Skip to main content

Pepsi Unplugged - EID Edition



Thanks to Hasan Rizvi for the Invite.
Images Provided by BodyBeat.




Karachiwalas recently dusted off their record collection and prepared to board the Pepsi Unplugged edition that would take them on a journey through time. They headed out for an evening with Ali Azmat – (singer / songwriter extraordinaire, formerly of Junoon – the Rock sensation from the 90’s), undeterred by the storm forecasts, rain or the lowering sky. Here they could relive the musical heydays of yore, and meet the legendary performers who rang in the new age of Sufi rock. The moment that marked the silver jubilee of the artist was hosted by Hasan Rizvi (CEO - BodyBeat) who is also the brainchild behind the venture.

Pepsi Unplugged is a relative newcomer to the scene, and its mission to revitalize the parched landscape and bring back live music has won them many admirers. Designers, socialites, media tycoons and artists dazzled at the red carpet extravaganza hosted by Anoushay – few had stuck to the color scheme however maybe because a purple/yellow combo is not that easy to pull off. The invitation only affair also featured giveaways (Diamond rings and tickets to Paris), surprises (cast of ‘Karachi Se Lahore’ along with a sneak peak at the footage) and a dress-code (purple & yellow). The celebrity catwalk included Maheen Khan, Rubya Chaudhry, Deepak Perwani, Wajahat Rauf, Shahzad Shiekh, Tabassum Mughal, Nadya Mistry, Naeem Haq etc.


Because of the confined space and informal setup, the powerhouse performance felt like a joyous studio practice run. Though the venue had been switched from small cafes to spacious hotels, the large ballroom was filled to capacity. Tantalizing dessert platters and appetizers were on hand next to a seemingly endless supply of Pepsi to distract fans as they waited impatiently for the arrival of the man of the hour.



Ali, accompanied by his merry men (Omraan Shafeeq, Gumby) performed a sample of Junoon’s hit numbers including ‘Molla’, ‘Sayonee’, ‘Na Re Na’, ‘Jazba Junoon’ and threw in an odd experimental rendition to the mix. The selection represented the best of Pakistani music establishing the timeless appeal of the classics and the presence of an appreciative audience starved for local fare. If half the guests were found glued to their phones or engaged in taking flawless selfies, it was because of the sponsors who promised shiny trinkets to the most dazzling smiles in the house.

Social media had been harnessed to create a buzz and fans were directed to use twitter #hashtags to promote the slew of patrons, upload pictures, and win a few gems in the process. The highly sought after Paris trip was awarded to the couple in yellow & blue since the best dressed category was somehow amended to anyone wearing Lipton colors, leading to raised eyebrows and dissatisfied grunts. Celebs who mistook smoking hot for smoking like a chimney in close quarters were another reason for their discomfort. The next invite should add the no-smoking clause to the list of ‘no-nos’ and perhaps throw in a punctuality reminder and set a new trend.

But the prospect of winning glamorous prizes or losing the Parisian trip of a lifetime, iffy security situation, needless delays or involuntary smoke inhalation took a backseat to the platform that breathed new life into a genre in constant danger of being stifled by extremist voices. That day was a celebration and a pledge – to keep the musical caravan on track and the nation’s rich musical legacy in view.

The haze of insecurity and shrinking space for artists makes such gatherings crucial for the survival of the arts. With the Pakistani cinema in revival mode - the music industry needs to regain its footing. And forums that can unleash the surge of creativity must be supported to fill the void in our cultural narrative and ensure that its unique voice gets heard. Ironically, this is how many of the successful stars got their start – performing in small venues to a handful of swooning teens before fame came a knockin’. As established stars with record deals and loyal fan clubs - these sessions are milestones and give local musicians a reason to cheer. They also reset the bar for the stars waiting in the wings and show them what greatness is supposed to look like.

This was the 5th event of its kind; the first few showcased Noori, Jal, Komal Rizvi, Fuzon, Zoe Viccaji and Club Carmel. The next one has set its sights on Lahore. ‘Pepsi Unplugged’ plans to extend its reach to Dubai in the coming years taking our musical heritage to the next level. Bringing international musicians to Pakistan is reportedly on the cards and while the idea seems ludicrous in the present backdrop but recent successes like Nida Butt’s 2 day music festival - ‘I Am Karachi’ that featured dialogues and live performances by 60+ artists offers a ray of hope.

PR: BB Events & PR

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Book of Davis - Reading between the lines

Published by Global Affairs / Aug 2017

Raymond Davis is a champ. A team player, who puts the needs of his comrades in arms before himself. He is savvy. He is a man of integrity - a survivor - a trooper. Ray, the epitome of courage runs headlong towards danger and into a minefield - literally. He is all this and more. This is his story after all.

6 years ago, he was a trained Special Forces SF, undercover ‘contractor’, forced to navigate the cramped alleyways of Lahore on a routine mission – the details of which remain a mystery. His book ‘The Contractor: How I Landed in a Pakistani Prison and Ignited a Diplomatic Crisis’ with Storms Reback, revisits the scene of the crime to solidify his innocence and along the way take a few potshots at random players who helped secure his release. It’s a hair-raising ride.

