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Ali Zafar (Urdu: علی ظفر ‎; born 18 May 1980) is a Pakistani singer-songwriter, model, actor, producer, screenwriter and painter.[1][2] Zafar started out on Pakistani TV before becoming a popular musician.[3] He later also established a career in Bollywood and his success led many Pakistani actors to venture into Hindi films.[4] He has received five Lux Style Awards and a Filmfare Award nomination.[5][6][7]

Ali Zafar
Ali Zafar at the launch of 'Nakhriley' song from Kill Dil.jpg
Zafar at an event of Kill Dil, 2014
Native name
علی ظفر
Ali Zafar

(1980-05-18) 18 May 1980 (age 39)
Alma materNational College of Arts
  • Singer-Songwriter
  • Model
  • Actor
  • Painter
Years active1999–present
Spouse(s)Ayesha Fazli (m. 2009)
Parent(s)Mohammad Zafarullah
Kanwal Ameen
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboard
Years active2003–present

Zafar started his career as a music composer and gained popularity by his single "Channo" from his debut album Huqa Pani, which sold over five million copies worldwide.[8] "Channo" turned out to be a huge success, topping many music charts and earned him several awards for Best Music Album and Artist.[9] Zafar made his acting debut with a leading role in the 2010 Bollywood satire film Tere Bin Laden, a moderate box office success. His performance in the film garnered critical appreciation and earned him several nominations in the Best Male Debut category, including Filmfare.[10] He then also worked in several films, including Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Chashme Baddoor, and Dear Zindagi.[5][11][12][13]

Alongside his acting and singing career, Zafar participates in tours, concerts and stage shows, is active in humanitarian work and has a number of endorsement deals. In 2013, Zafar was voted as the "Sexiest Asian Man on the Planet", based on a worldwide poll by the British newspaper Eastern Eye.[6][14][15]

Early lifeEdit

Zafar at the premiere of Tere Bin Laden, 2010

Ali Zafar was born on 18 May 1980 in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan[16] to a Punjabi family. His parents, Mohammad Zafarullah and Kanwal Ameen, were professors at the University of Punjab. He has two brothers; Zain and Danyal, the latter of these is a commercial model who's also aiming to launch a career as a singer and actor soon.[17] Zafar received his early education from C.A.A. Public School. He completed his graduation from the Government College of Lahore and the National College of Arts.


Zafar started his career as a sketch artist at Pearl Continental Hotel in Lahore and then began acting in television serials. He debuted as a television actor by acting in drama serials Kollege Jeans, Kanch Ke Par and Landa Bazar.[18]

Zafar with Salman Khan at the audio release of the song "Ullu Da Patha" in Dubai, 2010.

Zafar sang "Jugnuon Se Bhar De Aanchal" for the 2003 film Shararat. In the same year, he debuted as a musician with the album Huqa Pani, which was a success. The album sold over 5,000,000 copies worldwide and won several awards and nominations, including the 2004 Lux Style Award for "Best Album" and the 2008 "Best Male Artist" award at the MTV awards,[19] making him one of the most popular pop singers in Pakistan. It was also claimed that Bollywood's popular music directors Himesh Reshammiya and Pritam ripped "Channo" and "Rangeen" from Zafar's album in "Dillagi Mein Jo Beet Jaaye" for Aashiq Banaya Aapne and "Chhore Ki Baatein" for Fight Club – Members Only, respectively.[20][21][better source needed]

Zafar released his second album Masty in November 2006.[5][12] The music video of the single "Dekha" was named as the most expensive music video of Pakistan, costing more than ten million rupees. The video was produced by Lux and was shot in Malaysia, featuring Reema Khan, Meera and Aaminah Haq. The song was also made part of the Hollywood film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, which was released in September 2010. He is currently the fourth Pakistani artist after Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Strings and Atif Aslam to have songs featured in Hollywood films. He also won the "Youth Icon" award in the Lux Style Awards 2007, in Malaysia. Zafar was also offered a role for 2007 film Khuda Kay Liye, but was unable to sign due to some personal reasons. The role was then performed by Fawad Khan.[citation needed]

