Update from the music “industry”
I have never considered this an industry. Even in the glorious days of Vital Signs and Junoon or earlier. Even when we had a thriving film industry and Khwaja Khurshid Anwar was around, this was still not an industry. Why? When this country’s population was 3 crore, there were three people singing; today when the number has probably exceeded 20 crore, you can still not think of more than 15 singers. Well, whatever it is in the name of industry, these last two months have been quite eventful. The first explosion happened when Shiraz Upal allegedly turned maulvi. All the websites declared that he had quit music. I didn’t believe it at first but then he was actually selling off all his studio equipment and although I wanted to buy some of his stuff, the cost was a bit steep and I was short of money as usual.
This wasn’t long before he was offered the opportunity to perform live at One World Peace Concert in Syracuse, New York with the likes of A R. Rehman, Dave Mathews, Natasha Bedingfield, Cyndi Lauper and Philip Philips. This reminds me of Ghalib who, during one of the more acute shortages of alcohol, decided to visit a mosque. Right after ablution, he heard somebody calling his name. He looked around and saw a friend waving a bottle at him. Delighted, he walked straight out of the mosque. When asked to offer his prayers, he replied, ‘Jab wuzu se hee kaam ho gaya toh namaaz parhnay kee kya zaroorat hai?’
I am not sure about Ghalib, but Shiraz had two options and I believe he chose the right one. He shaved his beard, unfolded his jeans over his bare ankles, and hit the stage. Let me clarify myself here: I am not implying that Shiraz turned maulvi because he had no work. He must have had plenty of work. But it is important for an artiste like him to get really big shows. I am glad he got the show and is back at work.
Another hot story is regarding a band breakup. Well, it wasn’t actually a band but Saad Sultan was making songs for the ex-Jal man, the recently turned solo Farhan Saeed Butt. They had a deal according to which they had individual identities but held equal partnership in case they got any offers for a movie or a record label. After a lot of rumors of Farhan finalising some deals in India, behind Saad’s back and his constant denying the same and will-let-you-know-later attitude upon Saad’s enquiries; things came to a head when Saad found their song ‘Pee Jaun’ on EROS’s YouTube channel, even though their contract says that no deal can be made regarding these songs without the consent of both parties.
Saad is pursuing his case in court and has been reported to have consistently been threatened by Farhan’s bouncer-cum-manager, Shahid Mohyuddin. The dispute is mainly over four songs, namely Mann rey, Balliiyay, Teri yaad and Pee jaun. Saad claims to have copyrights for these songs which bar Farhan from releasing or singing these songs in concert, or dealing with producers regarding them. The latest development on the case is that the court has acknowledged Saad’s claim and has granted a stay order in his favor. The court will probe further and justice will be served, but it is hoped that in the meanwhile, Farhan will make sure that his manager acts in a civil manner, the way Farhan himself has over this issue. It isn’t the first time a musician has gone to court to settle disputes; it happens all over the world. Threats and use of foul language doesn’t befit artistes, even if it’s the managers that act as intermediaries.
I heard that Misha Shafi and Farhad Humayun had also gone to court when Overload was disbanding. Their allegations against each other were pretty nasty. However, while all this remained in court they settled their disputes on the table peacefully – either because they are related or generally just better behaved.
The author is a journalist, director/producer, actor, documentary maker, blogger/columnist, managing director of a theatre company called Mishermayl and a struggling musician.
The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.