Atif Aslam

Atif Aslam (born Muhammad Atif Aslam on 12 March 1983) is a Pakistani singer and film actor. His movie debut was the 2011 social drama Bol, which is among the ten highest-grossing Pakistani films of all time. He has recorded numerous chart-topping songs,and is known for his vocal belting technique. He was declared the most popular artist on Saavn (an Indian music streaming service) in 2013, followed by Arijit Singh, A. R. Rahman, Shreya Ghoshal, and Mohit Chauhan. Aslam is the youngest recipient of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, a Pakistani civilian decoration.

Early life

Aslam was born into a Punjabi Muslim family in Wazirabad, Punjab, Pakistan. He began his education in kindergarten at Kimberley Hall School, Lahore. In 1991, he moved toRawalpindi where he continued his studies in St. Paul’s Cambridge School, Satellite Town, Rawalpindi. In 1995, Aslam returned to Lahore where he continued his studies inDivisional Public School. He attended Punjab Institute of Computer Science (PICS) to do his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (BCs).

Aslam played cricket and got interested in music. Even though Aslam always admired Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Abida Parveen, his first love was for cricket and he dreamed of representing his nation as a cricketer. He was a fast bowler and his passion for the sport saw him being selected for the national Under 19 cricket team trials. At one stage Aslam was training to represent his country in the U-19 World Cup.

Spurred on by his friends, he began to sing in public during his days at PICS, where he met guitarist and talented young composer, Goher Mumtaz. After performing at their college and at various restaurants, they eventually formed a band named ‘Jal’ – an Urdu/Hindi word which means ‘water’. Working together, the pair recorded the song “Aadat” with the help of Salman Albert, amongst other established and accomplished Pakistani musicians, and the music video for “Aadat” was shot in a warehouse in Karachi. Within a matter of weeks, “Aadat” became popular on a host of promotional Pakistani music websites and went viral online, making Aslam a household name. On the basis of the popularity of this song, Jal began their tour of Pakistan. However, while on tour, personal problems between Aslam and Mumtaz led to an unannounced and indefinite break, during which Aslam launched his solo career, while Mumtaz continued using the band name ‘Jal’.


On 17 July 2004, Aslam’s first album titled Jal Pari (meaning ‘Mermaid’) was a big hit. The songs “Woh Lamhey”, “Dil Haarey” and a few others were hits on Pakistani radio stations and music channels. Several songs from his debut album, such as: “Bheegi Yaadein”, “Ehsaas”, “Mahi Ve”, “Ankhon Sey” and the title track “Jal Pari” went on to become major hits and charted across countries in the subcontinent.

Since Jal’s album, Aadat, and Aslam’s album, Jal Pari, shared certain tracks such as “Aadat”, “Bheegi Yaadein” and “Ankhon se”, a war over rights began which resulted in both sides claiming to possess hard proof to support their respective claims that they alone owned these songs. The hype this feud gave to both Aslam and the new Jal was extraordinary and split the musical nation with the fans of each side backing their respective favourite. While the drama of lyrics and composition ownership continued in Pakistan, Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt called Aslam to seek his consent to include “Woh Lamhey” in the soundtrack of his new motion picture, Zeher (2005). The song (especially the remix version) became a hit.

Following Jal Pari, Aslam released two more successful solo albums, Doorie and Meri Kahani. Then, within three years, he recorded over two dozen chartbusters for top Bollywood films. Aslam’s work on the movie Race was nominated for the Filmfare Award. He continues to work on top productions and his growing popularity has seen filmmakers create special music videos to promote their films with his songs.

Following sold out concerts throughout his country, the demand to watch Aslam perform live grew across the world. He began to tour internationally, performing in the US and Canada with Rhythm Dhol Bass and Annie Khalid. Aslam then made his solo debut concert in New Jersey in Summer Beats 2008 at Sovereign Bank Arena, which also featuredKailash Kher, Richa Sharma and Amanat Ali. After a sold out concert in New Jersey, Aslam returned with his band and special guests to Queens Colden Center, New York to perform on 2 July 2010.Taking over the production, Aslam produced the event with special sound and light design to support his concert.

Atif performing in Lahore, Pakistan

Two years later, Aslam returned to the US. Collaborating with vocalist Shreya Ghoshal, their March 2010 tour originally had 10 shows announced in US and Canada. However, the response inspired the organizers to put shows in six more cities. The following month, Aslam made his debut in South America with a performance at Anthony Nesty Sports Hall, Suriname.

