There’s a new kid doing the rounds around the comedy-rap block of Pakistani music, and he’s demanding attention. Bollywood star Alia Bhatt and our local star Hania Aamir couldn’t resist, and neither can his quickly accumulating fanbase. The name’s Muhammad Shah and the Instagram handle is @iamtheshah.
In a new video, which is part of his ‘What if’ series, Shah wants to talk to Bhatt directly. He doesn’t want a lot, just to get to know her better. He asks her to come closer, but our responsible comedian’s not dismissive of the novel coronavirus.
The video starts with Shah sitting across his friend, separated by a chess board. The friend, in a series of unpredictable events, rolls a dice on the board, then proceeds to move his knight for some reason. We’re also lost, what is he playing?
The innovative boardgamer friend, however, has further contributions to make. He says to Shah, “Yahan log tab lift karate hain jab koi bahir wala notice kare. Tu ne gaana banadia Hania pe, arey gaana bana Alia per! Dimples tou uske bhi hain. [Here people pay heed to something only when a foreigner notices it. You’ve made a song on Hania when you should be making one on Alia! She’s got dimples too!]”
The advice is taken blindly, as the rapper then proceeds to say ‘Alia’ some 200 times. A bunch of her movie references and some intense expression of adoration later, the same friends remind our man that Bhatt has a boyfriend.
He’s got another idea though, of course, saying, “Janhvi Kapoor ka pata hai [Have you heard of Janhvi Kapoor?]?”
The advice worked though. Bhatt replied to the video and commented “Bohut hard”.
But let’s not get too caught up in the Bhatt drama and forget that Hania Aamir is a star in the video too. There’s a framed comment from her after all. To explain what that drama is about, we have one line for you: “Your dimple’s got me simping.”
Shah made a video dedicated to Aamir before but she didn’t notice. He realised he had to try harder and out came ‘Bye Hania’. Noting his disappointment, he confesses it’s him and not her. It’s over.
Little did our die-rolling chess player know that the second time was the charm. The Parwaz Hai Junoon star sniffed out the interest on social media and gave the man what he wanted — a comment.
Unfortunately for Shah, that’s all there was to it. Aamir never actually specified the 16th of which month so that was that. But Shah then made a third video for her.
He insists he’s fine, but we wouldn’t bet on it.
We’ve always loved to see how Pakistanis use hip hop to form an original culture of their own. This is perhaps to be credited to the democratic nature of the genre, its sheer experimentalism and openness to originality paves the way for musicians in every culture it touches to create a version of their own.
Comedy-rap, led by the iconic Ali Gul Pir, has snagged Pakistani audience’s hearts and we’re glad it’s making space for more artists to do their thing. Shah’s work is exciting and fun and we’re looking forward to more from home but we’re doubtful that anything beat his tribute to Butt Karhai.