Those three are at it again. The trio of Hasan Raheem, Maanu and Talal Qureshi, that’s been kicking up a storm online, individually as well as whenever they work together, is back with yet another collaboration, predictably titled Pyaar Hai Asli.

Hold on to your hearts and calm down girls (and boys) — after Sweetu and Kidhar, we have yet another mushy, young, hormonal, naïve-yet-cute love song. Pyaar Hai Asli is primarily by Maanu and features Hasan Raheem and Talal Qureshi on the track as well.

One immediately notices the extended chords played on the electronic keyboards in the song and knows this one is going to be different from the usual chirpy, lovestruck Maanu fare — when he’s not being downright melancholy. Pyaar Hai Asli, with its groovy-yet-moody vibe falls somewhere in between the two extremes.

In terms of the production, it has that haunting quality that the iconic song Blue Jeans, by Lana Del Ray, has. To the untrained ear, the main thematic chords of Pyaar Hai Asli seem to come from the same family as Blue Jeans.

Maanu is head-over-heels in love in Pyaar Hai Asli, a song he has collaborated on with Hasan Raheem and Talal Qureshi

Maanu’s riding high on love in Pyaar Hai Asli as he kicks off the bilingual (English and Urdu) song with a slow rap about how exhilarating this feeling is: “I’ve been thinking that it’s great how na-maloon hun mein [unknown I am]/ Kyunke dil mein ye khushi hai[there’s this happiness in my heart]/ ’Cause this feeling, man, it’s overwhelming me/ Now I’m struggling to see.”

In terms of sound design, this song has everything a song you’d want to play on a date has. It’s uber romantic: we have the extended slow chords, programmed slow percussions, and soulful pipe [wind?] instruments coming in at intervals. The music plays and the song floats. That’s the feeling. That is the vibe.

Hasan Raheem’s section comes in a little abruptly and, at first, seems completely removed from the song. His section grows on you, eventually, but Pyaar Hai Asli could’ve done without it. It doesn’t add anything to the song. I say that as someone who often likes Hasan Raheem’s music, even if he is now starting to become very repetitive and predictable.

Hasan raps rhtymically to an audibly-increased bass in Pyaar Hai Asli about how his world and his art is better and more beautiful ever since the object of his affections came into his life.

Hasan’s second entry into the song is smoother and better synced. He also provides backing vocals to the main chorus from this point onwards.

The main chorus of the song goes: So, hold me close/ Ab se roz/ Tujh se hi jurri meri zindagi hai/ Man this feeling/ Tu hai manzil teray bin kahaani hai adhoori/ Aur jo bhi shikwa hai dil me/ Who mujh ko tu bata de/ Khayalon mein teray hathon mein mera haath hai/ I don’t think there’s a doubt ke ye pyaar hai asli/ Pyaar hai asli

[So, hold me close/ Every day from now/ My life is joined to you/ Man this feeling/ You’re my destination, my story is incomplete without you/ Whatever issue you may have/ Tell me what it is/ In my thoughts, my hand is in your hands/ I don’t think there’s any doubt this is real love/ This is real love]

This is a very listenable track that you can sing along to. This is the perfect love song for those that like a hint of moody (vs preppy) to listen to. I just can’t get Lana Del Ray and Blue Jeans out of my head every single time I listen to Pyaar Hai Asli.

Side note: there’s a trill in the song that appears periodically. It sounds way too much like a traditional telephone and had me take my headphones off at least twice to check if a phone was actually ringing somewhere close by!

Published in Dawn, ICON, May 22nd, 2022

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