a total of 2 seasons; Mehek from Naksh Band and one from Roots in season 2, and Ifra from I.F.R.A and one from Kaghaz. Only 4 women!

If mixing with men into a band is making them insecure or putting their families in an uncomfortable position, or raising eyebrows in their concerned mohalla, then why a group of women is still not coming up with the idea of forming their own band? Just like the All Girl Band or The Cheapmunks in Pakistan. Sometimes I wonder how Benjamin Sisters marked their presence on the national television to the viewers in the late 70s and early 80s.

The show producers cannot do anything about this matter. Women in Pakistan are equally capable like men in arts and need no references from me as there is an open treasure of vast talents. If the education can really change the way of thinking, if the thinking among the people can change with time, then time will tell how many women will be stepping ahead to the platform and how many families will be in an agreeable position to support their women.

01. WHERE IS THE AUDIENCE?

My number 1 issue with the show is that despite being a musical competition between the bands, it is terribly silent. Whenever the bands finished performing, it was awkward to listen only 5 pairs of hands clapping in the studio like the raindrops knocking your window. It was a musical tragedy for not adding the audience when it needed the most.

Season 2 HAD audience straight from the 3rd episode once the judges were done with the auditions in the first two episodes. But the whole season 3 gave you the theatre rehearsal feeling. It is always exciting to listen to the boos and hoots and roars in a musical show. Audience repeatedly shouting and chanting the names of their favorite bands or their favorite lead vocalist.

How exhilarating and sensational was listening and watching Asrar perform Lajpaal Ali or Call perform Jilawatan on TV in season 2. Imagine the environment installed during these numbers in the studio last year. The attendees with uncontrollable adrenaline in a captivating ambiance.

Imagine if the audience was allowed this year and were to be blessed with the performances by Tamasha. The show-runners should not attempt this gaffe when the show returns for season 4 next year.


Through this blog, I would like to congratulate both the toppers of this season, Xarb and Bayaan, and wish them all the best in the commencement of their promising careers. Also, the bands who lost in the knockout phases, this is an experience to take with you for a lifetime memory. And is also not the end of your musical expedition. You are blessed with a platform which millions have watched and observed you. Continue doing wonders, some wise financiers will surely ring you in the near future. Those who left in the auditions, never mind and return next year strong with more improvement. The other musical doors and platforms are also opened to try their luck.

If any of the 10 points are taken seriously and are considered to work on, I hope the show will improve more and acceptable with further positive critical reception.

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THE GRAVITY OF HONOR

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My good morning happens with the shocking news of Qandeel Baloch‘s murder! I am not a frequent visitor nor am I her fan but I have seen her earliest videos on her Facebook page and came to understand that she was one of those human species who chose to post silly nonsense videos to get a swift popularity. Her popularity brought the same arguments about downfall in society’s moral collapse with the repeated questions of “Where is Pakistan going?” and now is reigniting debate about honor killings in the country.

Yes indeed it is a morale collapse among the individuals doing naughty and silly stuff nowadays. Eyes of us men are no innocent to the videos we are fond of. Nope not talking about the videos of the adult industry but generally speaking, female individuals of different ages in South Asian societies have done way more than what the deceased used to do on social media. We have seen them making and forwarding amateur home videos like stripping behind the close doors, naked selfies, courtships in front of continuously adjusting camera and God knows what else for the sake of the demands coming from their seasonal boyfriends despite knowing the fact that there is every chance of the books from her storehouse to be transferred towards the library. But that morality can be corrected, vanishing her from earth is not the solution. Was QB a bigger threat than ISIS’?

Let me justify definition of ‘Moral Collapse’ prevailing in this country by four understood phases of this tragic life cycle.

  1. QB posted silly videos for popularity, many of those alarmed if she had mental issues.
  2. The viewers have/had different opinions and every opinion doesn’t make sense like her. Some turn out to be perverts and some become bonerfide seasonal mullahs who watch the whole video and then declare her ‘gandi’. Some females in the comments recruit her in adult industry or curse with a rolling-pin in hand.
  3. Instead of correcting or ignoring her (because her’s is/was none of our folking business); people all of a sudden become responsible for their khandaan or become patriotic and mullah and begin delivering threats to her. And one day someone kill her and the killer is none other than her brother whose so-called gherat was sleeping all these years.
  4. Most of the people who come to know the news of her death are actually glad, happy and excited as if they have passed some exam.

All four phases explain the collapse in morality. We have no business to what an individual does. I can fully understand from what ‘shame’ her brother has gone through, how his friends, neighbors, kins and society has been treating, teasing and scolding her. But but but committing crime and taking her soul is the most dumbest and disgusting idea. Whatever she was, taking the human soul is not in our hand and Islam teaches us that killing a human is killing humanity.

It is irrelevant, very very irrelevant and nowhere in any condition or space of judgment to kill her just because of your hatred or her business. Just because you don’t like her or she expose her skin too much, does it make you think that she brought shame to your family and your country? And does this reasoning power give you license to kill her?

The regular boners of the deceased’s videos who are now happy for her being killed by her brother under the name of ‪‎honor killing should from now on mind their own business and should not speak shite about‪ ‎Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The lady won us not one but 2 Academy awards for her documentaries on acid attacks and honor killings in Pakistan and many people from her country criticized her for presenting ‘bad’ image of Pakistan.

