Shoaib Akhtar’s Criticism Of PSL Anthem Is In Extremely Bad Taste
A few days back, PSL’s national anthem was released with a lot of fanfare and took the nation by the storm. Within 2 days of its release, it achieved an immense viewership of 4 million viewers worldwide. The legendary Punjabi folk singer, Naseebo Lal ji, lent her vocals to the anthem along with other stars like Aima Baig and Young Stunners. The anthem seemed to successfully spark emotions of passion, excitement, longing, fun, nervousness – all the emotions one goes through while one watches a thrilling match of cricket. As a diehard fan of cricket, I enjoyed the brilliant delivery of our legendary star, Naseebo Lal.
As a viewer, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. One has a right to express one’s likes and dislikes in whatever way one wishes to express it. However, the expression of one’s views must not translate into an insult. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what our legendary ex-cricketer, Shoaib Akhtar, did. On Wednesday, he released a video on his YouTube channel wherein he mocked and insulted Naseebo Laal, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), and the production, marketing and PR teams of the PSL responsible for making and releasing this allegedly ‘horrible’ anthem. Akhtar went even further and questioned their integrity, their professional backgrounds, their experiences, their expertise on the subject of creativity and advertising.
As if this spewing was not enough, Shoaib Akhtar then went on to touch upon the sensitive matter of national unity amongst the provinces, with respect to religion, caste and creed. I can understand how this can be a valid point of criticism, even though it’s also true that Punjabi has become a genuinely representative language when it comes to celebration, dance and expression of happiness and victory. Personally, I felt that it’s a forced point of criticism; as a Punjabi Lahori, I feel equal pride and joy at music in other languages of Pakistan. And like me, countless viewers, Punjabis and non-Punjabis alike, have immensely enjoyed the anthem. Even if its being in Punjabi exclusively is a valid point of criticism, as seconded by a few netizens who expressed their dislike towards this aspect of the song, this point in Shoaib Akhtar’s tirade is marred with distasteful mockery and insult. In a particularly unpleasant part of his criticism, Shoaib Akhtar insults the status of Naseebo Laal in the world of music by mentioning other Pakistani stalwarts in music like late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, late Mehdi Hassan, late Madam Noor Jehan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and Atif Aslam. It is shameful if by this he meant to insinuate that Naseebo Lal’s contributions to the music industry are minuscule and that her talent is not worthy of this anthem.
Summing up, all I can say is that Shoaib Akhtar’s video reeked of bad mannerisms and a shameless attempt to garner viewership and publicity for himself. It appeared to be a cheap tactic to get a slice of glamour, attention and news byte out of the PSL anthem’s cake. Indeed, it seems like his mission is accomplished. He got the publicity; whether good or bad, he clearly doesn’t care.
Following this callous stunt by Shoaib Akhtar, I saw another video of Naseebo Lal in which she was in tears. She’s such a warm-hearted, simple, down to earth and, above all, immensely talented artist that I just fell in love with her all over again. It made me happy to see when some prominent artists from the drama and music industry retaliated to Shoaib Akhtar’s insensitive video.
I would like to say this to Naseebo Laal ji that we love you, and we are very proud of you. We would love to see you again and again. We feel that you are the only one who actually knows what GROOVE truly means!
The writer is a philanthropist, content creator and presenter of a YouTube Channel, The Catalyst that deals in burning, taboo issues.