To say that cricket is one of the few things that unite Pakistanis wouldn’t be an understatement.
Be it the diverse ethnicities residing in the country or the expats connected with their nation through Skype and television, everyone feels goosebumps when Saeed Ajmal bowls his doosra. And with Pakistan being considered one of the favourite teams for the upcoming T20 World Cup, Pakistanis can already feel the chilling suspense in their bones. But amidst all the thrill and chaos, one wonders where the cricket-fever music that used to pump us up for the world cup is hiding. Until recently, none of the local bands had come up with a cricket anthem, but now, it seems that Noori has made the official T20 World Cup for Pepsi.
The video, shot in Colombo, is all set for release before the world cup season commences. The audio of the song titled “Dilwalon Khelo Tum” is available on YouTube (which has been temporarily blocked in Pakistan) but despite its brilliant production and powerful vocals by the Ali brothers, the song lacks the energy that is vital for patriotic numbers.
According to the credits on Noori’s YouTube channel, the song has been produced by the well-known Shuja Haider. But since the band members are unwilling to make a statement before the official release of the video, it is difficult to gauge Noori’s involvement in composing the whole song. While the song boasts signature Noori musical elements at first listen, it is not as impactful as the band’s other patriotic and charged numbers.
Is it the kind of song that you will listen to once in a while? Yes. But will you want to play it at the public screening of an intense, nail-biting cricket match? No — because it doesn’t do anything to trigger the Pakistani “Jazba” or “Junoon”.
Songs for events like major cricket tournaments are usually elevated to anthem status, which is why they require finesse not only in terms of song writing but in the lyrical content as well. Nobody is judging Noori’s capability of making anthems — they have anthems like “Suno Kay Mae Hoon Jawan” that sparked a revolution amongst youth.
While a producer such as Haider has made the amazing “Josh-e-Junoon” for the last ODI World Cup, his efforts here seem to be in vain. “Josh-e-Junoon”, which was sung by Ali Azmat, had the potential to be close to, if not as big as “Jazba Junoon”, but a disappointing video successfully prevented that.
If one is to highlight the songs made in the last 10 years, the best contemporary T20 World Cup song was made by Azal called “Saari Duniya Hill Jayegi” (“Conquer the World”). Although they are not as big as Noori, their song fills the listener with a sense of anticipation you feel when you’re about to witness something larger-than-life. The grandeur of their rock music coupled with emotion-stirring lyrics such as “Phir kahin sae googly ayegi saari duniya hil jayegi” gave Pakistanis a track that had the potential to turn into an anthem.
Noori is undoubtedly the only band that deserves the honour of making an anthem song in the time of a dead music industry. But their recent release was a letdown for excited cricket fans.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2012.
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