Shehzad Roy: Strictly satire

Published: December 23, 2011
Shehzad Roy, known for his songs of protest, revolution and change in Pakistan, continues on the same line with ‘Apnay Ullo’. PHOTO:PUBLICITY

Shehzad Roy, known for his songs of protest, revolution and change in Pakistan, continues on the same line with ‘Apnay Ullo’. PHOTO:PUBLICITY


With the political pot close to boiling over, it comes as no surprise that many bands and artists, ranging from Strings to Ali Azmat and Abrarul Haq are working on music which is both insightful and satirical of the present situation in the country. However, the musician who initiated this trend with his controversial song “Laga Reh” is no other than Pakistan’s renowned powerhouse Shehzad Roy.

In 2008, the release of Roy’s album Qismat Apnay Haath Mein not only opened the door for all kinds of satirical critiques of Pakistani politics but also struck a major chord with the audience. Now the singer is working on releasing “Apnay Ulloo” — a follow-up single to his Djuice sponsored song “Kya Darta Hai”.

“I tried to write something that the average person could relate to and understand. This meant incorporating a lot of slang and everyday language,” says Roy. He adds, “It’s a good thing that multinational companies have started accepting and supporting this trend. Before people would run the other way, and of course, corporate sponsors would follow suit.”

Roy says that he has always had the support of his musical team which includes his producer Shaani and guitarist Imran Akhond who have played a pivotal role in his new sound.

Roy’s political inclinations are not limited to his music alone; as he is known for his humanitarian aspirations as well. It was some of the problems he faced while building Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School in Karachi that formed the basis of his song “Laga Reh”. Although his song aimed at bringing about a positive change, the
message of the song was misconstrued as being solely sarcastic by the audience.

Fearing that his upcoming song may also be misinterpreted, Roy clarifies his intentions; “It’s a completely different type of song. It also features an undiscovered Baloch talent who sings exceptionally well.” Unfortunately, due to the supposed contentious content of the song, none of the corporate organisations would sponsor its release.

When it came to finding a director for the single, Roy chose Ahsan Raheem. “I think he is one of the best Pakistani directors. Whenever he sees a song with a socio-political context, he leaves all his commitments and agrees to direct the video,” says Roy.

In terms of the lyrics, poetry has played a critical role in Roy’s song structure. Penning most of the political rhymes himself, he occasionally relies on lyricist Nadeem Asad to give finishing touches to or to help him with lyrics when he is stuck. On structuring the song, he relies on inspiration to lead the way rather than a defined, cohesive plan.

Roy is still considering whether to produce a new album or not. Although he has a couple of songs in mind, he says it is much too early to comment. For now, Roy continues to participate in rallies for both Leftist parties as well as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). On his political affiliations, Roy maintains that he has not joined
politics or PTI. “I support any movement that can bring about a change in Pakistan. I try to play my role by raising political awareness through my music. Technology is bringing a lot of changes and this new wave will hopefully uplift the lives of poor people,” says Roy.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Ali Quaid
    Dec 23, 2011 - 8:50PM

    Laga reh Laga reh!


  • Gazllala
    Dec 23, 2011 - 9:46PM

    I am reallY looking fwd. Shehzad roy rocks


  • Salmalam
    Dec 23, 2011 - 9:58PM

    Is this video against lawyers or history of pakistan. Is roy part of pti


  • Donga Bonga
    Dec 23, 2011 - 11:56PM

    “I think he is one of the best Pakistani directors. Whenever he sees a song with a socio-political context, he leaves all his commitments and agrees to direct the video,” says Roy.

    He leaves his commitments??? Ahsan doesn’t look good here. Roy should rephrase that!


  • Khurram the Muhajir
    Dec 23, 2011 - 11:56PM

    Aalu Anday ka reply?


  • Gazala
    Dec 24, 2011 - 1:39AM

    What is alloo anday? Shazad roy is the first one to take on politicians and establishment in his songs and talk shows. Strings, aliazmat and others are also doing good job but they are following Mr Roy. Leaving comitment for a bigger cause is good and specially when its for a national cause


  • Khalid Javaid
    Dec 24, 2011 - 1:45AM


    Love his songs!!!!


  • Karim
    Dec 24, 2011 - 2:34AM

    I think Shehzad roy should join pti. Shehzad seems inteligent and he is some one who can really play a part to unite youth


  • Sadia
    Dec 24, 2011 - 2:41AM

    Apnay ulloo…… Shehzad is in competition with his own song laga reh. Lets see if he ca beat that. I have seen a video of Roy, in which imran khan (chairman pti) has acted, that means he is very close to Shahzad. Million dollar question is then why Abrar ul haq is joining pti and Roy is avoiding.


  • kona berwalla
    Dec 24, 2011 - 1:11PM

    What with all and sundry joining PTI, Imran’s party doesn’t appear anything more than a rehash of what has gone by in the past. It’ll be good if Shehzad Roy remains separate from all this kerfuffle and does what he does best.


  • Rabia
    Dec 25, 2011 - 1:16PM

    A short and concise history of Pakistan! Roy alone is doing what the whole Pakistani media has failed to do-that speak up for the national cause!


  • gazala
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:00AM

    wow we saw the video today its amazing. out of this world. Roy always comes uo with suprise


  • azra
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:48AM

    best song of the year by Shazad roy. i am glad that youth will hear the true story now


  • sohail
    Dec 27, 2011 - 3:45PM

    This the beautiful song Apnay Ullo, complete history of all politics person, what they do for pakistan.


  • qamar
    Dec 27, 2011 - 10:03PM

    A very boring somg mere wastage of time to watch it on GEO.


  • Rafi
    Dec 28, 2011 - 12:32AM

    Keep on doing what you are doing Mr Roy!


  • ummara
    Dec 28, 2011 - 1:38PM

    this song is need of hour…thumbs up for shehzadroy team from camera man to guitaist


  • areen
    Dec 28, 2011 - 4:01PM

    Oooowsum track, Roy please explains this song’s meaning on air for our politician because hopefully they still don’t know the meaning

    Also have a slight anticipate that our nation will take step forward because now this become a need


  • Dec 30, 2011 - 12:19PM

    your song is very good plz do something mr roy


  • Usman
    Dec 30, 2011 - 3:45PM

    The song is really alive due to accent and rhythm of baloch. Good innovation by Roy keep it up


  • sara
    Jan 2, 2012 - 9:50AM

    roy has started to bring the change, but we dont need to just enjoy the music but do our part in what he’s asking to do.


  • Muhammad Yousuf Siddiqi
    Jan 2, 2012 - 2:14PM

    Would Mr. Shehzad Roy disclose the real Singer and author of the New Song “Apnay Ulloo” — please.


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