One pound fish to million pound hit!

Published: January 4, 2013

"Come on ladies, come on ladies; one pound fish. Have-a, have-a look, one pound fish. Very, very good, very, very cheap, one pound fish” he yelled.

An artist by nature and a talent in the making – the story of Muhammad Nazir is truly awe-inspiring.

By means of introduction, Nazir was a student and a part time fishmonger based in the UK. Originally from Pattoki (a small town near Lahore), Nazir migrated to the UK in hopes of a brighter future, and boy, was he in for a surprise!

He possessed a unique, charming style of selling his product; he sang to the ladies. A marketing expert, Nazir insisted that if he was able to get the ladies to buy his product, the males would follow their lead. Surprisingly, he was absolutely right! People poured in.

Nazir provided free entertainment with his ingenious strategy and the people enjoyed his little display.

“Come on ladies, come on ladies; one pound fish! Have-a, have-a look, one pound fish! Very, very good, very, very cheap, one pound fish!”

After hearing this fabulous and extremely catchy song, I have no choice but to seek professional help to get this tune out of my head! I find myself repeatedly humming the bell-beat tune or muttering the lyrics under my breath!

And, here we go again, “very very good…!”

These are the very words he used to serenade consumers and this catchy song, one fine day, got recorded and uploaded to YouTube. That’s how it started.

Shortly after this he was approached and asked to make a proper video and song out of his jingle.

The video transforms this raw tune into a widely appreciated song. Featuring Muhammad Nazir himself, along with a few attractive women on either side it is also able to capture the true essence of the song. However, what is interesting to note here is the perfect blend of two cultures embedded in the video – a South Asian male surrounded by white women, dressed in clothes with very Middle Eastern embellishment, truly makes it appealing on a whole new level.

(Nazir breaking it down with the ladies in the One Pound Fish music video. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT)

Like Gangnam Style, I believe that the popularity of this song stems from the sheer hilarity of it; it’s funny starting from the authentic Pakistani accent to the British women mimicking Pakistani actresses. The video gives us a break from the conventional music videos and as humans we are attracted to change, of any sort. That’s why people are pulled towards it.

Nazir’s song has become a worldwide hit, securing the top position in UK Asian Chart, #5 in UK Dance Chart and #29 in UK singles chart. This song is also easily available on iTunes.

Whether it is the sheer stupidity of the song, or the ingenuity of the concept, people seem to love it! All I can say is that there are a number of thailawalla’s here in Pakistan who could be millionaires in the making.

Regardless, Nazir’s has carried his fame with dignity and hasn’t looked back.

Muhammad Nazir is already a big sensation in the UK; the views of One Pound Fish on YouTube are constantly multiplying and although the ban of YouTube in Pakistan hinders its support and recognition, this video has crossed the four million mark in terms of hits!

Moreover, this song has been performed and remixed by numerous celebrities such as Timbaland, Alesha Dixon and Mindless Behavior.

Call it a blessing in disguise, but when Nazir was told to fly back to his home country and sort out his paperwork, he was greeted like a superstar at the airport. He was greeted by an eager and overly excited crowd showing their support by lifting him up on their shoulders.

(The crowd at home greets Muhammad Nazir. PHOTO: AFP)

He was also showered with flowers and kissed adoringly by his mother.

(Muhammad Nazir hugging his mother. PHOTO: AFP)

Yes, he hasn’t won a major tournament or a metal ornament, but he has won the hearts of many. Talent comes in many forms and Pakistanis have proven that they have no dearth of this.

Pakistanis are always looking for something to cheer about, finding our joys in the littlest of things. We need an excuse to celebrate, and Muhammad Nazir has given us another reason -fishy as it is- to be proud.

Nazir, I wish you all the best in your future endeavours that I am sure you will face and I thank you for giving us hope and laughter in the bleakest of times!

