Having said that, music remains his first love and the Lahore-based singer-actor thinks it’s all a matter of how one prioritises things. Both art forms can be balanced, according to him. Furthermore, he once wanted to be a painter, and even graduated with honours in the subject! In a freewheeling chat with CS, Ali reveals his thoughts on music, movies, family and much more…
Music means a lot more than just entertainment to me. I wasn’t a born musician. I was 16 and studying in college when one day I went to visit the music society. Interestingly, I never left and am still an active part of it. While growing up, my father and his friends used to get together and sing old songs and ghazals. I think that must have been my biggest influence. Besides, I never restricted myself to a certain genre. Whatever gave me happiness, I gave it a try.
I’ve always admired icons like Nusrat saab, Kishore Kumar, Ustad Salamat Ali, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Lataji, Mehdi Hassan, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Buckley and Sting. They are all way ahead of their own eras. Among the music directors, Khayyam saab, Kalyanji-Anandji, RD and SD Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Naushad saab were simply the best. My all-time favourite Hindi song is ‘Hazaar raahein mudke dekhi’ from ‘Thodi si bewafai’. I play several musical instruments, but I like Sarangi the most.
Pop goes the music
There’s a misconception that Pakistani society is anti-music. If it were so, one wouldn’t be witnessing the musical diversity oozing from all corners of the country. Contrary to the belief that it’s going out of fashion, I believe pop music is pretty much alive. As soon as a new revenue-generating mechanism for the big companies arrives, it will bounce back.
It’s in the genes
My brother Danyal is creating music on his own. He’ll have to make his own struggle. My focus right now is on cinema. Fortunately, I’m singing in films too. My son Azaan is two but the other day, he held the mic that I practice on and started doing ‘Aaaaaaaahhhhh’ and it sounded a lot like in tune!