Stories about Ali Azmat

Dear PCB, are Pakistani artists not good enough for PSL?

As a nation, it is unfortunate how easily we tend to get swayed by anything foreign or international. From music to movies, from sports to popular culture, a white person or foreigner is all it takes for us to get excited and worked up to buy whatever product or message is being sold.  Perhaps this is a manifestation of our colonial hangover that just doesn’t seem to end, or perhaps this represents a deep-rooted inferiority complex within us. Regardless, this sort of a mindset has become deeply ingrained into our nation’s psychology, and is now reflecting in our preferences as well. Lately, the ...

Read Full Post

Coke Studio: New season, new talent, new genres – but is that enough?

Coke Studio launched season 11 with Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Hum Dekhenge, and let’s just say our expectations were sky high due to this beautiful rendition. We were thrilled that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community was represented on such a prominent platform, like any other artist. They showcased inclusiveness by involving various cultural backgrounds, along with certain renowned and raw talent, leaving us eager for more. However, perhaps we spoke too soon. Let’s take a look at all the tracks that have been released so far, starting from the best to the worst, based on my preference. Episode one: Shikwa/Jawab-e-Shikwa It is courageous in itself that Coke ...

Read Full Post

Coke Studio season 11 shows how beautifully diverse Pakistan is

In the midst of an agonising election season, and after the incredible success of Coke Studio Explorer, we just witnessed the release of the Coke Studio season 11 trailer. Leaving us utterly speechless with its ravishing and inclusive rendition of ‘Hum Dekhenge’ by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the song previewed many of the artists who will make their Coke Studio debut this season. Coke Studio has perhaps finally caught on to showcasing new artists that needed mainstream public attention for so long. These new artists are not only well-versed in their melodic symphonies, but also carry a cultural reminder, exemplifying what Pakistan’s ...

Read Full Post

Junaid Jamshed taught me the importance of humility, positivity and staying true to oneself

It has been a year since crooner turned preacher, Junaid Jamshed, passed away in an air crash. He had been coming back from a preaching mission (tableeghi jamaat) in Chitral, when he met his unfortunate demise. Jamshed had gained countless fans during his singing days and was credited for bringing Pakistan out of its Ziaul Haq-induced oppression of the 80s. Eventually, he turned to religion at the turn of the century and earned followers by delivering sermons and naats in his silvery voice. Interestingly, when Jamshed retired at the peak of his career and decided to become more religiously inclined, he remained popular. ...

Read Full Post

Coke Studio season 10 may have had a rocky start, but it has managed to silence its critics with its latest episodes

They say aging makes the wine taste better. That certainly is not the case with subsequent Coke Studio seasons lately. The awful rendition of the national anthem was a terrible lapse of judgment on the director’s part. Things did not quite improve with ‘Sayonee’ either, which was taken as nothing less than an affront on the honour of Ali Azmat as a singer. However, if each episode is viewed song wise, the season has not been half-bad. Yes, I know I may have poked a hornet’s nest here. I myself quite enjoyed episode three, four and five and I shall explain here ...

Read Full Post

How could Salman Ahmed let his masterpiece die a sad death at the hands of singers who were not meant for it?

Being a 90s child, it won’t be wrong to say that we’re the last generation, that among many other endeavours, still like playing the real, traditional Ludo (not Ludo Star). We grew up having a total of two television channels to watch and ran down the hills to find who reached the ground first. We spent all our nights playing board games with our cousins during long summer nights, saved money for a Walkman and eventually witnessed the glorious pop music era in Pakistan. I might sound like an old grandfather glorifying everything from his past while shunning everything today. But I am very certain that ...

Read Full Post

Coke Studio episode 5 is a bag of mixed surprises

I would put down Coke Studio’s episode five as a bag of mixed surprises. I must confess that it did take some time for the compositions to sink in, but gradually, I have developed a liking for most of the tracks now. I call this an ‘overdose syndrome.’ With such an overdose of great music, one finds themselves in a dilemma. Perhaps, if I had listened to some of these compositions independently, I would have developed an instant liking towards them. But with excellent precedents such as Afreen Afreen and Man Kunto Maula, one is cautious in choosing a new favourite. However, the more you listen ...

Read Full Post

Best Independence Day gift ever: Sohni Dharti by Coke Studio

Let me declare firstly, that I’m no music critic. But Coke Studio’s latest rendition of Sohni Dharti has made me so proud, that I’m compelled to chatter about it. The reason behind the song’s success is simply that it nailed all the components of a hit! Firstly, the occasion it catered to was Independence Day. Coke Studio celebrates diverse musical talent; has made a significant presence in the international music scene, and thus gave back to the country, on its birthday. Secondly, the song Sohni Dharti, originally sung by Shehnaz Begum, is a milli naghma (national song) every child and adult has been singing since childhood. So ...

Read Full Post

Game of Thrones Season 6 comes to Pakistan

There are rumours flying around of production beginning on an Indian version of Game of Thrones (GoT). We let India sneak ahead in the nuclear arms race but we seem to be far ahead of them in the television dramas race. However, this could be a game-changer – to ensure we maintain our advantage we must make our own version of GoT before India! To make the job easier for all prospective producers, I have taken the liberty of casting the Pakistani Game of Thrones. 1. Mahira Khan as Daenerys Targaryen Our latest export to Bollywood is really the only option to play ...

Read Full Post

Ali Azmat, you crossed the line

Comic book writer and filmmaker Kevin Smith once said the following words and they are perhaps some of the most profound I have ever read, probably because they resonate on a personal level: “Remember: It costs nothing to encourage an artist, and the potential benefits are staggering. A pat on the back to an artist now could one day result in your favourite film, or the cartoon you love to get stoned watching, or the song that saves your life. Discourage an artist, you get absolutely nothing in return, ever.” As a child I loved to draw and for a ten-year-old I ...

Read Full Post