Dil Dil (Naya) Pakistan?

So finally after almost a decade, the super stars from the past have made a come back, although this re-union might be just for a single song, but as of now they have surely created a lot of buzz with their recent track, some terming it as a unique occurrence in the history of Pakistani music.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is “Naya Pakistan” featuring few of the most renowned pop icons from the past, Salman Ahmad, Shahi Hassan, Nusrat Hussain, and last but not the least, Junaid Jamshed. And together they have been titled as Vital-Junoon.

Although there has been lot of uproar about this re-union and some even criticizing the song itself but at the moment I think it would not be suitable to compare it with Dil Dil Pakistan or even Jazba Junoon, two of the biggest hits by the respective bands, Vital Signs and Junoon. But nobody knows what shape this song takes after a decade time from now on.

From a layman’s point of view ‘Naya Pakistan’ might appear more titled towards Junoon’s style of music with some heavy guitar solos played through out the song, really giving you an adrenaline rush and how can one miss that signature ‘tabla’ which has always been a trade marks of Junoon’s compositions. Although a huge re-union, many still feel the absence of Ali Azmat, the power house of vocals, from the whole scene. His inclusion must have added a new dimension to the song.

The song starts and end with some vibrant and soulful vocals by Junaid Jamshed, with ‘no music at all’, thus ending all the speculations and rumours about his role in the joint venture and it’s the magic of his voice that resonates in your ears even after the song ends.

Recently Salman Ahmad appeared on BBC Asia to talk about his latest project, and he cleared the air by saying,

”For almost a decade, Junaid has always asked me not to bring guitar or to ask him to sing. When you are friends with somebody you always have to transcend differences and I respect Junaid’s views. Junaid once told me that his biggest regret was not to be a part of Jazba Junoon’s recording. So when we came up with ‘Naya Pakistan’, I asked him that this is the chance that’s not going to come again so finally Junaid accepted the offer with the condition that he will sing only the opening lines with no music at all.”

Salman further added,

“it signifies the metaphor for unity as we have to compromise for unity in hope of Naya Pakistan.”

The bass guitars have been played by Shahi Hasan. The founder of Junoon, Nustrat Hussain, who is now a pilot, plays the keyboard and percussions in the song and specially flew in from Doha, Qatar to take part in the recording.

Earlier, Salman came up with the lyrics of the songs but was told by his friends that they were a bit too aggressive which were then changed on the suggestion and input of Aania Shah.

For those of you who don’t know, Aania Shah has been doing photography for some time now and you must have noticed her prominent water marks on the pictures which were released from the studio. She is an amazing poet too penning down lyrics for Tanhaiyaan Naye Silsilay. And now she has co-written the verses for “Naya Pakistan” with Salman. She can also be heard giving the backing vocals in the song.

Dr Junooni, as Salman calls himself during the interview, further elaborates,

“Naya Pakistan is, in my mind, an entire album. So, this was the first single and I obviously wanted to test the waters to see if people resonate with the song and so I think from what I am hearing or reading on twitter, there’s kind of riot going on. So, this is going to be an entire album. It won’t just be Vital-Junoon. I might collaborate with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam, with Ali Zafar… people I have great respect for in the music industry of Pakistan. I want to make that kind of album.”

Salman goes nostalgic when the radio host talks about a sayonee-similar guitar riff in the middle of the song

“its journey through time. I still remember it was February 22nd 1988, exactly 25 years ago, when I and Junaid took bus from Lahore to Pindi to take part in the first jam session of Vital Signs. It still gives me goose bumps.”

According to the band members it’s the message of hope, inspiration and zeal to move forward that will make this track addictive and infectious.

Insaaf ki awaz uthe, Zulm ki diwaar gire. This is perhaps the most powerful line in the whole song. Hope there comes a time when all these good things become realities in our life time. By the way, you shouldn’t be surprised if you see this anthem being played during the next election campaign of one of the most popular party of the country.

Long live Pakistan. Pakistan Zinda’abad!

Photography by Aania Shah