The story behind Aamir Zaki's 'Mera Pyar' in his own words

Published: June 3, 2017
PHOTO: Hasan Ansari/ Express

PHOTO: Hasan Ansari/ Express

KARACHI: Ever watched Alamgir’s performance of Albela Rahi on PTV? The 16-year-old playing the guitar in the video was none other than virtuoso Aamir Zaki.  The rock star, who is no longer with us, was one of the earliest guitar players to enter the industry and to leave a long-lasting impact. It’s because of his sheer talent and skill that despite having limited music releases and supposed attitude problems, he still got to feature in Coke Studio and managed to blow us away with a single guitar solo. Though his contributions to stalwarts like Vital Signs’ and Alamgir’s work are unforgettable, Mera Pyar is what he will always be remembered for.

A song that came to the fore with a rather simple music video took its time to sync in with the audience back then. Mera Pyar was a really sad song for its time, the kind that people had never heard before. Neither did it have any philosophical undertones of a Vital Signs song nor was it as superficial as Aamir Saleem’s Ajnabi. It was simply a collection of heartfelt lyrics coupled by a mellow but catchy melody — something anyone, especially the youth, could catch on to when he or she is in “that phase”. That is why, perhaps, it is still the most covered song at underground gigs and every now and then, you hear an experimental version of the song being released.

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Interestingly, the story behind the song is far more personal than the connection a listener makes to it.

“No one was involved in the making of this song apart from me. I had put together all words and music for the song. I wrote this song after my divorce when I was 24-years-old,” Zaki told The Express Tribune in an earlier interview.

“We had to come to a point in life where either one us would have broken the other person’s head. So the song was a way of saying everything that I couldn’t possibly utter at the point in time. Hence, Meri awaz suna laen na, meray geeton mae tum… woh alfaaz chun lain na, jo hojatay thae gum.”

As far as its impact on the music industry is concerned, Zaki believed it was the simplicity and sincerity of the song that got the listener’s attention.

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“I feel it’s the honesty and directness of the song that reverberates with the deeper side of listeners,” he remarked.

A major reason the song didn’t become popular right after its release could perhaps be its rather half-hearted and hastily-made video. This was a time when Yasir Akhtar and Yatagan were doing Bhangra in their videos, Awaz was exploring new concepts and experimenting with visual treatments and in that entire theatrical affair, the simple performance in Mera Pyar’s video failed to get the amount of attention it deserved.

Even someone like Waqar Ali had to resort to funny moves in Paise Anay Dae and Ik Tara Bolay in order to be featured in Pakistan’s prime music channel chart show of the 1990s, Top of the Pops. But Zaki never conceded into acting like a dancing pop star.  Even after Signature (1996), Rough Cut with Hadiqa Kyani (2007) and Coke Studio 7 (2014), he remained one of the most reclusive artists in the industry.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Jami
    Jun 3, 2017 - 12:10PM

    World lost something beautiful. Too grand. Recommend

  • qudsia karim
    Jun 3, 2017 - 12:22PM

    Rest in peace! A legend we will always remember. Amir Zaki HE was the inspiration for us and he will be forever.Meri awaz suna laen na, meray geeton mae tum… woh alfaaz sunlain na, jo hojatay thae gum.”Recommend

  • Farrukh
    Jun 3, 2017 - 3:34PM

    I agree with Hira. The song remained on No 1 position for so many weeks and even months. It was the song the people of my era grew while listening.

    RIP Amir Zaki and May Allah shower his blessings on you in this holy month of Ramadan.Recommend

    Jun 3, 2017 - 11:10PM

    Really!? I remember how the song had dominated the charts for quite some time, once it was released. It was everywhere.
    Even now no cares about the video . It is the sound that holds us in the trance. Recommend

  • Arisha G
    Jun 4, 2017 - 7:48AM

    The notes were haunting enough; do remember a friend telling me at the time it was released that it was something he wrote after his divorce.
    Sad and profound at the same time it was, even though at that age we were rather oblivious of any heart break lore.
    Words can’t even explain how it feels.
    Condolences to his family and loved ones.Recommend

  • Ravian
    Jun 4, 2017 - 10:55AM

    Zaki was a great musician. Mera pyar did get its fair share of popularity at the time and the video had nothing to do with it. Simple videos of aadat and tere bin did not stop them from being great hits Recommend

  • Muhammad Akmal
    Jun 4, 2017 - 1:58PM

    A man who lived within himself, Amir Zaki died (may Allah rest his soul in peace), a man spent his whole life with guitar. As a fan of his, Signature album remained as one of my all times favorites. I don’t think anyone could be at that level of creation with guitar. Recommend

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