Pakistan Link - Friday 13, 1997
San Francisco Bay Area Celebrates Eid Milan Night,
Janice Miller Stays Out

Haroon Ahmed
Hayward, Ca

Harjeet Mehndi (Right) and Kajal

Heavy rains and thunder storms failed to dampen the spirits of about five hundred men, women and children who came to Spangenberg Theater in Gunn High School on the eve of February 7th, 1998 to celebrate Eid Milan Night. Under the banner of the Pakistani American Association of San Francisco Bay Area, three versatile performers: Harjeet Mehndi, Kajal and Janice Miller were scheduled to perform for more than four consecutive hours. However, things at the last minute did not work out between Janice Miller and the organizers, and as a result the audience ended up with two out of three performers. Once again Mehran restaurant was the caterer at the event, and long lines at Mehran's table even before the show officially opened were a sure sign of the restaurant's popularity. The mistress of the ceremonies for the night was none other than our very own Mrs. Fridous Kamran who has been rendering her services to the community for quite some time now.

Harjeet Mehndi, brother of much celebrated Daler Mehndi was the opening act for the night. Harjeet along with his band of accomplished musicians captured hearts of music lovers by delivering a spectacular performance. He initiated his segment with slow Indian ballads like the famous number "Do Dil Mil Rahey Hain", and soon followed them up with other energetic Pakistani and Indian hits. Songs which brought the audience to its feet included Vital Signs "Goray Rang Ka Zamana"' Daler Mehndi's "Bolo Tara ra a", and Abrar's "Billo Dey Ghar". Harjeet's band featured a team of talented musicians including a live drummer which is quite a novelty in these days of technological advancements in music. Harjeet was very successful at creating a high-energy mood for other performers to follow. However, a little negative energy temporarily encircled the auditorium, as it was time for the second performer of the night to take hold of stage.

The second, and probably the most awaited, performer of the night was Janice Miller, who in recent years has gotten a lot of support from the San Francisco Bay Area audience. A lot of Ms. Miller fans covered vast distances in severe weather only to confront the disappointing fact that she did not perform. The Pakistani American Association of SF Bay Area has notified that Ms. Miller changed her mind at the last minute about accepting her payment by cheque, and instead demanded for cash payment prior to her act. The Association paid all performers of the night with cheque, for record keeping purposes. Furthermore, it has been informed that Ms. Miller did not honor the commitment of being in the Bay Area or at the auditorium at the agreed upon times. While negotiations with Ms. Miller were taking place back stage, Harjeet kept the audience busy by energizing the stage one more time with a short Punjabi segment. Next for a few moments things looked like they were getting back on track as Mrs. Firdous Kamran cordially announced Janice Miller's entrance.

Clad in a blue glittering gharrara, Janice took hold of the mike only to announce to the public that she has not been paid and consequently will not go on tonight. As soon as Janice departed, Mrs. Firdous explained the dilemma at hand to the disappointed audience and showed the cheque that Ms. Miller was refusing to accept. According to the organizers of the event, while back stage Ms. Miller aggressively bad-mouthed the Association, after which the Board of Association took the decision not to let her go on the stage.

The third performer of the night was Kajal whose performance was nothing short of perfection. Kajal and her ever-accomplished band performed a beautiful strand of renowned Indian and Pakistani hits. Kajal's skillful vocals are equivalent to any professional in the field back home, and one only wonder if Janice Miller would not have been overshadowed if she had actually performed the same night. Kajal showed her versatility by carrying out a wide variety of numbers ranging from Ghazals to Halla Galla songs. For a lot of Pakistanis, Kajal's presentation of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's "Afareen Afareen" brought back memories of the late star.

Both Harjeet and Kajal, along with their bands, sustained such mind-blowing performance that Janice Miller's decline from the scene was hardly felt. Both performers have prolonged histories with Pakistani communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, and invariably treasure an opportunity to perform live for them.

Our LA office adds: Ms. Janice Miller called Pakistan Link on Monday, Feb. 10 to complain about the alleged mistreatment she received from the Association officials. Ms. Miller told the Link that she had told the organizers way several days before that she would not accept cheque. She said it's known to every organizer in the US that I do not accept cheques "because of tax purposes." Also in a letter faxed to the Link, she said she did not accept the payment through cheque because she knew the Association would stop payment on it. She said she went on the stage that until she was paid in full in cash she would not perform. "Then within 6 minutes they came up with the cash and then they decided to refuse to allow me to perform and pay me," Miller said in the written statement. "This association knew very well I would not perform without cash in advance, they had not intention to pay me in the first place for various reasons. This is also why Kajal was there to perform so that if they were not successful by trying to trick me into accepting the cheque their show would still go on," Miller added. She said: "I never said anything against Pakistani people….I love them very much and I just hope they forgive me and understand I will make it up them someday."