One pound fish to million pound hit!
His head stood up and his shoulders straightened as he was treated like a sport celebrity bringing a trophy home.
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