Zayn Malik has always been our fav brown boy in a band. But he broke Directioners’ hearts in March 2015 when he announced that he would be leaving the band. It was worse for South African Directioners because it meant that Zayn would not accompany the One Direction for the SA leg of the tour. But we soon dried our tears when Zayn released his solo album and was free to express his true self. SHAAZIA EBRAHIM and FATIMA MOOSA are loving Zayn’s new direction.
The British-Pakistani star made waves in his recent interview with Elle India, where he made several surprising admissions that show how he is focusing on his desi identity. Zayn graced the cover of the February edition of the magazine and it was a thing of sheer beauty. But Zayn clad in print kurtas and leather jackets was not even the best part of the collab.
Our cover star @zayn is on the rise with a defining year ahead. Read all about it in our #February issue🌟 . . . 📸@riabrahao Fashion Editor: @rahulvijay1988 👗@jasonrembert 💇🏾♂️@larrykinghair/Streeters Tattoos: Megan Massacre/Studio Grit and Glory @purplepr_ent Production: #IsabelScharenberg Assisted by: @divyagursahani, @kirstenmcgovern and @diallomaurice (styling) Location courtesy: Lotte New York Palace, New York #zaynmalik #india #hollywood #gigihadid #elle #bollywood
Zayn announced his debut to the Bollywood industry when he told the magazine he had recorded his first Hindi song for a Bollywood movie. “It is one of the first songs I’ve sung in full Hindi, so it’s going to be cool to see what the response to that is,” Zayn said.
But it doesn’t stop there. Zayn also said his second album will feature a more South Asian feel and sound. “There’s definitely a lot of Urdu, some nice qawwali sounds. There might even be some bhangra vibes. I have worked with AR Rahman on one song,” he told Elle. We are shook!
Zayn previously recorded a one minute Urdu song for his solo album Mind of Mine which was in short, amazing. INTERMISSION fLoWer starts off with Urdu phonetics and the strums of a soulful guitar. The singer accompanies it with the most romantic and poetic Urdu lyrics. The story behind the song is even more beautiful with Zayn saying that he wanted to pay homage to his father’s cultural background and his own Pakistani heritage. The song was also inspired by popular Pakistani qawwali singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan whose music Zayn said he listened to with his dad.
Read these lyrics and weep: “Jab tak is mohabbat ka phool na khilay. Tab tak is dill ko sukoon na miley. Dil Diye Mujhe. Dil Diye.” which translates to “Until this flower of love blossoms. This heart will not rest.”
Zayn also recently posted a picture on Instagram of his father with Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar with the caption “Abu with Dilip Kumar.” (Abu being an Urdu word for father.) Kumar is a veteran Bollywood sensation, he is one of its biggest stars and he ruled Bollywood during the 60s and 70s. The picture also shows the resemblance being uncanny resemblance of Zayn to his father. They are literal carbon copies of each other.
But Zayn has always been a huge fan of Bollywood. He grew up watching Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan on TV. “Before I can even remember, Bollywood films would be on TV,” he said. “Bollywood is so impeccable. If you ever get a chance to watch a good Bollywood movie, watch Devdas! Have you seen it? It’s got Shah Rukh Khan in it.” The singer even made his supermodel girlfriend Gigi Hadid see the film.
“Shah Rukh Khan always came across as slightly arrogant in the movies to me, but when I met him in real life, he was so nice,” reveals our cover star @zayn in Elle’s February issue. . . . 📸@riabrahao Fashion Editor: @rahulvijay1988 👗@jasonrembert 💇🏾♂️@larrykinghair/Streeters 👕: @tommyhilfiger Tattoos: Megan Massacre/Studio Grit and Glory @purplepr_ent Production: #IsabelScharenberg Assisted by: @divyagursahani, @kirstenmcgovern and @diallomaurice (styling) Location courtesy: Lotte New York Palace, New York #zaynmalik #india #hollywood #gigihadid #elle #bollywood #shahrukhkhan
Zayn met our other fav SRK back in November 2015 at the Asian Awards. The actor posted a selfie with Zayn with a caption that read, “This kid is so cool. May Allah bless him. Dinner time at the Asian Awards.”
This kid is so cool. May Allah bless him. Dinner time at the Asian Awards. pic.twitter.com/l0gV12n0kv
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) April 17, 2015
Zayn also said in his interview with Elle that he thought the actor came across arrogant on screen but that when he met him, he found that he was quite nice. “I personally wasn’t a huge fan until I met him. I realised how humble he is – really saw a different side to him,” he said to the magazine. “He always came across as slightly arrogant in the movies to me, but when I met him in real life, he was so nice. He just completely changed my opinion of him.”
And the huge Bollywood influence on his life can be traced back to his dad. While in One Direction, Zayn very rarely spoke about his father and Yaser Malik did not even make an appearance in the band’s movie, This is Us. But it seems post-One Direction Zayn is much more comfortable talking about his father. He even posted a poem (‘zoem’) on Instagram about his father and how much his childhood memories with his father means to him.
The star also has tattoo of his father’s name behind his ear.
Zayn has also posted poems about Stevie Wonder and his influence on his music, Gigi and his family. One of his poems speaks about how he might not be a political activist but that as a poet he speaks his mind about what is happening. That poem includes the line: “I do not profess a political manner but Oprah does and I still stan her.”
We can barely wait for Zayn’s new album to listen to his beautiful voice belting out those high notes in Urdu. For a long time Zayn seemed to be fitting into white standards of what brown people needed to be like to assimilate into a Western society. While Zayn has said that he does not want to be defined by his religion and cultural background, he does seems to be embracing all facets of who he is and where he comes from including his Pakistani heritage and just being himself. And we love it!