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‘India is our second home’

Zulfikar Khan, the oldest member of the Pakistani band, Call, speaks on their India tour, new album and IPL.

music Updated: Jan 29, 2010 21:05 IST
Rachana Dubey Rachana Dubey

CallSo, how's the tour of India going?

So far, so good. We’re heading to Bangalore now.

Your band is a decade old. It disbanded and reformed nine years ago, but you've been with the band throughout...
It was a tough journey. When we started out in Pakistan, our concerts weren't huge. People followed rock and pop music but not the way they do now.

Internet and other technology have helped music patrons to keep up with the changing music trends across the world. An average youngster in Pakistan is as updated on rock and pop as an Indian.

Has this increased your fan following?
When we disbanded back in the '90s, our concerts weren't as big as they are today. Today, when we release an album, we know they sell from store shelves.

Fans across the world can download songs and videos of concert performances from our site. The audience has grown immensely. I think Asian rock music has serious potential to grow and evolve.

When the band came back in 2001, the line-up had changed completely. Didn’t you miss your old line-up?
Yeah, I had a different set of people to work with. But over the last nine years, the line-up hasn't changed at all. Our friends join us for a few sessions in a year but the rest of the band remains the same.

Junaid is on the vocals with me. I also play lead guitarist. Waqar and Sultan are on other instruments. They're my friends despite our age difference.

As for missing my old line-up, I am still in touch with most of them. They have all gone their own ways but they are a part of my life even now. I discuss music with them even now when we sit down for a chat.

Do you feel the band became more popular after the reformation?
Yes. Apart from large-scale concerts, we've released two albums and various singles. We are known in Bollywood for hits like Laree chootee and a song in Aloo Chaat. Work offers from all over the world are pouring in. The band's music has evolved in a good way. Whatever happens is for the best.

Didn’t it pinch you that the song you specially created for Team Pakistan for the 2007 World Cup couldn’t be used because of the team’s early exit from the tournament?
Yes, because we created that song on our own, without having being assigned anything. We were disheartened to know that the team had exited the tournament. Eventually, the song was used when Pakistan made it to the T-20 series and won the World Cup last year. We were happy that our song became an anthem in the country and for the team. Then we realised that the song was released too early. It was meant only for the day Pakistan won the T-20 World Cup.

So, are you making a new track for the Pakistani cricket team for the T-20 World Cup that's coming up after IPL?
We haven’t decided on that yet. We might make a special song this year too.

There aren’t any players chosen from Pakistan for the IPL matches this year. Disappointed?
Hugely! I had actually thought that I'd get to see a lot of drama on the cricket field. IPL has such great viewership.

It sometimes even beats the biggest cricket tournaments across the world. And when India and Pakistan come face to face, the game is a lot more charged and has nail-biting twists. IPL can't be fun without Pakistani players sharing the changing room with Indian players. Anyway, I haven't lost hope yet. There is a second round of auction expected. Maybe then, the Pakistani players will be chosen.

Don't you feel insecure moving around in India, given the current status of political relations between India and Pakistan?
I don't feel insecure or scared to move around India. It's like a second home for me. I agree the situation is not something to talk about but I hope that it will improve. Music and cricket can help resurrect the healthy relationship India and Pakistan once had.

Okay. So when does your next film, Dhoom release?
The album is ready. We plan to bring it out in March-April. Our singles from the album have already become hits. Let's see how the album does!