Is Bollywood softening its stance against hiring Pakistani talent? While that might be too far-fetched to assume, given the current standoff between India and Pakistan, there’s a piece of news that should pleasantly surprise not just the proponents of peace on both sides of the border but especially those with a strong desire for cultural and artistic collaborations.
‘Malang’, Bollywood director Mohit Suri’s latest movie, features a song by prominent Pakistani band Soch and pop singer Asim Azhar each.
While details about the Azhar song aren’t known yet, Soch’s popular single, ‘Bol Hu,’ is included in ‘Malang’s’ soundtrack. The two-member band’s guitarist Rabi Ahmad confirmed the news to Gulf News tabloid!.
“Over a year ago, when we released the song in Pakistan, Mohit [Suri] happened to listen to it too,” he said. “He really liked it, and expressed a desire to use it in the movie. Back then, Pakistan-India relations were rather normal. After the Pulwama attack, and fearing a backlash, the makers excused themselves.”
“But the song was still on their minds,” Ahmad added. “After all, ‘Bol hu, ho ja malang tu’ was supposed to be the film’s title track.
“Bhushan Kumar [of T-Series] was also keen on retaining the song. A week ago, I got to know that the song was part of the film’s OST. I was delighted.”
Ahmad insisted that there “are people in both the countries who want peace, and advocate exchange of talent.”
Soch, led by vocalist Adnan Dhool, rose to fame with their single ‘Awari’, which was later picked up by Suri for Indian film ‘Ek Villain’ (2014). The song, which featured Momina Mustehsan, also earned the band the Best Music Composer nomination at the Filmfare Awards. Over the years, the band composed for a number of Pakistani films, chiefly ‘Sherdil’, ‘Chhupan Chhupai’ and Shoaib Mansoor’s Mahira Khan-led ‘Verna’.
Their next local film outing is Bilal Lashari’s magnum opus ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’. According to Ahmad, “We composed the film’s only number; it will be used in promotional videos.”
He also spoke of “some fun thing for the upcoming Pakistan Super League [PSL] matches.” The band is also due to perform at the tournament’s inaugural ceremony on February 20.