Difficult to make it big as celebrity in Pakistan: Atif Aslam

Published: November 7, 2013
Atif Aslam declined being on the Pakistan Idol judges panel. PHOTOS: FILE

Atif Aslam declined being on the Pakistan Idol judges panel. PHOTOS: FILE


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.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Hafiz
    Nov 7, 2013 - 10:25PM

    get a life with bollywood.Recommend

  • mac
    Nov 8, 2013 - 3:16AM

    Im frm India n u gotta admire the fact that Atif has managed to b around n do well for ten years ..its time for a new album though Atif! He shdnt b worried abt whether the album does as great as his earlier hits…its very hard to match that level of success. He shd be glad he got the fame n success early n maybe just focus on creating albums of high quality music ..its one thing to have fame. Its another to have respect. Original music n albums is rare here, so Atif perhaps can really win more respect if he just acts brave n put original music out there rather than just the bollywood fare. Once again its great n refreshing that he’s showing resilience. Kudos n good luck!


  • Randomcomment1
    Nov 8, 2013 - 4:52AM

    Who cares man, none of you will ever be Nusrat. Nothing else matters.


  • LaLakiMKaa
    Nov 8, 2013 - 9:20AM

    these people should take indian citizenship……..


  • sarah
    Nov 8, 2013 - 9:59AM

    sweet and honest..i wish we had more opportunities to develop our home grown talent and they didn’t have to hop on to the other side of the border to be noticed by US.

    P.S Maha thank you for an insightful article that goes deeper than “Hobbies and favorite hangouts”

    Moderator jee: plz be nice and post


  • salman
    Nov 8, 2013 - 1:36PM

    There are less opportunities in Pakistan than India so obviously you have to put more effort here and once you make your name in Pakistan than you are bound to make big in India where quantity is more but quality is less. You just need good contacts there to start with and huge platforms awaits for your ‘relatively’ easy success.


  • tarun
    Nov 8, 2013 - 3:45PM

    Atif u r a rockstar..Recommend

  • sumbul
    Nov 9, 2013 - 7:06PM

    i want to be an singer howRecommend

  • Nov 13, 2013 - 3:48PM

    I am Atif Aslam biggest fan and i am too happy after reading this


  • Zara
    Dec 4, 2013 - 6:27PM

    Atif believe me you have nothing to be a celebrity.


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