Arshad Mahmood - Accent On
Written by English NewsPaper/Dawn/Others   

It is a bit difficult to be Arshad Mahmood. Strong was his imprint on EMI as a business venture that Nisar Bazmi, the famous composer said that EMI without Arshad Mahmood was a non-entity.

A sentiment that has been echoed over the years by many others. His years with EMI had helped introduce him to the intricacies of the music business in Pakistan and strangely enough also helped him decide that he never wanted to go back to working for somebody in the years to come.

I left EMI because I wanted to branch out, experiment, do thins on my own.

he explains. "I started my own music recording and publishing house by the business name of SMB (Syed Mansoor Bukhari), another one of the music business greats to have been associated with EMI. I named my company after Bukhari Sahab because that for me was the best tribute I could pay to somebody who has done so much for the industry in his life long association."

Over the last few years he has produced and marketed the Pakistani film and non-film music. "Some people may feel that, the local brand of film music is not Up to the required quality. On the contrary I think that Pakistani and Indian film music is essentially very similar in its aesthetics and vocal quality. The significant difference is the result of superior marketing by the Indian film and music makers."

And when it comes to marketing, Arshad is hard to beat. With more than quite a few advertisement jingles under his belt and some of the more famous selling lines set to his tunes, he is kept busy by the constant flow of work. This is because his involvement with music has given him the background knowledge and exposure to understand the needs of the advertisers in terms of their corporate image and communication objectives. This exposure has been helpful in his own spheres of activity,particularly music distribution, Special projects, etc.

The preceding debate aside, even if he feels that Pakistani film music does lag behind at the moment, he is determined to set it right. He has finally taken up the challenge to take charge of the music department for a film being produced by Sohail Hasan and Kamran Hasan in a year which also marks his debut in films as an actor. He was signed up recently by Nadeem Mandviwalla to act in his Very Good Duniya, Very Bad log. Asked why he never acted in films before, he shrugs his shoulders and remarks casually as a way of explanation that he was never offered role — a good enough reason. Now that he has starred he look forward to a new assignment as according to him "the experi¬ence was professionally suitably satisfying,"

One other experience that has been more than just suitably satisfying over the last year has been his assignment to compose the music for the World Cup Cultural events. That proved to be his chance to flex his creative muscles firstly wiih the fashion show and then with the specially composed and choreographed ballets. "Sassi Punnu, by far, was the most challenging assignment that I have ever taken up as it required me to compose one hour of music in  co-ordination wiih other elements of the performance, including the choreography and the poetry. It was a massive  effort, made more challenging by the fact that the Creative process had to be carried out in concernt with the choreographer, Nighat Chaudary and the director."

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The conversation then veers off into behind- the-scenes drama in the World Cup. "Irrespective of everything else that may have gone right or wrong, I feel that Raana Sheikh should be given credit for having undertaken such a gigantic project. She probably knew and so did others around her, that the probability of the project failing was very high. The fact she went ahead with the effort in Spite of the odds speaks a lot about her faith in all of us — her support team."

One other area of his life that he speaks passionately about nowadays is his involvement in the restoration of old recordings. The first of these pieces of work has recently been released on disc with sponsorship being provided by a private bank. "There are certain things in life that may not be significant commercially but are very important culturally and aesthetically. My collection of Faiz Sahcb's works is one such project. I knew all along that a project like this would need monetary support. Thar is where the support extended by the private sponsors can come in handy.

"At the moment I am doing the ground work for a project similar to this one in spirit. It involves digitising the recordings of the Sindh Department of Culture. When completed this would augment the cause of preserving our national cultural heritage.

I would have thought that Pakistan Television Corporation and Radio Pakistan should have taken upon such an endeavour but such an initiative sadly enough has not been forthcoming, while the national cultural heritage of our country withers away.

By Tufail

Published in Dawn

From WikiPedia:

Acting career

Arshad Mehmood is perhaps best known for his acting role in Aangan Terha, a popular TV drama serial. He also played a secondary but important role of "Baba" (Dr Ahmer's foster father) in the drama serial Dhoop Kinare. Other acting performance includes Ankahi.He also participated an important role and music composition in Program SUCH GUP (70s).

Music composition

Arshad Mehmood has composed music for many Ghazals sung by Nayyara Noor and Tina Sani. He composed music for many Pakistani drama serials and long plays including Dhoop Kinare.

Some of the ghazals included in the music of the drama Dhoop Kinare were performed by Nayyara Noor including "Main tum se na puchun", "Raat yun dil mein teri" and "Hansi khanakti hui" (the theme song).

He is also supported Ali Haider from the very beginning of his career on his first musical album Jane-Jan-Sun which was released by EMI Pakistan . In this album the song DOSTI KI MEHK was included which was also included in Dhoop Kinare. If the recording is seen carefully his music is all over serial . He has also composed music for many Milli naghmas (National songs) including "Watan ki mitti gwah rehna".

Recent works

He acted in Khamosh Pani (2003), a movie set in Pakistan of 1970s. He is a faculty member at National Academy of Performing Arts, Karachi, Pakistan. He also took part in a very famous comedy skit play called 50 50