Ahmed Siddiq’s ‘Sher Khan’ thrives without YouTube

Published: November 3, 2012

He describes the number as a love song about a simple guy that falls in love with a beautiful girl. PHOTO: FILE

He describes the number as a love song about a simple guy that falls in love with a beautiful girl. PHOTO: FILE He describes the number as a love song about a simple guy that falls in love with a beautiful girl. PHOTO: FILE
LAHORE: 

In the aftermath of the government ban on YouTube in light of the anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims, the local music industry — which gauges its success from video virality on the video-sharing website — was affected adversely.

Projects were put on hold, and many feared the end of the ‘viral age’ which was signified by the likes of Ali Gul Pir, Beyghairat Brigade and many others who relied on the website to upload their content. But a few weeks ago, the release of the single “Sher Khan” by Lahore-based musician Ahmed Siddiq defied the notion that the viral age has reached a standstill.

“YouTube is banned in Pakistan but there are other options, like Vimeo,” says Siddiq. “Facebook is a major platform for content sharing as well. ‘Sher Khan’ was released via Vimeo on Facebook,” he explains. “The response has been amazing! I believe it [the video] is still in the process of reaching out to the masses.”

Talking about the popularity of the song, which Siddiq says is based on his experiences in Karachi, he says: “I am from Karachi and almost every street of Karachi has Quetta walay ‘hotels’ [tea stalls] and since I love the tea they offer, I used to visit them whenever I wanted, so they have partially influenced my song.”

He describes the number as a love song about a simple guy who falls in love with a beautiful girl, and says that the idea stemmed from personal influences. Siddiq’s Urdu track with a Pashto tinge has accumulated around 40,000 views on Vimeo since its release. The song showcases Siddiq as a rough, alternative rocker but also includes fast tempo portions that are sung in a Pashto accent. The song’s varying tempos with exciting lyrics generate an extremely catchy track, which has been played regularly on the radio.

“Songs are not written; they land onto a composer and that’s what happened with ‘Sher Khan’ — it just sort of landed on me,” he says. “The song has been sung in mostly a Pashto accent, while the slow parts are sung in an Urdu accent. The various tempo shifts make the composition interesting,” Siddiq adds.

Talking about the video of the song, Siddiq says that the video has no stereotypes. “It’s a simple love song written with love and simplicity,” he says, referring to claims that the video had stereotyped Pashto speakers.

Siddiq’s success for the song did not come without the help of one of the best lyricists. He explained that he had written most of the songs on his own and requested some contribution by Sabir Zafar.

“I have written approximately 90% of ‘Sher Khans’ lyrics. I had to repeat the melody but could not come up with lyrics for a verse, so I approached Sabir Zafar sahib and he wrote the remaining [song],” says Siddiq. The video production has been done by Fayyaz Ahmed and audio production by Mubashir Amdani.

Siddiq says that the success of “Sher Khan” will also pave the way for his album To Untalees, which is ready for release. The album has eight tracks and includes seven original tracks with one remixed rock track. But for now, Siddiq says he is focusing on promoting his latest track instead of contemplating the release of his album.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • Bilal
    Nov 3, 2012 - 10:43PM

    He stereotyped pushtoons. I am offended

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  • muter
    Nov 3, 2012 - 11:10PM

    brilliantly done!

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  • PTI Mardan
    Nov 3, 2012 - 11:18PM

    Insane,awesomeRecommend

  • Suliman
    Nov 3, 2012 - 11:51PM

    Disrespect to Pukhtun culture and music.
    He shouldn’t have targeted anyone.

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  • Khan
    Nov 4, 2012 - 12:33AM

    zbrdst.. u r the manRecommend

  • Nov 4, 2012 - 1:45AM

    it is awesome so funny and video is fantastic :)Recommend

  • Fariha
    Nov 4, 2012 - 2:19AM

    Amazing song

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  • HMM..
    Nov 4, 2012 - 3:29AM

    Excellent song. Very creative.

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  • Nov 4, 2012 - 9:17AM

    @Bilal: I’ve become a fan of pashtun culture and pashto language after watching this song..I don’t know why you get “offended”. I want more pashto songs to get promoted on mainstream media (althoug I don’t understand pashto)

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  • Marilyn
    Nov 4, 2012 - 1:20PM

    Never heard of him – YouTube rocks!

