Wildly popular singer Atif Aslam has enjoyed a substantial edge over his contemporaries and amassed a colossal fan following at home and abroad. From Aadat to Woh Lamhe, Aslam’s journey from pop music to Bollywood is one many on this side of the border dream of. He says it takes determination and persistence to become a star. “It was and still is difficult to make it big in Pakistan as a celebrity or artiste,” he tells The Express Tribune. “There are many hurdles aspiring artistes face.”
Atif says he started as a lone ranger, with no help from marketing or PR agencies after his split from Jal. He is now nearing the 10-year mark of his career. “I managed to do things on my own and most importantly, I believed in myself. Pakistan still has a long way to go.”
Although he feels there is immense talent in both Pakistan and India, the difference lies in quality. The voices found in each country are distinctive in their own ways, he says. “Every soil has its own sound,” continues Aslam. “Pakistan’s is unique and admirable.”
While he hopped over to Bollywood early on his career, Atif has high hopes for his country. He was a part of Pakistani feature film Bol which garnered an exceptional response at the box office due to its poignant script. “I didn’t care about the money back then. I knew Bol had the kind of script I would like to be a part of, and I was. It had a message for the young ones and its purpose was served,” he says. He believes in the resurgence of Pakistani cinema. “If a movie has a good script or a good song, I will do it.”
When asked how he feels about music talent hunts, Atif dismisses them as short-term success solutions. “Six months and that’s it,” he says, referring to the fame contestants earn.
After being a judge on Indian singing reality show Sur Kshetra, which featured contestants from both Pakistan and India, Atif feels such platforms are beneficial for an artiste who wants to get noticed and gain fame only for a limited amount of time till they find actual work. For this reason, Atif says he declined to be on the judging panel of the upcoming Pakistan Idol, which includes Bushra Ansari, Ali Azmat and Hadiqa Kiyani. “People might watch Pakistan Idol, but that’s pretty much it.”
After singing for B-town heartthrobs Shahid and Ranbir Kapoor, Atif has now decided to focus on a music album. He aims to release the rocker inside him and unveil a different genre via his album which is scheduled to release mid 2014, three years after his last album release. “It will be a selection of numerous compositions — the album can be a hit or a miss,” he says.
The singer, who recently married his long-time sweetheart Sara Bharwana, says his life has changed for the better. “It’s amazing. I believe I have a partner who shares my responsibilities with me, which is great,” he smiles.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2013.