Pir started his career with comedy and till-date has hosted more than 200 live shows both within and outside of Pakistan. By being associated with the first-ever Urdu improvised comedy group, LOL Waalay, Pir left a huge impact amongst audiences abroad and was noticed for his authentic, relevant and engaging content.
Pir believes in addressing socially charged issues through his style of comedy and music. From Waderai Ka Beta to Sorry, Pir has successfully established himself as one of the top mainstream rappers of Pakistan.
OK! Pakistan talks to the talented rapper, comedian, writer and actor about rap, comedy, criticism and so much more…
Can you walk us through on how you started and how you got into the field of media?
Ali Gul Pir: I started with working as a part time comedian and assistant producer at a production house. I used to carry lights, get food for actors and do shows on the weekends at cafes for PKR 5,000. Before that I studied film because I wanted to do something new; back then everyone was doing BBA but I hated that and I’m also really bad at math.
What is comedy for you?
AGP: Comedy is anything that involves laughter. Good comedy for me is that which makes you laugh and think at the same time.
A comedian-cum-singer-cum-actor-cum-digital-artiste – how do you manage to juggle between all these genres?
AGP: In Pakistan, you have to be a businessman, artist, manager and many other things to have a career in the industry. Especially when it comes to the Internet, where you are essentially working for yourself. Artists who just want to remain artists will never be able to make a living from art, therefore being a comedian, musician, actor is something I enjoy.
Any challenges you faced during your journey?
AGP: Challenges were galore but that’s why I am who I am now. They make me appreciate the good times. I remember eating one meal a day to save money, living without electricity for two months because I couldn’t afford it but I’m proud of all that. It made me work harder, give my 100 per cent.
Who is your inspiration when it comes to rap music?
AGP: 2Pac mostly because he would do a gangster song which would be very graphic but then he would do a song like Keep Ya Head Up which is about single mothers. He was a gifted rapper who was versatile enough to reflect the society as well as entertain it. I feel like my music tries to do the same.
You received a lot of negativity for Taroo Maroo. What was the concept behind the song and how did you handle the criticism?
AGP: In Pakistan, satire has always been subtle so when I do these blunt songs, which depict the harshness of society in a funny and direct way, people might not understand it. That doesn’t make me doubt my work; it just makes me realise people need to see more of such stuff. My first song got me a lot of hate from waderas too; it doesn’t mean I should shut up. Truth can not be stopped and I’m not afraid to speak it either.
In an interview you did earlier you mentioned “my main target audience is the taxi driver, the windshield wiper, the farmer.” Why them?
AGP: Because they don’t have access to music from around the world – they mostly listen to sub-continental music and secondly because the issues I speak about in my work affect them the most. I want to teach the layman to not stare or harass women. Once the majority understands the issue and works at it, true change will come. It won’t come by talking in drawing rooms.
Do all the songs/raps you come up with have a story to tell and why?
AGP: I want my work to have meaning. The meaning is portrayed through characters who have a story. Because I studied film, my songs mostly have a story within them.
What was it like working in Batashay – a sitcom that began airing last month on ARY Digital?
AGP: Batashay was a great experience for many reasons. I learnt acting for TV in that show. The producer Kaiser Nizamani is an amazing person and a veteran in this field so I learnt a lot from him.
Ayaz Samoo is a friend of mine so it’s always fun working with him. He also taught me a lot. Fun times!
Have you come to grips with fame?
AGP: Fame is part of my job. It’s like how doctors get asked about medical advice at family dinners, so like that I get asked for photos. I don’t let it get to my head to be honest. I’d rather stay in the background and observe.
How does it feel to be so famous and have a huge fan following?
AGP: I feel loved. Sometimes I go into my others inbox to read loving messages from fans. I get sent paragraphs of love and it always makes me smile.
What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects that we should know about?
AGP: Working on new songs and performing all over the world. I have a show in Dubai as well. I Will try to represent Pakistani art across the world.
What is one thing on your bucket list?
AGP: Sky diving!
Who is your favourite super hero?
Who do you admire the most?
AGP: My mother.
If a movie were made on your life what genre would it be?
AGP: Crime comedy.
What is your dream job?
Are you a morning or a night person?
Describe yourself in three words?
AGP: Kind. Funny. Humble.
TEXT: MEHR KASSIM
PHOTOGRAPHs: courtesy Ali Gul Pir