Bollywood is set to get a bigger dose of Pakistani music in 2008!

Bollywood is set to get a bigger dose of Pakistani pop this year!

Maheen Sabeeh

2008 is turning out to be an interesting year for Bollywood and Pakistani music. While musicians like Strings have refused offers from the likes of Dharma Productions and Madhur Bhandarkar and even Jal – who received an offer to work in a film featuring Tabu – others have signed on onto Bollywood.

Call have already sung and shot the video for ‘Yeh Pal’ that is being featured in the upcoming film Aasman and will star Nauheed Nauheed Cyrusi (Anwar fame), Hrishita Bhatt and an upcoming actor Subhahish Mukherjee.

Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, who has been AWOL from the music scene since he made it big with ‘Mitwa’ for Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and parted ways from Fuzon, is all set to surface back. And this guy is going from one big high profile film to another. Now it has been revealed that Shafqat will next be singing for Atul Agnihotri’s Hello. The song has been written by Jalees Sherwani and composed by the musical duo of Sajid-Wajid. Based on the book, One Night at Call Centre, it’ll feature Salman Khan, Sharman Joshi, Sohail Khan, Ishaa Koppikar, Amrita Arora and Gul Panag with special appearances by Katrina Kaif and Arbaaz Khan.

Not far behind from Shafqat are Fuzon and Ali Azmat. And interestingly there is one film that both of them will be featured on and it’s called Mumbai Cutting.

The film, which includes 10 different stories and is being directed by ten different directors, is simply about the city that is Mumbai.

Ali Azmat’s song, ‘Sawal’ is being featured in the portion that has been directed by Rahul Dholakia and according to Ali, it is a dark number.

On the other hand, Fuzon, who last worked with Nagesh Kukunoor on Hyderabad Blues 2, are set to make a comeback in Bollywood. Their single is a ballad and the guys have already shot the video for it in Bombay.

Mumbai Cutting has a massive star cast collectively. The film features Soha Ali Khan, Sonali Kulkarni, Ranvir Shorey, Vinay Pathak, Tejaswini Kohlapuri, Ranvijay, Sushant Singh, Tara Sharma, Sachin Khedekar, Neetu Chandra, Jimmy Shergill, Samreen Zaidi and Palash Sen of the band Euphoria.

And this year, Ali Azmat is not holding back on Bollywood. Besides Mumbai Cutting, He is also working on Sudhir Mishra’s next, Tera Kya Hoga Johnny. This flick has newcomer Neil Nitin Mukesh (Johnny Gaddar fame) and Soha Ali Khan in the lead. But more interesting is the fact that Ali has composed a reggae number for the flick!

Atif Aslam, who last sang for Bollywood flick, Race, is now looking at some projects. According to sources, one offer Atif Aslam is considering has come from Mahesh Bhatt. But right now Atif is still in talks. And if all works out, he will do the song.

Another guy who’s quietly working on an Indian film project is Shiraz Uppal. While Shiraz is keeping mum on the offer, there are some reports that the project is with the mighty AR Rahman. The two have worked once before for the film Nayak so we wouldn’t be surprised.

It is no longer surprising when a Pakistani artist or band cuts a deal in India. It gives them more room to play and gives them mileage and there is no denying it. Awarapan did wonders for Roxen while Call managed to reach a wider range of listeners vis-à-vis ‘Laaree Chootee’.

Rahat Fateh Ali, Strings and Atif Aslam have been able to connect with Indian listeners not just because of their signature music but also because of their projects in Bollywood.

While Strings always play their cards right, others have made mistakes. But now, they are all understanding how to play the game. Atif is no longer just behind vocals. He’s getting the videos too.

And with live music circuit in Pakistan in shambles, literally for the past one year, India is a place that is giving all the musicians a platform and venues to play on.

Without artist management and proper sound arrangements, musicians are increasingly becoming wary of playing at big shows in Pakistan. Vocal distortion, bad lighting and various other problems are wreaking havoc with the whole concept of live shows in Pakistan.

In such a scenario, musicians often have no choice but to look at India as a market. There are a lot more cities, bigger venues and better facilities. And Bollywood plays a big role in bringing listeners closer. With the biggest market share of music, it is Bollwood which paves path for our pop/rock to grow there. Atif Aslam is the biggest example. His ventures in films like Kalyug, Zeher and Bas Ek Pal have made him a huge star in India.

Bollywood also helps with recognition. Plus Pakistani music is fresh and that is one more reason why it is working in India. So here hoping that this year in Bollywood turns out to be hugely successful for all our artists!

A double whammy! 2008 will not only mark the return of Ali Azmat with a new album, but it also marks his return to Bollywood. The first project is a film called Mumbai Cutting while the second film is Sudhir Mishra’s Tera Kya Hoga Johnny, which stars Neil Nitin Mukesh and Soha Ali Khan in pivotal roles

Other than Ali Azmat, Fuzon will also be featured on Mumbai Cutting soundtrack and their single will be a ballad. Meanwhile Call have recorded and shot the single ‘Yeh Pal’ for Bollywood flick Aasman!

In the pipeline: After the massive success of ‘Pehli Nazar’ off Race soundtrack, Atif Aslam is in talks with Mahesh Bhatt for a possible venture in the near future. Shiraz Uppal (below) is also working on a Bollywood project and it might be with maestro A.R. Rahman…