Aaroh have officially split up. The band was an underground phenomenon for a long time till they emerged the victors in the much touted Battle of the Bands. They were promised an album release by Pepsi which never happened (Pepsi as usual) and eventually, the runners up at the battle, EP went on to consolidate themselves while Aaroh waited in the wings. They came out with one album last year that sold moderately well. And now they have split.
The lead singer Farooq Ahmed called a press conference at his house on the 22nd of March which was also attended by Khalid, the bass player of Aaroh where Farooq stated that the two of them along with Jason are the band Aaroh, and that Nabeel Chishty (guitarist) and Kamran Khan (keyboard player) have given up the rights to this name to them. "I have the legalities covered,"stated Farooq quite confidently at the press conference.
The same week, Instep received Nabeel Chishty's version of the story. According to Nabeel, the guitarist of Aaroh and the producer of their first album, which states: "We can provide legal documents showing that Aaroh is Nabeel and Kamran's legal property and a known figure such as Shoaib Mansoor is the biggest proof to state this fact." From Battle of the Bands to the battle for a name – how the mighty fall!
At the press conference, Farooq and Khalid described at length the reasons for their break up. They began by saying that all had been mutually decided, then launched into an explaination about how Kamran and Nabeel had gone to India on Aaroh's expense and struck up a deal with Mahesh Majrekar to provide music for a film called "Rakht" with a singer called Rahat Ali (nephew of Ustad Shaukat Ali). Farooq and Khalid allege that they went there using Aaroh's name and then decided to rope in another singer.
Nabeel Chishty's rather lengthy explanatory e-mail tells of Aaroh's policy to give band members freedom to work with other musicians - a rather mature attitude to my way of thinking. Khalid, the bass player did play with Mizraab and last one also spotted him session playing for Fuzon at one of their shows. A man has to earn his living even though the fate of his band hangs in balance.
One thing is for sure, Aaroh, as one has known it is over. A band is always more than the sum of its parts. When the whole disintegrates the band is finished. And even though Shoaib Mansoor may have suggested it, a name is still a name. Fighting over it looks like an exercise in futility. For crying out loud Aaroh is just one album old.
The press conference was ridiculous to say the least. Farooq and Khalid are obviously not accomplished media managers. They were helped by Immu from Fuzon who was there and was very obviously on their side. He asked more questions than any member of the press and answered more than the two band members. He shouldn't do this; it only makes him look bad. Fuzon should not be seen butting into the business of the band formerly known as Aaroh.
At the end of the day, I don't believe either sides will go to court, though they both say that they have ample proof. Aaroh is a band that never consolidated itself. At the end of the day Kamran Khan (Kami) is an accomplished producer and he struck up a relationship with Nabeel who had similar inclinations. These two were the managerial and technical backbone of Aaroh. That is a fact that even Farooq and Khalid did not dispute at their press conference. But then again, Farooq Ahmed is the frontman and reality is that he is the identity of the band – Jim Morrison for The Doors, Kurt Cobain for Nirvana and Eddie Vedder for Pearl Jam. The Doors did come out with an album after Morrison's demise and it failed miserably. As I mentioned before, Aaroh's identity is finished with this fatal split right down the middle. It's quite unlike Salman Ahmed leaving the Vital Signs' and their band name was never disputed. Salman formed a band Junoon which became the first premier rock band of Pakistan.
For whatever its worth, the name Aaroh will work better for Farooq Ahmed because their primary reputation is based on his high-energy stage performance. However, the future looks brighter for Kamran Khan and Nabeel Chishty because they are more accomplished musicians with a lot of experience behind them. It would be magnanimous of them to give up the rights to the name Aaroh. I'm sure Shoaib Mansoor can come up with another good one for them!Muniba Kamal