KARACHI: To paraphrase sports writer Hassan Cheema, “All Pakistani fans, particularly overgrown boys, have a certain obsession with cricket. It goes back to every adolescent with a tape ball in his hand; it goes back to everything you know and understand about Pakistani cricket. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, which competes with the glamour of being a cricketer.”
So naturally, when approached with the opportunity to record a song for the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL) it was a straightforward decision for Ali Zafar to come on board for the project. The singer will be producing the song, Ab Khel Ke Dikha, which would serve as the official anthem for the inaugural edition of PSL.
“Not many people know this but between the ages of eleven and thirteen I had an undying passion for cricket. And if I hadn’t become a musician or an actor I would have most definitely been a cricketer,” Ali told The Express Tribune.
Ab Khel Ke Dikha is not the first time that the singer is joining hands with the Pakistan Cricket Board as the singer also performed when international cricket resumed in Pakistan, with a series against Zimbabwe.“Seeing the domestic structure suffer used to disappoint me and I just wanted to help Pakistan cricket in any way possible.”
There was a time when patriotic songs had become synonymous with the Pakistani cricket team but off late that trend seems to have died down. Ali has also recorded his fair share of patriotic songs including Ureinge, which he released as a tribute to victims of the APS tragedy earlier this year. While his previous releases like Jazba, Ureinge and Aasman were able to strike the right chord with the audiences — Duniya Hai Dil Walon Ki did not have the same impact.
“I can’t speak for anyone else but I think that you need to have complete creative freedom to do such songs. Ureinge and Aasman were songs that came straight from the heart in wake of the tragedies that had happened in Pakistan whereas Jazba had been commissioned for the 2011 Cricket World Cup,” explained the singer.
PSL, which is going to be a counterpart to India’s highly successful T20 league — Indian Premier League (IPL) — is expected to be played in Qatar and with a host of international cricketers already attached to the inaugural edition, Ali has tried to create a sound that can resonate with listeners worldwide.
“The song has a sort of international feel to it but there is also a very Pakistani flavour. I have kept the melody in such a way that it can be hummed by any listener.”
Ab Khel Ke Dikha allowed Ali to test his new studio facility — where he has recorded a chorus comprising 25 singers, both male and female. The song will be released on the PSL launch ceremony on Sunday and a music video for the song is also expected to follow some time soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2015.