The past few months have been quite exciting for Pakistani pop rock band Roxen — from collaborating with pop icon Mohsin Raza Khan (popularly known as Bunny) to their latest stint in Bollywood, the band has returned with a bang. The video of their latest song “Jo Tere Sang” for the Mukesh Bhatt film Blood Money has already created a buzz on social media. However, whatever critics have to say about his latest venture, one thing is for sure: Roxen knows how to impress the Indian audience and testimony to this fact is that “Jo Tere Sang” has all the ingredients required to make a music album work in Bollywood.
With “Jo Tere Sang”, Mustafa Zahid, lead vocalist of the Lahore-based band, has used his voice to the best of his capabilities. More so, the band has by now mastered the art of making commercially hit music for Bollywood — something that can sell your film (even if it’s bad) and tracks that can be played and enjoyed at dance clubs.
Although, Roxen has composed some of the other tracks of the film as well — for instance, “Teri Yaadon” and “Gunaah” — “Jo Tere Sang” stands out due to its catchy melody. That said, a Roxen fan would immediately notice that the quality of their music in “Jo Tere Sang” doesn’t even come close to the standards they set in their first album Rozen-e-Deewar, a hugely popular pop rock album. The album was so influential and captured so many hearts that the band managed to make a cult of its own following its release in 2006. Additionally, Roxen seems to be forgetting that they got their first ticket to Bollywood precisely because of their original work. Songs like “Tera Mera Rishta” and “Tau Phir Aao” were so popular (not only in Pakistan but in India as well ) that they were later featured in the Emraan Hashmi starrer Awarapan.
However, there is a thin line between wanting to appeal to a target audience and staying true to yourself. And Roxen, after their stints with Bollywood, seem to be teetering on the edge of losing their touch. Only their second album will tell whether they continue to choose commercial success or whether they still have an iota of originality left.
Blood Money, an upcoming Bollywood thriller, is directed by Vishal Mahadkar, and produced by Mukesh Bhatt. The film stars Kunal Khemu opposite Amrita Puri in lead roles and is scheduled to release all over the world on March 30.
Blood Money is about a young boy, Kunal (Khemu) who is in love with Arzoo (Puri), however her parents don’t allow her to marry Kunal, who is not financially stable. The two then decide to elope and move to Cape Town, South Africa. There, Kunal starts to work in a small business of diamond-exporting, only to later find out that he has become entrenched in the mafia.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2012.