From streaming web series to homegrown television dramas on Pakistani TV channels, the idea of soundtracks is not particularly new. In fact, it has picked up significantly in the last few years,...
From streaming web series to homegrown television dramas on Pakistani TV channels, the idea of soundtracks is not particularly new. In fact, it has picked up significantly in the last few years, akin to the rise of OTT platforms and popularity of television serials ahead of other forms of pop culture.
Pakistani audiences may not have access to ZEE5 anymore but the OTT platform is home to several original web serials including Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam, Churails, Dhoop Ki Deewar, Aik Jhooti Love Story and now Mrs & Mr Shameem. Featuring Saba Qabar and Nauman Ijaz as protagonists, the original series is an unconventional love story that aims to dismantle usual tropes bypassing imposition of arbitrary laws by PEMRA via streaming on Zee5.
Between the aforementioned web series and local dramas, the competition in terms of music is getting stronger after stagnation that was once part and parcel of TV dramas. But, not anymore.
If Atif Aslam rose to the occasion when he sang the OST for his debut TV drama role, Sang-e-Mah, OTT streaming genre is also following suit. Take for instance, ZEE5’s recent, Mrs and Mr Shameem. Due to political upheaval between Pakistan and India, the platform is banned in Pakistan, robbing fans from the opportunity of watching a series that took over two years to make and is out-of-the-box.
However, the silver lining is its music that’s available in Pakistan (along with other countries). At least three songs can be found on YouTube featuring some of the biggest names from the local music industry. Among them are songs like a reworked version of ‘Dillagi’, a famous Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan qawwali that still holds a place in our hearts. Co-composed by Sami Khan along with the late NFAK, the OST ‘Dillagi’ features a list of mainstream names such as Fariha Pervez, Sahir Ali Bagga, Zain Ali and Zohaib Ali with lyrics by Purnam Allahabadi and Sami Khan. Is it the best version? No, but its recreation is still a solid effort.
‘Dillagi’ is not the only song from the complex web series.
Another track from Mrs. & Mr. Shameem is called ‘Ishq Bina’ featuring Zain Ali, Zohaib Ali again along with Abeer Hussain in the singing department. Sami Khan, meanwhile, plays the role of composer and lyricist. And though the song isn’t as recognisable as ‘Dillagi’, ‘Ishq Bina’ does have merit. The lyrics as well as the music create a space for the expression of the variety of emotions that are embedded the web series. A third song, echoing a deeper sadness and most recent release is ‘Ajj Lagiya Yeh Pata’. It predominantly rides on the beautiful vocal dexterity of Fariha Parvez who goes solo with the composition by Sami Khan and lyrics by Sami Khan and Aftab. In a noisy world, both on reel and off, this is a delicate production and one that others ought to give at least a listen before righting it off.
– All songs are available on major streaming platforms including Spotify. Check them out!
Ali Zafar announces new album, Husn
With three studio albums (Huqa Pani, Masty and Jhoom), multiple Coke Studio appearances, and several Bollywood films to his name, Ali Zafar appeared in his first Pakistani film, Teefa in Trouble to great success in 2018. Though he has gone on to release other singles as well, including PSL anthems and one-off songs, the musician-turned-actor has turned his full attention to a full-length music album Husn, and released his first single called ‘Maula’.
A Sufi devotional song, as described in the press statement, it is a departure from his signature filmi songs. The lyrics are by Kaamil Hyderabadi while Zafar has composed the song himself.
Speaking about the album, Ali Zafar said in a statement, “We all go through our journey and perceive life in different ways. My upcoming album Husn reflects a certain journey I have gone through as an artist.”
“For me, the most beautiful experience has been the path to an unknown discovery that transcends beyond the realm of reality created by our five senses in the mind that we tend to perceive as ‘reality’,” he added.
Explaining his musical journey in context to Husn, he noted, “Once on that journey, we begin to understand that there is something more to us and our existence where there are no agreements or disagreements.
“Because there is no conversation. Just music in silence and the light inside the darkness. Some things that can only be expressed through the language of music. And that is the beauty of it. The ‘Husn’.”
Directed by Waleed Akram, the music video for ‘Maula’ is shot at the Sheesh Mahal in Lahore Fort. Apart from Ali, it features a group of mystical dancers in Sufi Whirling. “In Sufism, the purpose of the ritual whirling is to empty oneself of all distracting thoughts, entering a trance like state’.”