Ali Zafar (Punjabi, Urdu: علی ظفر; born as Ali Mohammad Zafar on 18 May 1980), is a Pakistani music composer, singer-songwriter, painter and actor. He started his singing career with the song Jugnuon Se Bhar Le Aanchal in the film Shararat, directed by Pakistani actress and director Samina Peerzada but made a big mark with his first single Channo from his first album Huqa Pani that sold over five million copies worldwide. The album turned out to be one of the biggest hits ever in Pakistan with Channo topping the charts all the way for a long time. He paid tribute to the victims of Peshawar massacre with the song "Urain Ge".
Zafar began his acting career with Bollywood film Tere Bin Laden, which was moderately successful at the box office, and for which he was nominated for Filmfare Best Male Debut Award. In 2011, Zafar appeared as a guest in Yash Raj's Luv Ka The End and received his second commercial success with his next release--the romantic comedy Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Zafar went on to win Stardust Award for Superstar of Tomorrow - Male. Zafar starred in a number of commercially successful films like London, Paris, New York (2012), Chashme Baddoor (2013) and Total Siyapaa (2014).
Zafar has won three Lux Style Awards, three Indus Music Awards, three MTV Style Awards and one Stardust Awards. In 2012, Zafar was awarded by Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards in India. In 2013, Zafar was voted as the "Sexiest Asian Man on the Planet" based on a worldwide poll conducted by the British weekly newspaper Eastern Eye.
Early life and career:
Ali Zafar was born in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan in a Punjabi family. His parents were Mohammad Zafarullah and Kanwal Ameen, both professors at the University of Punjab, Pakistan. He studied at the C.A.A. Public School and Beaconhouse School System where he topped his matriculation exams. He completed his graduation from the Government College of Lahore and the National College of Arts in fine arts. Zafar made his first comic book at the age of eight. Early in his career, he worked as a sketch artist at Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore.
Ali Zafar made his debut as a musician with the album Huqa Pani, released in Pakistan in 2003 and worldwide in 2005. The album was an instant hit, selling over 600,000 copies worldwide and winning several major awards and nominations. It also put him into the league of the most popular artists ever to have come out of Pakistan with a massive fan following locally and internationally. With time he proved to be perhaps one of the most versatile singer in the modern generation with a distinct vocal tone and qualities, specially during his folk and Sufi renditions in the "Coke Studio (Pakistan)", where he surprised his audiences with live renditions of difficult notes with much ease and ranging his singing from pop to folk to semi-classical. His new songs, namely "Allah Hu", "Yaar Dhadhi Ishq" (a cover), "Nahin Ray Nahin" and "Daastan-e-Ishq", won the hearts of millions all over the world once again and earned him a new era of fan following.
He won the award for "Best Album" category at the Lux Style Awards in 2004 for his massive hit album Huqa Pani and also the "Best Male Artist" at the 2008 MTV awards. In addition to the album's popularity being reflected in the music stores and by critics, it has been widely claimed that Himesh Reshammiya copied one of the most well-known tracks from the album, "Rangeen", for his song "Dillagi Mein Jo". Soon Pritam too copied his track "Channo" as "Chori ki Baatein" in the film Fight Club.
Zafar launched his second album "Masty" nationwide in November 2006. He has since released four videos from the album, titled "Masty", "Sajania", "Dekha" and "Aasmaan", which again went to become a big hit and the audience loved it a lot.
He released his third video of the single "Dekha", from his second album, which was the most expensive music video of Pakistan, costing more than ten million rupees. The video was shot in Malaysia, produced by the Lux Company, and had the Pakistani actress-models Reema Khan, Meera, and Amina Haq starring in it. Zafar also won the "Youth Icon" award in the Lux Style Awards 2007, in Malaysia.
Besides being a singer, painter, model and an actor, Zafar also produced and directed his music video "Ek Pal" from his first album Huqa Pani. His song "Dekha" from his album Masty was part of the soundtrack of the American film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, which was released on 24 September 2010. He is the fourth Pakistani artist after Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Strings and Atif Aslam to have a song(s) featured in an American film.
On 14 February, Zafar released his third album, which was much different from his earlier works consisting of Sufi semi-classical rendition of folk and Sufi verses fused with modern instruments. It also included renditions from Coke studio and Ghazals from Mirza Ghalib. This time Zafar seemed more mature and thoughtful in his approach to music, revealing a more serious side to his personality and music. Tracks such as the title track "Jhoom", "Jee Dhoondta Hai", "Koi Umeed" and "Jaane-e-Man" had a timeless feel to them and earned him further respect and popularity in the field of serious music listening.
Zafar also became the first of sorts to have rendered his services as an actor, singer, composer, lyricist, writer, arranger, programmer, recordist for his recent film London, Paris, New York. Amongst the popular tracks from the album are the title track "London, Paris, New York", "Voh Dekhnay Mein", "Thehree Si Zindagee" and "Ting Rang". Now Zafar is working on the music of his next venture Total Siyappa, as the music director. Also by the end of 2013, his fourth album is releasing.
In 2015, Zafar released a single and music video for his new song titled Urainge.
