It is no surprise that an increasing number of talented Pakistani singers are now making their way to Bollywood. From Adnan Sami Khan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to Ali Zafar and Atif Aslam, it seems like the Indian film industry is giving these singers their due credit.
Such is the case with our pop singer, Shiraz Uppal, as well. After a short hiatus last year, Uppal has now made a powerful comeback with an upcoming B-town film. He lent his voice to the title track of Anand L Rai’s upcoming movie, Raanjhanaa; the music of which has been composed by the famous AR Rahman.
Due to release on June 21, the film stars Dhanush of Kolaveri Di fame and Sonam Kapoor.
Raanjhanaa – the song
“I am very excited about the track. It’s always fun to do a song with AR Rahman,” says Uppal, who was contacted by Rahman for the title track. “I love his arrangement and composition.” For Rahman, this soundtrack silences those who were lamenting the monotony of Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Ek Deewana Tha.
Uppal shares that Rahman has always inspired him and the two have teamed up on various occasions. More recently, at the One World Peace concert held in New York, the two shared the stage with other leading artists such as Dave Mathews, Natasha Bedingfield, Philip Philips, Cyndi Lauper and others. Uppal has previously also sung soundtracks composed by Rahman for Bollywood film Nayak and Tamil movie Boys.
Uppal says that the main track, which has energetic lyrics by Irshad Kamil, is melodious with a classical touch, but is also upbeat and fresh. “He [Kamil] is one of my favourite lyricists; I really like his poetry,” says Uppal. “The song has a classical tune. Singing it was a lot of fun since I haven’t done a song which is classical and fast at the same time.”
Work in Bollywood
Uppal says that his focus will be on films and he is planning a visit to India in the coming weeks to promote the soundtrack. He feels that collaboration between Pakistan and India is a positive approach. “I think the work being done in India is of very high quality,” says Uppal. “Seeing Pakistani artists there means a lot, since it’s a big platform.”
His own focus has always been biased towards making music for films, despite the fact that he has done four pop albums, as well. “I have always wanted to make music for films,” shares Uppal. “I like to see my songs being played on the big screen.”
Uppal explains that Bollywood has shifted from traditional sounding music and has now become more experimental. He also says that experiments with music occurred in every era, but not all types of music succeed.
“The real test is whether the public accepts this type of music,” says Uppal. “The one which is accepted becomes a trend.”
“Pakistani pop music has been popular for many years,” explains Uppal, adding that music trends are changing in films. “If you look at the music being produced in Indian or Pakistani films, it’s more towards pop.”
Uppal feels that Pakistani music has always been of great standards. He also believes that the latest trend in music for Pakistani films is very beneficial for the country’s music industry. He produced the track Hona Tha Pyar for the original soundtrack of Bol and would like to do more projects like that.
“I would love to do it if someone is interested,” says Uppal. “But I don’t go out searching for work; I only work on merit.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2013.