American lyricist Aslam Afzal, 69, makes his Hollywood debut with Ms. Marvel

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At 69, Aslam Afzal shows us why “it’s never too late to realize your dreams”. Afzal, a retired aeronautical engineer, made his big debut as a lyricist in Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel, which also stars Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. Father of composer A-Zal, who scored for Marvel’s Loki in addition to directing numerous Hollywood projects, the American writer wrote the Sufi number Aye Khuda in fantasy drama. A poet at heart, Afzal talks about his collaboration with his son and his plan to compile his poems into a book. Excerpts:

What’s it like to make your music debut at 69 too with a studio as legendary as Marvel?

A poet never ages. Age can never stop the pen of a poet or a songwriter. Marvel is one of the biggest and most successful movie studios in the world and this recognition means a lot to me. To be honest, I had no idea I would be making my Hollywood debut. It’s really encouraging for me as a writer, to have 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 come true.

Also Read: Composer Atif Afzal Creates a Surreal World for Loki’s Finale

How did you break into music?

I think poetry and writing has always been the default framework in me, which I have refined and developed gradually. I would like to pay tribute to my childhood mentor, an Urdu poet, who taught me the language very well. Fortunately or unfortunately, I couldn’t concentrate on poetry and lyric writing because of the demanding profession I had. However, when I traveled on long flights, I often wrote poetry. And now I have enough to publish a book!

What was Marvel’s brief for Ms. Marvel?

Marvel wanted a Sufi song that would work well with establishing the protagonist’s relationship. This song does justice to that and I’m grateful to Marvel for including musical genres from all over the world. Although the song is deep and moving, we had to keep the word selection simple as it is set on a young protagonist.

What was your inspiration behind Aye Khuda’s lyrics?

The lyrics of Aye Khuda are rather deep and have a deeper meaning than just a love song. Being a Sufi song, it has the purity and depth of a prayer. I’ve always believed that the universe gives you what you really want. And I started writing this song with that thought in mind. It took me about a month to write this song.

Do you have a collaboration with your son A-Zal who is an international singer and songwriter? How did this collaboration go?

This has got to be the most amazing collaboration. Since my son got to know my ghazal writing abilities, we brainstormed ideas and it was quite an experience. He composed a beautiful melody which was the starting point of the song. I’m more of a poet, so adapting the lyrics the way he wanted was quite a challenge for me.

What’s next for you?

I do not know yet. Maybe the next one is even bigger than that. Right now, I’m just living this moment and it’s given me another reason to write more. I am consolidating all my work to publish a book in the future.

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