US-based lyricist Aslam Afzal, 69, makes his Hollywood debut with Ms Marvel
The US-based writer has written the Sufi number Aye Khuda in the fantasy drama.
At the age of 69, Aslam Afzal is showing us why ‘it’s never too late to follow your dreams.' Afzal, a retired aircraft engineer, made his big debut as a lyricist in Marvel Studio’s Ms. Marvel which also stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. Father of composer A-Zal, who scored for Marvel’s Loki apart from helming many Hollywood projects, the US-based writer has written the Sufi number Aye Khuda in the fantasy drama. A poet by heart, Afzal talks about collaborating with his son and his plans of compiling his poems into a book. Excerpts:
How does it feel to be making a debut in music at the age of 69 that too with a studio as legendary as Marvel?
A poet never gets old. Age can never stop the pen of a poet or songwriter. Marvel is one of the biggest and most reputed film studios in the world and this recognition means a lot to me. To be honest, I never knew I would be making a debut in Hollywood. It's really encouraging for me as a writer, to get an opportunity with such a big Hollywood project. I just want to inspire everyone that it's never too late to follow your passion and make your dream a reality.
How did you foray into music?
I think poetry and writing were always the default setting in me, which I honed and developed gradually. I would like to give credit to my childhood mentor, an Urdu poet, who taught me the language very well. Fortunately or unfortunately, I could not concentrate on poetry and lyric writing because of the demanding profession I was in. However, when I travelled on long flights, I often wrote poetry. And now I have enough to publish a book!
What was the brief from Marvel for Ms. Marvel?
Marvel wanted a Sufi song which would fit well in establishing the relationship of the protagonist. This song does justice to that and I am thankful to Marvel for including music genres from all over the world. Although the song is deep and soul-stirring, we had to keep the selection of words simple since it is shot on a young protagonist.
What was your inspiration behind the lyrics of Aye Khuda?
The lyrics of Aye Khuda are rather profound and have a deeper meaning than just a love song. Being a Sufi song, it has the purity and depth of a prayer. I always believed that the universe does give you what you really want. And I began writing this song with that thought in my mind. I took about a month to write this song.
You have a collaboration with your son A-Zal who is an international singer and songwriter? How did this collaboration pan out?
This has to be the most amazing collaboration. Since my son knows about my ghazal writing capabilities, we brainstormed ideas and it was quite an experience. He composed a beautiful melody which was the starting point of the song. I am more of a poet, so fitting in the lyrics the way he wanted was quite a challenge for me.
What's next for you?
I don't know yet. Maybe the next is even bigger than this. Right now, I am just living this moment and it has given me another reason to write more. I am consolidating all my work to publish a book in the future.