It’s no secret that the cinema has the power to escape from an increasingly myopic, terrifying and suffering reality. It can also shed light on societal taboos or strive to do both at once. The result can be anything from fascinating to confusing. Pakistani cinema, which has gone through more than a decade of revival, starting with Khuda Kay Liye in 2007, is not always well executed. But when it comes to original tapes, especially from KKL and beyond, the result is much more positive and polished.
Even as film music directors / producers are pushing the boundaries of what is expected of the film music genre, more good than expected has emerged. The genre has had the power to save many talented artists from obscurity by providing a new platform where fans are introduced to artists, old or new, in a much more minimal or elaborate way – depending on the script’s request. .
The movies may have passed, but the OSTs we consider notable are the ones that have more than one good song to offer and remain unforgettable. At a time when we are suffering from an overdose of content, these soundtracks are proof that when it comes to music, Pakistani cinema is going in the right direction. Ultimately, it’s about understanding the nature and nuances of a storyline and characters to produce music that complements a movie rather than just functioning as a promotional tool.
“Are we ready to get carried away / and stop chasing after every breaking wave” – ”Every breaking wave” by U2
Allahyar and the legend of Markhor
Our list begins with the underrated soundtrack from the animated film, Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor. With Ali Noor and Natasha Humera Ejaz singing two songs each, you’d think it would have made a lot more noise than it did. The real gems of the film include the title song, “Allah Allah Bol”, which is sung and composed by Ali Noor and which deals with the relationship of children with God. It’s a theme that’s not as easy to master but this song does it well. The song also introduced us to what would follow it: Ali Noor’s new sound heard in the EP called Pagal. The film is also supported by a cover of Zoheb Hassan’s classic track “Muskraye Ja”, sung by Natasha Humera Ejaz who owns the song with her unique voice. The music of Allah Yar and the Legend of Markhor also includes two other songs, each by Ali Noor and Natasha Humera Ejaz, who also lend their voices to key figures.
In a film that redefined the acting prowess of Mahira Khan and paired him with Bilal Ashraf for the first time, the Superstar soundtrack only added to this cinematic release by being complementary to the film. More precisely, he did so while retaining the effect of a score that often seems absent from musical releases from Pakistani cinema. Starring Atif Aslam, Asim Azhar, the big names are certainly there, but the OST’s tour de force is the lush ‘Noori’, amazingly delivered by Sunidhi Chauhan and Jabar Abbas. With the mighty ‘Bekaraan Dil’ sung with big hearts by Ali Sethi and Zeb Bangash, these two Superstar songs are among the sparkling diamonds of Pakistani cinema, musically speaking.
Ho Mann Jahaan
A slice of the life story of three college students, who hope to follow music as a passion among its broader themes, Ho Mann Jahan (HMJ) had a star-studded ensemble cast starring Mahira Khan, Adeel Hussain and Sheheryar Munawar with a special appearance by Sonya Jehan. Although the film received mixed reviews, its music was another ball game. With a large number of artists appearing on the soundtrack, such as Mai Dhai Band, Zoheb Hassan, Atif Aslam, Zeb Bangash, Asrar and Tina Sani, the album’s unrivaled tracks include Jimmy Khan’s “Barish” with his songwriting and his easygoing lyrics and the mighty ‘Ghar Nari’ of Fareed Ayaz.
It is a tragedy when a film is directed by someone like Sarmad Khoosat, sent to the Oscars by Pakistan’s Oscar committee, but remains largely invisible to the public due to how its content may or may not be harmful to the public. our collective psyche. The irony is that the opposite is true. Regardless of her lack of screening, Zindagi Tamasha enters this list based on music produced by Saakin and Shamsher Rana.
While the soundtrack doesn’t contain too many songs, what it lacks in numbers are the two major songs in the film. The cover of “Zindagi Tamasha Bani” by Nimra Gilani is an introduction to a singer who is arguably one of the most exhilarating voices to have seen the light of day in a decade. Even though this is a cover, the song’s production and Nimra’s delivery make it almost as unique as a new song. The tour de force is ‘Aj Sik Mitraan’ which – although based on a kalaam – is majestic in its presentation. There are times in this rendition of Saakin where singer Usman Shakeel hits absolutely magnetic notes. Saakin’s handling of this kalaam with such sensitivity elevates the OST to a landscape where songs will be remembered – with or without a listener having seen the film.