In 2010, he made his debut as a leading actor with the Bollywood film Tere Bin Laden, which was directed by Abhishek Sharma.[22] Tere Bin Laden was partially based on Osama Bin Laden and Zafar played a Pakistani journalist from Karachi, who makes fake video of Osama Bin Laden, so that he could go to America. The film released in July 2010, proved to be a major commercial success in India, but was banned in Pakistan. Zafar's performance in the film garnered critical appreciation and earned him Best Male Debut nominations at several award ceremonies, including IIFA Awards, Screen Awards, Zee Cine Awards and Filmfare Awards. He was also named as the first Pakistani to be called to Indian Film Festival at Australia in March 2011 for his movie screening.[citation needed]

In February 2011, Zafar released his third album Jhoom, which won the 2012 Lux Style Award for "Best Music Album".[23][24] He made a special appearance in the film Luv Ka The End, in which he sang a song, "F.U.N. Fun Funna". He also sung the title song for the film Love Mein Ghum. He also acted alongside Tara D'Souza in the film Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, starring Imran Khan and Katrina Kaif, and it was released in September 2011.[25]

In March 2012, Zafar starred in the film London, Paris, New York with Aditi Rao Hydari. It was directed by Anu Menon, and Zafar also composed the soundtrack for the film. He also performed the soundtrack for the Pakistani drama Zindagi Gulzar Hai, which won many awards.[citation needed]

Zafar at India's Fly Beyond Awards, 2014

Zafar also starred in the romantic comedy film Chashme Baddoor, directed by David Dhawan. The film was released in April 2013 and was declared a box office super-hit.[26] The same year, he was also featured in an episode of Burka Avenger, singing his famous song "Channo".[27] Zafar then also starred in and composed the soundtrack for the film Total Siyappa, which was a romantic comedy film released in March 2014. He also acted in Kill Dil, which was released in November.[28]

Zafar released a single "Urain Ge" as tribute to victims of APS Peshawar attack in early 2015, featuring many Pakistani artists.[29][30] His voice was also featured in the song "DJ", which was sung by Sunidhi Chauhan for the film Hey Bro. He then also sang a song for Defence Day, "Hanstay Hanstay".[citation needed]

Zafar had performed an item number "Six Pack Abs" in the sequel of his 2010 film Tere Bin Laden, entitled Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive, which was released in February 2016. Zafar was also seen in Pakistani film Lahore Se Aagey. He then appeared in Gauri Shinde's Dear Zindagi as a musician alongside the star cast Alia Bhatt.[13] The films were released in November 2016. He then also sung "Hum Roshan to Kal Roshan", which released in December 2016.[citation needed]

In 2018, Zafar starred in Ahsan Rahim's directorial debut romantic action-comedy film Teefa in Trouble, alongside Maya Ali, which is debut of both the actors in Pakistan film industry, and also the debut of Zafar's Lightingale Productions.[31][32][33][34] He is also working on his fourth music album, and he will be producing another Pakistani film based in Deosai National Park.[35]

Tours and performancesEdit

Zafar in his concert entitled Dil Jhoom Jhoom by Hum TV, on Valentine 2014[36]

After he got fame, Zafar first performed at the ceremony of 3rd Lux Style Awards in 2004. The following year, he did his stage act at 4th Lux Style Awards. He then sang live the songs in 5th Lux Style Awards in 2006 and 6th Lux Style Awards in 2007, and then performed a stage dance with Reema Khan in the 2007 ceremony. He also had performed in Mela Festival at Oslo, Norway in 2008.[37][38]

He joined Coke Studio Pakistan in 2008 and performed three original songs "Allah Hu", "Daastan-e-Ishq" and "Nahi Ray Nahi", and one tribute song "Yaar Daddi Ishq" to Muhammad Juman, in season one and two.[39][40]

In 2012, Zafar performed at 11th Lux Style Awards with Humaima Malick and also paid tribute to musician Mehdi Hassan by singing his ghazal "Mujhe Tum Nazar Sai".[41][42][43] He also performed at the Pantaloons Femina Miss India contest held at Bhavans Ground in Mumbai on 30 March 2012. He then performed at GiMA Awards. He also had performed at 57th Filmfare Awards, but his performance was cut out in the TV release.[44] In 2013, he performed along with Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Preity Zinta at Temptations Reloaded concert in Muscat, Oman.