He continued to tour the world with headline performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London, alongside Jay Sean). He followed that with dates, across major concert venues in the UK in 2010.

Aslam performed with Sunidhi Chauhan for the first time at Hershey Centre, Mississauga, followed by another show at Oracle Arena, San Francisco, Oakland, in July 2011, during their USA and Canada tour. In September 2011, Aslam performed in New York.

On 22 April 2012, Aslam became the first Pakistani to perform in London’s O2 Arena a concert spectacular to promote love, peace and unity among India and Pakistan. Aslam performed for four hours. This was followed up by shows in Manchester[12] and Glasgow.

In 2012, he was invited for three concerts at the World Trade Centre in Dubai. This was followed with his debut concert in Bangkok at the Centara Convention Centre on 6 October 2012. Aslam then returned to perform in ten major Pakistani cities during his Jazz Jazba Generation Tour where backstage footage was filmed for the first time, of Aslam during the tour, his interactions with his fans, and intimate look at the man behind the star. On 2 November, he performed his first public concert in Malaysia.

In December 2012, Aslam was named among top performers of Dubai for 2012 alongside Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Il Divo, Gotye,Evanescence and Swedish House Mafia. A few weeks earlier, Aslam became the first man from Asia, and the second artist after Bryan Adams, to be permitted to perform inside the Dashrath Rangasla National Football Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal. With 25,000 in the crowd, this concert was a great success. Aslam once again returned to Dubai for multiple concerts in 2013 at the world-famous Atlantis resort. He also earlier shared stage with upcoming talent Shalmali Kholgade in Dubai.

In April 2013, Aslam performed for the first time at the LG Arena in Birminghamfollowing which he became the first artist from Asia to perform twice at London’s O2 Arena. Also in concert at the O2 were Bollywood stars Shaan, Malaika Arora Khan & Bipasha Basu. The show was produced by Naz Choudhury and Flex FX.

In November 2014, Aslam performed at the Leisure Valley grounds in Gurgaon alongside Arijit Singh in front of thousands. The Pakistani Aslam, as popular here as the Indian Arijit, both Bollywood ‘hit machines’, showed that when it comes to music, art and people-to-people contact, there really are no boundaries.

In August 2015, Aslam performed at London’s O2 Arena for the third time, in which his fans witnessed him perform Tajdar-e-Haram from Coke Studio (Pakistan) Season 8 for the first time ever.


Three of Aslam’s songs featured in the American independent film Man Push Cart, which has won international awards and was praised by the critics. He then sang two songs inMira Nair’s film The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Two other songs, “Doorie” and “Maula” from his second album, Doorie, were selected in 2010 for the soundtrack of the Hindi version of the Mexican film La mujer de mi hermano, directed by Ricardo de Montreuil.

Acting career

Aslam made his acting debut in the 2011 Pakistani movie Bol.He has also made special appearances in film songs.


Aslam appeared as a captain of Team Pakistan in a singing talent show called Sur Kshetra which was shot and broadcast from Dubai, where Indian and Pakistani contestants competed against each other. At the end of the show, Nabeel Shaukat Ali from Aslam’s team won the contest.

Public image and influences

Aslam felt that his passion for singing is the biggest influence in his career. Though inspired by many artists, he named Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as his favourite singer. His favourite songs are “My Confession” by Richard Marx, “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay, “Where were you” by Pink Floyd and “Tere bin nahin lagda dil mera” by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Impact and recognition

Aslam’s work has received praise from several artists. Actor Suyyash Rai affirmed that he “developed an interest in singing” because of Aslam. Mika Singh praised Aslam’s singing as well. Ranbir Kapoor likes Aslam. Singer Alamgir thanked Aslam for keeping pop music alive in Pakistan. He said: “I’m thankful to Atif for keeping pop alive. It’s because of them that I feel my music still has a place in today’s music scene.”Actor Varun Dhawan is a big fan of Aslam and always wanted him to sing his tracks in a film. He said: “I am a fan of Atif’s voice and really wanted him to sing for me. I didn’t know it will happen so soon!”, referring to the song “Jeena Jeena” sung by Aslam for the filmBadlapur. Mohit Chauhan is all praise for Aslam: “I love this guy and I love his songs”, he said. Bipasha Basu admitted to being a big Aslam fan; she said in an interview: “I am his number one fan. Music is the best vehicle to promote understanding and our music brings people together.” She also tweeted: “Starting my day with Atif Aslam’s best songs, playing loudly in my car on my way to location, wish he would sing all these songs just for me”.

