No Pakistani wedding is complete without a Bollywood dance number. But that is precisely what has gotten veteran Pakistani television actor Nauman Ijaz into a bit of a scrum now. He picked a song with the name of a Hindu god to dance to. In Pakistan, many are calling it ‘shirk’ and ‘forbidden in Islam.’
A video of Ijaz grooving to a song that begins with ‘Jai Jai Shiv Shankar’ from the 1974 film starring Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz, Aap Ki Kasam, at a family wedding has gained quite a lot of social media attention. One blogger even called it a ‘Hindu bhajan’.
In this minute-long video, Ijaz is seen dancing to the hit Kishore Kumar melody with his wife, Rabia Noman, along with many other couples. While those at the wedding applauded the 57-year-old actor’s stellar dance performance, some Pakistanis weren’t so comfortable with his choice of song, taking the liberty to remind Ijaz of his Muslim identity.
Video of Nauman Ijaz dancing with his wife at a wedding function goes viral #DialoguePakistan #NaumanEjaz #Dancing #Wedding #Viral pic.twitter.com/aM5KxReFdk
— Dialogue Pakistan (@DialoguePak) January 13, 2023
Bollywood fever in Pakistan
Of course, this isn’t the first time a song with a Hindu god was danced to. Two years ago, choreographers danced to Ramjee ki Chal Dekho from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (2013) at another wedding. That went unopposed.
Some of the most popular songs at Pakistani weddings have been Zingaat from Janhvi Kapoor’s Dhadak (2018) and Kabira from the Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone-starrer Ye Jawani Hai Deewani (2013), among others. Pakistani mehndi ceremonies are often incomplete without coordinated performances to songs like Bole Chudiyan from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Badri Ki Dulhania from Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt’s Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017), and more.
In December 2022, a video of a Pakistani couple busting a move to Bipasha Basu’s Beedi song—from Vishal Bhardwaj’s 2010 film Omkara—took the internet by storm. The viral video received more than 3.2 million views and roughly 10,000 likes, with many users praising the couple for their “sensational performance.”
Ijaz is not the only Pakistani actor spotted grooving to Bollywood item numbers. Last week, actor Inaya Khan shared a video on her Instagram, where she and her partner shook a leg to the song Manike from Siddharth Malhotra’s Thank God (2022) at her sister’s wedding. She also grooved to Besharam Rang from Shahrukh Khan’s upcoming film, Pathaan.
Bollywood songs are also popular in Pakistani award shows. Actors Amna Ilyas and Feroze Khan were seen dancing at the 2018 ‘Hum Style Awards’ on hit Bollywood tracks like Sona Mohapatra’s Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar (2004) and Dhan Te Nan, a popular number from Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kaminey (2009).
While some fans appreciated the actors for their choreography, others trolled them for their “mechanical and cartoon-like moves”, criticising them for choosing Indian songs at a show meant to recognise members from the Pakistani film fraternity.
(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)