Zafar then also performed in the Lifestyle Pakistan Expo at Karachi Expo Centre, where he walked the ramp for designer brand ChenOne and also performed with a dhol. He was also invited to perform in 2013 Cannes Film Festival held at Cannes, France.[45] In 2014, he was seen performing with Yami Gautam on Zee Cine Awards.[46] He then also performed in Naz Choudhury's Bollywood Showstoppers at The O2 Arena along with Sonakshi Sinha, Jacqueline Fernandez, Mika Singh and Shahid Kapoor.[47] He then also hosted the first Star Box Office India Awards Ceremony along with Ayushmann Khurrana,[48][49] where they also gave a musical tribute to Raj Kapoor.

He re-joined Coke Studio Pakistan in 2015 for the eight season where he performed three songs. The first song "Rockstar" became popular worldwide, and was also appreciated by Imran Khan, Mahira Khan, Sonu Nigam, Hrithik Roshan and Adnan Sami,[50] and then it was also awarded the title Song of the Year. Zafar then gave tribute to Saleem Raza by performing a second song "Ae Dil" along with Sara Haider. The third song he performed was Sufi "Ajj Din Vehre Vich".[51]

At the logo-launch-event of Pakistan Super League on 20 September 2015, Zafar released and performed on the league anthem "Ab Khel Ke Dikha". He also performed in the launch event of the team Islamabad United on 30 January 2016, where he released team anthem "Chakka Choka". He then also performed in the opening ceremony of 2016 PSL on 4 February. He also performed about 50 concerts across Pakistan within two months in early 2016.[52]

Zafar performed a dancing act on the remix of his Coke Studio hit "Rockstar" in the ceremony of 14th Lux Style Awards, after when he was given musical tribute by Jimmy Khan, Uzair Jaswal, Sara Haider and Farhan Saeed separately, in 2015. The following year, he hosted the ceremony, where he performed an opening dance act on his new song paying tribute to Lux Style Awards. He then also gave a musical tribute there, co-singing with Ali Sethi and Qurat-ul-Ain Balouch, to Amjad Sabri who was assassinated in Karachi on 22 June 2016.

The same year, he collaborated with Atif Aslam for the song "Yaarian", and they performed on it on Defence Day. Zafar walken the ramp in September with Mahira Khan, showcasing the bridal collection in Divani's Bagh-e-Bahar show, at the Haveli Barood Khana.[53] He also performed on the stage of 1st Hum Style Awards along with Sohai Ali Abro, where he was also awarded "Most Stylish Male Performer".[54][55] In his concert on 25 November, he performed the mannequin challenge too.[56]

Zafar released anthem of 2017 PSL "Ab Khel Jamay Ga" in January 2017, upon which he then also performed in its opening ceremony on 9 February in Dubai,[57][58] and also at its closing ceremony on 5 March in Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.[59] He also performed at grand finale of Miss Veet in January.[60] On 19 April, he along with his Teefa in Trouble co-star Maya Ali, performed in the 16th Lux Style Awards.[61]

In tenth season of Coke Studio Pakistan, Zafar performed four songs, after being featured in the promo song "Qaumi Taranah". He performed his original "Julie" alongside his brother Danyal Zafar on guitars under Shani Arshad's production, and "Yo Soch" with Natasha Khan under Strings production. He also gave tribute to Master Inayat Hussain by performing "Jaan-e-Bahaaraan" solo under Shuja Haider's production, and to Junaid Jamshed by "Us Rah Par" with Ali Hamza ft. Strings under Jaffer Zaidi's production.[62][63]

On 27 October, Zafar performed at the MTV Unplugged India concert with Ayushmann Khurrana at Dubai Tennis Stadium.[64][65]

Personal lifeEdit

Zafar married his long-time fiancée Ayesha Fazli, who is a distant relative of Indian actor Aamir Khan,[66][67][68] on 28 July 2009 in Lahore, Pakistan. They had a boy in 2010,[69] and a girl in 2015.[70]

