Zeb Bangash Brings Iqbal’s Poetry To Life With The Majestic ‘Shaheen-O-Mahi’

Zeb Bangash is one of the most celebrated singers of Pakistan. Her discography includes successful albums, singles, soundtracks, features, and collaborations. Zeb’s fame as a singer has crossed boundaries as she has worked with many acclaimed musicians not only in Pakistan but internationally as well.

And now for the first time, PAF collaborated with Zeb Bangash and Sarmad Ghafoor to produce a beautiful song from Iqbal’s Persian poem Shaheen-o-Mahi as a tribute to Pakistan’s national poet. With Zeb Bangash’s soulful voice bringing to life Iqbal’s inspiring poetry, this song Persian song mixed with Urdu narration has sent waves throughout the nation.

An Honor

The project was conceptualized by the Pakistan Air Force Media and PR wing as the motto for the PAF. Sharing her experience of working on this song, Zeb Bangash revealed how she was approached by Hassan Naeem from Bling Studio Motion Pictures for this project. The PAF Media Team had been wanting to work on Iqbal’s Persian poem for a couple of years and wanted Zeb to sing it.

“I was honored that they had specifically asked for me,” said Zeb when she was approached for the project. With Sarmad Ghafoor producing the music and Hassan Naeem being the director for the video, for Zeb the project was a no-brainer right from the start.

“Working with Iqbal’s work in Persian has been a dream of mine for so long that it felt like a no-brainer, and I said yes immediately.”

Talking about the collaboration, Zeb Bangash revealed that she was initially a bit apprehensive about working with PAF as she had never worked with the institute before. However, after meeting with the team that was responsible for the song, Zeb was very impressed with them and said that the entire process of producing Shaheen-o-Mahi was a truly collaborative effort.

Directed by Hassan Naeem, the music video was shot at the magnificent Pakistan Monument in Islamabad. The song puts Iqbal’s poetry and his philosophy center-stage to produce an awe-inspiring rendition.


The Majestic Sound

The song, which has a very majestic feel to it, was deliberately produced in the way to maximize the impact of the inspiring and uplifting message of Iqbal in the poetry. Pakistan Air Force’s motto “Sehra ast me Darya ast Tahe Baal O Pare Mast” (the deserts and the seas are all under my wing) also comes from Iqbal’s poem Shaheen-o-Mahi. So, it was quite important for the team to present the poetry in a song that captured both the simplistic dialogue of the poem as well as its profound lesson.

“While I was still in the US, Sarmad sent the main riff of the song, which was very beautiful and had a classical feel to it. I thought of some melodic ideas, but we didn’t finalise the melody until we got together in Islamabad. Sarmad and I were grappling with how to musically address the spectrum of simplicity and majesty [of Iqbal’s poetry]. Initially, we came up with a more meditative rendition of the same melody. But later, we decided that the song needed to have an elating impact.”

And thus, Shaheen-O-Mahi‘s final version came to be which is filled with tons of vocal parts, and rhythmic and orchestral portions that give it that richness. Zeb said that the final version of the song had given her goosebumps when she first listened to it as the way all the various elements came together in the song is both magical and mind-blowing.

“Sarmad Ghafoor is such a talented and accomplished producer, and I am so lucky that I got to do this song with him,” said Zeb Bangash on her experience of working with him on the song.

Nominated for two Lux Style Awards, Zeb’s collaboration with Rameez Anwar for Wo Umeed Ki Manzil proved to be a roaring success earlier this year. In the melodious and powerful voice of Zeb Bangash, this homage of Allama Iqbal has won the hearts of the nation, as well as Iqbal lovers internationally.


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