At the Lux Style Awards earlier this month, the Josh band member from across the border commented on how the music industry in India was really the film industry; any music not fit for Bollywood, just wouldn’t fly. Pakistan on the other hand, was where people were making music for the sake of making music, not to tie it to another product to get either to sell.
For all the living room analysts, claiming (and yet waiting to claim) the death knell for music in Pakistan, goodbye.
At the beginning of the year, Images on Sunday talked about some of the more exciting news to look forward to from the world of music. Knowing the potential of our country, we included a disclaimer about how, while we wished all projects would materialise, many of them might not see the light of day. And while some of them are still looking to happen, the past few months have yielded enough material for anyone in love with music to go out and look for it; Quratulain Baloch’s Woh Humsafar Tha, Adil Omar’s third single, Kailash Kher coming to Karachi, etc.
In no particular order, we present to you some of the biggest, best (and really just newsworthy) sounds from the music industry:
Ali Gul Pir isn’t really a musican. His forte is standup comedy — you might have recognised him as Misbah-ul-Haq in the ridiculously funny Misbah Tuk Tuk video on YouTube, or as he jives with Azfar and co. on the Who’s Line is it Anyway-inspired show, Light On Hai. But if you thought Baighairat Brigade’s Aloo Anday was a hit last year, Waderai ka Beta was off the charts; in just 10 days it had amassed over 700,000 views on Youtube and at last count it had passed 1.6 million. If Ali Gul Pir had gotten any more views on Youtube, he would either have become an international phenomenon or would be teaching classes on how to make videos go viral.
As it is he’s turned into a speaker these days, valued for his two cents at events such as the Social Media Mela which happened at Avari in Karachi a couple weeks ago. And like he did at the International Music Day at Port Grand, he performed Waderai ka Beta on stage, getting half the crowd to chant along to our new favorite saying, “Saeen tou Saeen, Saeen ka (insert whatever you want here) bhi Saeen”. The line is now firmly entrenched in youth culture. Unfortunately a number of local nationalists chose to take offense to the video — despite the fact that Ali is from Sindh himself. “I tried explaining the point of the video to them, that it was just meant to be funny, not to poke fun at anyone. I’m not a son of a wadera myself. But I’m glad they’re watching it at least.”
The song came about by accident; mostly a result of being broke after graduating from college. “I had no electricity, no food and nothing to do when I wrote this song,” says Ali. For two months, the song lay around his apartment until one day, his troupe, the appropriately named Vital Saeens decided to shoot a video around it. “We rented the hummer for about Rs2,000; the lights and equipment for about Rs5,000; I had to feed everyone involved which took another Rs2,000 or so. I don’t think the video cost more than Rs12,000-15,000.”
For everyone else that complains about not having enough funds to shoot a video, Ali Gul Pir just took care of your excuse. “I have a ton of fame now,” said Ali, in his usual candid demeanor. “Just need the money to start pouring in.”