‘I can’t stand Salman Ahmad’: Ali Azmat

Published: January 13, 2012

Ali Azmat says he is at a point-of-no-return . DESIGN: MAHA HAIDER

Ali Azmat says he is at a point-of-no-return 
. DESIGN: MAHA HAIDER Ali Azmat recently released a song titled “Yaqeen” for “Sim Sim Hamara” as well as another single “Chalta Main Jaon”. PHOTOS: FARHAN LASHARI/EXPRESS
LAHORE: 

Ali Azmat, now 41-years-old, remains one of the most outspoken figures in Pakistan’s pop culture, with his latest outburst stinging ex-bandmate Salman Ahmad.

Adding fuel to the controversy between him and his former Junoon members, the rocker, who spoke to The Express Tribune following a concert at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums), says “I have never had any resentment towards Junoon but its Salman Ahmad that I have a problem with.”

“I resent Salman Ahmad; I can’t stand the man and can’t take his dramas. It’s a choice of personal liking,” he adds. “Salman has tried to contact me but I don’t see the point, I won’t be able to tolerate a lot of things. When you’re younger, you overlook a lot of things and you don’t know much, but I’m 41 now and at this stage in time I cannot play music like that.”

Meanwhile, regarding the recent 20th anniversary album — initiated by Ahmad and Brian O’ Connell — Azmat makes no effort to hide his amusement behind the idea; “Having a 20th anniversary album for Junoon is like having a 20th wedding anniversary for parents who are divorced”.

Further elaborating on his conflict with Ahmad and the changing nature of Junoon before the final break-up of the band, Azmat says, “Junoon had become so commercial that I didn’t fit into that set-up. I’ve always avoided the spotlight. I heard Salman say that ‘Ali Azmat could have done much better had he followed in the footsteps of Ali Zafar, Atif Aslam or Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’. But that’s not what I wanted to do. If I wanted fame, I would have stayed with Junoon.”

Although Azmat has been in the spotlight due to growing conflict between him and Ahmad, the ex-Junooni has more to offer than just gossip, he has been making waves through his recently released song “Yaqeen” for children’s programme “Sim Sim Hamara” and a single, “Chalta Main Jaon”, for the clothing brand CrossRoads. Additionally, he has also ventured into the big screen through his introduction as the lead character in Bilal Lashari’s film Waar.

Upcoming projects

Azmat, who has released two solo albums, Social Circus and Klashinfolk, claims he will now focus on releasing singles instead of producing entire albums. “People these days are more interested in what’s happening in the country, the news etc. Hence, as a musician, it’s better to do singles and make sure you use the right marketing techniques,” says Azmat.

When it comes to acting, Azmat has previously dabbled with dramas but stayed away from films as nothing interesting and meaningful came up. However, in the recent film, Waar, the singer will play the role of a patriotic politician, a role that requires Azmat to be ‘serious’ and possess a certain level of skill.

Apart from music and acting, Azmat says he is interested in hosting his own television show. “I am more interested in doing an independent video blog where we can post whatever we want to — even the stuff that other channels would not allow us to say,” adds Azmat, who is in the process of gathering a group of journalists to make it work.

Say no to politics

However, the one thing that Azmat will not be doing is joining politics despite interest from a couple of parties. Strictly against the system that politics upholds, the rock icon says, “I am not a political person and neither am I going to be standing in elections as I really don’t see myself in this system. Being in an office is kind of against the grain for me; a politician is accountable for everything, he has to act a certain way and I’m more independent-minded so I’m not suited for this role.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2012.

Reader Comments (23)

  • Fahd
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:47PM

    He was never a good musician !!

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  • CK
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:02PM

    How can we believe that he does not like attention knowing that he is a big drama queen. The names of his albums talk well about his state of mind and personality. He has and will never grow up.Recommend

  • Fahd
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:07PM

    I can’t stand ali azmat….!

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  • MindGame
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:17AM

    Fahd is Salman Ahmed LOL

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  • Shavi
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:48AM

    For someone against commercial ventures hes sure done alot of McDonald’s and Jazz ads.

