Renowned folk singer Arif Lohar has decided to make a film on his father, the folk icon Alam Lohar. The project has already been set into motion with work on initial paperwork currently under way. While Arif finalises the script, his team is conducting interviews of those who spent time with his father. The research will feed both the biopic and an accompanying documentary film that will be aired across television channels.
Alam started his singing career from the Aach Goach village near Gujrat. While his family were known blacksmiths of the area, Alam made the very iron work his identity by using the chimta as an instrument. His Punjabi was crisp and his tone was inimitable. Alam’s melodious voice soon echoed across the region as he popularised hymns like Jugni and hundreds of other Sufi kalams. Releasing hundreds of studio albums throughout his career, Alam reinvented the Punjabi folk genre and came to be known as one its most important figureheads in recent times.
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Talking to The Express Tribune, Arif said, “My father brought honour to this country and it is a fact that even the new generation is a fan of his work.” He disclosed that the idea of making a film on his father had long been at the back of his head. “I think now is the right time to go ahead with the project. Film is a very powerful medium to put your message across and the younger audiences should be made aware of those who served the country before them … I have decided to do that for my father.”
Arif feels there’s a lot that needs to be told about the legendary singer. “I have focused all my energies towards this one project. I have been travelling quite a lot, meeting lots of people to retain authenticity in the film,” he added. The Coke Studio star said he has himself taken charge of the director’s chair and is even playing a titular character. “His music will be part of the film’s soundtrack. I have a lot of ideas on my mind right now and I will begin to implement them one after another.”
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He said the film will be made in accordance with current industry standards. “At the moment I cannot disclose much about it. I am gathering all the information that I can … getting people to tell me how they saw my father,” he maintained. Arif himself spent a major part of his life with his father and trained in music under the giant’s care. “I am very well aware of what the people want to see in the film. It tells the actual story of an artist who started out with humble beginnings and then went on to gain international acclaim.”
Arif feels folk music has a universal appeal, and is gaining special attention in the West. “We should promote our music accordingly. The audiences are there.” Perhaps this is the reason why Arif has also decided to set up a music academy in the UK. He feels Indian folk music has a market in the West because it has been promoted in a certain way. “They put their work out to wider audiences and made documentaries to record their folk culture. We need to do that as well,” he added.
The academy will focus solely on the teaching and production of Punjabi folk music.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2016.
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