His brother-in-law Umair Fazli is a movie director, better known for making the 2016 box office success Saya e Khuda e Zuljalal.[71]


On 19 April 2018, fellow singer Meesha Shafi accused Zafar of sexual harassment, stating on Twitter, "Ali is someone I have known for many years and someone I have shared a stage with. I feel betrayed by his behavior and his attitude and I know that I am not alone."[72][73] Later that week, more women came forward with their allegations against Zafar.[74] Zafar denied the allegation and said that he would take the matter to court.[73]

He later filed a defamation case against Shafi. The court was requested to impose a fine of Rs 1 billion on her as compensation for the damages.[75] On all the subsequent hearings of the case, Shafi was asked to submit a response to the defamation allegations. However, she failed to appear in court or issue her statement for either of them.[75][76]

Shafi, on the other hand had also attempted to file a legal case against Zafar on charges of sexual harassment with the federal ombudsman who dismissed her application on the basis that she did not have an employee relationship with the accused as defined under the Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2010.[77][78] Later, she appealed the decision to the provincial governor, who upheld the decision of the Ombudsman and dismissed the appeal.[79][80] in May 2019 Meesha Shafi's appeal to change the judge was eventually approved in the defamation case filed against her.[81]

Shafi submitted her response to Zafar's defamation suit on 19 October, and stated that Zafar, "is trying to act innocent before the court".[82][83]

On 22 March 2019, a district sessions judge issued orders to wrap up Ali Zafar’s defamation suit against Meesha Shafi by 15 April.[84] Earlier, on 9 March 2019, Ali Zafar filed a petition against Meesha Shafi over submitting an allegedly fake affidavit in the civil court. The petition stated there is a contradiction in the date mentioned on the affidavit and the account of the events shared in it. The legal counsel of Shafi requested adjournment of the court session over petition filed by Zafar.[85] Following the nominations of the 2019 Lux Style Awards, in which Zafar was nominated for Best Actor, several artists withdrew their nominations due to the fact that Zafar had also been nominated.[86] After this, Zafar conducted an interview outside of the courtroom where he said he, "will prove Meesha Shafi lied."[87] The next day, Zafar conducted another interview with on Geo News, in which he was seen breaking down into tears.[88] Zafar also stated in this interview that there were fake accounts on social media that were being used to malign him.[89] Shafi then conducted an interview on the same channel, in which she said that there was no campaign against Zafar. She added that she publicly came out against him because they were going to be appearing on a show together, and she did not want to spend that much time with him in fear that he would harass her again. She continued to say that she had attempted to communicate this, "privately through representatives in a very clear manner," but she, "didn't get any breakthrough." [90]

On July 3, 2019, Zafar concluded his testimony in court. During this testimony, he said that all of his accusers were acquainted with Shafi's lawyer, Nighat Dad.[91] He continued to state, "A girl with the Twitter user name Fay Alif accused me of harassing more than five girls at my A-levels institute. I never took A-levels. I did my F.A. from Government College." He pointed out another accuser, "One such girl named Sofy on Twitter had written that I harassed her cousin backstage during a Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre fundraiser in Washington D.C. Naila Khan, the official representative of Shaukat Khanam, confronted her on Twitter saying that she was by my side the whole time and there was, in fact, no backstage at the venue in DC. Once her lie was caught, she deleted her tweet and we later found out that she was connected to Nighat Dad."[91] He concluded by saying, "I was the target of a plan to launch the #Metoo movement in Pakistan so that Meesha could make a name for herself in the movement." Shafi then replied on Twitter saying, "Everyone who spoke up did so of their own free will."[92] She further stated that, "Coming after my lawyers is extremely underhanded and desperate."[93]


  Denotes films that have not been released yet
  Denotes films that are currently in cinema


