Pakistani music lovers were in for a shocking surprise when it was announced by Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA) that sufi-rock Pakistani band, Mekaal Hasan Band’s (MHB) album Andholan was disqualified from the Best Rock Album category owing to its "foreign origins".
The news comes in just a week after it was announced by the platform that the album, which is a joint effort of MHB and Indian vocalist Sharmistha Chatterjee, had been nominated in the awards.
The decision also comes as a shock to the band who is confused about GIMA's reasons for dropping out the album.
“It is very disappointing and honestly speaking, I fail to understand the reason for cancelling our nomination because their requirements are not clear—their rules are ambiguous," the band's guitarist Mekaal Hasan told Dawn.
"We didn’t ask for a nomination in the first place and given that they deemed us worthy enough to be nominated, disqualifying now doesn’t really make sense to me. The album was not recorded solely in Pakistan, rather half of the work was done in India.”
Mekaal also questions the title of the awards, which is Global Indian Music Awards.
“If the awards are global then what’s the issue in having collaboration from two countries? I think they should change ‘global’ to ‘domestic’ — dharti k andar ka he ho phir.
Instead of being a harbinger of peace and love, this decision will only create rifts between both nations because it will appear as if they removed us because of our Pakistani origins.”
The artiste also pointed out that Coke Studio nomination did have foreign origin as well because mastering was done abroad.
Sharing his grievances, Mekaal also referred to the 2010 GIMA when Rahat Fateh Ali Khan won Best Non Film Music Album award for 'Aman Ki Asha' with Indian singer Shankar Mahadevan.
|Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shankar Mahadevan won the award for their album 'Aman Ki Asha'. – Screenshot|
He further said that a protest has also been lodged:
"We are awaiting a reply from the auditors and we have lodged a protest letter via Times to GIMA. They have to send an official letter to explain their position."
Vocalist Sharmistha Chatterjee also shared her sentiments on Facebook, and said that it was "heart-breaking".
GIMA is known for celebrating musicians who contribute to Bollywood films as well as those who release non-Bollywood songs in categories of ‘Film Music Nominees’ and ‘non-film music nominees.’
The nominations include great artistes like A R Rehman and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
MHB released Andholan last year after a hiatus of five years, their previous two albums being Sampooran and Saptak.