Interview: “The response we’ve been getting doesn’t suggest that there’s any anti-Pakistan sentiment.” – Farhan Saeed

– Instep Today catches up with Farhan Saeed of Jal as he tours India with his musical outfit Jal and finds out about playing across the border, Indian sentiment and more…

Tomorrow is just a song away

With Muharram upon us, many musicians are heading to other destinations. Strings made us proud by performing at the recent South Asian Bands Festival (Purana Qila, New Delhi) representing Pakistan. Since then, the dynamos of Pakistani pop have gone on a touring spree of India and have just returned home (but more on them later). And they aren’t the only ones giving Indians a doze of pure electric Pakistani pop.

The other act is Jal, the band which managed to reinvent itself with Boondh, their second record, after Atif Aslam left the building. With Farhan Saeed on vocals, Goher Mumtaz on vocals and Shazi on backing vocals and bass, the trio delivered the smash hit ‘Sajni’ in 2007 off their successful second album, Boondh. Since then, their graph has been on the rise. After Boondh’s release, Jal went onto win three Lux Style Awards in 2008 for Best Music Album (Boondh), Song of the Year (‘Sajni’) and Best Music Video for ‘Sajni’ by Bilal Lashari.

Jal’s front man may not have the same electric vibe that makes Atif Aslam – the man Farhan came to replace in Jal – such a charismatic performer but he is definitely improving as a live performer, even if the vocals still need some work. But that will come with time. As a performer, Farhan has grown. Just YouTube any of his recent shows in India. And hey, urban pop music is as much as about ‘performance’ as it is about hitting the right notes. He isn’t the same as he was during his ‘Woh Lamhey’ days.

Since September ’09, Farhan has been blogging. He blogs on: ( and actually writes back to his followers, fans. But blogging isn’t the only thing on his mind. In between touring India and blogging, Farhan is planning to open a rock cafe. Instep Today caught up with Farhan Saeed (in Delhi) via email and here’s what he told us…

Instep Today: Are you still in India?

Farhan Saeed: Yes, we are still in India. We’re here till New Year’s Eve.

Instep Today: How is the situation for Pakistani musicians in a post 26/11 India? Have things calmed down?

Farhan Saeed: Honestly, it feels like what we’ve been hearing since the 26/11 attacks wasn’t so true. The response we’re getting here doesn’t suggest that there’s any anti-Pakistan sentiment, especially with what they call “janta”!

We’ve uploaded some videos on our Facebook page of our first show of this tour at Hindu’s College. It’s number third all over India. That’s conclusive in itself. So to answer your question, I think things are pretty much settled.

Instep Today: How’s the response to the new video?

Farhan Saeed: The new video is ‘Hamein Itna Pyar‘. Considering the situation of Pakistan and how many new songs are not working, it was quite decent. Criticism is always welcome, but overall it was good for the band.

Instep Today: What is your solo project? Café Rock?

Farhan Saeed: Cafe Rock, yeah it’s my project. It’s situated near Hussain Chowk in Lahore. I came up with this idea considering the fact that we, being Pakistanis, don’t have a lot to do so it’s a new concept in Pakistan of dining in with entertainment. There will be a live stage, dedicated to performances. All the underground artists will give auditions and will perform every Friday and Saturday night. It’s basically a platform for new artists, just to promote good talent and provide public (of all age groups) entertainment with good quality food. So yeah fingers crossed!

Instep Today: You’ve recently launched a blog…

Farhan Saeed: Blogging is just a way to interact with my well-wishers. I can give them updates regularly about the band and what’s happening in my life. Though I am finding it difficult to update it regularly 🙂 but I am trying!

Instep Today: How was Aag Alive?

Farhan Saeed: Unfortunately Aag Alive was not that good. You must’ve heard about how it was washed out (it rained). We couldn’t stay there after it was postponed for two days because we had to leave for India. From what we heard, it didn’t end up very well. Still, the effort is worth appreciating.

Source: INSTEP today