Lahore-based band Dr Aur Billa is known for introducing elements of wit and hilarity to Pakistani music with the primary objective of making music fun. With the release of their first album in the ‘90s, almost a decade later, the famous duo has decided to make a smashing comeback with the release of their latest track “Ab Kya Karun”, where director Jawad Bashir has encapsulated the role of “Dr” and Aiyaz Kidwai of “Billa”.
Bashir strongly feels that solid, agenda-free entertainment is the need of the hour, and not the politically-loaded viral videos that are popular today. “There are many people making social and political issues humorous and the concept has become very popular,” he tells The Express Tribune. “But I strongly feel that it depresses people and doesn’t give them any hope. One thing which remains missing is good family entertainment.”
“When we started out, we were the pioneers,” Bashir adds. “There was a need for a bold step to incorporate satire in music. After a while, we saw that the industry had progressed and there were a lot of new bands so as a result, we thought there was no need for Dr Aur Billa.” He explains that they started off when there were very few bands and channels and it was difficult to make it on TV. But now with numerous channels, the check on quality and content has laxed, making it easier for new bands.
“If you look at the channels in the past, they were not conservative but there was still a sense of modesty,” he says. “We want to give good entertainment that caters to all classes, so our goal is good entertainment with responsibility,” he adds, suggesting that they want to maintain the level of modesty that once existed.
The humourous track “Ab Kya Karun” marked Dr Aur Billa’s much awaited comeback. Bashir, who wrote the song, explains that the thought of returning to the music scene occurred to him when his wife was dropping their daughter off to school. The song, which is about the after-effects of marriage, has a pleasant melody along with simple lyrics which is actually the unique selling point of the band. “It’s about a man who isn’t in love at first and asks ‘what should I do?’. Then, when he falls madly in love, the feelings are different. My goal was to target how that man feels now,” Bashir explains the lyrics of the song humourously. “I thought it’s necessary to give a married man’s perspective as well — how he feels when his pockets are empty (when his wife uses up all his money).”
Bashir says that the band doesn’t intend on releasing an album yet, but does have plans of releasing a few tracks on the internet. Currently, the band has two singles in the pipeline. Both are upbeat alternative rock tracks that have catchy tunes; “Kahani Purani” explains how love at the end of the day is the same old story and “Bay Kadri” talks about how no one should fall in love with an ungrateful person. “We thought that some things would change with age, but when we got together it was the same old Dr Aur Billa,” says Bashir. “Both tracks are going to be very upbeat and energetic.”
When asked how Ali Gul Pir of Waderai Ka Beta and other such comedy acts fit into the whole Dr Aur Billa tradition, Bashir humbly responds that they had quit over a decade ago and clearly this style of music has been self-sustaining (with the presence of numerous channels). He adds, “I really appreciate it when I see young musicians continuing the tradition of putting comedy into lyrics. But at the same time, our fans kept asking us to come back despite all the newcomers. They love us and want us back — so why shouldn’t we, for the sake of our fans?”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2012.