Welcome To My Blogs


This forms a compilation of all my written work done so far!!!!!!
The work involves celebrity interviews that I have conducted so far, my journalism work and literary work, my fiction work...and my TV plus radio shows...
I did radio, I did TV, and I always to find the real me..
As a writer, I could write more openly and that explored the real me..
Stay Blessed..
Cheers...
Sadaf

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Vital Signs: My Childhood Ecstasy



I
t is very hard to flashback old memories, but I’ll try my best to portray them. It was an uninteresting and droning evening somewhere around mid of 80’s. My dad was posted in Azad Kashmir and then to Siachen. We were staying at our grandparents place in Baffa. Life was quite slow and boring at the village house, with little creativity and almost no entertainment for young kids. Village folks use to have food around 8 pm and went to sleep around nine pm. Television transmission programs used to be quite dreary and un-enjoyable for young kids. 

One evening, we were watching local television routine transmission. It aired a song with four teenage boys, holding musical instruments and singing in an entirely novel style. We kept watching the song called “DIL DIL Pakistan” and didn’t move until the song finished. “WOW, that was amazing”, said my little 4-year old brother, “I love it’. I had the same thoughts as well.
They just mentioned the singers’ names. They later came to be known as “Vital Signs”, a top-notch and first official band of Pakistan. They produced some more hits like “Chehra”, “Tum Mil Gaye”, “Gorey”, “Sanwali Saloni”, but “Dil Dil Pakistan” was a skyrocket hit, which brought them under the limelight. National songs aired those days were usually picturized indoor in PTV studios. “Dil Dil Pakistan” set a totally novel trend in the history of Pakistani patriotic songs. It was something stunning for the new generation. We later came to know about all the four enigmatic boys of the band. The two young teenagers Shahzad Hasan and Rohail Hyatt were the pioneers of Vital Signs. They beautifully composed a ghazal “Chehra” by late Parvin Shakir, which I found amazing too. There is a slight difference between the “Chehra” composed first and the later one. The one composed earlier is a bit speedy and fast, with six young men sitting and enjoying at the side of Lotus Lake Islamabad. One can see glimpses of a much peaceful Islamabad and outskirts of much cleaner Rawal Lake very clearly in the video.   
Later Nusrat Hussain (guitarist) was replaced by Salman Ahmed, a student at medical College. Vital signs kept producing rocking hits like “Aisa Na Ho”, “Rahi”, “Yehi Zameen”, “Hum Tum” and “Aitebar”. Their videos even sketched swinging moods, ranging from ecstasy to extreme angst. “Dil Dil Pakistan” showed patriotism, “Tum Mil Gaye” depicted marital failure and ending relationships. “Wo Kaun Thi” depicted a typical college boy’s flirtatious attitude, with writing love letters, standing outside college gates, and talking to girls on the phone. “Gorey” and “Sanwali Saloni” had cultural roots, shot in Kailash and Thar, respectively. All of these were luminously directed. One thing that I liked about their videos was that females were never exploited. They even used to model in their own videos and almost eighty percent of the videos were shot without any female models. Even then they were big miraculous hits. Videos like “Wo Kaun Thi”, “Yehi Zameen”, “Chehra”, “Do Pal”, “Aise Hum Jiyen”, “Mera Dil”, “Maula”, “Musafir”, “Yaad Karna” and “Dil Dil Pakistan” didn’t have even a single female model.

