Ali Azmat is a true Pakistani rock star. Where his grooves and music never fail to impress us, his peculiar quirks and extreme-right political views simply add to his eccentric personality. But this time around, it’s not his political ideology that has brought him into the limelight – it’s the songs he has sung for the freshly released, racy B-town film, Jism 2.
The new erotic thriller has proved to be popular at the Indian box office, raking in a staggering INR210 million on its opening weekend. The film falls under the Jism brand as a sequel to the movie released nine years ago, starring the steamy duo of Bipasha Basu and John Abraham. While some believe it is nothing more than erotica – with the new film starring Indian-Canadian adult film actor Sunny Leone in more than one ‘compromising’ position – others feel there is more to it than meets the eye. Either way, it has created quite a buzz in Bollywood, which is seeping over to Pakistan as one of the most renowned rock stars of the country has lent his voice to songs in the steamy new film.
In an interview with The Express Tribune, Ali Azmat sheds some light on his latest venture and some issues of ‘morality’ that answer the question: “Haw! How could he!?”
“The songs that are usually running on television are no less than porn clips,” says Azmat in a straightforward manner. “So what if the video features an actual porn star?” he asks, referring to Leone.
“What my Muslim brothers are already watching on television does not even come close to what you may call sharafat,” he laughs. “Look at what Veena Malik is doing; look at what other Pakistani heroines are doing and the way their videos are being shot – I don’t think that follows any pattern of morality,” he adds.
Azmat further insists that while he feels that singing for Jism 2 has been an exciting Bollywood venture for him, it is not his place to guide the moral compass on the matter since it was not his project but a friendly endeavor he did for his peers. “Both actor Dino Morea and director Pooja Bhatt are dear friends,” he says diplomatically. “It is a project that I have done for them, whatever they do with the video is not in my control.”
Azmat’s steamy numbers, “Yeh Jism Hai Tau Kiya” and “Maula” for Jism 2 have received brilliant response so far. While he is satisfied with the outcome, he also seems concerned about some of his other projects. “I had given four songs to Bollywood, three of them were my own, which even included “Teri Parchahiyan”, and one I had done as a playback singer. But since those films have been delayed and the contract is now void, I am looking forward to reselling them,” says Azmat .
As far as his solo career is concerned, his fans will be disappointed to learn that he doesn’t plan to release an album any time soon. “We are not really taking out an album because there is no use of taking one out,” says Azmat, “The record label model is changing not only in Pakistan but all over the world so in the near future you’ll see a lot of singles and their videos and there will be an album, but not very soon.”
On a separate note, Azmat says he feels honoured to be a part of prestigious projects like Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and wishes its team the best of luck for all their endeavours. “Mohsin Hamid is a good friend. He and Mira Nair were gracious enough to come and talk to me about the song and I feel honoured to be part of a film that is opening at the Venice Film Festival.”
As provocative as Jism 2 may be, Ali Azmat does not fall short either. Be it through his music or his remarks, Pakistan’s rock star does not fail to entertain.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2012.