Strings initially rejected its iconic 'Hai Koi Hum Jaisa', Bilal Maqsood reveals

Strings initially rejected its iconic 'Hai Koi Hum Jaisa', Bilal Maqsood reveals

The band sang the song for the 2003 World Cup but didn't have very good feelings about it while recording.
Updated 26 Jan, 2022

As children who grew up in Pakistan in the early 2000s, the first song we heard when entering any school event was always 'Hai Koi Hum Jaisa' by Strings. While kids of the current generation may not understand the excitement the song brought, we sure have sentimental attachments to the song. But the iconic song almost didn't come into existence — Strings frontman Bilal Maqsood revealed that he and Faisal Kapadia initially rejected it.

In an Instagram video posted on Wednesday, Maqsood sung a little bit of the chorus and explained a few facts about the song. The band was approached by Pepsi for the World Cup 2003 to create a song that incorporated the culture of South Africa, where the tournament was hosted.

"The brief was to include an African chant and before we were approached, we [Strings] released an album called Duur and there were songs like 'Anjane', 'Kuch To Ho Gaya' and 'Jaane Do' and we couldn't come to a decision whether or not we should do this song. From there came the chant 'ae oh ae oh ae oh ah' and then the song went into recording," said Maqsood.

"Everything was set, we had laid the tracks and Faisal was about to go into the vocal booth and that's when I said to myself 'what are we going to do' [and questioned] whether it's right or not. I told Faisal that we shouldn't do the song as it doesn't have a feel and he agreed," he explained. "From our studio we rang the marketing director at Pepsi at that time and told him that we are not doing the song," the 'Sajni' singer said in his video.

He also mentioned that Haroon was the second option and they told the director to pass the song on to the 'Mahbooba' singer who at that time was a brand ambassador. "In response, the director told us to record our vocals and we'll talk later. After completing the song, even then we weren't sure about it," Maqsood revealed.

"It taught me a lesson that the directors, marketeers and corporates who take these decisions aren't always wrong. An artist has his own ego and integrity that he keeps fighting but these forces behind know exactly what's right and wrong. If the marketer had agreed with us at the time, Haroon would've sang the track and it wouldn't have been ours, which happens to be one of the most successful songs of Strings."

Strings' iconic song lives on long after the 2003 tournament and though the band called it quits after 33 years of performing together back in March, it has an entire discography we will always cherish. Who knew that one of our favourite songs almost didn't see the light of day!