My younger brother was so inspired that he decided to play the cover for “Dil Dil” on his Parents’ Day in 1989. He asked us to get the same kind of jeans and shirt, that Junaid was wearing in the song and a small guitar as well. For the whole night he kept practicing the song, though he was so young that couldn’t utter words properly.
Developing a youth culture was not a cup of cake in 80’s; it was a time when no one could talk openly about musical shows or concerts. The credit goes to some highly innovative and fresh musical programs like “Music 89”, which introduced/promoted many upcoming singers and bands, including Vital Signs and Jupiters. Late Nazia Hasan along with sibling Zoheb and Uncle Sargam hosted it and another program “Dhanak” as well. It aired songs like “Aha”, “Paisa”, ”Dosti” (Jupiters) and ”Do Pal”, with music of “Do Pal Ka Jeevan” in the background. Songs like “Gorey”, and “Do Pal” were blockbusters and picturized in 90’s, with more vivid directorial efforts. (Shoman) Shoaib Mansoor was the first one to depict the exceptional caliber of the young men, and directed a mini-series “Dhundlay Raastay”, featuring all the four members of Vital Signs, Tabinda Sheikh and Nayyar Kamal. The play was written by legendary Hasina Moeen and directed by Shoman. I felt that it could have been made in a better manner, because it was comparatively meager than other masterpiece works of the two legends. Though it managed to show well how members of Vital Signs worked together towards achieving their objectives. The mini play threw light on the early stardom journey of the four young enthusiastic men, their interests, passions and priorities. My favorite dialogue in the play is, “Are you mad? Kia hum loag tere liye sirf musicians hein?”
 

Even today, almost after two decades, they have a huge list of fans, listening to their songs and playing covers.  They managed to create relishing and mesmerizing music in a highly Islamized era, where there wasn’t any concept of concerts and shows, Vital signs had euphoria and charisma of their own. They were different individuals with their unique set of traits.
Until now, every night I loved listening to the songs of VS. But after the sad demise of JJ, listening to his songs makes me gloomy and tearful. The everlasting memories of my childhood and teen years bring tears. 
Just quoting some lines from the song "Yaad Karna"..

Main apni awaaz aur apney saaray geet...
tumhain day jaoon ga..
Meri sab cheezon ko yoonhe rehnay dena..
jaise shaam hote he..
main laut ke aaon ga..
mujhe kho kar bhi kabhi na khona..
mat rona..
beeti hoe batoon ko..
jagi hoe ratoon ko..
yaad karna..
yaad karna aur jee lena..
Mar bhi jaoon tau mat rona...

At times I wonder, many of his lyrics talk about his departure.

Do pal ka yeh jeevan hai..
Kuch kerna hai tu kar guzro..
Har Lamha ek sapna hai.
Kia jane apna ho  na ho..

Another song..

Tum chale gaye iss tarha..
Baadal udey jis tarha..
Laut ke phir na aane ko..
Kaheen aur ki pyas bujhane ko..
Koi aur jahaan mehkane ko... 
 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Junaid Jamshed: Gone but not Forgotten





These were the times of Ashraf Jehangir Qazi as a High Commissioner in India. When the show ended, we requested his younger daughter Maha Qazi, who was doing her masters in anthropology from Quaid-e-Azam University that time, to ask Begum Qazi if we could have a picture session with Vital Signs. She forwarded our request to Begum Qazi very politely. Begum Qazi laughed and said to my mom, “Saba! Let these girls have some pictures with Vital Signs or else they won’t sleep for the whole week”. I shall always be grateful to Maha.


The finest part of the event was autograph taking: There weren’t any papers or notepads available, so we all decided to hide white napkins from the Hotel and used them for autographs. I still have that signed white napkin in my closet, even after twelve years. One of us  was a crazy fan of Fakhr-e-Alam(Yatagan), she asked Junaid about him.”I know him,” was his  reply. The other Vital Signs members were a bit quiet. After the event, there was an official “Parcham Kushai”, flag hoisting ceremony next day, Vital signs were asked to perform in that event too, but they excused sympathetically, since they already had some other commitments and concerts on 14th of August.


I remember we were posted in New Delhi, my father was counselor (culture) and there were some nice plans about celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of Pakistan. Most of us recommended having a concert at Taj on 13th of August, 1997. It was a dazzling evening and indeed one of the most memorable evenings of my life. The High Commission staff ordered a big cake of Pakistan’s map for the golden jubilee anniversary.  Vital Signs started the evening with their hit songs like “Sanwali Saloni”, “Mera Dil”, “Gorey” and some other famous tracks. The show was nicely hosted by Junaid Jamshed. They were looking really stunning and were all dressed in black. Before the VS show, there was a series of some comical skits and parodies. We were anxiously waiting for Vital Signs’ performance. I remember some ladies muttering to each other, “God, I can’t believe that Pakistani men are so dashing and stunning, I am ready to go to Pakistan today”. The show continued for two hours and VS were requested to sing “Dil Dil Pakistan” in the end. Junaid was a bit reluctant and asked his audience before singing the song. But the Indian audience convinced him and they sang their most super hit patriotic track joyfully.

