Indian comedy troupe AIB found themselves in the line of fire after they posted a video of their Comedy Central-like roast of actors Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. Due to the graphic and expletive nature of the content the post went onto become the talk of the town, and the troupe ended up benefiting from the whole saga by gaining more popularity.
A similar sentiment, though less morbid, can be attached to Umair Jaswal’s latest stint on Coke Studio. His collaboration with Quratulain Balouch in Sammi Meri Waar caused a massive debate on social media — possibly the greatest since the Twilight divide; Team Edward versus Team Jacob.
With the dust settled and the frequency of Jaswal memes decreasing, the singer spoke to The Express Tribune about how the issue of his ‘moves’ in the video actually worked in his favour.
“Man! I’ve received audio messages from places like Iraq,” exclaimed Jaswal. “The main idea behind doing this song was to penetrate a bigger market and fortunately that is exactly what happened”.
Not many people knew that Jaswal has been on the show twice or for that matter, he has been in the industry for about a decade. “This is like my claim to fame, my facebook following has increased by 160 thousand people”.
With the song racking up more than two million views in the span of just two weeks, which is even more than Ali Zafar’s Rockstar, it has ended up becoming the most talked about song on social media platforms.
“I’m not joking when I say that. I was trending on Twitter, not the song, not QB, just me. And below me were Palestine, Gaza, Syria and some US polls”.
Having come to the fore as a rock vocalist, the singer explained that he could have stayed in his comfort zone and done a traditional rock song but he chose otherwise. “Sammi is actually a shaadi dance song, and I’ve never done something like that and thought why not to do it now.”
The song even became the subject of numerous parody videos, poking fun at Jaswal’s body movements and vocals — all of which he has taken in a stride.
“I have received a lot of hate mail from people, which at times has been really offensive and negative, but I chose not to retaliate.”
Jaswal explained that like all renowned rock musicians, such as AC/DC and Chris Cornell, he too enjoys putting on a show. “The reason why it all felt so out of place was maybe because I was moving like anything and QB stood still. There was a huge contrast there,” laughed Jaswal.
No stranger to criticism, the singer recalled how he faced a similar backlash during his debut appearance on the show when he (as part of Qayaas) performed Charkha Nolakha alongside Atif Aslam. “The amount of hate I got back then is unimaginable.”
Rather than succumbing to the current trend of posting a video explaining and defending his performance, Jaswal chose to share the parody videos and memes instead. “That has actually helped improve my image. People now think of me as a humble and down-to-earth guy. Some have even apologised to me and thanked me for sharing their videos and helping them become viral.”
With his reputation and popularity being enhanced by his latest appearance on the show, Jaswal quipped about how he was open for a return, “Yeah I’d love to return, just to ruin another song.”
Sammi Meri Waar:
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2015.