Peshawar Zalmi anthem

More than just an anthem

More than just an anthem: Hassan Dawar talks about PSL 2021’s Peshawar Zalmi anthem



Pakistan Super League (PSL) in the time of coronavirus was a different experience as a whole. After more cases emerged during the tournament, the cricket board decided to postpone the entire event. Despite that, the fans couldn’t stop chanting the team anthems and there is no reason that they should. Anthems always play a significant role when it comes to creating hype for a specific event. In our case, cricket is what brings the nation together because its more than just a sport. After watching Peshawar Zalmi’s anthem ‘Kingdom’ we got more excited about the tournament, than usual (for all you know that’s why it got postponed). The anthem was Hassan Dawar’s latest directorial project and for the most part, termed as ‘international’. Libas Now in an exclusive conversation with the man behind the camera asked him about PSL, the shooting process, as well as the strong vocals, belted out by Abdullah Siddiqui and Altamash Sever.


Shooting for ‘Kingdom’

peshawar zalmi


The concept for ‘Kingdom’ was about perseverance and not giving up on your dreams, even if they scare you. It is about a journey of triumph and winning against all odds, which was brought to life in a visually stunning, gritty and edgy video by Hassan. Following the release of the anthem, viewers could tell by its crisp editing and contemporary finish that it is in line with any Hollywood production. Hassan, who is a perfectionist has yet again proved that as he carefully set the tone and story for what is yet to come with the anthem.


“This is more than just an anthem. ‘Kingdom’ is about never giving up on your dreams. Even though it gets tiring, we still have to keep trying every day to fight our fears, the traumas, the constant battles with our thoughts, to achieve what we have dreamt of,” Hassan said. He further stated that one should always move forward to achieve greatness and channel all your emotions in the right direction and there was no better way to show the audience how to keep the spark alive then showing it through cricket.


It is no surprise that shooting for a project during COVID times is the biggest challenge for any director because ensuring everyone’s safety is a priority. In addition to that, Hassan told us that wrapping the concept in three days along with getting the brand ambassadors and cricketers for the video together for a specific date and meeting the deadline was a task on its own.“We just had one week to complete everything and everyone burnt the midnight oil to make it happen and it looks like it turned out pretty well, considering the feedback we’ve received,” he said.




The director also told us about the shots/sequences he enjoyed shooting the most. Explosion shots, he said were the best, as it was something that has never been done in Pakistan before. “We had around 200 explosions and for each take around 30 explosions were used,” he said, adding that “for one take around 160 blasts were used and, in its 6th, take when we got the shot; that moment was priceless.”


Another sequence in the anthem when Shoaib Malik is in the stadium and the pitch starts to explode, it was a metaphorical way of showing how your past failures haunt you. That’s why they decided to “explode the cricket ground” to put the message across.


Working with young musicians



After listening to ‘Kingdom’, we were intrigued that young stars like Abdullah Siddiqui and Altasmash Sever were on vocals for the anthem. We asked Hassan about the experience of working with young musicians for this project. He said that Zalmi and his team decided last year that for the team’s anthem they wanted to have “rising stars who have the potential to become the next big names in our industry”. The idea to work with them was to create a new sound that keeps the audience interested. He said that the brief to Abdullah was simple “think stadium, think thousands of people singing the chorus” and that’s exactly what was presented to them by Abdullah, who was first chosen for the production. When his first draft was sent to the team, Hassan said that an Urdu chorus was a must-have with this English chorus. Altamash, who was suggested by Zalmi’s COO, came along and did his part and in Hassan’s words, “it was the exact vocal power we needed for the anthem”.


“Once we had the final draft of the song, we knew it was it. Abdullah’s mellow notes in English with Altamash’s powering vocals in Urdu gave us exactly the sound we needed,” Hassan added enthusiastically.


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