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Badnaam band
The band "Badnaam" from Pepsi's battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands, first aired in 2002 was revived by Pepsi as it started airing a reality TV series under the name of ‘Pepsi: Battle of the Bands’

A handful of talented bands were selected this Season, judged by the most amazing Fawad Khan, Meesha Shafi and Farooq Ahmed in the auditions round. In the knockout rounds, Fawad Khan, Meesha Shafi, Atif Aslam and Shahi Hasan served as the judges, knocking out 18 teams from the selected 20 and now we’re only left with the finalists: two bands, but there’s going to be one winner.

The competition’s tough without doubt, and you can help one band win by voting for them. We got in contact with the one of the finalist bands, Badnaam, and found out some pretty interesting stories about them.

The “Badnaam” boys:

Badnaam consists of 3 extremely talented men. Ahmed Jilani, who’s the lead vocalist and leadman of the band. There’s Muhammad Ahsan aka Lala Ahsan, who’s the band’s drummer. And finally Rahim Shahbaz aka Sunny, is the band bassist. Background check? We did it.

Jilani is a graduate of computer sciences who worked as an IT head for a multinational company.

@ahmedjilaniofficial the rockstar #pepsibattleofthebands #bandsareback #badnaam #grungefolk #trio

A post shared by Badnaam (@officialbadnaam) on

Lala Ahsan, who’s not exactly pathan but everyone just calls him Lala (app sab ke bharay bhai ko kiya?) is a graduate in Textile design from NCA.

And finally, Sunny, who worked in a law firm for years, ended up working as an interior designer. Oh, the Lord works in mysterious ways. But how did the three end up together?

Well, some 10 years ago, Badnaam came into being in a dim lit basement in model town, which was dirty, kind of smelly, and had nothing but loud amps and a drum kit. Today, these 3 have left their careers to solely focus on music, and Lala believes unki mehnat rangg laye gi. (hum appke saath hain, quom ke Lala!)

The journey with Battle of the Bands:

Ending up at Pepsi’s Battle of the Bands is a story on its own. Well, looks like Jilani’s looking to get married (please keep in mind). While searching for jobs, he came across the ad of Battle of the Bands, and with hardly much discussion with the other members, he applied and the three starting jamming for the auditions. They received their tickets for the audition in Karachi, and just for the sake of ‘jahaz ki sair’, they went and auditioned. They were amongst the top 8 out of 500 entries, and Fawad Khan said some iconic words after their audition,

‘Yeh jo app itni badtameezi se bajatay hain, mujhe ye bohot pasand hai’

Once again, fighting for the window seat they reached back to Lahore and throughout their performances they have been consistent in being one of the top ones. They were never really in the danger zone, and were called wonderful titles like ‘the Power House’, ‘wall of sound’ etc.

In the first round, they played the iconic folk song Kala Jora Paa, which instantly stood out. In the top 6, they played an original song called Khwaja ki Diwani. In the top 4, Badnaam played Sham-e-Qalander. In the top 3 they played Bismillah Karan which has been their best yet. The judges gave a standing ovation on this song, which was the first standing ovation that any band received in this season of Battle of the Bands. You can see the reaction of the judges here:

The band says that ‘piyaar jitna hota hai, phadday bhi utnay he hotay hain’, they think that the practices of Bismillah Karan in the jam room were better than that which was performed on stage, and Lala says that Jillani gave him a ‘I’m gonna kill you’ look on stage. But the standing ovation took it all away, and it was the best moment they could have asked for.

Throughout this journey of Battle of the Bands, Badnaam has re-discovered themselves, and whether or not they win in the finals, they’re going to keep playing music. Its a passion they have, like Arsalan Hasan, a student from Lahore who’s balancing his studies and life with his passion for music. Badnaam wants to make music meaningful, and music is a source they have to convey their message to the public. Everyone has a talent, but a passion for that talent is what leads them to the top. Not much is happening in Pakistan to bring forth our talented artists, and Pepsi’s platform was indeed a great initiative.

Now the final episode of this season will air on the 10th of September, Sunday. Badnaam will compete against the band ‘Kashmir’. The audience and fans will have to start voting through their phones for the band they love best. And I’ll give you two reasons WHY you should vote for Badnaam:

1. Ahmed Jillani ki shaadi rukki hui hai, help a brother get married yaar.

2. Bas aik he reason tha. Bohot important hai. Understand it. And feel it! Also, everyone needs to know who the new Lala in town is.

Vote for the team you think deserves to win Pepsi’s Battle of the Bands this season, starting Saturday at 12PM through texts or the official website of Pepsi, Battle of the Bands.

We wish both, Badnaam and Kashmir the very best of luck for the finale. May the best band win, and pursue their passion for music to a higher level!

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