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  • Nov 4, 2012 - 7:42PM

    -

    Awesome song. Not your typical funny song… but very funnily creative.

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  • jzamans
    Nov 5, 2012 - 12:00AM

    superb song and awesome video –
    the song was hilarious but the video brought out humor even more
    love the pushto accent
    best of luck for your album

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  • Irfan
    Nov 5, 2012 - 12:33AM

    Marvelous work done and very creative man ! music industry in Pak need desperately singer and musician like you

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  • Hazik
    Nov 5, 2012 - 7:20PM

    Very good effort indeed, in this exhausting and fearful atmosphere in country at least this song has brought smiles on many faces. I would also request people who got the idea wrong and calling him stereotype to please be positive and support something which gives smile on your face…Keep it up buddy

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  • Asad Malik
    Nov 6, 2012 - 10:12PM

    His video is on youtube though….that’s where I saw it

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  • maestro
    Nov 7, 2012 - 7:02PM

    There was nothing offensive to pushtuns in the song or video. It was a light hearted song about love in rock n roll spirit that struck a chord. And I am pushtun. :-) And the bassline is awesome!

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  • Ali S
    Nov 7, 2012 - 7:57PM

    First time in YEARS that I’ve actually heard a decent Pakistani rock song in a native language. He had a fairly convincing Pashto accent, I don’t know why people are getting ticked off at it – yeah it was corny maybe, but that was the purpose.

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  • Jassim Khattak
    Nov 7, 2012 - 10:43PM

    I am a pathan and by no means have I got offended. Like the many others on this forum I think the song has been amazingly done. Though I don’t have a pushto accent myself, my parents do, and I can completely associate with this song. Can’t wait for his album. I’ve been a rock fan for ages and once in a while the Pakistani Music industry produces a brilliant number that refreshes your connection with Pakistan and its people. This is one good example. Good luck Ahmed Siddiq!

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  • Zalmai
    Nov 8, 2012 - 7:31PM

    I wonder if singers will start singing songs in Punjabi accents now. This lame singer should have made an attempt to actually sing in Pashto instead of singing in a Pashto accent. Pashtuns have to suffer fools that degrade a language that is older and richer than their own languages.

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  • sikandar ali
    Nov 11, 2012 - 2:40AM

    nice combination of music of guitar and drum .. song is too fit,, nice 1

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  • Ajmal Khan
    Nov 15, 2012 - 3:51PM

    im a proud Pashtun from Quetta and im not offended. Thumbs Up!

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  • fus
    Nov 15, 2012 - 11:05PM

    I think ppl need to see the official video with the english caption. It is a beautiful love song, the use of Pashto accent actually make it more catchy. Lyrics are nice and funny but nothing cheap.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkGV1D-0YA8

    Beside even if you think it is a joke, what was offensive in the song? A chay-wala Pathan from Quetta falls in love with a doctor after seeing “khan” on her name tag. That is ths storyline, what is offensive?

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  • Fatima Tariq
    Nov 16, 2012 - 10:27PM

    I don’t find this offending by any means. As a matter of fact, after listening to this, I have become a Pashtun fan :D

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  • curious
    Nov 17, 2012 - 2:17PM

    is the guitarist SHAYAN ABDULLAH ??

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  • ali
    Nov 19, 2012 - 9:38PM

    why would pushtoons be offended? he actually made that pathan appear as a hero and just used the pushto accent but never appeared to make to fun of them.

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  • Dec 14, 2012 - 5:46PM

    The song was very well done, there should be no reason for Pushtoons to be offended.
    The accent was a great attempt at humour, added a new twist to the traditional love song, I personally don’t believe his intent was to make fun of anyone. The Pushtun culture is definitely a beautiful culture, and their music is also beautiful and I wish artists like Ismail and Junaid with songs like Qarar and Ranra get promoted more often.

    I also agree with Ahmed that the viral age is not over, I personally decided to release my spoken word demo “Karachi” on Facebook and websites like Pakiupdates.com, Utube.com.pk and Pakistanivideos.net – Alhamdulillah I have received a great response without Youtube.

    You can check it out here:
    http://utube.com.pk/video/KarachiSong-AzaadehAli_Sher

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