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Pakistani, Indian artists team up to celebrate South Asia heritage

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Born in Saudi Arabia and based in Pakistan, singer-songwriter Rutaba Yakub is among the most promising artists of this decade. She went national with her selection in Nescafe Basement followed by Pepsi Battle of the Bands. Rutaba and her music group, Roots, didn’t win the top prize in the competitive PBOTB but did find a loyal audience.

2022 seems to be the year where Rutaba will go all-out. A sign of this can be seen in the number of songs she has dropped. Among them is a collaboration with Indian artist Abhilasha Sinha for a song called “Nazar/Surma”. 

The song was deliberately released last month as part of celebrating South Asian Heritage month. The two artists never met but knew full well that music transcends borders and employed technology. The music video is surprisingly strong with a clear idea driving it. The sonic side fits well into Rutaba’s growing discography and is full of synth, electro, and dancehall vibes.

She seems open to trying new things as has become apparent with releases such as “Anay Wala Kal/Ghubaray”, “Dair-e-ufuq”, and “Nazar/Surma”.

Talking to Instep Today, Rutaba explained her Indo-Pak collaborative song ‘Nazar/Surma’ and how it came about.

“The story behind ‘Nazar/Surma’ is a discussion on what we would be like or how we would behave and live our lives if we knew no one was watching us, no one was judging us or have expectations.” 

Social media’s many, many platforms, biometrics, metadata, drones watching/attacking from the sky above, the militarization of space and CCTV cameras define the very basics of modern times. 

Big Brother is always watching. 

Rutaba isn’t just talking about Big Brother, though. As she explains, our behaviour, our surroundings and the people around us affect us in unfathomable and overt ways. 

“Everything we do is kind of reactionary and sometimes it’s very hard to lose yourself in it and realize that you’re not really this person. If there were no external factors, you’d be someone completely different.” 

The narrative Rutaba is talking about can be found within the lyricism of the song.

The Urdu lines that start off the song may sound overwhelming to those who suffer from a case of weak Urdu. But its meaning, according to Rutaba, is based on a similar thought process. 

“For no reason, without us asking, it’s so regular for people to give us either their opinion or their critique.” She’s right there. As for the collaboration with Indian artist Abhilasha Sinha for ‘Nazar/Surma’, Rutaba expressed how both artists are fond of each other’s music. 

“She really understood the narrative of the song (‘Nazar/Surma’) and she wrote her verse for it, reiterating the same question(s) but in a different way. But she’s also building up the story to say that we will break free and find the freedom to be our own selves. We’re sharper and we will thrive.” 

The music video’s narrative is a split screen as it begins with childhood videos of both the artists respectively. “We were sharing our home videos with each other and realized the similarity in each other’s childhood. Even though we are borders apart, there are so many similarities. 

We are South Asians so the birthdays and vacations were similar. And, because of South Asian Heritage Month, in August, we feel we should try to share those similarities instead of focusing on the differences.” Rutaba, through her music, is challenging the typical side of music and deliberately taking risks. But in her own fashion. 

“To be honest, I’m completely alright with being an artist who has one specific sound and who’s not experimenting all the time and doing different things with every song.”

Rutaba Yakub describes herself as a collaborative artist and ‘Nazar/Surma’ is simply the latest example. The music video reflects the ideology of the song and though experimental and risky, it is introspective and therefore sounds very cool. With a debut music album called nostalgia @ the keryana store in the pipeline, Rutaba has the confidence and the talent to reach greater heights. This is her third release from said album. She previously released an EP called S**t I’ll Never Finish (2020).

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Yasir Hussain warns artist of action over wife Iqra Aziz inaccurate sketch

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Expressing his annoyance over the inaccurate sketch of his wife, Iqra Aziz, eminent actor Yasir Hussain urged the “artist” not to draw his wife’s sketch again.

Sharing the sketch, drawn by one of her fans, on his Instagram account, Hussain — on a lighter note — warned the “online artist” of legal action if they try to do this again.

— Instagram/ yasir.hussain/screengrab/
— Instagram/ yasir.hussain/screengrab/

A user “C_4__colour” tagged their “masterpiece” to Iqra Aziz and expressed hope that she would like it. The “online artist” wrote on their account: “Sketching after soo long. Not accurate.”

