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Music beyond borders

“It’s like I jumped into the sea without knowing how to swim,” says Farhan Saeed, formerly a part of Pakistani music band Jal, on his new career as a solo musician.

chandigarh Updated: Feb 06, 2014 12:34 IST
Nanki Singh

“It’s like I jumped into the sea without knowing how to swim,” says Farhan Saeed, formerly a part of Pakistani music band Jal, on his new career as a solo musician. Farhan was in Chandigarh on Wednesday to perform at the official launch of F Bar and Lounge.


While the artist says he quit the band due to personal and creative differences, he adds that there is no animosity between him and the band’s members. “We parted ways on good terms, a rare thing to happen amongst bands. We performed together for 10 years and I did not want to bring any controversy to Jal’s name,” says Farhan, further adding, “It seems like bands are destined to part.”

However, with the animosity between Indian and Pakistan in a constant ebb and flow, it is art that is the most affected. Making artists victims of politics is something that Farhan, who’s from Lahore, believes needs to change. "This (music) is a medium for us to connect across borders. So, there should be less political interference in cultural exchange. Whenever something goes awry between the two countries, the next thing you know is India’s cricket team can’t visit Pakistan and vice-versa," he says in despair.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2014/1/Farhan%20Saeedlive_compressed.jpg

While Pakistan is known to support upcoming indie artists as well as traditional artists, Bollywood still reigns supreme in India, observes Farhan. “You can’t be arrogant and think you don’t need Bollywood. You need to collaborate with them and that’s the truth,” he adds. In fact, Farhan believes the Indian film industry is growing by the day. “When I came to India with Jal in 2005, the scenario for bands and non-Bollywood music was quite good. But, on our return in 2009 we were told by our music label that it’s not the case anymore and that space on radio and TV is now mostly reserved for film songs,” he says.

Farhan is a former restaurant owner, he says, who opened an eatery in Lahore in 2005 that was inspired by the Hard Rock Café chain. Though Farhan had wanted to open a Hard Rock Café in Lahore, the chain’s refusal to let him do so caught him by surprise. “I took it to heart and opened a place anyways in 2010, where upcoming musicians could perform and people could visit with their families. It was lovely,” he reminisces, with nostalgia shining in his eyes. The restaurant, however, was closed down two years later as Farhan needed to give time to his music career. But, he plans to open another restaurant soon.

Crediting late singers Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Jagjit Singh as the biggest influences in his formative years, the artist says he was lucky to meet Jagjit Singh in person. “I remember listening to Jagjit ji as a 12-year-old while studying for an exam. Suddenly, there were tears in my eyes since I had never been so moved before. I am so very fortunate that I got to meet him at a performance in Delhi,” he recalls.

Meanwhile, Farhan’s upcoming projects include his music album as a solo artist, Roiyan — a pop-rock blend, as well as a song in Vikram Bhatt’s upcoming horror flick Creature (3D) that he lent voice to.