Khuda Kay Liye
At a time when making contemporary films was only a thought, Khuda Kay Liye – directed by Shoaib Mansoor and released by Geo Films – offered people a movie to watch. Turning to the subject of terrorism and fundamentalism in a post 9/11 Pakistan, it gave us pause. In hindsight, there were some technical issues, but even these cannot remove the soundtrack from the film. The full album is supported by several memorable songs such as ‘Bandeya Ho’ and ‘Tiluk Kamod’ but her best songs include ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ (sung by Ammar Hassan) and the track Saeen Zahoor-Faiza Mujahid, ‘Allah Hoo’ , which was produced by Rohail Hyatt pre-Coke Studio. Whatever your policy towards the KKL, there is no doubt that it is one of the best OST to come out of the cinema. With Shoaib Mansoor as the chief lyricist, KKL reminds you of what cinematic music should sound like.
Parey Hut Amour
Some say this star-studded film never had its due. Others disagree. But no matter where you are in this debate, Parey Hut Love weighs heavily on the music quotient. Azaan Sami Khan’s soundtrack contains everything from qawwali to romantic tracks like “Behka Na”, as well as a range of strong singers. It’s a recipe that the PHL soundtrack thrives on and ticks all the right boxes. The songs that shine the most include Jimmy Khan’s track “Haye Dil” and “Morey Saiyan” which was sung so exquisitely by Zeb Bangash that it lingers in the corners of the mind.
For Kamal Khan’s excellent debut film Laal Kabootar, Taha Malik produced a soundtrack as grainy as the film needed. Starring Ahmed Ali Akbar and Mansha Pasha as the film’s main protagonists, this crime drama is backed up by music that complements it nicely. In the brutal Karachi context, the main hit of the soundtrack is the song “Jug (Art)” by Taha Malik ft. Jabar Abbas and the title song, “Laal Kabootar” by Taha Malik ft. Zoe Viccaji. On a movie soundtrack starring Mai Dhai and Sanam Marvi, these songs reflect how good Taha Malik is and how far he is from producing Mauj’s debut album. Both songs are based on the voice of Taha, who is a welcome addition as a singer to the critically acclaimed Pakistani film released by Geo Films.
For a film that went against the grain of how it had projected itself from the start, from its unique posters designed by visual artist Samya Arif, to its visuals courtesy of cinematographer Mo Azmi, Cake was a social and family drama with intriguing characters and a nuanced plot.
With actors as strong as Sanam Saeed, Aamina Sheikh, and the ever-popular Adnan Malik as the film’s main protagonists, The Sketches’ soundtrack was both surprising, exhilarating, and befitting of a film of such caliber. With a strong emphasis on the presence of folk artists, Cake’s OST featured Bhagat Bhoora Lal, Shamu Bai, Zanwar Hussain and The Sketches. But even with some lovely folk songs, in retrospect, the songs that define Cake include “Meri Dunya” and “Bol” from The Sketches. The performance of the songs by the group’s folk singer, Saif Samejo, is both intimate and akin to a lullaby.
Directed by Jamshed Mehmood Raza, better known as Jami, the underlying theme of Moor was to love a country that might not love you back, for me anyway. For such a devastating film, his music had to be just as devastating, with moments of lightness. The now defunct Pakistani music group Strings, who produced the soundtrack, did a pretty good job of bringing those emotions to the fore. With two songs by Strings, two by Javed Bashir, one by Meesha Shafi, one by Rahim Shah among others, it was a big effort musically. This whole album is a collector’s item. But our favorites are the haunting “Jogiya” by Javed Bashir and the turbulent “Eva” by Meesha Shafi which showcase the diversity of this album.
With a soundtrack co-produced by Jamal Rahman, Manto is one of the most beautiful and beautiful soundtracks to be released in a post-revival cinematic universe. The music could have been left to chance, but Sarmad Khoosat didn’t think so and we are grateful he didn’t. Although the film consists of four songs, the ones we continue to cherish and be confused by often include the tune reminiscent of 1950s jazz, “Kya Hoga” sung by Ali Sethi and Zeb Bangash with just what it takes playfulness and uncertainty and the darker and more intimate ‘Mehram Dilaan De Mahi’ sung emotionally by Meesha Shafi. While one creates a feeling of joy, the second draws you into an existential hour. Considering the nature of the film and its subject matter, the great Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto, the latter has unique and striking musical elements just like Manto’s unique and striking writing.