Year Title Role Notes
Hindi films
2010 Tere Bin Laden Ali Hassan Nominated—Filmfare Best Male Debut Award
2011 Luv Ka The End Freddy Kapoor Special appearance in song "F.U.N. Fun Funaa"
Mere Brother Ki Dulhan Luv Agnihotri
2012 London, Paris, New York Nikhil Chopra [a]
2013 Chashme Baddoor Siddharth Kashyap aka Sid
2014 Total Siyapaa Aman [a]
Kill Dil Tutu
2016 Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive Himself Special appearance in song "Six Pack Abs"
Dear Zindagi Rumi [13]
Pakistani films
2016 Lahore Se Aagey Himself Cameo[94]
2018 Teefa in Trouble Lateef ("Teefa") Also the co-writer and producer
TBA Deosai   TBA Pre-production


Year Title Role Network
1999 Kollege Jeans[96] Himself PTV Home
2000 Kanch Ke Par Temur
2002 Landa Bazar Ramis
2014 1st Star Box Office India Awards Host Star Plus
2016 15th Lux Style Awards Geo TV

Appearance in television commercialsEdit



  • Close-Up (toothpaste)
  • Dabur OxyLife Men Bleach Crème[97]

Other appearancesEdit


Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref
Indus Music Awards
2004 Huqa Pani Best Debut Artist Won
Best Album Won
2005 Best Pop Artist Won
Lux Style Awards
2004 Huqa Pani Best Album Won
2007 Masty Nominated
Youth Icon Award Won
2012 Jhoom Best Album Won
"Jhoom" – Jhoom Song of the Year Nominated
2013 "Zindagi Gulzar Hai" – Zindagi Gulzar Hai Best Original Soundtrack Won
2016 "Rockstar" – CokeStudio8 Song of the Year Won [98]
2019 Teefa – Teefa in Trouble Best Actor (Critics' choice) Nominated [99]
Best Actor (Viewers' choice) Won
Asian Bollywood Music Awards
2005 Huqa Pani Best Pop Music Album in Pakistan Won
MTV Style Awards
2008 Masty Best Male Artist Won
Most Stylish Artist Won
2009 "Zindagi Gulzar Hai" – Zindagi Gulzar Hai Best Male Singer Won
Zee Cine Awards
2011 Ali Hassan – Tere Bin Laden Zee Cine Award for Best Male Debut Nominated
Filmfare Awards
2011 Ali Hassan – Tere Bin Laden Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut Nominated
IIFA Awards
2011 Ali Hassan – Tere Bin Laden IIFA Award for Star Debut of the Year – Male Nominated
Screen Awards
2011 Ali Hassan – Tere Bin Laden Screen Award for Best Male Debut Nominated
Style Awards
2011 "Jhoom" – Jhoom Song of the Year Won
Personality of the Year Nominated
Stardust Awards
2011 Ali Hassan – Tere Bin Laden Stardust Award for Superstar of Tomorrow – Male Nominated
2012 Luv Agnihotri – Mere Brother Ki Dulhan Won
"Madhubala" – Mere Brother Ki Dulhan Stardust Award for New Musical Sensations – Male Nominated
Pakistan Media Awards
2012 "Love Mein Ghum" – Love Mein Ghum Best Playback Singer Nominated
"Jhoom" – Jhoom Best Singer Male Nominated
2014 "Zindagi Gulzar Hai" – Zindagi Gulzar Hai Nominated
Best Drama Original Soundtrack Nominated
ARY Film Awards
2014 ARY Film Award for International Icon of the Year Won
Hum Awards
2014 "Zindagi Gulzar Hai" – Zindagi Gulzar Hai Hum Award for Best Original Soundtrack Nominated
Karawood Film Festival
2015 Most Versatile Artist Won
HT Most Stylish Awards
2015 Most Stylish Import Won [100]
Hum Style Awards
2016 Most Stylish Male Performer Won [101]
2017 Nominated [103]
International Pakistan Prestige Awards
2017 Style Icon of the Year Male Nominated [105]

Other awards and honoursEdit

  • 2013: Sexiest Asian Man on the Planet (Eastern Eye)[107]
  • 2018: Artist for Peace (Pakistan International Film Festival)[108]
  • 2018: Pride of Pakistan (United For Pakistan Independence Day)[109]
  • 2019: Music Icon of the Generation (Shaan-e-Pakistan Achievement in Music Awards)[110]

See alsoEdit


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  1. ^ a b c also composed soundtrack

External linksEdit