J(U)naid Jamshed Turns?

September 9, 2012

By Ahmad Uzair

We live in a world full of paradoxes. It might be a hard fact to digest for some, others might relate to it, but over the period of time it has got so rampant in our society that some time we fail to distinguish and are left in the state of oblivion and confusion. In our daily life, we come across so many people, and at times even situations to which we have no answers. Many times it’s even our own action which puzzles us. It’s basically the perception that makes us wrong and we fail to recognize what we see.

“Appearances can be deceptive” and the media industry is no exception to it, perhaps the best example of it. Obviously as viewers, it’s shocking for us to see what is going behind the camera, but sooner or later we get accustomed to it.

But the event which has kept me in conflicting thoughts of despair and awe for the past one week happens to be the appearance of Junaid Jamshed on stage in Washington DC. He not only appeared in his typical shalwar kameez style but also gave a full fledged performance and that is where the conflict lies. Wasn’t it a bit too contradicting?

Junaid Jamshed, popularly know as JJ, still remains as one of the most celebrated pop icons of Pakistan music industry. He has belted out scores of patriotic and love songs in 90’s and was regarded as one of the best in the business. But as they say, to every rise there is a fall and same happened with JJ. With the beginning of 2000 his music career was going no where and then came the point when he eventually left music and became the preacher of Islam. This was indeed a noble turn around for him and his actions were hailed by every one around. He has become a really respected personality since then and surely his personal aura exalted many times. Apart from his religious lectures, JJ also conducted a game show. He also appeared in an advertisement which became the talk of the town, and even his clothing line is considered to be the trend setter in Pakistan Fashion scene.

But the strangest of all was the video showing him singing again and that too was released officially with every body’s consent.

Almost a year back, first video of the series surfaced on internet where he was seen singing Dil Dil Pakistan with absolutely no music along. He was seen wearing a green Kurta. But that just didn’t end there.  Last December he was once again featured in a video along with Salman Ahmad of Junoon fame who was seen casually playing guitar while both sitting on a sofa. This time there was an addition of another song “Jazba Junoon”. Mr. JJ was seen in rather very high ‘Jazba’ clapping intensely along the acoustics. And for those, who were not getting that to digest, just last week on the occasion of his birthday, Mr. JJ once again graced the stage and this time around the performance was the longest of all. His vocals seemed to be in great touch as he even tried out some marvelous alaaps.

Earlier performances might be an easy go, but the recent one has really left me bewildered. May be I am bit over-reacting to the situation or trying to be extra sensitive but I am helpless. It once again stars Salman Ahmad on guitars, but the thing which makes this performance stand out is the addition of one of the most notorious musical instrument ‘Tabla’ being played along as JJ sings some huge hits of himself and Junoon from the past. And he really makes it look so easy like he never left this field with regularly involving the crowd and seeming to enjoy his performance to the fullest. Does it really suits a man who rejected music long time back, once again on stage with his shalwar well above his ankles and singing. It just doesn’t fit well and rather makes you baffled.

I know many of you would say that it was just some of the patriotic songs which he performed. Agreed! But I guess at the end of the day music is music, no matter which genre it belongs to. Actually it’s not about what is right or wrong, more important is from whom it is coming!

I don’t think I have any right to criticize any one for their own doings. But seeing him sing on your screen really makes you baffled. After all JJ is a huge Public icon of our present generation and every person can relate to him.

Is JJ still at battle with his inner self or is it getting really difficult for him to keep that ‘music germ’ out of him? There have been mixed thoughts all over about his recent performance, some really praising his come-back while others, making very derogatory comments about him. Basically I think it’s the particular air of his personality which he has kept with him for past 10 years that makes his current outing un-acceptable. One really questions that had he done the same on-stage performance if he was in Pakistan?

Acts like these certainly creates misunderstandings about the credibility. I think it would be really great if Junaid Jamshed himself comes up with some clarification of his recent act to clear the air and confusion arising specially among the youngsters who have closely followed him in their life. Because some time seeing these series of performances really makes you wonder what next can come from JJ?

This article is neither meant to hurt anyone’s feeling nor to create misunderstandings but, in fact just portrays the wobbling questions arising in the mind of someone who has immense respect for both JJ. The Singer and JJ.The preacher/religious scholar.