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  • Fahad Raza
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:49AM

    Salman Ahmed his ego the size of Jupiter most in music say.

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  • Zee
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:51AM

    Junoon was what alota ppl grew up with. It was and still is the pinnacle of Pop Music in Pakistan, representing us abroad (with HARDLY any scandals), showing the world what Pakistan has to offer. Comparing the 20th anniversary album with 20th wedding anniversary of divorced parents is just a shame. Fine the band broke up years back but dont go out in public cursing another member NOW. WHAT A SHAME!

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  • Vajdaan Shah
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:56AM

    He’s a true Rockstar! And he doesn’t need any body to tell him that, he knows everything he wants to. I love him for being so outspoken and candid all the time!

    I still enjoy the songs from junoon’s earlier days, a lot more than the sufi deviations which to a point were fine but salman ahmad over did it. Although I still feel the touch of Ali azmat in those earlier songs from junoon, and Ali still carries it in his singles. Hats off to him!

    He has been true to what and who he is, I respect him for that!

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  • Lofted Shot
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:57AM

    Big Mouth at it’s Best. His words does make sense.
    Way to go Buddy, you’re champ and always will be.

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  • Hassaan
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:07AM

    This guy is a genius… A true rock star !!

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  • waqas
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:10AM

    ali azmat you rock!

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  • Farrukh
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:15AM

    Ali Azmat is a genuine person and a real gem of a Pakistani.
    We need more icons like you.

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  • Riz
    Jan 14, 2012 - 1:43AM

    We want Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmed to stand with each other :-)

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  • cric fan mani
    Jan 14, 2012 - 4:00AM

    Even though I dont like most of his music post junoon I still agree with him on his stance on salman ahmed. Salman is full of hot air. and by singing in his unbearably be suree awaz he is ruining the legacy of junoon.

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  • Kameena
    Jan 14, 2012 - 7:06AM

    One interview and he ruined it. Ali Azmat needs to hire Ali Zafar’s publicist Recommend

  • CanCan
    Jan 14, 2012 - 7:10AM

    What’s the point of getting into a fight after 80 yrs now?

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  • Pakistani in US
    Jan 14, 2012 - 7:32AM

    In my eyes, Ali azmat lost all credibility when he started churning out and believing in crazy conspiracy theories. I can give you a whole speech on the many contradictions that are part of his personality. He’s talks loud (and lot of crazy) but never follows through. He’s a great vocalist/ composer and I can give him that but when it comes to Junoon, I can’t trust his opinion anymore.

    And a plea to Salman, please get a classically trained vocalist and bring the band back. There is still a HUGE market for junoon, and you should tap on that. I know singing makes you happy but whether you like it or not, you owe it to people to bring the band back with a new vocalist.Recommend

  • Aisha Khan
    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:35AM

    Both of you grow up please

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  • Parvez
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:25PM

    There really is not much difference between Ali Azmat, Salman Ahmad or Junaid Jamshed despite the hoopla, possibly that is why all three are successful.

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  • Ali S
    Jan 14, 2012 - 2:17PM

    I smell some jealousy on Ali’s side but still, this is just sad. Everyone knows about how huge both their egos are (Salman AND Ali) but it seems like Salman was genuinely trying to get Junoon back together and Ali has totally forgotten the fans just because of his own selfishness. Also it’s rich of him say that “Junoon went too commercial” and then add “it’s better to do singles and use the right marketing” in the same sentence. The Junoon fans made Ali a superstar, it seems like Takloo just doesn’t care now and is too far up in his conspiracy theories.

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  • Adnan
    Jan 14, 2012 - 3:41PM

    41??? I am 43 and I have been watching him since my childhood when he used to sing for the Jupiters.

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  • FJ
    Jan 14, 2012 - 4:56PM

    @Adnan: LOL

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  • Truth Teller
    Jan 14, 2012 - 5:42PM

    Ali Azmat was destroyed by “King of Conspiracies” Zaid Hamid,

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