A great deal has happened since the conclusion of Pepsi Battle of the Bands that returned after more than a decade last year with its second season.
As reported earlier, of the three judges, only Meesha Shafi and Fawad Khan will return in the upcoming third season. They will be joined by Strings (Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia) who are entering the production this year as co-judges. The group has replaced Ali Zafar, who was originally set to replace Atif Aslam but was, according to reports, dropped as allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct surfaced against him even as Pepsi Battle of the Bands team never did make an official statement on the matter.
Moving on, Farooq Ahmed of Aaroh will also return as guest judge while Shahi Hasan, who joined the three judges after the audition episodes last year as co-judge, has replaced Faisal Rafi as producer for this upcoming season.
In the present, Pepsi has also delivered on its promise somewhat as last year’s winning band, Kashmir, and runner-up music outfit, Badnaam, have released their respective albums.
This brings us to the present season that will mark its arrival through a new TVC that features, in the first sequence, Kashmir and Fawad Khan singing the former’s hit original track, ‘Kaghaz Ka Jahaz’ and later on Meesha Shafi joining Badnaam on a new rendition of ‘Kala Jora’; the story doesn’t end there as Strings make their presence felt with ‘Hai Koi Hum Jaisa’ before all artists unite for a final sequence.
The official announcement of the third season was made through an event in Lahore that was attended by media reps, Pepsi reps and most of all, a number of artists. The TVC, that is set to hit airwaves, was also screened exclusively. Several bands who participated in the last season also made it to the Lahore event including Jasim Haider and the Pindi Boys, Madlock, Kashmir and Badnaam.
Beyond the advertisement, the upcoming season for which more than 400 bands applied this year, will kick off on July 15 and will be followed by a new episode, scheduled to be aired every Sunday.
The first season of Pepsi Battle of the Bands appeared in the 2000s and ushered in a new era of music. The original season counted Rohail Hyatt, Fifi Haroon and Shahi Hasan as judges and also led to the emergence of acts like Aaroh, EP and Mekaal Hasan Band.
As for the present season, it remains to be seen who will be performing on the show but one does expect to see the judges in performance mode like last year when Meesha Shafi sang the song, ‘Speaker Phaar’ and Fawad Khan reunited with EP to perform their famous track, ‘Hamesha’. Shahi Hasan also performed during the finale episode and paid tribute to the late Junaid Jamshed with an electrifying performance. Aaroh, Zeb Bangash, Ali Azmat, Call the band were some of the other artists who made an appearance on Pepsi last year. Who will make a mark this year? Watch and find out.