Ali Zafar's first experience in acting was in Pakistani television drama's before becoming one of the most popular singers of this generation in Pakistan. He acted in dramas like Kanch Ke Par and miniseries Kollege Jeans. After becoming a music sensation in Pakistan and beyond, he was offered the role of Sarmad in Khuda Kay Liye, a film by Shoaib Mansoor released in 2007 which he accepted, but was unable to sign due to some personal reasons. The role was then performed by Fawad Afzal Khan.
After few years' hiatus from acting, apart from in his own videos, Ali yet again set a precedent by being the first ever Pakistani star/singer to be featured as a solo main lead in his debut movie, a Bollywood movie namely Tere Bin Laden, directed by Abhishek Sharma which was a success both critically and commercially. Tere Bin Laden released on 16 July 2010 and was a major hit in India for a low budget movie but was not allowed to be released in Pakistan by the film censor board. He got nominated for IIFA Awards, Screen Awards, Zee Cine Awards and Filmfare Awards of 2011 in the Best Male Debut category. He was also the first Pakistani to be called to Indian Film Festival at Australia in March 2011 for his movie screening.
Ali Zafar who took up movies as a serious career after his debut film has proved himself once again with his third film (second being a special appearance in another Bollywood film) under Yash Raj Films, banner Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, directed and written by Ali Abbas Zafar and produced by Aditya Chopra. Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. Released on 9 September, the film was both critically acclaimed and a commercial success like his first film. Ali's performance was specially praised by the industry. The film also stars Imran Khan and Katrina Kaif.
In 2012, Zafar starred in London, Paris, New York, which also received great critical acclaim as well as impressive overseas revenue, but didn't manage to perform very well at the Indian box office. Apart from acting as male protagonist in films, he is also heavily involved in the music of the films he stars in.
In 2012, he received Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards in a ceremony held in India, for Best New Talent-Male and also got Superstar of tomorrow in Stardust Awards for his performance in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.
His fifth movie was Chashme Baddoor (2013), a romantic adult-comedy film directed by David Dhawan, which was declared a box office super hit, adding another commercial success to Zafar's filmography.
As of the beginning of 2014, Ali was set to star in multiple films, with the first being Total Siyappa, a romantic comedy due 7 March 2014. He is currently filming for other films also, such as Kill Dil and a cameo appearance in Tere Bin Laden 2 (the sequel to Tere Bin Laden).
Zafar married his long-time fiancee Ayesha Fazli (paternally related to Indian actor Aamir Khan through her father's cousin's mother) in an Islamic wedding ceremony on 28 July 2009 in Lahore, Pakistan. On 6 March 2010, he became a father to a baby boy, whom he named Azaan Zafar. On 23 February 2015, his wife gave birth to their daughter, their second child, in Lahore. The baby girl's name is Alyza Zafar suggested by Azaan Zafar.
Zafar performs on the piano at the Lux Style Awards.
Zafar takes to the stage along with Humaima Malick in a highly memorable and exciting performance. He also pays tribute to the great legend of Pakistan Mehdi Hassan. Listen to Mehdi Hassan's greatest Ghazal 'Mujhe Tum Nazar Say' in Ali Zafar's melodious voice. Zafar performed at the Pantaloons Femina Miss India 2012 contest held at Bhavans Ground in Mumbai on March 30, 2012.
Zafar also performed on the 3rd GiMA Awards 2012. Zafar also performed at Police Show events, concerts and also a performance at Temptations Reloaded concert with Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Preity Zinta in Muscat in 2013.
Zafar entertained the audience on the second day of Lifestyle Pakistan Expo here when he danced to Bollywood numbers, and appeared on stage with a dhol in his hands.He walked the ramp at the first ever Lifestyle Pakistan Expo for designer brand ChenOne, and came with a dhol to add zing to the show.A venture between the Pakistani and Indian governments, Lifestyle Pakistan Expo is a four-day event where 100 Pakistani fashion and lifestyle brands are exhibiting their collections at Pragati Maidan here.
In 2013, Zafar was invited in 2013 Cannes Film Festival held at Cannes, France.
In 2014 Ali Zafar performed in Naz Choudhury's Bollywood Showstoppers at The O2 Arena with Sonakshi Sinha, Jacqueline Fernandez, Mika Singh, Shahid Kapoor and Bolly Flex.
Denotes films that have not yet been released
Tere Bin Laden
Nominated-Filmfare Best Male Debut Award
Luv Ka The End
Special appearance in song "Fun Funaa"
Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
London, Paris, New York
Tere Bin Laden 2
Ahsan Rahim's Next
Kanch Ke Par
Songs for films:
Tere Bin Laden
Bas Ek Soch,
I Love Amreeka, Ullu Da Pattha,
Welcome To Amreeka
Solo, Akriti Kakkar, Shankar Mahadevan,
Luv Ka The End
F.U.N Fun Funna
Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
London, Paris, New York
London Paris New York,
Voh Dekhnay Mein,
Thehree Si Zindagi,
Solo, Aditi Rao Hydari,
Early Morning (Remix),
Dhichkyaaon Doom Doom,
Andha Ghoda Race Mein Dauda
Solo, Shreya Ghoshal, Wajid
Palat Meri Jaan,
Solo, Fariha Pervez,
Shankar Mahadevan, Mahalakshmi Iyer, Gulzar
Jugnuon Se Bhar Le Aanchal
Love Mein Ghum
Love Mein Ghum
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license