With Awarapan mania at its peak, no one is striking it harder while the proverbial iron is hot, like Roxen's lead vocalist Mustafa Zahid aka Musti, attending promotional tours in UK and India. Still in India, caught up with Musti to find out more!
The Awarapan tour has been a big promotional ride not only of the movie but also of Pakistani singers. How do you think it will affect the outlook of the music industry of Pakistan?
Mustafa Zahid: It is definitely bringing in positive views. You can see that from the kind of response it's getting all over, it is massive. Both our songs 'Tera Mera Rishta' and 'Toh Phir Aao' are chartbusters not only in India but all around the world. I think it has created a much stronger bond between the Bhatt camp and Pakistani singers, as Bhatts are known for bringing out Pakistani talent.
What made you agree to this movie in particular? Do you think your songs fit well?
Mustafa Zahid: I had to agree especially when I was told by Mr. Bhatt that this was the most important movie of his life and he felt that it was incomplete before he heard 'Toh Phir Aao'. Plus this movie revolves around our religion and has an amazing storyboard. My friends are calling me since the movie was released in India and are telling me that they had goose bumps when they watched my songs in movie.
Is the Indian audience receptive to the rock sound of Pakistani singers? Because a lot of the rock sound has been diluted to club mixes to suit their tastes?
Mustafa Zahid: It's very simple, all listeners/markets need change at some point and I think Bollywood needed that too. It's good to see that they accept good changes and appreciate it too
Naturally India is a bigger platform that brings about instant recognition. How are you handling this sudden international celebrity status?
Mustafa Zahid: I think we can put it this way that because Bollywood has massive viewer ship so you get noticed much more and all of a sudden. Also, the film marketing has been astronomical. It's a healthy feeling of course, I'm in India since a week and it's unbelievable that I go out and all I can hear are my songs.
What do you think makes Roxen' songs stand out of the recent Pakistani songs exported to India?
Mustafa Zahid: It is the public's call actually so they can tell you better but yes I think one of the reasons why people are giving us so much love is that I never tried to take all the lime light out of the Awarapan project. I could have gone solo with a big bag of money but instead of that we preferred making a video with band in it and doing it with our dignity and pride.
There has been speculation back home that you should have maintained your singer status by not letting Emraan overshadow you in the video. Do you think this speculation is justified?
Mustafa Zahid: I think there is just one community who has been saying that and that's the community who can never be happy with anything. They can't see that the whole band is there jamming which has never happened before other than Strings but do remember Strings were a big name by 'Zinda' and have good terms with Sanjay Dutt. For a new band like Roxen making a rock video was something exceptional. People should now start appreciating our efforts rather than complaining for once.
Having international exposure and recognition now, how are you going to use this experience to better the music and film scene in Pakistan?
Mustafa Zahid: Honestly, about our music scene I'm hopeless in terms of channels politics so I wouldn't even comment on that. About promoting Pakistani talent, I've made Mohit (the director) listen to a lot of Pakistani stuff and I hope a lot of my fellow Pakistanis will soon be venturing into something as good as Awarapan.
What do you mean by channel politics?
Musti: When you call yourself a music channel then play music; not music by your sweethearts and for God sake think beyond this level that we wont play or invite this and that artist because he is signed with some other label.
Before Awarapan mania broke out you had released your album. Does you think that your band got equal importance or boost as any other mega star artist? Or the real boost came from the movie?
Musti: Album release? I think we launched ourselves alone especially now. The way our label ruined our album release with zero promotion is something I don't even want to talk about. We've proved that good music doesn't need any bloody label/sponsor and neither channels hypocrisy nor politics will affect it. Our fans love us and they've prayed for us and they've taken us to this level.
You are a well-known band who has the most gigs with a huge fan following in Pakistan. Why do you think you were snubbed?
Musti: Because we never cared to call channels to promote us and increase our airtime neither do we use to hangout with them. Why? Because we all preferred working hard and we can proudly say we have done more then 60 gigs in Pakistan since our album release even without promotion. This shows how much love our fans have for us
So what advice would you give to underground bands that can easily fall in the same dilemma as u did?
Musti: Never think that a channel or label or a sponsor can do magic for you. It's only your handwork and music, which takes you to a new level. Believe in yourself and God Almighty and you will see the difference it will make to your career
Now that Awarapan has released in Pakistan, what would you like to convey to your audience? What hopes do you have for it?
Musti: I saw the movie last week and I think it's one of the finest movies to come out from Bollywood. I would love to see every Pakistani go out and watch Awarapan in Pakistan. The movie has actually portrayed the right picture of Muslims who believe in one God and believes that if you free someone then God comes to you and helps you in your bad time.
This movie is the best answer we could give to foreign media who have portrayed the wrong image of Muslims. Hats off to Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt and Mohit Suri. I would like to thank overseas executive producer Sohail Khan who has done a commendable job in releasing the movie in Pakistan.
We are ready to create history in Pakistan and once Emraan and I and rest of star cast is done with the India tour, we intend to fly to Pakistan for one huge Awarapan night.
The music of movie is already a rage all around the world and we are hoping the movie to go sky high.