Wajahat Rauf’s Lahore Se Aagey may have received mixed reviews (okay, they were mostly bad) but all those who heard the songs are in unison that the soundtrack is strong and the new voice on the OST – Aima Baig – has a bright future. The youngster has sung as many as three songs in the movie, all of which fall into different genres. Be it the kotha-esque ‘Kalabaaz’ or the pop songs ‘Ahl-e-Di’l and ‘Befikriyan’, Aima is at her best and that too in her debut film. Instep meets the playback singer who believes that films were always her calling and she vows to stay at the top once she gets there.
Mostly singers become popular due to their songs but you hit the limelight after singing that infamous cover of Summer Wine with Mubashir Luqman?
Aima Baig: (Smiles) Well, Mubashir Luqman is a friend of my father’s as they used to work together in Oman back in the day. He knew me from that time so when we had a chance meeting in Lahore, he asked me what I was doing. That meeting took place when he was ‘off-aired’ from TV and was looking to do something different. It was his idea to come up with this version of Summer Wine that became popular online, especially as no one expected him to sing a song. We play-acted like Bono and The Corrss, who had performed on one of the earlier versions.
How did you end up as the only female vocalist in Lahore Se Aagey? Did Shiraz Uppal the music director approach you directly?
AB: I met Shiraz Uppal through his assistant as I got to know that he was looking for a vocalist for his upcoming flick. Shiraz tried me for ‘Befikriyan’ and I was under the impression that I was competing with a few others for the position. Thankfully, I was the one selected and got the other two songs as well as Wajahat Rauf and Shiraz were of the opinion that one voice should be used since Saba’s character wanted to be a rockstar.
Three songs in your first film; that’s interesting considering you haven’t been much in the limelight. How would you rate the experience?
AB: After ‘Befikriyan’, I was given ‘Ahl-e-Dil’ and ‘Kalabaaz’ both of whom were challenging. The former was from the pop genre that I enjoy the most; however for the latter I had to go the extra mile. Shiraz asked me to mould my voice like ‘wahan ki auratein’ and although I didn’t have any first hand experience, I did absorb the kotha reference from here and there. I am a fan of Rekha Bharadwaj and I kept her in mind while singing ‘Kalabaaz’. Shiraz kept repeating ‘Tawaif, Kotha’ to make me realize where I was supposed to be and I stood for 4 to 5 hours in the studio for the song, which was big considering we had rehearsed for a day. I am glad that the final outcome had the desi touch that was required;
Which of the three songs – ‘Befikriyan’, ‘Ahl-e-Dil’ and ‘Kalabaaz’ – is closer to your heart?
AB: ‘Befikriyan’ since it was my first song and I was quite nervous as I knew Shiraz would be judging me. It was my first real opportunity to do something huge, then the composer was ‘Shiraz Uppal’ and the song was to be filmed on one of the reigning actresses of the time. It was a make or break for me and that’s why I have special feelings attached to it.
Tell us something about your journey from nobody to an aspiring singer?
AB: I have always wanted to be a singer and have been singing in my family since I was 7 years old; my first co-singer was my father who is a music enthusiast but couldn’t make it to the next level due to his father’s strictness. I was the first one who was allowed to sing professionally in my family where if it’s a boy, it’s engineering and if it’s a girl, the main aim is to become a doctor. Thankfully, after completing my Bachelor’s in Films and Television from University of Lahore, I was allowed to follow my dreams and here I am!
Your voice seems to suit Western rather than filmi music; is that natural or did you change your style?
AB: My teacher Khawar Fawad at School of Creative Arts, The University of Lahore advised me to try singing in this mould and since I had the support of my father, I went ahead. I got to sing a few OSTs for TV dramas, two patriotic songs for our Armed forces and more recently, co-hosted Mazaaq Raat where I got to sing a few songs as well.
What’s next on Aima Baig’s plate of surprises?
AB: I plan to do my own song when I get the time from singing for films. Upcoming movies Arth 2; BaluMahi, Saya e Khuda e Zuljalal, Yalghaar and Na Baja Na Barati will feature my songs. People do ask me as to why I don’t come on screen or go to Bollywood, but for me, working with good people is the first priority. It’s a drawback that I haven’t been much on the screen but in due time, I will appear when more songs of mine get released.