By Shaista Iram Hamid

Always in a league of his own, multi-talented star “Yasir Akhtar” may be away from his homeland for a sabbatical but he has been continuously raising the flag of Pakistan whilst residing in England. The singer, actor, director, producer and above all a humble person, has been entertaining us through his exceptional singing talent and his directorial ventures in England recently. A creative artist has no boundaries. Yasir too, originally from Karachi, Pakistan, has now found a new home in Manchester, UK.

Yasir has performed several successful musical concerts all across Europe. He has also been successfully running his film production house under the name of “Pegasus Productions” which completed several successful projects in Pakistan earlier and is now doing business in the UK. Yasir Akhtar has most recently completed of production work for the BBC, the NHS, Channel 4, Manchester City Council and many more.

Yasir also told us that he is travelling to Pakistan in few days and will start work on a special series of films which will be a joint venture between Pakistan and England.

Yasir Akhtar has been appreciated and honoured with many awards in the UK.  Recently, the Counsel General Pakistan in Manchester, Mr. Zahoor Ahmad, invited Mr. Yasir to organize and perform in the first ever "Pakistan Day Parade" ceremony. During the Parade, WORLD Champion Boxer Amir Khan marched alongside Yasir Akhtar as they both accepted a warm and patriotic welcome from their fans and followers.

In Pakistan, Yasir launched successful projects as a singer, actor and director including the first ever Pakistani telefilm series TAPAL CINEMA as well as the  first ever branded serial; Mera Ghar Aik Whirlpool (My Home A Whirlpool), Jayen Kahan Armaan (Where to go wishes), British Asian drama serial Sard Aag (Cold Fire) and many other trend setting projects. It is also to Yasir's  CREDIT that his productions have launched several renowned actors and singers including Humayun Saeed, Shamoon Abbasi, Javeria Abbasi, Nida Yasir, Saadia Imam, film star Zara Sheikh, Tooba Siddique and many more.

Yasir also holds the credit for directing and producing the first ever Pop Chart Show of Pakistan “ The Music Channel Charts". The veteran producer Ghazanfar Ali offered Yasir the direction and production of MCC early in his career. Yasir produced nearly 52 episodes of "Music Channel Charts” which included the direction of nearly 80 music videos for many artists. This show was a mega hit pop music show in Pakistan. Yasir also has credit for launching some of the finest singers in Pakistan including Najam Sheraz, Shehzad Roy, Komal Rizvi, Fakhr-e-Alam, Nadeem Jaffery and many more.

As a lead vocalist of one of the most memorable musical bands inPakistan ‘The Arid Zone”, Yasir ruled the hearts of millions with his songs like “Kabhi to Hoga Mera Milan, Jogi, Aaja Baliye, Pyar Dyan Gallan, Aey Sanam, Oh My Love, Lout Aao Na, Sohniye, Jayen Kahan Armaan, Zara Man ko Dekhna" and the list goes on. Yasir was also the first brand Ambassador of the most popular cellular company in Pakistan “Mobilink”.

Why did you decide to move to UK?

It's a very good question! I started my career from Javed Jabbar’s film "Musafir (Beyond the Last Mountain)" as a child actor. I started my career as a singer, actor and director at a very young age and there was a time I felt, I must entertain and pursue my career across the border.  Here in the UK, I have worked with the BBC, Channel 4, NHS, Manchester City Council and many such other organisations. Also, I have been actively involved in live singing performances all over Europe. Living in England for so long has given me a different perspective of productions and on life.

We have seen you performing as a singer but you have not released any music video recently, Is there any special reason?

Well, My production company "Pegasus Productions" is the biggest reason for not releasing my music video because whenever I plan to make a video, I get distracted by work on production projects, one after another. I think, "Pegasus Productions" is the only thing keeping me from pursuing my singing career to my full potential.

You have launched many female models and actresses in Pakistan including Zara Shiekh, Tooba Siddiqui, Nida Yasir, Komal Rizvi, Javeria Abbasi, Saadia Imam and many others. Even in England you are persistently introducing new female artists.

There is no doubt about it that I am an admirer of beauty but I respect women from the bottom of my heart and enjoy working with them all. But you will never hear of any scandal with any of my Co-star.

Who do you think is your biggest mentor in the industry?

Life itself is a biggest mentor. However, I am quite fortunate that I met, worked with and learnt from many of the true legends and mentors in the industry. In my childhood, my uncle Javed Jabbar, who is a legend of Pakistan's modern advertising industry, was my first mentor. I used to spend my spare time and holidays in his advertising firm. Apart from that, as a teenager, I also had the honour to work as an actor and singer with Pakistan Television Network’s esteemed legends, Shahzad Khalil, Sahira Kazmi, Sultana Siddiqui, Kazim Pasha, Haroon Rind, Shahid Iqbal Pasha, Ghazanfar Ali and many more, and always attempted to learn from them.

You have also recently FILMED Indian legendry artist Apache Indian and Sheeba Khan music video Pagal Jiya (Crazy Heart) in Birmingham, How was this experience?

I must say it was a fantastic experience. Sheeba Khan is a very talented singer. Her previous music tracks and videos Aey Kash (perhaps) and Hum Kabhi (Me ever) have gained a lot of appreciation on social media. She has completed her latest track Pagal Jiya  with the support of Apache Indian. The music of this video is directed by a very talented musician, Ali Mustafa. It is presented by Aryaan Khan and I have filmed the music video. Soon you will watch this video on different channels. Undoubtedly, Apache Indian is the Amitabh Bachan of the RAP industry. I believe Pagal Jiya (Crazy Heart) will be a hit production.

You have FILMED a music video in Brighton, UK, dedicated to Imran Khan which is now the most watched video ever (on Imran Khan) on social media, How did you get the idea?

Actually the track Insaaf (Justice) is sung by UK’s talented singer Kaz Khan. I have also filmed Kaz Khan’s last two music videos in London. He brought the idea of this track and I introduced him to my musician friend, Anjum Gil. Kaz and Anjum both composed the music and I filmed it. There is a big role of Nadia Choudry and Asim Qureshi’s firm Civiizasian (Civilization) in the making of this video. We have all completed this project as a team. Apart from Insaaf (justice), I have also filmed several productions on social subjects such as Mawaan Thandiyan Chawaan (Mothers comfy shades). In Spain, I have also filmed a video song for Tripet Garielle called PALKAAN, as well as KAINAAT which was on the subject of Domestic violence on women and prepared many other projects on social issues. I am one of those lucky persons who has directed music videos for Legendary artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali to Apache Indian.

Tell us in detail about the film which is going to be a joint cooperation between Pakistan and the UK?

Just like when I filmed the first ever Pakistani telefilms series Tapal Cinema, my UK and Pakistan based film house “Pegasus Productions” will now produce films by recording them in Pakistan and in the UK. This will definitely facilitate the launch of new Pakistani talent in the UK. These projects will be filmed on different topics and released in cinemas. We will be auditioning loads of new and experienced talent in Pakistan and in England for this project. Apart from this, an international label is also going to release videos of my music tracks very soon. In the summer, I am also going to film a new drama serial in London. As always, I am expecting a very positive response from my well wishers. Long Live Pakistan!