In the male-dominated Pakistani music scene, women have always had to fight for equal opportunities and respect. Unfortunately, there are instances where powerful men exploit their position and engage in inappropriate behavior toward aspiring female artists. Maha Ali Kazmi, a Kashmiri singer, and star of the hit Cornetto Music Icons, is another victim who has come forward with recent allegations against Pakistani musician and member of the famed band Noori, Ali Noor.
After Maha Ali Kazmi first opened up about her experience on Instagram, we at Galaxy Lollywood reached out to her for an exclusive interview.
Ali Noor Damaged My Self-Confidence
In an exclusive interview with Galaxy Lollywood, Maha Ali Kazmi revealed the impact of Ali Noor’s alleged behavior on her and her career aspirations. “It damaged my self-confidence to the point that I could not sing in a recording studio. I was paralyzed with fear,” she lamented. “For years, I was not able to record music. I had to let go of all the opportunities that came my way. As I said before, I had to let go of several opportunities that came my way due to that experience and the lingering trauma.”
It’s important to note that Maha has accused Ali Noor of inappropriate behavior and sabotaging her deal with Coke Studio. Maha claimed that Ali Noor allegedly sabotaged her Coke Studio audition and instead called her to Lahore, where he could help “mold” her talent. She refused to comply, stating she had enough self-respect to never bow down to such people.
Not the First Time Ali Noor is Accused of Predatory Behavior
This is not the first time Ali Noor has been accused of such behavior. Journalist Ayesha Binte Rashid had previously presented allegations of sexual harassment against the musician. Still, Maha’s account provides even more damning evidence against the predatory and vicious nature of Ali Noor.
In her discussion, Maha talked in detail about her experience and shared her thoughts on how the music industry can address the issue of men abusing their power to exploit women.
When asked how she responded to Ali Noor’s offer to “mold” her talent, Maha said she was shell-shocked and did not know how to respond. She emphasized that no one should ever take an artist’s agency this way.
It Took Maha Years to Get Over Her Trauma
Maha Ali Kazmi spoke passionately about speaking out against such incidents. Maha shared that it took her years to overcome the fear and trauma caused by the incident, and she felt immense anger towards Ali Noor.
Maha believes that external checks and balances enforced by regulation are necessary to address this issue. She also encouraged young women to be as brave as her, speak out, and use their voices to right the wrongs, even if it meant facing judgment and being called too volatile.
“Sometimes it feels convenient to make light of the situation because the common wisdom dictates that a ruckus in this situation can do more harm than good, but ultimately, your silence feeds the cancer in society. And if you have a voice because God has given you a voice, then you should use it to right the wrongs. And before you speak for anyone else, you must speak for yourself.”
No Support from the Music Industry
In a shocking revelation, Maha Ali Kazmi revealed she has not received any support or assistance from others in the music industry following her accusations against Ali Noor.
However, she is not surprised!
She believes that “the entire culture is toxic, not just the music industry, and … we need to revisit our entire value system to ensure that no one is denied or deprived of an opportunity they earned on their merit and deserved”.
Maha Ali Kazmi is Ready to Move Forward
In conclusion, Maha has healed from her traumatic experience and is ready to move forward with strength and dignity. “I know my self-worth. I know my skill, craft, and what I bring to the table,” she said. However, her story is a powerful reminder of the pervasive nature of harassment and abuse in the music industry and the urgent need for change.
It takes immense courage for singers like Maha to come forward, especially given the power dynamics in the music industry. Like all other industries, women in Pakistan’s music and film scene face tremendous difficulties and roadblocks that hinder their progress.
Maha’s bravery and determination to seek justice for herself and others are truly inspiring. We stand with her in her fight for a safer, more inclusive music industry.
It is also time for the music industry to look at itself and address the toxic culture of harassment and abuse that has flourished for far too long.