Much like Dutch-Pakistani singer Imran Khan’s catchy Amplifier, singer-comedian Ali Gul Pir’s single Waderai Ka Beta became an internet sensation. The Saeen to Saeen fire raged in Pakistan and Pir found a permanent spot amongst Pakistan’s best comedians. Like wisps of smoke, hot trends tend to fade and are remembered simply as one hit wonders. Pir, it appears, is clever enough to realise this and made sure to stoke the flame one more time by giving us Taroo Maroo — another hilarious track based on a simple concept.
The new track is about a ‘taroo’—a man who shamelessly stares at everything in sight. Pir has gained inspiration from this unflattering desi habit that any woman in our country can give evidence of; the distressing tendency of men to ogle at their heart’s content, and pride themselves on indulging in the activity.
“If you go out anywhere you will see taroo maroos; it’s a phenomenon that’s not linked to the lower class or middle class of Pakistan. A guy could have a Mercedes and still be a taroo,” he laughed, in a telephone interview with The Express Tribune. “This concept is not specific to any one segment of society. It’s a developing country phenomenon.”
The low budget music video is based on the stories of a rickshaw driver, an affluent man who drives a Mercedes and a common man riding the bus. Pir shows how these men have made it their life’s mission to stare at everything from buildings to goats! He also manages to pull of the rickshaw driver image quite successfully — with the kohl-rimmed eyes and shameless gaze, he manages to deliver the unapologetic image of a typical Pakistani taroo. The ridiculously short shiny blue kurta screams “I’m a maila and I love it”, making a fashion statement of its own.
He transforms from rickshaw driver to rich guy with black pants and an expensive looking silk shirt. He comes across as sophisticated, high-born and even sexy. His dance moves are laugh-out-loud hilarious. They are so terribly clumsy, that one feels compelled to mimic them and laugh. It’s no Gangnam Style, but will surely be seen at mehendis this winter because of the sheer hilarity.
Pir’s Vital Saeens team has not let him down. Jasir Abro, Hamad Khan and Abdul Aziz and Ali Habib make the tune worth a listen. But it’s the delivery of the words “taroo maroo” that makes the song catchy; nasal, maila and hard to get out of your head. The last shot of him sliding down a silver pole in a bus pole-dancer style is a funny final touch.
If there is one aspect of Taroo Maroo that was disappointing, it is the inclusion of the lyrics “bachi bhi taroon ga” and then the clip of a little girl. In a country where child abuse is so common, this joke could have easily been done away with. Pir tries to save it and perhaps make it acceptable with “bakri bhi taroon ga”, but some areas are just no go’s — even for comedians. Pir, however, says: “My first objective is to entertain. I’m making people see how silly this is.”
The success of Pir’s ideas lies in his ability to mock society’s shortcomings. With Taroo Maroo, he has done just that, and played the ‘taroo’ in the form of three different characters himself with great confidence.
When asked if the ban on YouTube worries him, he says, “I’m not worried. I even waited [for it to be unblocked] but you can’t keep on waiting. This is what I do for a living. I can’t stop working just because of the ban.” His new song is available on Dailymotion and Vimeo.
We wish him luck and hope the taroo maroo’s out there take heed and understand how ridiculous they are!
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2012.