Those who are laughing and enjoying her death from now on should also not criticize and emphasize on extreme feminism either people encouraged towards extreme feminism are right or wrong. Because if you can laugh on the death of a girl who was expressing her good or bad freedom in her videos, it makes no sense to speak how much your country cares about women’s rights because I don’t see that happening in this country. Just a month ago, one lady was abused live on TV speaking of women’s rights by a JUI guy while a lady was called a name in the assembly.

We Pakistani nation are just like pleasure-house visitors who enjoy every inch of solicitor’s skin in the courtship and lovemaking and help her strip her clothes. But once we are done, we leave her just over there and even talk dirty about her the other day. Even accuse her for being a public property or root of all evil. World has gone so cruel and planet Earth is no more a safer and peaceful place to live.

Members of civil society and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan hold placards during a protest in Islamabad May 29, 2014 against the killing of Farzana Iqbal, 25, by family members on Tuesday in Lahore. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has demanded to know why police apparently stood by while Farzana Iqbal, a pregnant woman, was stoned and beaten to death by her family in front of one of the country's top courts, his spokesman said on Thursday. She was attacked on Tuesday, police said, because she had married the man she loved. Her husband said that police did nothing during the 15 minutes the violence lasted outside Lahore High Court. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood    (PAKISTAN - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CRIME LAW) - RTR3REE6

Sometimes I wonder why honor killings happen more in Asia specifically in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Jordan. Even when such crime happens in America and Europe, most of the cases associate with the immigrants, or Muslim families mostly coming from Pakistan and Iran. Remember Belgium’s first ever honor-killing trial few years ago? She was 20-year-old Sadia Shaikh, a Pakistani girl who was fatally shot three times by her brother for not accepting an arranged marriage with her cousin to whom she had never met in Pakistan.

Back in 2005, there was an honor-killing case in Denmark that involved 7 members of Pakistani family and friends. 18-year-old Ghazala Khan escaped from her home and married the guy to whom she loved after her declaration of wish towards her family was exchanged with their harsh beating. Two days after the wedding, Ghazala’s brother shot the couples on the order of her father to save the family ‘honor’.

In Brescia, Italy, a Pakistani father slit throat of his daughter 28 times! The reason of murder? His father state that his daughter Hina Saleem had turned from Asian girl into a Western woman who refused an arranged marriage and lived with her Italian boyfriend! Hina’s family buried her body in their house garden.

Honor killing event in Switzerland was more horrifying when a father killed his 16-year-old daughter Sawera by striking axe on her head a dozen times. Reason? A Christian boyfriend!

Britain has many cases of honor killings among the immigrants and Asian Muslim families. Bradford-born British-Pakistani Shafilea Ahmad‘s murder was a much talk in Britain a decade ago when she all of a sudden disappeared from home but months later, her dead body was found. Her parents were found innocent until Shafilea’s sister broke years later. She admitted that the parents killed her due to the reason of not accepting arranged marriage by force resulting in bringing ‘shame’ to the family.

Samaira Nazir’s case was her wish to marry an Afghan immigrant which was rejected by her family due to different caste. After argument, her brother and cousin stabbed her more than a dozen times using 4 knives in front of her family.

I highlighted only Pakistani cases because that is my concern in the blog as there have been many tragic events from Arab and Iranian families in West as well as Indians. So many tragic events of honor killings I mentioned above have one thing in common i.e., the parents feeling embarrassed that the daughter may/will bring ‘shame’ to her family and entire khandaan. Despite the fact many of the cases which happened in the West, the parents with such pathetic ideology and preferring their pride and shame over their daughter’s life and her choice is beyond my understanding. Living in the west or any country where multinationals live together bring a lot of cultural and religious understandings but such parents in that same atmosphere confuse me with their ideologies. Why on earth the parents do not see what her daughter wants, what she desire and with whom she find her happiness? Why bother judging her instead of giving your blessings? Girls would never run away to make you think of family’s pride and shame only if you accept her what she want. How come killing your own daughter becomes an ultimate solution? Are these type of parents psychopaths or what?

QB’s case is not that different. Just few days ago, she admitted she was married ‘by force’ back in 2008 and also had a son. After the beatings, she divorced and never contacted the man Ashiq Hussain of Kot Addu who first appeared on TV to claim that he is QB’s husband. And today she is killed by her own brother with some sources saying that she had received threats from Mufti Abdul Qavi with home she made some popular selfies a month ago. If the whole chapter of her forced marriage is true then she fell in same category as above-mentioned cases. We have watched girls with such mad cases who met tragedies in the past. Further investigations will clear and let us know further.

Last of all, I condemn the honor killings of QB and victims of all the above-mentioned and not-mentioned cases. I condemn all the crimes and abuses happening in Pakistan and other countries which little children and females of different ages are paying a heavy price for that. It is also terrible to see tortures and killings of Black Americans in recent days.  I feel hurt for all the terror attacks happening in the world and extreme pain for the massacre and holocaust suffered by Palestinians and Syrians, and people in Kashmir, Myanmar and many places. The remaining lives you and me are breathing is polluted now and it has become a terrible terrible world. May God answer our just calls, appeals, requests and prays and give patience to the friends and families of those who lost their lives for good Amen.

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