Personal life

He married his long-time girlfriend, educationist Sara Bharwana, in Lahore on 29 March 2013. She gave birth to their son in 2014.


Main article: Atif Aslam discography



Year Film Role Language Note(s)
2006 Bas Ek Pal Himself Hindi Special appearance in song Tere Bin
2008 Race Himself Hindi Special appearance in song Pehli Nazar Mein
2010 Prince Himself Hindi Special appearance in songs Kaun Hoon Main & Aa Bhi Ja Sanam & Tere Liye
2011 Bol Mustafa Urdu Film debut as an actor
2012 Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya Himself Hindi Special appearance in song Piya O Re Piya
Himself Hindi Special appearance in song Tu Mohabbat Hai
2013 Race 2 Himself Hindi Special appearance in song Be Intehaan
Jayantabhai Ki Luv Story Himself Hindi Special appearance in song Dil Na Jaane Kyun & Aa bhi ja mere mehermaan & Hai Na
2015 Badlapur Himself Hindi Special appearance in song Jeena Jeena
Zindagi Aa Raha Hoon Main Himself Hindi Special appearance in song Zindagi aa raha hoon main
Ho Mann Jahaan Himself Urdu Special appearance in song Dil Kare
2016 Actor In Law Himself Urdu Special appearance in song Dil Yeh Dancer


Year Category Song/Nomination Result
Indus Music Awards
2005 Best Lyrics Aadat combined awards with Jal Won
Best Song Won
Best Composition Won
Sahara Sangeet Awards
2005 Best Playback Singer Won
Best Debut Singer Won
The Musik Awards
2006 Most Wanted Male Nominated
2008 Most Wanted Male Won
Lux Style Awards
2005 Best Album Jal Pari Won
2007 Best Album Doorie Won
2008 Most Well Dressed Celebrity Police Dress Won
Best Album Meri Kahani Nominated
2012 Song of the Year Hona Tha Pyaar – Bol Nominated
Best Original Sound Track Hona Tha Pyaar – Bol Won
2013 Music Icon of the year Won
MTV Brrr Music Awards
2009 Best Rock Song Hungami Halaat Nominated
Best Singer (Male) Nominated
Government of Pakistan
2008 Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Distinction) Won
Filmfare Awards
2006 Best Playback Singer (Male) Woh Lamhe – Zeher Nominated
2007 Best Playback Singer (Male) Tere Bin – Bas Ek Pal Nominated
2010 Best Playback Singer (Male) Tu Jaane Na – Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani Nominated
2016 Best Playback Singer (Male) Jeena Jeena – Badlapur Nominated
Lycra MTV Style Awards
2007 Most Stylish Person (Music) Won
International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA)
2006 IIFA Award for Best Male Playback Woh Lamhe – Zeher Nominated
2009 IIFA Award for Best Male Playback Pehli Nazar Mein – Race Nominated
2010 IIFA Award for Best Male Playback Tu Jaane Na – Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani Nominated
Star Screen Awards
2009 Best Playback Singer (Male) Pehli Nazar Main – Race Nominated
Guild Awards
2014 Best Playback Singer (Male) Jeene Laga Hoon – Ramaiya Vastavaiya Nominated
Zee Cine Awards
2014 Best Playback Singer (Male) Jeene Laga Hoon – Ramaiya Vastavaiya Nominated
Global Indian Music Awards (GIMA)
2010 Best Playback Singer (Male) Tu Jaane Na – Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani Nominated
Big Star Entertainment Awards
2013 Best Playback Singer (Male) Piya O Re Piya – Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya Nominated
2011 Best New Band in the World Nominated
Pakistan Media Awards
2010 Best Singer (Male) Won
2011 Best Singer (Male) Nominated
2012 Best Film Actor Mustafa – Bol Nominated
Best Playback Singer Hona Tha Pyaar – Bol Nominated
The BrandLaureate International Brand Personality Award
2013 Brand Personality Won
Big Apple Music Awards
2014 Best Male Artist of Pakistan Won
2015 Best Male Artist of Pakistan Won
Most Popular Male Artist (International) Nominated

See als

  • Jal (band)
  • Music of Pakistan
  • List of Pakistani pop singers