Junoon cult classic, ‘Sayonee’ gets massacred by Bollywood

November 8, 2020

Did Junoon just go ahead and sell rights to one of their most sacred, beautiful songs, ‘Sayonee’ from Azadi that even the most cynical of musicians agree is extraordinary?

Nearly 13 years after disbanding, Pakistan’s once-formidable music group Junoon featuring key members Ali Azmat, Salman Ahmed and Brian O’ Connell, reunited last year. But of course, the whole thing was funded by a biscuit brand. Corporates fuse money into music and there is no greater example than Coke Studio, now in its (upcoming) 13th year.

Junoon’s cherished reunion concert in Karachi as well as a terrible music video for the song ‘Khudi’ was brought to us by, again, a biscuit brand, which brings us to the current problem. Did Junoon just go ahead and sell rights to one of their most sacred, beautiful songs, ‘Sayonee’ from Azadi that even the most cynical of musicians agree is extraordinary?

If they didn’t, did Bollywood really steal such a cult classic and thought no one would notice? In either case, it’s a sham of an effort. Some songs are sacred. A cult classic such as ‘Sayonee’ is one. A kid playing a cover of ‘Sayonee’ because he loves that song is one thing. Selling it off like it no longer matters is next level horrific.

An experiment of the song had already been done in Coke Studio ft. Salman Ahmed, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Ali Noor sans the other original members. The song was and will always be one of the worst disasters in Coke Studio’s illustrious history.

Having seen and experienced that particular disaster, as well as knowing how the song catered to a disenfranchised youth at a precarious time in Pakistan’s cultural and political history, it makes you wonder whether Junoon did give the rights of the song to the Bollywood film? If so, will they stop at nothing?

Musicians are struggling due to coronavirus but are the country’s biggest musical stars struggling for survival or does ‘Sayonee’ – the song that put Junoon on the global map – no longer holds meaning to its creators?

As for Bollywood, the song is sung by Arijit Singh and Jyoti Nooran, said T-Series. The film is an upcoming musical thriller, also called Sayonee. This keeps getting better and better. If this version of ‘Sayonee’ is anything to go by (and it is), the musical aspect will be terrifying and the rest, another potentially disastrous film. Listen to the original song and erase the Sayonee debacle, once more.

Ali Ashraf’s My City Jam debuts
with Arieb Azhar

Digital and/or TV shows involving travel and music are not new to Pakistan. From documentaries such as the award-winning Indus Blues to Zohaib Kazi’s Fanoos and Coke Studio Explorer (season 11) to EasyPaisa-loaded Raahi ft. Umair Jaswal, it’s an idea that has found roots in Pakistan in recent years.

As the music season dwells with the year coming closer to an end, another traveling music series has emerged called My City Jam. The effort of singer-songwriter Ali Ashraf, it is described in a press statement, as a “show about songs, stories and people of Pakistan”.

The first two episodes will see the show travel to Islamabad and Hunza and features Arieb Azhar.

Presented by Echo Records and released digitally, the debut season of My City Jam, the music travel series will hit multiple cities such as Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar. Among artists who will be featured besides Arieb Azhar include names such as Ali Azmat, Arif Lohar, Ali Hamza, Strings, Sajjad Ali, Saeen Zahoor and others.

Speaking about the show, Ali Ashraf noted, “MyCityJam is an attempt to combine my two passions of music and documentary filmmaking. As a storyteller, I want to discover the soundscape of Pakistan. Its musicians, their stories and inspirations. Our diverse landscape and culture also resonate with soulful sounds and melodic people. So I have picked up my camera and my guitar to go look for some jamming tunes!”

In the first episode, we meet the genuine Sufi-folk artist Arieb Azhar in the capital city, Islamabad; he accompanies Ashraf as the episode begins and eventually sits down to jam. Arieb Azhar performs the excellent ‘Dekh Tamasha’. Running over 10 minutes, the episode is an experience of the music that lies beyond the political echelons of power. And no one gives a better start than Arieb Azhar who sits under Banyan Trees (centuries old) and also tells a beautiful story before performing.

This show looks fascinating. Scheduled to release this week, watch out for it.

Junoon cult classic, ‘Sayonee’ gets massacred by Bollywood