In the realms of rock, pop, and alternative/country music in Pakistan, Nadeem Jafri stands as a trailblazer, a name synonymous with the very fabric of Pakistan’s musical identity. Recognized as one of the pioneers who laid the foundation for these genres, Jafri’s impact on the country’s music scene is profound. A true force to be reckoned with, the multitalented artist has passionately pursued his craft over the decades. Our discussion with this musical maestro unveiled snippets of his captivating journey and his views on the transformative power of music. Nadeem Jafri’s story serves as an inspiration, illustrating the profound impact a dedicated artist can have on shaping the cultural narrative through the language of music.
SD: A singer, actor, host, or music composer– which title resonates with you the most and why?
Nadeem: In the ever-evolving journey of my musical odyssey, I’ve worn multiple hats, each carrying its unique significance. From igniting the stage as an opening act for renowned artists like Sajjad Ali, Komal Rizvi, Ali Haider, and the iconic Junaid Jamshed to contributing my musical prowess to the beats that define mainstream melodies, my musical expedition has been nothing short of extraordinary. Embarking on this melodious voyage back in the early nineties, I found myself in the company of musical legends such as Junoon, shaping and refining the sounds that resonate with the masses. While initially occupying the role of a supporting artist, my true metamorphosis occurred in 1994 with the birth of my solo masterpiece, ‘Socho Kabhi.’ Recognizing the need to carve out my niche and embrace an individualistic style, I seized the moment to establish a platform that echoed my distinctive musical identity.
SD: You created a strong mark with your acting prowess, how would you sum up the kind of niche you’ve created for yourself through the years?
Nadeem: I have had the pleasure of doing sitcoms with the country’s two top channels- ARY and GEO. I was part of the main cast of GEO’s first sitcom ‘Duniya Hai Dil Walon Ki’ with Mohib Mirza. And was also one of the leads in ARY’s first launched comedies. While I’ve done plenty of notable roles with an amazing pool of talented actors, producers, and directors, I feel my talent and my passion had a direct connection with my Lord as things would fall into place smoothly and at the right time. Also through the years, I have been able to learn so much about myself with the kind of roles I’ve taken on.
SD: Is there any specific genre or role you wish to take on?
Nadeem: I honestly feel that juggling numerous responsibilities can make you miss out on certain opportunities. My talent in comical roles has been well-received and explored extensively. I know I can create much more by defining my work in other roles and instances too. Unfortunately, two of my films were dropped due to various production concerns. Having created notable themes for leading news channels, hosted programs, ruled the music era, and established myself as a defining comedian, I am eagerly waiting to show my audience just how good I can be in a villainous role. I am confident in my depth, delivery, and dialogue to bring something different from comedy. The main challenge lies in changing people’s perceptions, as we get accustomed to certain things, and change can be overwhelming for some.
SD: Also it seems the songs made in the 80s and 90s had such substance-what do you feel is lacking from the music created in today’s era?
Nadeem: There’s undeniably a lack of spirit and motivation these days. I believe a song should have depth; it’s not just about the words and music, but a meaningful conversation. I find joy in the process of songwriting, always striving to craft conceptual songs. It’s an awakening experience, but it requires a soul to truly attain it. Unfortunately, I sense that soul is missing in some songs nowadays.
SD: A music collaboration you would like to take on?
Nadeem: I am amazed by all the talented maestros around us, particularly the notables of my era including some notable bassists I have worked with and collaborated with during different times. Names like Sameer Ahmed, Jamal Afridi, Faisal Jamal, and much more pop into my head when thinking of collabs.
SD: You seem to have a great rapport with children. Your show ‘Bache Man Keh Sache’ was a fantastic hit. What did you enjoy the most about hosting it?
Nadeem: It’s all about the kids. I’m continually amazed by their honesty. There’s incredible power in the truth they speak, and it resonates with grownups in profound ways. Learning from them is a journey, and their transparency is defining in every aspect. The show became a tremendous success, with even leading political personalities attending on crucial days. It has truly been one of the defining milestones in my career.
SD: Your traumatizing robbery in 2016 had created a huge buzz on the internet. Was there a particular defining moment in the whole chaos?
Nadeem: I was sitting in my car outside my house with my cousin when the guards were on a sehri break. It was the time of Amjad Sabri’s assassination. Out of nowhere, assailants appeared, attempting to rob us. In our defense, we pulled out our guns, finding ourselves amid a crossfire. Grateful to Allah for our safety, the incident made me realize the depth of a person’s commitment to protecting those they love. While I advocate for peace, when it comes to my loved ones, I am willing to go to any extent to ensure their safety.
SD: Looking at the current economic situation our country is going through- your words on how to keep our calm or how to combat it?
Nadeem: I observe people grappling with numerous problems, and it genuinely affects me. However, my outlook remains optimistic; I believe things will work out. It requires individuals to play their part and adapt to the circumstances as the only way to combat the situation. In today’s world, it’s crucial to focus on saving electricity, managing households efficiently, and conserving petrol. Moreover, I cannot emphasize enough how vital education is. We must instill in our children the capacity to exhibit compassion, emphasizing the importance of keeping their creative spark alive and nurtured. Encouraging them to explore multiple roles will not only enhance their skills but also open avenues for multiple sources of income.