In focus

Nazia lives on…

RAO DILSHAD HUSSAIN talks to Ahmad Hasseeb about his documentary on Nazia Hassan
Nazia lives on… Fame has come very early to Ahmad Haseeb, a graduate in Multimedia Arts from National College Of Arts Lahore. He has made a documentary about late Nazia Hassan and has got best documentary ward in 2007. He has been working for ‘Waqt News’ as producer sports programme ‘Game Beat’. Haseeb’s sports programme ‘Game Beat’ has completed its 250 episodes successfully, which is making a history for the ‘Waqt News’. In his programme he has tried to introduce a unique concept called ‘Montage’ in which picture has been changed with the support of music. The existing Pakistani channels could not flourish such concept in sports shows.
Nazia Hassan left the music world too soon and passed away on August 13, 2000. His documentary regarding Nazia Hassan was basically a thesis work for his NCA final submission. He did it effectively and talked about views of Nazia’s admirers in this documentary. This documentary has been highly praised by several Pakistani celebrities and Indian director Vasan Nath. Prior to completing his graduation, he had directed a Junoon’s music video named “Rooh ki Pyas.� Haseeb told that about thirty three years ago, viewers of Sohail Rana’s television programme “Kaliyon Ki Mala� watched a twelve-year-old girl singing fabulously. The girl was Nazia Hassan, who later made history with “Aap Jaisa Koi�, and then went on to release four albums.
Answering a question he explained that Nazia Hassan was his favourite celebrity from his childhood, that is why he was extremely enthusiastic to know everything about Nazia’s personality, her professional career and especially how she passed away. To know about her Haseeb met numerous Naiza’s friends, colleagues and family members. They all said that she was a very polite person and looked after several people. She helped out the poor and was a great people’s lover and never used harsh word against anyone in her professional career.
Talking about his documentary experience in ‘Kara’ film festival Karachi, he said, his documentary on Pakistan's original pop diva Nazia Hassan, who won the hearts of millions across the subcontinent in the 1980s with her melodious songs, was screened at a film festival in Karachi over the weekend. Haseeb was exposed to a new culture through his documentary. “I spent several months to complete this documentary film that required lots of effort on my part. Previously, I used to produce sports programmes and music videos but in this documentary I had to do a lot of work and meet various personalities to get information regarding her. She was the Pakistan’s first pop singer who performed across the globe and got various wards.� Ahmad Haseeb explained.
Haseeb’s documentary screened with the title ‘A Music Fairy’ a tribute to Nazia Hassan, the 44-minute film in Urdu at the Kara Film Festival, Pakistan's biggest cinema festival, in which most iconic music videos of Nazia like ‘Disco Deewane’, ‘Dosti’, ‘Tali De Thalay’ and ‘Tum Meray Ho’ have been interspersed with rare interviews, recordings of her phone conversations with her brother Zoheb Hassan, television appearances and interviews with her friends, family and individuals who saw her grow as a musician. Hassan's musical adventure began when she met British-Indian composer Biddu in London, where she grew up and was introduced to Bollywood filmmaker Feroz Khan who was making ‘Qurbani’ at the time. The hit song ‘Aap Jaisa Koi Meri Zindagi Main Aye’ from Qurbani first catapulted Hassan to fame. An upbeat blend of the East and West that is still played at clubs, the song was recorded in England when she was only 13.
The documentary film kicked off with Hassan's first interview on Pakistan Television and ends with her funeral. It includes details like Hassan bagging a Filmfare Award when she was just 16 and the singer's desire for "Aap Jaisa Koi" to be a duet with her brother Zoheb. Biddu was the person, who introduced Hassan, calling her the first Asian pop star. "There were folk singers and classical singers but there was no pop star who was young and doing music catering to the youth. Nazia opened the floodgates to pop music. She was the first Asian pop star." In one of her interviews featured in the film, She talks about people dismissing ‘Aap Jaisa Koi’ as a fluke."Pop music is huge in the West but in India and Pakistan, we didn't have that," says Nazia, who also recorded a duet with Kishore Kumar.
In an interview in 1999, Nazia, who had been diagnosed with cancer by then, said she didn't think it was time for her to die. She also told a friend that her marriage was not a happy one. "Her arranged marriage was a mismatch from the start. Nazia didn't want her private life to become public. For a long time, she didn't say anything, not even to her mother because she was too proud. She was unhappy from the start," the friend said.
Nazia, who had a thin voice with a nasal twang, tied up with her younger brother Zoheb and produced three albums, all of which were big hits. In her later years, Hassan sang about issues such as drugs that had plagued millions of youth worldwide. She also sang for another Bollywood hit, "Disco Deewanee", in 1981. The brother-sister duo released their first album "Young Tarang" in Pakistan in the 1980s. Their last album "Camera Camera" was released in the early 1990s. In the same decade, Biddu remixed some of her tracks with new beats and put them on TV music channels.
Ahmad Haseeb said, “Nazia, who had a law degree from London University, did a short stint as a political analyst for the UN in the US but she had to quit her job because of her illness. In 2003, her parents Muneeza and Baseer and brother Zohaib set up the Nazia Hassan Foundation, which works to promote peace and harmony amongst communities and encourages the fusion of values and ideas of the East and West.