Saturday, January 6, 2007

Interview with Atif

Immy: Tell us about your involvement in Kalyug and how it came through?

Atif Aslam:It was because of Mahesh Bhatt. He had already used my song in his movie, Zeher and he had heard 'Aadat' before. So he was inclined to it in his next film. He invited me over and I went to record it in one of the best studios in India.

Immy: But the version you recorded for the movie was in complete contrast to the original one. What do you have to say about that?

Atif Aslam: One has to understand that the Indian market caters to a completely different audience. This is why changes are made to the songs, which are used in a Bollywood movie. They have a market for filmi music, which has a different sound and is nothing like our pop music. Pakistan has its own market. We appreciate pop music and that's why our pop industry is bigger. The lyrics and the melody of 'Aadat' had to be changed – in the original version there is no chorus but in the Kalyug version, there is. Now you see that it's a big hit already and if I hadn't done it, it wouldn't have been a hit.

Immy: The soundtrack has the original version of 'Aadat' as well, why is it there then?

Atif Aslam: No one listens to that version. Everyone listens to the version I recorded. Just to save them from controversy, they wrote, 'music by Jal and singer Atif Aslam'. As I said, they have a different taste in music and that's what they like. I also wanted to test my talents as a playback singer and this is another reason I went ahead to record the song. Various music directors have listened to it and they have all appreciated it. Don't you think that this is tampering with your music?

Atif Aslam: This is not the exploitation of the song in any way. They know their market better and if they think that this is a better version for their market, they are not wrong. We can sit here and criticise a lot of stuff but we don't know what kind of market we are going to deal with once in India so it's better to let them decide. I'll just give you an example, how many of us liked Adnan Sami's 'Lift Karade'? But it was a big hit there. This is how it works. Different strokes for different folks.

Immy: So you don't have any objection to the way the song has been altered?

Atif Aslam: The changes have been done with my consent and I have no objections with it. I initially had a problem with the lyrics, and I made them change the lyrics. I am fine with it now.

Immy: How was the experience of singing or giving your songs for Bollywood productions?

Atif Aslam: The experience has been a great one. I am very popular there and I wouldn't say that I have 'given' my songs. It is because of my singing that I have been getting awards and people know me as a Pakistani who is making it big in India. I am doing it for my country. I am representing it. Yes, I haven't appeared in the latest video of the movie, but that is only because I don't want to represent Bollywood. If I were in the video, I would be representing them. And I repeat that I am not selling my songs!

Immy: But you are representing Bollywood when you sing for them. Don't you think that you should have an upper hand when it comes to music, as it is your music?

Atif Aslam: In a country like Pakistan, there is very little exposure for a singer, and we all want to venture into a bigger market. India is that market for us. The media coverage, the presence and publicity is all on a global scale there. By the grace of God I had an offer from there and at that point in time, I was just 22 years old. Do you think a twenty two year old kid who has just started his music career would say no to a big Bollywood producer who is offering him to include his song in the movie? Isn't this an honour?

Immy: But you can't sell out just for honour. You have to keep in mind that it is your music and you should be compensated for it?

Atif Aslam: I didn't sell it for free, obviously.

Immy: So what about the plans for releasing your new album?

Atif Aslam: It will be out within the next six months.

Immy: What is the sound of your upcoming album?

Atif Aslam: I have changed it as compare to my debut album. For me, music has no limits. It doesn't have much classical music to it, the sound is soft rock/pop and it is aimed toward the youth.

Immy: Unlike other musicians who have ventured in the Indian market, why is that you haven't released your album there?

Atif Aslam: Because I didn't find an appropriate label to release my album.

Immy: Any new video to be seen on air?

Atif Aslam: You will see it in the next two months or so and it will be a brand new song.

Immy: What about Bollywood?

Atif Aslam: I will especially consider the lyrics and music of the song I sing for in future. I can't disclose anything but there are a few projects I am working on and I have acting offers too.

Gohar Mumtaz

Immy: How did 'Aadat' become a part of the Kalyug soundtrack?

Gohar Mumtaz When Atif had gone to India to record 'Woh Lamhey' for Mahesh Bhatt's film Zeher, he also recorded 'Aadat' for Kalyug. He recorded both together. Later, Mahesh Bhatt found out that it was my composition, not Atif's. He had heard about us and contacted us. He told us that he did not know that it was my composition. So, it was decided that Jal's version of 'Aadat' would be a part of the album and composing credits would go to us. We have nothing against Mahesh Bhatt and Co. He just did not know.

Immy: So, you let your version of 'Aadat' be a part of Kalyug soundtrack because of integrity issues?
Gohar Mumtaz Exactly. In every song, the main thing is melody. It's only fair that credits go to Jal because it was our melody.

Immy: How did it feel to win at the Sahara Sangeet Awards?

Gohar Mumtaz It was totally unexpected! But we feel grateful. Winning an award is always a nice feeling. It motivates one to do even better. To be honest, the fact that we got nominated was in itself a huge achievement for us. We were just happy with the nomination but winning is a different feeling altogether.

Immy: What do you think is the difference between Indian market as compared to Pakistani market?

Gohar Mumtaz Bollywood films and their music dominates the Indian market. But at the same time, they don't have a pop industry. On the other hand, our pop music is explosive, melodious and distinct. And even though, filmi music will always have a bigger share in the Indian market, Pakistani pop music is finding it's way there.

Immy: Then, how does one get past the popularity of Bollywood music?

Gohar Mumtaz By making music which is not being made in Bollywood. Look at Strings. They are doing great in India because their songs are different from the music of Hindi films. If one makes music that is already present in India, then he will not gain success.

Immy: How is your album response in India?

Gohar Mumtaz We released our album in India in April 2005 and got a huge response from listeners. We've played in India and the audience knows our songs by heart. And we try to keep our lyrics simple. That's why people there like our songs.

Immy: Any new videos from your current album?

Gohar Mumtaz Yes and no. Let me explain. We are making a video of 'Ek Din Aayega' again but the lyrics will be altered as well as the music. This video is primarily for the earthquake victims. It will not have any band member.

Immy: What about your new album?

Gohar Mumtaz We're working on it. Soon we're going to go into studios and hopefully sometime, this year, our new album will be out, which will be bigger and better than Aadat.

No comments:

Post a Comment