Music has a greater influence than cricket, when it comes to improving Indo-Pak relations, believes Faisal Kapadia, lead vocalist of Pakistani band Strings. “In cricket one team wins and the other loses, while in the exchange of music concerts, it’s the audience that wins ultimately,” says he. Faisal alongwith Bilal, the lead guitarist, make up the band. Many a time they have performed live in India.
What’s the band’s take on the controversies of lip syncing, of late doing the rounds in India recently? “Often we are asked to do so by organisers, specially for shows on TV channels,” says Bilal. But he feels it is a crime to lip sync in a live concert. “Given a choice nobody would want to fool the audience,” he says.
Their track ‘Naa Jaane Kyun ..’ from the album Dhaani was included in last year’s Hollywood blockbuster Spiderman-2 . “For us it’s a dream come true, though the song wasn’t there in the movie and was used for the promos only,” avers Bilal. “It’s a giant leap for bands from India and Pakistan both,” he says.
Any specific reasons why Strings was selected? He offers two. “First, the producers were targeting the huge market in the Indian sub-continent for their movie and second, our album Dhaani was doing well at that point of time. So I think Strings was their first choice,” he grins.
Do they miss the other member of the band who left them after their second album, String-2 in 1992? “No, we don’t. We two are comfortable with each other,” says Bilal who keeps a digital recorder to record his thoughts about their next album.
What’s their USP that makes them so popular in India? He takes his time and replies, “I thinks it’s the common language. We either sing in Hindi or in Urdu sometimes,” he says.
“Thanks to the cultural and linguistic similarities we share, it’s almost the same performing in the two countries. But in India it’s Bangalore and Karachi in Pakistan,” avers Bilal who says college-going youth are their target audience. “Initially we never anticipated India would have a market for our music,” he adds.
Is Hindi film music from across the border the inspiration for them? “Yes, we have grown up with Indian film music. And the influence is very much there in our song,” says Bilal. Any favourites? Faisal answers, “I listen to Pandit Jasraj, Roshan Ara Begum and I think Hariharan saab is also very good.” For Bilal it’s Lata and Kishore among others.