Taimoor Salahuddin – The Rebellious Soul
If one has to describe Taimoor Salahuddin aka Mooroo in one word, it would be fitting to call him an entertainer. The only way you could have missed out on his talent is if you have been living under a rock not knowing that social media exists!
Born and raised in Lahore, Taimoor was never the sort who conformed to influence. His academic life went through a bad adaptive phase where he was not interested in academics which resulted in switching a lot of schools from Aitchison to Beacon House to Lahore American School for his high school. When the time for college came, the pattern didn’t change much. He went to Simon Fraser University, Canada for a Computer Science degree and within a year realized he didn’t want to pursue this, came back and enrolled in Beacon House National University for a year realizing he wasn’t learning much and then finally went to a film school in Florida called Full Sail University, finally graduating with a degree in Film Production. After this roller-coaster ride he came back to Lahore, worked in his home town for a year and then moved to Karachi where he has been working since the last five years now.
“Lahore is home, as my family and all my childhood friends are there and Karachi is work.”
A combination of natural talent and passion has been the driving force for him and it is reflected in his work, be it his comic videos or his music. He is one of those individuals who had to really fight to be able to follow his interests. Coming from a family where there was no precedent to join the field of arts, Taimoor had to find his own path. As for his parents, they were supportive and non supportive at the same time. His impressions made them laugh, but they considered this talent and his love for his guitar just time-pass activities. When he insisted that he wanted to study music, he was sent in the direction of computer sciences. Talking on the subject, he shared that he would have preferred that they were more supportive as that would have helped him develop a lot earlier. However, he can’t really put a finger on the fact that their way actually pushed him towards doing all this or not because as stated earlier a big factor here is also his rejection of influence trait. What all of this process did for him was that it has developed in him a complete disregard for other people’s opinion about his work and he carries on the way he sees fit.
Being in control of his work is another trait that has defined Taimoor’s career path so far, even during college, working for others didn’t satisfy him and this can be credited for his entrepreneurial side as well, as he is quite active in managing this side of affairs as well along with the artistic side.
“When I came back from college, I knew I wanted to do film production and I wanted to write, act, direct and kind of be in control. I was writing music before this, even though I hadn’t released anything at that point. My goal was to be able to produce my own work which is to say I write it I act in it I direct it and I edit it myself and find a way to monetize it somehow.”
Initially he was working on all sorts of video projects for other people. He had a facility with proper equipment his parents had invested in and a three person employee base, a sound engineer, camera operator and an editor. He started working on small projects for an established production house and these then turned into bigger projects. All of this was taken as a learning process which helped him polish his skills, even if it was a menial job of being a boom operator. Along with polishing his skills going through all aspects of film production have given him a clearer bigger picture and as a director, Taimoor considers this to be a must, only then, he shares, can you direct others to do their job in the right manner.
So is the end goal a feature film? And the prompt response is in the affirmative. His first film is going to be a comedy. One of the reasons that he has been doing his comic sketches is to fine tune his comic timing and go through the grind of all that goes in making of a film. For him, an ideal start is not to follow the established recipe but to innovate with what he feels should be done, hence he plans to make a low budget comedy film with fresh faces who he knows have the potential.
“I would rather have new people I know have talent for my first project rather than take top ranked artists to launch myself.”
While comedy comes naturally to Taimoor, one of his key passions is music. In his own words:
“I will keep doing music, because if I don’t do music, I will go mad.”
Discussing the past and the current state of the music industry, he shared that piracy is not a new issue, it has always existed and then musicians get exploited on the financial front in other manners too. They end up making money from live concerts and appearances. In his opinion, the industry is still in a state of flux. It is important that artists take an entrepreneurial approach towards their work, instead of depending on their managers alone, especially with the emergence of internet platforms. One example is that of ‘Patari’ which is doing a much better job when it comes to curating the music, coordinating and promoting the artists. There is still a lot more that needs to be done but they for one are on the right track. As for spreading the culture of buying music, in his opinion it is bound to happen in Pakistan but it’s going to take a while and some mandatory policy implementation to get majority people to opt for it. Further quoting an example, he shared that a few of his songs have been featured in two feature films but they don’t pay a lot, however, in comparison jingles pay good money, thus one needs to keep balancing work for passion and what ends up paying the bills.
Someone who has used social media to promote his work better than many of his counter parts, Taimoor admits to have a geeky side. Coming from a generation that grew up with social media from the good old days, he is an early adopter when it comes to all thing technology and confesses that he works hard so that he can buy the best gadgets! When it comes to his work, social media forums serve as communication tools for him and he customizes content depending on the nature of the forum and his respective audience. Snapchat is the latest addition and still in its early stage especially in Pakistan, with a much liberal audience present on it at the moment and this makes it a really honest forum where one is more blunt and to the point, given the seven seconds limit.
Taimoor’s music and his sketches are poles apart, his music is pretty serious and the kind of stuff where he wants to make you cry, while his comedy sketches have us in fits. The making of these two is equally different, while he is ready to put up the final version of a comedy video in a week’s time at maximum, his songs take him months. For him juggling both of these is worth it and something he is proud of. As for some of the high points in his career, the video ‘Stalker’ in collaboration with Fizza went viral and on the music front, the songs ‘Tasveer’ and ‘Kahani Puraani’ are on his list. When asked about what he considers to be low points, he said that in general he is satisfied with the work he puts out, however, there are things that he did for others at various points that can be marked as low points for various reasons, be it the client’s insistence to just copy another idea to out of bounds reactions of people to some good stuff.
Shifting to the topic of breaking stereotypes and how his work is contributing towards it, Taimoor responded that he is not out to break any. At times if stereotypes make a good joke he uses them as at the end of the day, the joke is more important for him. However, in-evidently at times he does break them by depicting honest characters which have their flexibility and shades of grey which is something that the mainstream media seldom shows.
For someone who had a lot of resistance to opt for arts as a profession, one would presume that he would be one of the first ones to call for patronage and support of the field from all quarters. In this case too, he is not interested in replicating the popular stance. While he agrees that the government should lend its support, that should not necessarily be the only process. It is important for him that the artists educate people about their work and that should be an essential part of the process. People in general don’t have that education yet. Once you educate them and through that they should feel and voluntarily extend their support is what will make the difference in the long run. Our legends in the field and those who have established a name for themselves have done so through their hard work and at the same time educating the audiences in one way or the other. At the same time, supporting others within the community is equally important. Personally, given that for him, his art pays him, he gives back by giving work to those who he sees have the potential, helping their activation process.
Taimoor is a picture-perfect example of what it takes to follow your passion, here’s hoping that he keeping entertaining us for a long time to come. Follow his work here!