Shuja Haider: the unsung star of Pakistani music


KARACHI: Admiration is crucial for any art type to flourish. It will not be incorrect to say that the Pakistani music business is majorly about its stars; the performers and artists who laze the main attraction.

Little or no interest pays to music manufacturers who function rather in a different way. Compared with their more recognized co-workers, they choose to work in the tranquility of their soundproof companies, piecing together music and anthems for which they are rarely recognized.

The tale of one of Pakistan’s most recognized and professional music manufacturers, Shuja Haider, is no different. For someone who has been part of the market for approximately 20 years, making some of our most well-known music, Haider has selected to have a very low information.

The producer, who quite often steps into the vocal booth as a singer, said venturing into this line-of-work was a logical progression for him. “My grandfather Master Sadiq Ali was a musician and producer himself … so the bug was always there,” he told The Express Tribune. Despite being a proponent of a very different style, Haider traces his training back to Ali. “He was very far-sighted. Even at that time [during the 80s] he would say that for the survival of Eastern music, it is imperative to blend it with Western music,” he recalled. “He encouraged us and others to make more fusion music.”

Over the years, Haider has produced for numerous artists, including Ahmed Jahanzeb and Haroon. With the albums of both artists, Parastishand Haroon Ki Awaz, doing well on the charts, Haider’s career went into overdrive.

Even though he boasts an impressive portfolio, it was his stint as a playback singer on the OSTs of Shoaib Mansoor’s Khuda Kay Liye andBol that audiences still remember.

It does not come as a surprise that the experience of working with someone of Mansoor’s stature was an unforgettable one for Haider. What impressed Haider most about the creator of Alpha Bravo Charlieand Ankahi was his clarity of thought. “Right now people in the film industry aren’t making music properly. The music for Bol and Khuda Kay Liye, on the other hand, was very conceptual. The brilliant thing about Shoaib sahab is that you know exactly what he wants from you,” he said. “Sound without vision is nothing. It’s like hammering a nail. It’s not music.”

Haider is, however, optimistic about what the future holds for music in Pakistani films. Fortunate enough to have worked alongside Mansoor, Haider also harbours a great deal of admiration for the film-maker’s former protégé, music producer Rohail Hyatt. “Although we haven’t worked together, I have tremendous amount of respect for Rohail and how he has brought about Coke Studio,” he added. “It was his vision and hopefully and you can see that it’s going places.”

Although tight-lipped about his future projects, Haider did reveal that he will be composing the soundtracks for three upcoming films. “I can’t disclose the names right now but I can tell you that they are being produced under the banner of Hum Films.”