Read more by Zeeshan here or follow him on Twitter @XeeSheikh

Zeeshan Sheikh

Zeeshan Sheikh

A born marketeer and strategist, Zeeshan loves to write about and discuss technology, archaeology and science. He tweets as @XeeSheikh

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Pessimist

    The song is horrible and I don’t know why people like it. Then again, majority of the music today is simply trash.

    I read that this man went to UK on a student visa and when his visa expired, he was staying there illegally. That is a crime and the fact that such criminals are honored in Pakistan is depressing. How on earth can people say that he is ‘following his dream’.

    People like him who enter UK on a student visa (with no intention of studying) have made it very difficult for genuine students to get a student visa now. I find there is nothing praiseworthy about him.Recommend

  • Shamy

    He said he came back to Pakistan to apply for a French visa. Let me tell you all that you can easily apply for a French Visa while staying in the UK. Do we have proof that he was a migrant in the UK ? Recommend

  • Sana

    oh come on guys! the song is awesome and we should cheer and support this guy…stop being negative on everything.Recommend

  • Supraman

    nice use of pitbull strategy ;), get beautiful women and your song is a hit.Recommend

  • Khurram Malik

    @Pessimist Your user name suggests everything that why you hate the song and infact why you hate everything. Anyway Express tribune is mostly read by Burger Class and Privileged class of Pakistan and the people like you could not understand the struggle of common man that how they leave their families for a cause of uplift of their family life and how hard they strive to earn and their life is a daily struggle and nothing else.
    Also In Pakistan less than 1 percent students can afford the British education from their own pockets but that less than 1 percent think of themselves as the Only ones who deserve to get education only because they were born in the Elite or in Army Officer’s family of Pakistan and i hope somehow this one percent will be wiped out in future.

    @Shamy: Yaar tum Pakistanio ka Karay nikalnay kai Ilawa koi or kaam hai kia???. Other than just undermining your fellow Compatriots and back stabbing in which thing you guys are good at ??Recommend

  • Shaami Lahori

    @Pessimist O bhaijaaan maaf karo. Tum nai Jaisay Student visay par bara teer maar lia hai UK main.!!! In the end you became a pessimist and do something better to become an Optimistic.
    Come one Pessimistic!! Come On Pessimistic….One Pound Fiiiish…one Pound Fiiiish…………Recommend

  • Khawaja

    I think people like Pessimist and Shamy are getting jealous because he has become successful… all the haters i have a message “Sonay ka kalam kharidnay sey likhai achi nahi hoti” success only comes to those who have faith and i guess this guy is one of them, Allah tumhain bohat kamyab karay.Recommend

  • M Kamran Mirza

    Two Thumbs Up…………Recommend

  • Pessimist

    For Khurram Malik:

    You do not know me or where I’m from so do not make silly worthless assumptions. Plus do you know how to read? Do you know why I have a problem with him? Of course you don’t. Your’re just a biased silly man.

    This man went to UK on a student visa without any intentions to study. Once his visa expires he should have renewed it, but he didn’t. He stayed there illegally, which is a crime. However, since he is a Pakistani, I’m guessing it’s ok for him to commit a crime. Are you also aware of how many people (I said people, not Pakistani for a reason), enter UK through student visas and then don’t attend Universities? I’m sure you don’t. Do you know the difficulties honest, hard working students have to go through because of that? No you don’t. Please don’t say claim this 1% figure. I know a lot of students who are studying abroad through scholarships and what nots. Don’t bring the army into this.

