Probably the only thing wrong with Call reprising Jilawatan, and EP performing Hamesha in back to back episodes of last year’s Pepsi Battle of the Bands was the fact that the two stellar acts came in the same season.
After all, how do you top not just the fact that Call and EP took to the Battle of the Bands stage, but also that the two rock bands came up with the heaviest sound witnessed among the mainstream Pakistani bands in recent memory?
A Junoon reunion wouldn’t have been a bad idea for this year’s Pepsi Battle of the Bands, then indeed. And on cue rumours began going crazy earlier this week after Salman Ahmed tweeted a photograph of himself with Ali Azmat with the caption: “Rocking in Lahore with rain, wind, thunder and lightning,” with the #Junoon hashtag. Ali Azmat too retweeted the tweet, with the caption: “Maula Jutt te Noori nutt.”
Now, from the given data, the only reunion confirmed was at what appeared to be a café where the duo along with their friends had gathered, as depicted in the picture.
What fanned the flames was a report that ‘confirmed’ that Junoon would be coming back together. “Requesting anonymity, a source has confirmed that Junoon will be reuniting for the upcoming season of Pepsi Battle of the Bands,” the report claimed.
What followed was another publication bursting the bubble, saying that it isn’t happening.
“Ali Azmat explicitly noted, “Wrong! It’s not true!” before adding that a conversation had happened at some point. But it isn’t happening. So there you have it.”
Again, considering the personalities in question, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if yet another twist was in store and that there might actually be a Junoon performance at the Battle of the Bands – or so one would hope.
Of course, there might be negotiations going on and the relevant parties might yet to find common ground. But the most pertinent question in the entire episode is: why not, Junoon?
Since the band’s breakup over a decade ago, music fans across Pakistan have craved a Junoon reunion. Of course, what has further enhanced this craving is that the relative mockeries that both Salman Ahmed and Ali Azmat have been making of themselves, over the past decade.
Ali Azmat had tried more entertainment avenues than he should have, while Salman Ahmed has been cheerleading for the PTI – arguably the worse of the two masochistic sales of the respective arts.
Whatever music – sometimes, it hasn’t been good enough to qualify as such – the two have produced without each other hasn’t even been remotely close to clinging on to for sheer nostalgic feels. This of course is truer for Salman Ahmed than Ali Azmat. If anything, sparing the world of Salman Ahmed’s vocals, should be worthy enough for a worldwide petition for a Junoon reunion.
The reason why the reunion hasn’t been able to take place all these years, is because the two of them have expressed their complete lack of ability to stand each other over the previous decade and a half. Ali Azmat especially, and unsurprisingly, has been pretty vocal about the differences between the two.
So now the question is, if Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmed can tolerate each other for a meet-up, why can’t they extend it to a jamming session? A jamming session is all it should take for both of them to realise that together they are significantly greater than the sum of their parts. This is especially true when the parts have been busy overdramatically judging reality shows and conjuring tabdeeli on social media.
Most importantly though, there has arguably never been a better time for a Junoon reunion since the disbandment of what remains the greatest Pakistani band of all time.
For starters, with the Pepsi Battle of the Bands season 2 last year, a new lease of life was given to the music industry. Bands like Kashmir and Badnaam have been earthed, and there is absolutely no question that season 3, would significantly up the ante on the quality of music on display.
With this resurgence on display, what better boost for budding rockstars than sharing the stage with Junoon? What about the countless musicians who’ll be watching the Battle of the Bands at home and just be overwhelmed by watching Junoon live again?
Also, the numerous other comebacks in recent months haven’t quite lived up to the noise. Maybe Junoon can fix that.