Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My Friend Junaid Jamshed

Junaid Jamshed was a dear friend. I knew him from the childhood and our friendship blossomed with the passage of time. It is so difficult to use past tense for him.
Back in 1996 when I was posted in AHQ I was tasked to produce the PAF Golden Jubilee song. I thought about redoing title song of the movie ‘Kasm aous waqt ki’ . The plan was to use the footage in the movie which was produced in late 60s and progress the visuals to the day.
At that time ‘Vital Signs’ were kind of separated but I was confident I would be able to convince them for one more PAF song. I approached Junaid , he agreed but as Junaid Jamshed and not as VITAL SIGNS. I wanted it to be a Vital Signs production. Still I went ahead and started looking for the movie. Unfortunately could not find it anywhere. All I could get hold was a very poor recording of the song ‘Kasm ous Waqt ke’ from the archives of Radio Pakistan Rawalpindi. It was very poor and much of the song was inaudible. I don’t remember, but I think I kind of ransacked every possible place to find the movie or the song. Finally I was able to find a decent copy from Radio Pakistan Karachi. I gave Junaid that copy for the new version.
Junaid selected a young music producer Mohammd Ali who at that time was part of a band called ‘Fringe Benefits’. He did the new version giving it Ragae-ish sound. I especially liked the use of the flute which had Men at Work’s greatest hit 'Land down under' feel to it. Everything went right and we were all set for video production but unfortunately despite our friendship we had arguments and Junaid sold the song to ISPR without telling us despite the fact that PAF had (and still has) the rights of the song. We at AHQ(DPR) kept quite because ISPR was involved ( it is supposed to be an Inter Services institution.) However unofficially we made our displeasure quite clear to them. We also banned, foolishly, Junaid Jamshed from performing anywhere in PAF.
We(Junaid and myself) didn’t speak for almost a year and then one day we found each other at Lahore airport on a flight from Lahore to Karachi. Junaid said “Oye toun nay mujay PAF mein ban kiya houwa hae.” I said “yes I indeed”. And we both started laughing and kept the laughter going-sub gillay shikway khatum. To be honest he was right and I was wrong, I was than an overenthusiastic overconfident PAF officer and did not understand showbiz much during those days. To his (Junaid) credit, he also admitted that he should had not gone to ISPR without my knowledge.
Then there was a long gap , the next time we met he had found his way with tableeghi jamat. He was a changed person. He wore shalwar kameez with its bottoms half way between his ankles and knees and supported a long thick beard, gone were the designer jeans and a clean cut carefully crafted image of a bonafide pop star, arguably the biggest and brightest. I asked him,” Junaid yeh kiya hulia bana leye hae?” he said in his usual enthusiastic tone “bus yaar tou be aa jay, ker lay Islam kabool”. Again we laughed and laughed.
Junaid was a kind ,warm, and very generous person. He was a great host, whenever I visited him he always made sure that I am looked after and well fed. And we had hearty laughs. He might have liked to be in limelight but moved away from his pop star status. With Rohail and Shahzad(Shai) he changed youth culture and established pop industry in Pakistan. His life and persona beyond ‘music days’ was even more glittering and scintillating. He will definitely remain a youth icon and I think his influence on Pakistani culture will remain for times to come.
May Allah SWT bless his soul.