    I want to say more, but I doubt it would get past ET’s moderation policy. Before I go, one last line, people should read it carefully:

    ” I do not like this man not because he is a Pakistani, neither do I dislike him because he is ‘poor’. I dislike him because he broke the law and is being rewarded by us for it.”Recommend

  • Pessimist

    My previous comment had numerous spelling & grammar errors. Please ignore them! Apologies. Recommend

  • Khurram Malik

    @Pessimist Mr Pessimist yeah maybe i misunderstood your comment because of the Paindoo Factor embedded in me and also you dont know that Slaughtering English is my favorite Past time…. Also you stated that I should not Bring Military Families in Elite Class. Oh I dont know that Army Families are Sacred Holy Cows for our country.
    Anyway I will repeat Again that kindly reincarnate yourself in a Poor family in Pakistan and then go to the Urdu Medium or Taat School and then try to do FSC rather than levels and then try to ask your father that you want to study abroad but he will not be able to afford it then and then in the end you struggle of Survival in Pakistan will compel you to have a second option and that will be to adopt a different path that will include trespassing Some rules and Regulations to be the bread winners for your family.

    Sometimes Poverty change the rules of the game and also Morality could not be defined in a universal manner and may be a Criminal in your eyes will be an Angel in another perspective my friend.Recommend

  • Pessimist

    For Khurram Malik:

    I honestly do not know where you are going with this. We can continue to debate, but you don’t understand me and I don’t understand you. Also do not give me this ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Again, you don’t know me or my family, so stop making assumptions. I will put a quote at the end of this comment and that will be that. You can reply back, but I’ve said all I wanted to say. Have a nice day.

    ”Poverty is a misfortune, not a privelage”Recommend

  • wakkas

    Nasir 1 pound fish is not new in the market to sell things atleast in Pakistan we already had
    “gol gappe wala aaya gol gappe laaya”Recommend

  • Palwasha

    The song isn’t horrible @Pessimist, you are!…..if the song and every thing is so horrible about this guy why are you commenting here, perhaps you are one of the lonely attention seekers…or may be you got deported or something i dont care but if you dont like it then i think you should get out of this thread…because he is already a star and there is nothing you can do about it and we are proud of people like him who beat the odds to achieve something… for the rest of us we will keep singing and supporting this guy.”come on ladies come on ladies…one pound feeeeshhhh” =PPPRecommend

  • wasif

    hahaha absolutely love this song man, nice write up!Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    For Spaghetti’s sake, Pessimist!

    Of course, the song is horrible. In fact, it’s so horribly weird that, intentionally or unintentionally, it provokes paroxysms of laughter. And that’s the point.

    Also, nobody’s cheering him for staying in UK illegally (this is the first I’m hearing of this, and I have a feeling most of his admirers don’t know about this either). They just like him for his funny, original song.

    Light up, friend, and just enjoy the show.Recommend

  • ali

    “Nazir’s song has become a worldwide hit, securing the top position in UK Asian Chart, #5 in UK Dance Chart and #29 in UK singles chart.”

    Did I read this correctly? UK’s Asian Chart, UK’s Dance Chart and UK’s singles chart???
    How is this a “worldwide” hit?….Do people actually care about the UK charts???

    Here is what I think:

    In addition to the basic fan base, the Biebers and the Psys need a parody circus – someone to make fun of them basically. Not to be left behind, UK has its own clown now. As for the audiences these days, the attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. This is what we need, until something else comes along. Recommend

  • Jamshed

    “After hearing this fabulous and extremely catchy song, I have no choice but to seek professional help to get this tune out of my head!”

    I doubt professinal help would do the author any good. I would agree with Pessimist that this guy was flouting laws in the UK. That puts genuine student applicants in problems and they have to jump through more hoops to get student visas. And pointing out that fact does not, in any way, or should not ne considered as “he hates Pakistanis” etc etc.

    Now the song is not good at all. It is what one hears in cheap movies and that where it will end up – on the dungheap of history. Recommend

  • gp65

    @Pessimist: What you say makes sense. But many times underdogs get sympathy not because they are right but simply because they are underdogs.

    In India and I am sure it is similar in Pakistan, if a cyclist is going the wrong way and has an accident with a car which had the right of way, the bystanders more often than not, will go after the car owner not the cyclist.