Some old women in their late 70s started developing a crush for Junaid. He laughed and said,
Well, I have young girls going mad in my concerts, but this is the first time that I can see some old ladies as well”.
The show was followed by a cake cutting ceremony. The cake was specially designed like Pakistan’s map; the white area had thick white cream dressing and the green portion was topped with green jam. I still remember being the first one to ask for the biggest piece and still dreaming of some more pieces. Upon returning home, I excitedly told my brother about the autographs. He started making fun of me, “You and autographs, I wonder how Vital Signs gave you autographs, you were dressed like a nerd geek, wearing big glasses on even such a multi-colored event.” I had a fierce fight with him, telling him that I wasn’t a celebrity, just a fan of them, so they gave me the autographs. Next day, I anxiously waited for the pictures. Even my Indian friends were a great fan of the band; they kept asking me questions about the show.



Even today, almost after two decades, they have a huge list of fans, listening to their songs and playing covers.  They managed to create relishing and mesmerizing music in a highly Islamized era, where there wasn’t any concept of concerts and shows, Vital signs had euphoria and charisma of their own. They were different individuals with their unique set of traits.  The band produced only four albums in its eleven years, with very few of the songs going dreadful flops. Towards the end of 90’s, the members started drifting away and shifted their core energies to different fields. They are still legends, but the way they set a fresh trend in a dictatorship epoch, was distinctly appraising. Even today, little is known about the band’s disbanding reasons, but they will always be admired by millions of aficionados all over the world. Even after the disbanding, the VS legends have a whole list of fans. Shahi shifted his energies to music production and mastering, whereas Rohail’s amazing work can be seen at Coke studio. Many bands emerged and disbanded during 1990s, leaving meager information to the fans and world, but people still remember and want to read more and more about Vital Signs, even after twenty three years of band formation.
I attended one concert not of Vital Signs, but of Junaid Jamshed at Services Club Lahore, in 1999. Tickets were selling like hot cakes and we managed to get them only one day prior to the concert. Mom showed keen interest to attend the concert and we both attended it. I initially declined to attend the concert, but agreed afterwards. When the concert started, mom asked me,” I don’t see the dashing guys who came to India with Junaid, I explained her that the band had disbanded and the members had drifted away.
We got seats in the last rows and were quite unhappy with our sitting plan. The show was organized by Col. Nawazish and some other Army people. When suddenly a junior of my father came to us and asked my mom, ”Bhabi, why you are sitting in the last rows, I guess Sadaf is getting quite bored, let us move to the VIP rows.” Mom declined to go but I agreed to proceed to the front rows. Later the audience created so much ruckus that Junaid asked girls to come forward and sit on the carpet, just in front of the stage. I remember it was pretty cold and there weren’t any proper heating arrangements, but the girls felt glad to sit on the carpet. We even sang some songs like “Us Rah Par”, “Aanknon Ko” and “O Sanama” with him. My father and little dog came to pick us when the show ended at 11 pm. Mom and I were very exhausted but kept discussing the show and other things till late at night.
Since only two of my class fellows attended the show, we had some very narrow-minded and customary teachers in our college, who were informed that we had attended the concert. The grapevine traveled so easily. One of them asked me especially next day, Did you attend the concert; I wasn’t expecting it from you at least.” I felt a bit appalling, but didn’t say anything to him, since he was unaware of my fanatical likeliness for the band. In fact some brats came from very conservative and traditional families; they kept pointing and telling me that it was quite ghastly to go to concerts and musical shows and kept making stupid points. Even those who weren’t able to get the tickets exhibited the same attitude. It was a typical “Sour grapes” attitude, indeed and I could feel their envy easily. Even some other teachers kept speaking ill about bands and concerts. Those who had attended it merrily reached a conclusion that it was much better to have that day off from the college. At least we could have saved ourselves from nerdy criticism and orthodox remarks, but there wasn’t any way to avoid the nemesis.