There’s something about Atif and Emraan

February 21, 2009


There’s something about Atif and Emraan

Maheen Sabeeh

There’s something about Atif Aslam and Emraan Hashmi that unites them in comparison. They are both superstars in their own right and have a unique success story, but when it comes to the X-factor they have more in common than you’d think. Instep Today takes a look…

Slow and steady wins the race

It is hard to imagine now but when Atif Aslam, the little kid from Lahore, came onto the music scene five years ago (the same time that Emraan Hashmi’s sleaze…sorry blockbuster Murder was released), no one could have imagined he’d become the sensation that he has. With no formal vocal training and a constant object of critique for being off-key, he stepped onto the very big Pakistani pop scene and blew people away. Atif may not have the musicianship that one associates with someone like Ali Azmat but the man definitely has an incredibly unique set of vocal cords. That ‘zing’ factor remains unique to him alone. It absorbs listeners no matter what the song might be. And that is a talent that few men possess in the music industry.

That same uniqueness applies to Emraan Hashmi who has always been eyed with skepticism as an actor. For one, his reputation as ‘serial kisser’ has not helped nor has the kissing-brooding hero stereotype. But the role of good hearted gangster was meant for him. Be it films like Kalyug or Awarapan or Jannat, Emraan has made his mark and his films do well. Of the new crop of actors, this is a face that always gets noticed. It isn’t just because Emraan has the sleazy bad boy thing going for him. He is a decent actor and in a way is unique just like Atif. And like Atif, his popularity has increased with time, his films becoming as big a hit as Atif’s albums.

Twinkle twinkle little star

Atif isn’t the most articulate of musicians when it comes down to musicianship. But he is a showman. Whether it means singing a rocked-up cover of the hit Omkara song ‘Beedi’ or dressing up as a cop at the Lux Style Awards or the various other stunts he is known to pull for attention (including flying down to a stage on a magic carpet), he remains one of the most attention grabbing acts in the business. Atif Aslam doesn’t conform to any norms. He will do Bollywood tunes and he will dress up in strange, bizarre clothes, which often come across as costumes but he gets away with it because his presence is very strong and bizarre is what is expected from him now. Atif is one of the biggest icons this generation has seen. And that fact just can’t be denied irrespective of critical acclaim or album sales. Atif Aslam is a man for the masses because he is someone who many can relate to.

Likewise, people would now be shocked if Emraan Hashmi didn’t do one of his infamous kissing scenes in a film. But he pulls Bollywood out of a crunch every time. His career began with Murder (2004) – the ripped off Indianized version of Unfaithful – and it was a blockbuster. Emraan as the sleazy lover was despicable but that was the beginning.

Awarapan, Gangster, Jannat and the latest Raaz 2 (2009) – all these films have good numbers at the box office. In fact, from the new crop of actors, Emraan is a sure-bet for producers. He gets the viewers, in India and even in Pakistan. Emraan is neither the most good looking guy on the block nor is he the next Aamir Khan or even Hrithik Roshan for that matter. But he is someone the people, the masses, can relate to. And that is why Emraan is an incredibly bankable star, just like Atif.

Rebels with or without a cause

Atif Aslam will do things his way. No matter how many times he has been criticized for his videos, he continues to churn out videos that indulge in unabashed cheapness. And he doesn’t apologise for them.

Atif’s music is another subject altogether. After a fairly decent debut, Atif released the over-the-top Doorie. It was an out and out commercial album which didn’t bring out the musician in Atif to the forefront. But it was a gamble and it worked. Despite severe criticism, Atif has always stood by it. His third album, Meri Kahani didn’t possess the magic of Jalpari. But it was an effort nonetheless. And after Doorie, it was a 360 degree turn and shocked fans. Atif stands by Meri Kahani as well.

This non-conformist attitude of Atif gives him an edge over many others who play it safe and stick to politically correct and diplomatic attitude.

Emraan Hashmi has been stereotyped as a thug. He doesn’t care. His kissing in films is legendary. And Emraan’s answer to the criticism has always been the same: “Those who don’t understand my sensibilities can f*** off.”

Emraan Hashmi may be a decent actor but in five years, he hasn’t given a film that brings out his talent in full force. But he doesn’t seem to care. Most Emraan Hashmi films are unwatchable. The scripts, stories and the overall execution of the films border on mediocrity. And yet, Emraan works. Emraan knows how to sell sleaze and get mileage out of it. And he never apologises for it. He doesn’t play it safe at a time when many actors in India are conscious about their “image” as good guys on and off-screen.

Source: The News International – No. 1 English Newspaper from Pakistan – Saturday, December 30, 1899