Shehzad Roy is a singer and humanitarian from Karachi, Pakistan. With five hit albums under his belt, including the 2008 Qismat Apney Haath Mein (Fate Lies in One’s Own Hands), he is also the president and founder of Zindagi Trust, a non-profit charitable organization, that seeks to educate the underprivileged children of Pakistan.?In June 2004, Roy was honored as one of the youngest ever recipient of the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, which is one of the highest Civil Honors awarded in Pakistan for excellence in serving humanity. For his organization’s earthquake rehabilitation in Kashmir, he was awarded the Sitara-e-Eisaar. He was also selected to be a torch bearer for the 2008 Olympic Torch relay as the pride of Pakistan. Recently, Roy took the city of Chicago by storm when he was awarded the 2008 Patricia Blunt Koldyke Fellowship award for excellence in social entrepreneurship.
While too many musicians in Pakistan seem content to skirt over issues of socio-political importance, treading the same dregs of human emotion again and again. However, after the boisterous Saali, Shehzad Roy has decided to pen an album of tracks that has more than its fair share of swipes at the current elites in charge of the nation.
Qismet Apnay Haath Mein has generated a substantial amount of hype and fanfare for the seemingly controversial material embedded within the album. Of the songs on the album, Laga Reh, is a stark commentary on the way our nation is run, with the usual Shehzad Roy manner of song; lots of jovial guitar riffs running around coupled with bhangra-esque percussion.
Shehzad Roy’s method of tackling issues of political and social importance in his music differs however from those of, say, Rage Against the Machine. Surprisingly, his commentary is deft and full of sarcastic quips, rather than an outright attack on the institutions in our country. This is evidenced in the other significant politically charged track on the album, the title track, Qismet Apnay Haath Mein. Throughout the album Roy is lyrically in fine form, chucking interesting turns of phrase left, right and centre with aplomb.
The soundtrack of Akshay Kumar’s movie “Khatta Meetha” features a song by Shehzad Roy. The song, titled “Bullshit” has been composed, written and sung in Pakistan. Khatta Meetha is a political satire revealing the corruption in the Indian bureaucratic system. Akshay Kumar was looking for a theme track for his movie when he first met Shehzad Roy. He was immediately taken by Roy’s song “Laga Reh” and “Qismat Apney Haath Mein” and asked Roy to make an original song with the same theme.