The approaching bilingual Pakistani film 'Zinda Bhaag' released its first music teaser today with a new age rendition of the first rap hit from Pakistan, 'Pani da Bulbula' or 'Bubble of Water'.
The classic song, originally sung by Yaqub Atif Bulbula, became a massive hit amongst youth in the 60s when it was used in TV dramas by producer Arif Waqar, who also went on to write its English version.
"I used to sing other people's songs and I used to copy them very well. Then one day a famous singer got offended that I had sung his song. After that I prayed that may Allah give me a special talent so that I have a unique style of singing which is my own."
"Since then, I have written and sung my own songs only. I have received so much recognition for my song that now I'm popularly known as 'Bulbula ji''. — Yaqub Atif
Revolving around the lives of three young men and their urge to cut through from their daily life struggles, Zinda Bhaag is expected to weave new records in the local box office.
The people behind this film are Farjad Nabi, Meenu Gaur and Mazhar Zaidi.
Q: Why did you decide to remake this song for the movie?
"The wisdom of the song that life is just a 'pani da bulbula' fits wonderfully with the story of our film. The lyrics draw out how this world is made up of people's desires, aspirations; consumerism is transient like a bubble of water."
"We chose this song because it is quintessential to Pakistani culture. Its references are all local and therefore it is unique. Listen to the lyrics, he's singing about 'Roti, kapra, makaan' which was the PPP slogan in the 70s. Then there is mention of the TV show 'Taakra' hosted by the late Dildar Pervez Bhatti. These are all symbols and references which only local listeners can enjoy".
Q: How do you think it's unique ?
"Have you heard anything like it before?
A lot of people call it the first Punjabi rap song but I don't think it's 'rap' really. It's got this element of nonsense rhyme but which, as a totality is full of wisdom about everyday living. It has a simplicity and sweetness that really appealed to me."
"We've been listening to Pani da Bulbula since childhood and it never leaves your mind. There's another special connection to it through our dear friend Arif Waqar. When Arif sahib was producer for PTV in the 70s it was him who gave Yaqub Atif his big break and the song was a runaway success on PTV. It was also featured in the classic serial Waris. Arif sahib is also credited with writing the English lyrics to this song."
Q: What made you choose Abrar ul Haq to sing this song?
"Well we needed somebody who could match Yaqoob Bulbula saheb's energy and therefore Sahir Ali Bagga suggested Abrar."
"He's got a folk sensibility to his music in which humour and wisdom go hand in hand."
Q: How is Pakistani music different from other film music?
"It's very rich and diverse. So in this one film we have a folk song by Arif Lohar, a qawwali by Rahet Fateh Ali Khan, a bhangra number by Sahir Ali Bagga, a melodious duet by Amanat and Iqra. We are also introducing Saleema Khwaja in a song. When you listen to her voice which we found right next door to us literally is when one realises how high the bar is in terms of music in Pakistan is."
"I guess the industry is so small therefore the artists are much less pressured. There seems to be more space somehow. We have a groundswell of untapped talent which is very raw. I think this puts Pakistani music in a unique place."