One of the more interesting aspects of the Pakistani film industry’s revival has been how it has inadvertently offered the local music industry a new lease on life. Several musicians who had moved away from the entertainment industry’s radar are now back and blinking under it once again.
A prime example of this is singer and composer Shiraz Uppal. Having recently worked on the soundtrack for the movie Karachi Se Lahore, alongside Ali Hamza and Ali Noor (of Noori), under the pseudonym of ‘Sur Darvesh’, he speaks about how the collaboration came into effect.
“Wajahat Rauf [the director] is really good friends with the both of them and they are like my best friends’ in the industry. So when Wajahat approached them to do the soundtrack for a film, they asked me to come on board as they had no prior experience doing so,” Uppal tells The Express Tribune.
Even though he said that the collaboration was a “one-off” venture for now, he was indeed open to the possibility of joining hands with the Noori brothers in the future.
With an extensive portfolio in playback singing and composing for film under his name, Uppal believes that it is only through film that we can usher in a new era of Pakistani music. “It is not one of the ways; it is the only way for our music industry to move forward.”
Having released four music albums, he was wary of the time and effort that went into releasing a record and felt that film music might be the right way to encourage the new wave of musicians. “I’ve released albums, and I know that you need to invest both time and money into making it. After releasing it you make a few music videos, so there’s a lot going on your mind,” remarked the Bin Roye composer.
“With film soundtracks you only need to focus on the music, as you’re already briefed about the type of songs that you are being paid for. The musician doesn’t need to worry about the headache that follows such as promotions and music videos,” he added.
Talking about his own influences and decision of venturing into composing for Pakistani and Bollywood movies he felt that his music always carried a style of film music to it. “If you listen to my songs such as Tera Tey Mera they were sort of like movie songs and I always enjoyed making music for films.”
Ever since venturing into this genre, he has made music for several movies such as Bin Roye, 3 Bahadur, Karachi Se Lahore and has even had the honour of frequently collaborating with Academy Award-winning composer AR Rahman on a few projects.
Speaking about his rapport with the maestro, he told he considered him to be his “true mentor”. Having met him in New York at the start of his career the singer gave Rahman one of his demo CDs for feedback and after a few months received a call from the Bollywood composer to do playback singing for a song — Shakalaka Baby.
“Even when I was venturing towards film composition, he guided me and gave me advice about how to approach this style of music.”
To a question about the possibility of having AR Rahman feature on the soundtrack of a Pakistani film, he replied that he would very much like that to happen. “Why not? But it has to be something really great. He enjoys the type of music that is being made in Pakistan.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2015.