His style is conversational, his demeanor - amiable. The case is still fresh in people’s minds and his intent to set the record straight ignites yet another round of controversy…

OPED: Keeping the Truth & Reconciliation Train on Track in Pakistan & Bangladesh

Published by Global Affairs / June 2017

It is no secret that Pakistan’s Eastern Wing broke away or that India helped carve Bangladesh in 1971. There were weaknesses to be exploited and deep seated resentments that left sizeable fissures in between Pakistan’s East and West wing. The Indian PM Modi can now tip his hat to 1,661 Indian soldiers allied with an armed resistance – the dreaded Mukti Bahini without fear of reprisal. Of late, there have been whispers about a KGB element in the mix. But the past is over and done with. Or is it?

There was madness and mayhem and civil unrest. Both sides suffered. The figure of three million offered by Bangladesh however has been widely disputed. While there has been a lot of water under the bridge since 1971- there has not been any serious attempt at breaching the divide. But most Pakistanis have not whitewashed their history and acknowledge their errors in judgment and lack of political foresight that led to the debacle.

‘The wall between Bangl…

BOOK REVIEW: Hira Mandi / Author: Claudine Le Tourneur Dlson

Published in Daily Times Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reproduced on Claudine Le Tourneur Dlson's Website

Translated from French by Priyanka Jhijaria

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

A programme about Hira Mandi did the internet rounds a couple of years ago. It claimed, among other things, that the sons of the ‘dancers’ reportedly end up as lawyers, doctors, artists — a few join politics and some even reach the military. These outrageous statistics may be one of the reasons the documentary was banned from the mainstream media. That and its primary premise — the plight of the fallen women — would prompt the conservatives to howl with dismay before scurrying off to bury any evidence in the backyard along with other bodies.


Claudine Le Tourneur d’Ison embeds such wrenching moments in a bold narrative where its doomed protagonist can hail the brave new world and its genteel patrons from an extraordinary vantage point. The expedition to the underworld with the unfortunate progeny and the hapless…

VIEW: WOMEN in the PAF: AN ENSEMBLE CAST

PUBLISHED in HILAL (Pakistan Armed Forces Magazine) Feb 2010

By Afrah Jamal

Progressive - Conservative - Contemporary - Professional; separately these terms could apply to any service; together they were reserved for just one - the PAF.

Pakistan Air Force has kept in touch with its roots through its glorious traditions and kept up with the changing times with innovative thinking. Oftentimes, traditions that made it stand apart have also stood in the way of, well - progress. Consequently, the service nimbly skipped past the one proposed change that was going to have a profound effect on the lives of countless young girls and would forever alter the way society perceived their womenfolk.

Before 1994, Lady Officers were a rare sight in the PAF. So rare in fact, that when male cadets donned wigs to represent the female species in annual variety shows, nobody wondered why. By 2010, women have become an indispensable part of the service. While, PAF was no stranger to a woman in uniform, a f…

OPED: Radd-ul-Fassad – An Urgent Revision in the Wake of Mashal Khan's Lynching

Published Global Affairs / June 2017

Written in the immediate aftermath of Mashal Khan's lynching

On December 2014, 148 people, mostly school kids were murdered by terrorists in the APS (Army Public School) school massacre. In April 2017, a university student was lynched in Mardan. One tragedy marked a turning point. Another opens a Pandora’s Box.

APS happened while Operation Zarb-e-Azb was underway. It shook the nation to its very core; and pushed the armed forces to expand the scope of its offensives. Military courts were set up in the aftermath. A death row inmate (Qadri), once lauded by clergy and lawyers for killing a Governor, was finally executed along with scores of militants.

And soon another operation would come into effect after shrines, rallies and public places were targeted in a resurgence of terror in 2017. If the first was driven by vengeance, the second came from desperation. Pakistan’s survival was at stake – unless it tackled the darkness head on. But the dark…

BOOK REVIEW: Pakistan: Beyond The ‘Crisis State’ / Author: Maleeha Lodhi

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Published in Daily Times / Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

Published under the title: 17 Reasons to Hope

“History will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, history will have its revenge and retribution”— from the movie, ‘Good Night, & Good Luck’

A region known for most “terrorist sightings”, a place feared for harbouring medieval mindsets next to progressive thinkers and a nation shunned for having an affinity for nuclear toys. By turns a cautionary tale, an indispensable ally and an international pariah, Pakistan does not fit into any mould — for long. But its name crops up whenever things go awry.

Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’ is a compilation of articles put together by Maleeha Lodhi that countermands the grim prognosis. When Ms Lodhi, who has served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and UK, acknowledges that “resilience has been part of Pakistan’s story from its inception, obscured by the single issue lens…

BOOK REVIEW: Operation Geronimo – the Betrayal and Execution of Osama Bin Laden and its Aftermath

Published in Daily Times (Pakistan) / 27 April 2013
Author: Shaukat Qadir
Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal



Book Cover Courtesy: Link

The insider account by a former SEAL later used to prop up the raid sequence of ‘Zero Dark Thirty fills in the dramatic details but a change in vantage point zooms in on the Pakistani equation. In less than a 100 pages, the author proceeds to tie up loose ends leftover from the reams of official spin surrounding the events of May 1 2011.

He is a retired infantry Brigadier from Pakistan Army who uses his unprecedented access to the corridors of military power to launch an independent inquiry into the incident. His research takes in isolated facts, hidden motives and shadowy agendas to create an alternate timeline of events. They correspond with the main outlines of the sanctioned version but differ in the approach. The resultant document builds an appealing profile that demands a second look at the so called ‘mansion’ in Abbottabad and the dead man walking within…