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Ali Haider
Meeting this pop singer from across the border was an experience. He doesn’t have any qualms about the stardom that he enjoys. Simplicity and Exclusivity are his strengths and ‘Purani Jeans Aur Guitar’ his weakness. Here’s a meeting with the handsome and the yet ‘eligible bachelor’ ALI HAIDER in an exclusive conversation with NITIN KALRA over a lunch plate of rice and curry.
“I never knew what stardom was. In fact if you still ask me to describe it I can’t,” says the rather media-shy and modest Ali Haider who shot into fame with the super hit track ‘Purani Jeans’ way back in 1998. But this wasn’t the beginning for Ali. Starting his musical career in the early 1990s, Ali released around five albums before he got a reality check on his stardom. “I did albums like ‘Chahat’, ‘Qarar’, ‘Sandesa’, ‘Chaand Sa Mukhda’ and ‘Dastaan’ before doing the album ‘Mahi’, which put me on a pedestal amongst the Asian community. ‘Purani Jeans’, which was made into a video as part of ‘Mahi’ has been the biggest booster in my career. I can’t tell you the various responses that the song has generated in the last 10 years its been around”.
Ten years? Yes, with ‘Purani Jeans’ its not the case as any people believe. The song was composed by Ali on his college farewell day way back in 1993 and was released as part of the album titled ‘Sandesa’ in Pakistan. The song, though became popular, didn’t generate much heat at that time. But when Ali remixed the song and presented it in the album ‘Mahi’ it became a rage. In fact it wouldn’t be wrong if we say that the song has become a cult in itself! “True, the song has become a cult. There are fans of ‘Purani Jeans’ who don’t know Ali Haider. I want to share an example with you. At the moment I am staying at a guesthouse in Mumbai where couple of days back in the evening all occupants were sitting in the living room and chatting. That’s when one of them started talking of Pakistani songs and one gentleman who was around 50 started talking about ‘Purani Jeans’ and how the song reminds him of his young days. Suddenly they asked me about my views on the song and when I told them that I was the singer of the song there was a pin-drop silence in the room for about five minutes. None of them knew how to respond to the embarrassing situation. I was zapped too but I knew the song had more followers than I did,” gently smiles Ali.
What makes ‘Purani Jeans’ an evergreen song is the simplicity and the strong identification factor that goes along with it. Everyone goes through a phase in life when he goes to college, meets a sweetheart, dreams about a happy home and family, etc, etc. Even though Ali now claims that he may never be able to compose a song on the lives of ‘Purani Jeans’ again because of his age (he is 32!!!) but the song has given him the privilege to enjoy teenage fan following even when he gets old. “I will remix ‘Purani Jeans’ in my next album to be titled ‘The Best of Ali Haider’. This time the song will have a rock feel to it,” informs Ali who is at present in India to release his 13th album ‘Tera Naam Liya To’.
Recently felicitated in Pakistan as the only artist to have released 13 albums in a span of 14 years, Ali says that ‘Tera Naam Liya To’ will present a mature side of Ali Haider. “I have crossed the teenage period. As time moves by every person grows and I have evolved too, both as an artist and as a human being. I have become more romantic with time and that is depicted in this album”. Romantic? Are we hearing wedding bells already for the handsome lad? With a cute and shy smile on his face Ali admits, “Maybe very soon”.
Ah! Getting back to the album. ‘Tera Naam Liya To’ is already a hit amongst the Asian music lovers. It has been on # 1 position at the BBC Asian Network music chart for 14 weeks now! That’s a huge achievement? “The album has depth. All songs conceived for the album have some link with my life or with the lives of people around me. As you must have noticed my songs have always been simple, with basic melodies and sound arrangement. I have never tried to compose music that will rock the world. I always look at making music that’s simply touching your heart”.

You can read the rest of our feature on Ali Haider in the December 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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