Sharing the “masterpiece” with his fans, Hussain wrote: “Beta thank you. Good effort bus ainda meri bv ki ki tasveer nahi banani aap neBeta baat case pe chali jaye gi warna [Thank you child. It was a good effort but just don’t draw a sketch of my wife in the future, otherwise, you will have to face a case.”.

Colour’s work received a mixed reaction from the netzines.     

A user appreciated his work and remarked: “Good job”.

Another user: “No doubt sketching bht achi hai. iqra aziz nh bolei bs???? [No dbout the sketching is nice., but dont’ call it Iqra Aziz’s [sketch]”

Another user named ‘Laddyygorgeouss’ said: “Iqra aziz nh lg rhi [It doesn’t look like Iqra Aziz].”

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Zayn Malik: Ex-One Direction’s Urdu hit ‘Tu Hai Kahan’ leaves millions longing for more

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British heartthrob Zayn Malik, who is known to the world for his melodious vocals in English, has now tested his singing mettle by crooning an Urdu language love song — and apparently, the fans can’t get enough of it.

Collaborating with the Pakistani band “Aur”, Zayn features in the remake of their popular hit “Tu Hai Kahan” which has more than 95 million views on YouTube.

However, the remake too, has received significant praise from fans as the song has garnered more than 3.5 million views on the video-sharing platform.

Expressing his views on his experience of singing Urdu lyrics, the 31-year-old — a former member of the popular boy band One Direction — told BBC in an interviewthat he loved the song and hoped that fans would love the collaboration after he brought some of himself to the rendition.

This is not the first time Zayn has showcased his vocals in Urdu, as the British singer — who rose to fame after his music career kicked off via One Direction following his appearance on the British TV music competition “The X Factor” in 2010 — previously included Urdu lyrics in his track “Tightrope”, from his 2021 album “Nobody is Listening”.

The collaboration cannot be termed unexpected as the British singer — who was born and raised in Bradford — has Pakistani roots as his father immigrated to the UK from the South Asian nation.

This is how the fans reacted to Zayn’s collaboration with the Pakistani band.

“This is a great gesture by Zayn by collaborating with these youngsters and making their song much more popular than it was […] Zayn collaboration gave it those extra wings and wind to it,” commented a fan.

Zayn Malik: Ex-One Directions Urdu hit Tu Hai Kahan leaves millions longing for more

Meanwhile, another termed the song a “masterpiece” and thanked the British artist for encouraging the talented Pakistani artists.

“This collab is going to be my comfort song for a long time,” wrote an X user.

“Zayn stans will forever cherish this song. We truly appreciate you all for making this happen,” said another.

Whereas some fans were “shocked” to see how eloquently Zayn managed to sing Urdu lyrics.

“One of the best and unexpected collaborations ever […] truly a masterpiece,” a user commented on the song.

“Big love […] thanks for all the support,” Zayn said while reacting to the overwhelming praise from the fans.

The collaboration between Zayn and Aur — comprising Ahad, Usama, and Raffey — reflects the band’s open-minded approach to music as it believes that music has no boundaries, the essence of which is reflected in the song.

Reacting to the global popularity and overwhelming reactions from the fans, the band said they were taking Pakistani music to the world stage and “can’t wait for the world to vibe to their music”.

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Har Pal Geo becomes first entertainment channel to hit 5 million followers on WhatsApp

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Pakistan’s most popular entertainment channel, Geo Television’s Har Pal Geo, has made history by garnering a staggering 5 million followers on its WhatsApp channel — a tour de force that remains a dream for others.

This overwhelming achievement is a testament to the viewers’ immense love for the entertainment channel’s world-class content not only in Pakistan but also around the world.

Har Pal Geo has become the first entertainment channel to pull off that feat worldwide.

Taking to Facebook, Har Pal Geo’s team wrote: “A heartfelt thank you to our followers for making us the world’s first entertainment channel on WhatsApp to reach this milestone.”

 “Your support is truly invaluable,” it added.

Followers seem to have fallen in love with the top-notch content produced by Geo Entertainment, which is why its WhatsApp channel, too, is now becoming popular among the masses with many praising the diversity and variety of entertaining stories being told.

Followers remain glued to their screens watching theIqra Aziz and Talha Chahour starrer Mannat Murad andfollowing the storyline of Maa Nahi Saas Hoon Main, among other shows.

Meanwhile, fans are waiting with bated breath for their favourite on-screen pair Yumna Zaidi and Wahaj Ali to fire up the TV screens in the second season of Geo’s blockbuster drama serial Tere Bin.

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