When Coke Studio 11 announced itself this month with the timely release of the cover of ‘Hum Dekhenge’, it also served as an announcement of artists who will be featured in the upcoming season that begins next month (August 10).
Among the many new faces who will be seen this year is actor Ahad Raza Mir. Given his massive fan following and reputation as one of the most talented actors to watch, the obvious question was what he was doing on the upcoming season. While the material he will perform will remain embargoed until the actual arrival of the show, his entrance has many talking on the interwebs; some are curious, his fans are celebrating and some have been wondering if this is just another star kid getting a slot and a display of the parchi culture?
“Okay, so Vogue’s 73 Questions is this one-take video series. It is really good,” begins Zohaib Kazi. “We saw something akin to it on Instagram. Not exactly like it but we saw Ahad Raza Mir singing a little and playing the guitar on Instagram. When we saw that, we thought he had something. To be able to play right while singing is an art in itself. We decided we should talk to him.”
The universe of co-producers Ali Hamza and Zohaib Kazi, who are running season eleven is not about keeping tabs on who the latest popular TV star is and as they tell it, their awareness of just how big a star Ahad has become in recent years, was miniscule.
“When he came in, and this is an honest thing on his part, he said to listen to him before selecting him. He came back after having rehearsed a song and there was a proper audition,” reveals Zohaib Kazi.
“It is a very important criterion in Coke Studio that artists don’t feel overwhelmed and it ends up shattering the person’s confidence,” adds Zohaib. “The thing about Ahad is that he is confident and can pull off what he’s doing.”
“How many musicians have gone from music to dramas,” laughs Hamza. “This is the opposite. He (Ahad) has done musicals in theatre, outside Pakistan.”
Which means Ahad does have experience and is not a parchi choice, as has been said online.
Both Hamza and Zohaib maintain that his entrance is also not connected to his appearance in a Coca-Cola TVC that released earlier this year. And, like most things that happened on season 11, it was a mixture of intuition, discovery and talent. How Ahad fares on Pakistan’s most debated music series, now in its eleventh year, next month as Coke Studio 11 begins, time will tell.