    This 1 pound fish man seems like an underdog, so it is unlikely you can win an argument criticizing him, simply on the basis that what you say is logical.Recommend

  • Afnan

    Gangan style n kolaveri di are the best examples that now a days , any super song can get hit n now an addition to that list , one pound fish , lolRecommend

  • Pessimist

    For gp65:

    Yes that is true, but come on! If this man was legally in UK and had this song then I would have simply stated that I do not like this song but I would have also wished him luck at the same time!

    Also I don’t buy this “underdog” notion. There’s nothing underdog worthy about him. He was making a decent living in UK but all on an illegal basis, but it’s ok because he is “under privileged” and wants to feed his children. I suppose next time my home is robbed I shouldn’t do anything because the robber was also unfortunate and blah blah.

    I may come across as rude & arrogant, but I am simply stating my point! Recommend

  • gp65

    @Pessimist: You do realize that I was agreeing with you? I was simply explaining what prompted the others to disagree.Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Loneliberal PK
    For Spaghetti’s sake, Pessimist!
    Of course, the song is horrible. In fact, it’s so horribly weird that, intentionally or unintentionally, it provokes paroxysms of laughter. And that’s the point.

    Is that what the music industry of today has been reduced to? :s
    Honestly speaking, I wouldn’t have imagined you to be a fan.
    Maybe I do need to chill, but then again, I wouldn’t be much of a Pessimist….Recommend

  • Pessimist

    For gp65:

    I didn’t mean to be rude to you, please know it was unintentional. If I was, then I apologize!
    My home burglary mention was in reference to the comment by Khurram Malik. Recommend

  • Analyzer

    The jealous trolls can cry all they want, but we still want ONE POUUNDD FISHHHH :)Recommend

  • Kirkirkir

    Come on ladies, come on ladies; one pound fish! Have-a, have-a look, one pound fish! Very, very good, very, very cheap, one pound fish! awesome article Sheikh, gave me morning smile today.Recommend

  • http://Seoul Faraz

    People from the subcontinent generally don’t respect the rule of the law. So no point in trying to make them understand, The song is horrible, people like it which is fine, I don’t. Also, this guys committed a crime by overstaying on his student visa. No point in bringing the whole poor family background debate in to this, you may be poor but it doesn’t give you a right to break the law. Good for him, British public made him famous and if he makes a fortune using the right channels (legally) I would wish best of luck. But please don’t bring other hardworking genuine students into disrepute. Recommend

  • Parvez

    I salute you for this logical and sensible reply to GP65’s comment.Recommend

  • Parvez

    A singing Pakistani (that to from Punjab ) fishmonger in England and most probably illegally there ……………………if one can’t see the humour in this, then that just too bad.Recommend

  • Mehak Fatima

    @Khurram Malik: very well said!! these are the people who can’t do anything by themselves and can’t see others progressing either. All they know is leg pulling and winging about other’s success. I don’t see anything wrong with what nazir did !!! Way to go NazirRecommend

  • Mehak Fatima

    @Pessimist: your name explains why you are whining about his success!!Recommend

  • FFF

    If he has won this fame, no should be in anger on this. Secondly, he was illegally staying there??? A joke…. Did British get visa to conquer subcontinent, was not their action illegal?? Recommend

  • gp65

    @Pessimist: ” didn’t mean to be rude to you, please know it was unintentional. If I was, then I apologize!
    My home burglary mention was in reference to the comment by Khurram Malik.”

    I did not for a moment think you were rude to me or anyone else. I get what you are saying. Just surprised you were arguing with me when I agree with you. Sort of like preaching to the choir.Recommend

  • xahir

    me like this song…me wants one pond fish now.Recommend

  • xahir

    and please stop fighting……….Recommend

  • Pessimist

    Mehak Fatima
    I don’t see anything wrong with what nazir did !!!

    So according to Miss Mehak Fatima over here, going to UK on a student visa (with no intention of studying) and then staying illegally there is perfectly fine. Bravo, Madam, bravo! And then some Pakistanis wonder why the international community have a negative opinion of them..

