What do you get when you win a competition called Pepsi Battle of the Bands? An unquenchable thirst to drink Pepsi? Yeah, OK, that too but mainly, a successful pop-rock group.
Named by the godfather of Pakistani pop - Shoaib Mansoor - Aaroh (which means an ascending musical order) ascended to glory in the Pakistani music scene after beating out hundreds of other bands across the country to win the Pepsi Battle of the Bands in 2002. The Karachi-based band would go on to redefine Pakistani pop-rock over the next few years. The band was formed in the late '90s* when Nabeel Nihal Chishty (guitarist) and Farooq Ahmed (vocalist) met with Kamran Khan, Khalid Khan and Adnan Hussain (Keyboards, bass and drums) and thought: 'why the hell not?!'
(*there are conflicting dates on this, with estimates ranging from 1998 to 2001)
These 5 wonder boys soon won the heart of millions of Pakistanis across the globe. 'Aag Ki Tarhan' and ' Sawal' became the most downloaded and voted songs on the official Pepsi battle of bands website and their buzz flooed all the leading music forums back when music fanatics hung out in the cyberspace over dialup connections. Their first album Sawaal was released in 2003 and featured hits like “Na kaho”, “Jalan” and “Jeeyey”. However, the happiness was clouded when Nabeel decided to cross the border and collaborate with the Indian singer KK to produce the title track of the Bollywood movie Rakht. This wasn't received well by the rest of the band members and ended up derailing the band over the issue of ownership over the rights of Aaroh.
Eventually, a new guitarist by the name of Haider Hashmi joined the group and he was part of the next album released by the band – Raag Neela in 2006. A controversial and critically acclaimed album, tracks like "Raag Neela", "Pyaar Ka Jaal" and "Janay Kyun" gained huge success, but it turned out to be the band's final hurrah. In 2009, the members of Aaroh mutually decided on finishing their band in 2009 to go in their own directions, leaving behind a lot of sad, heartbroken fans.