Junoon’s reunion gig, a concert for Pakistan | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Junoon’s reunion gig, a concert for Pakistan

Pakistan Press Foundation

After a successful reunion of sorts of one of Pakistan’s pioneering music group Junoon, first in the form of an announcement featuring the big three – Ali Azmat, Brian O’ Connell and Salman Ahmed – followed by a music video of ‘Khudi’, Peek Freans Sooper has managed to get the music giants onboard for a live performance. The reunion concert, which is taking place at the DHA Sports Club (Moin Khan Academy) from 5pm onwards today, will feature band members Ali Azmat, Salman Ahmed and Brian O’Connell live onstage, together after 13 years; something that many brands tried but were unsuccessful.

When asked how English Biscuit Manufacturers (EBM) managed to do what no one else had been able to pull off, Ayesha Janjua, Head of Marketing, EBM told Instep: “We started the ‘Sooper Hai Pakistan’ campaign to build patriotism in the youth of Pakistan three years back. As part of that initiative, when we thought of doing something very iconic that could connect across different age-groups, Junoon and reunification of the band was the answer.”

She further added: “I am sure a lot of efforts would have been made by different brands to get them onboard but for us what worked was our cause which was about Pakistan. It is something that instantly connected with the band Junoon and it didn’t take a lot of convincing them to get together. They could instantly relate to the vision they had for Pakistan and conceptually, it was a great combination.”

“We felt it was our responsibility – being the largest national brand in our category – that we should own patriotism and nationalism towards Pakistan,” added Shahzain Munir, Director of EBM. “Junoon felt the same way. What they have been trying to communicate with their music from the time of their inception and until right now is promoting positivity and unity.”

The event is scheduled to take place on December 25, the birth anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam. Was this by design or purely coincidental, we asked.

“It is absolutely by design,” Shahzain responded. “We announced the reunion of the band through a music video on August 14 (Pakistan’s Independence Day) and we thought that the best day for the reunion concert would be December 25, Quaid-e-Azam’s birthday. It’s a holiday for everyone; it gives families and people an activity to come together and celebrate.”

The Junoon reunion concert is going to be a huge event with thousands of people, expected in attendance. There are multiple enclosures designed to cater to the needs of audience; Bronze Circle (families only), Pink Circle (women only) while Golden and Silver circles will have a mix of both genders. Considering the footfall, as almost all of the tickets have sold out, it is a wonder how management will ensure security.

“For an event of this magnitude, security is our primary concern,” Ayesha assured, adding that they have multiple teams onboard and there is nothing to worry about.

Shahzain added that they have the cooperation of the rangers, police and the government to ensure safety measures on all parameters.

People in Karachi will be able to cherish the moment Junoon takes the stage and relive old memories and create new ones. However, we are curious to know if this gig is a first in a series of concerts or just a one-off event. What’s next for Junoon after this concert?

“We as Sooper have reunited the band and we are also giving Pakistan their first reunion concert,” Ayesha asserted. “I think, after this, the band will definitely be on its own going to different cities and performing, not just in Pakistan but outside as well. Together with Junoon, we have achieved the impossible. We are doing just one concert because we wanted to do a mega concert that is one of a kind and has never been done before in Pakistan.”

Aside from Junoon, the concert features quite a few artists as the opening acts. The lineup is interesting and diverse comprising Sounds of Kolachi, Khumariyaan, Tamasha and Lyari underground.

Reflecting on the opening acts and these newer bands that will take the stage before Junoon, Ayesha shared, “When we talk about ‘Sooper Hai Pakistan’, we are giving you the most iconic band but we are also showcasing what the new, upcoming talent in Pakistan; we have a lot of talent in Pakistan. Somehow the opportunity to showcase that talent had dwindled in the recent past. It is a great thing brands are taking the initiative to promote music, not just here but across the world. The mix of bands for the opening acts is to cover the new sound of music that the millennials don’t relate to. But the promo of Junoon’s concert for which we had over 500 musicians onboard comprised different age groups. What’s unique about Junoon is that their songs are iconic and they are classic. Even the younger generation knows ‘Jazba Junoon’ and they can relate to it.”

“It is also about building knowledge for an even younger crowd through this concert. It is a great thing for our arts and culture, which we should hold dear to us as a country,” she said on an optimistic note.

What was it like working with Geo and Jang Group?

“The partnership with Geo and Jang Group was amazing. We are very impressed with their pace, passion and professionalism. When they believe in something, it really shows not only on their screens, papers and digital assets but in their people from their leadership to their junior team members. Their partnership helped convert a project into an actual cause.”

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