    If he has won this fame, no should be in anger on this. Secondly, he was illegally staying there??? A joke…. Did British get visa to conquer subcontinent, was not their action illegal??

    There was no concept of ‘visas’ back then, but perhaps you have a point. But tell me, did Muhammad Bin Qasim obtain a visa to invade the sub-continent? Or was it perfectly legitimate to do so? I’m very curios to know.. Recommend

  • Asra

    Very good article…and people are right it is stupid but its funny and catchy and that made it a success and its funny but its true.Recommend

  • Dave

    There are a bunch of other articles around but this one is far most the most comprehensive thank you.Recommend

  • Optimist

    @Pessimist whats are you a 9 year old ? get a life man stop winning on someones success like a little school girl and perhaps just stop giving explanations its just spoiling your character. we are happy because hes a Paki and he is successful and no matter how much you want to whine about it it wont make a difference because you are nobody and he is somebody. and yeah one more thing don’t let the door hit you on your way out! Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    song = pathetic
    qismat = top ki Recommend

  • ioer

    This was a fluke. That’s all. I can’t believe such trash is hailed as music these days. I don’t care if he is a Pakistani or not, trash music is trash music. a viral video is not proof of artistic capabilities. Compared to other talents in Pakistan, one pound fish falls flat. Recommend

  • jamshed kharian-pak

    @Pessimist: you must not go out of Pakistan to study! there is excelent HEC created by execelent Dr Atta-ur-Rehman here in Pakistan a tiny england could not afford to welcome anymore! future is in Asia particularly in the Islamic world later but sure!Recommend

  • No Body

    Rubbish song & he shud be sent BACK to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ox


  • Zargot

    we should proud of such person, at least, he tries to shows a better of image of Pakistan in the west. I hope the best for his future.Recommend

  • TruthPrevails

    don’t be jealous of his success. don’t you guys have any life, visa or not, who cares.Recommend

  • Mariyam Najeeb

    hmmm, another blip on the radar of pop culture. It’s cute, but what I like best is that gangman style and this just opens the door and allows us to participate (?) in international fads that are playful and silly. We need silly, fun and playful sometimes, not everything has to be so seriously “cool”.Recommend

  • AwazofNation

    The end is near…. (cue dramatic score)…Recommend

  • WillWork4Progress

    He dances like my grandpa after too many manhattans.Recommend

  • Saj

    haha i need to get this out of my brains tooo ;).nice read.Recommend

  • PakiKaka

    @Khurram Malik:
    @Mehak Fatima:
    Guys… stop replying to this pessimist chap… His name says it all… He must be one of the indians here who dont have anything to do at home and browse Pakistani newspaper sites to vent their frustrations because for them… all the ills that engulf their largest democracy in the world… is due to Pakistan… Notice how he and other Indians here are the only ones to criticise him while others are taking a lighter view of this blog… That is their job… … If you go to indian newspaper websites you wont even see a single Pakistani commenting there… .. Don’t waste your energy on replying to nincompoops like him. This is their job Take a chill pill. Recommend

  • J man

    Mr. Pessimist… go to Delhi and be a part of the protests against the poor girl who brutally raped and killed by your countrymen… Leave us alone… We don’t need you to tell us what is wrong with our country… We know it and we have enough good humans here to point it out and have it fixed… Recommend

  • Bilal Azeem

    The one pound fish guy’s story is great, but how it is written is better. ;)Recommend

  • Dante

    The song is unique. It’s understandable why it’s popular. But I absolutely do not see it becoming equal to Gangnam Style. Not in a decade.Recommend

  • Shahab khan

    Saddens me to see where our society is leading . Seriously , this ? This is your music taste ? I am a pakistani and very well ashamed of this cheap music video . As einstein once said
    “two things are infinite : the universe m and the human stupidity .I however am unsure about the universe”
    Why am I not surprised seeing people singing and listening to this cheap song now ? :’)Recommend