Ali Azmat has long been hailed as our personal Pakistani rock star with an attitude to match. Previously associated with the internationally acclaimed band JUNOON, Ali Azmat has in recent years managed to carve his own path in the ever growing music industry both locally and abroad.
Self-deprecating and humble, Ali generally comes across in interviews as no-nonsense straight shooter who always raises voice about how this country is run. Evident from his new single, “Bum Phata”, a satirical take on the deplorable conditions been faced by the people of Pakistan amid a worrisome lack of everyday essentials such as water, electricity and food. Already being hailed as the political statement of the year, “Bum Phata” has made headlines not only for the palette tickling video directed by Jami, but also for the international notice it is receiving.
The single has now been handpicked to feature in Mira Nair’s highly anticipated movie The Reluctant Fundamentalist based on the bestselling book by Mohsin Hamid of the same name. Mira Nair is, of course, an internationally acclaimed Indian filmmaker (Salaam Bombay!, Kama Sutra, Monsoon Wedding, Namesake) who has been charged with the task of translating this bestseller to screen. Since first being published in 2007, The Reluctant Fundamentalist has become perhaps one of the most defining books of the last decade. It follows a young ambitious Pakistani man Changez working at Wall Street, who aspires to live the quintessential American life, but becomes deeply troubled after the 9/11 attacks. This turn of events leads him down a different and radical path.
With a stellar cast which includes up and coming British actor Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland and our very own Meesha Shafi, there is really not much that could go wrong. The ensemble, however, would not be its only selling point. It is gratifying to see that Pakistani talent, be it literary, musical or cinematic, still has a place in the world.