Ali Azmat’s comments on Noor Jehan are direspectful and have rightly upset many people.

In an interview with Ahmed Pansota of The Current, musician and actor Ali Azmat talked about MTV’s “cultural invasion” during his youth. He said it quickly caught on because the Pakistani music scene didn’t have something similar to offer at the time and people wanted to embrace foreign culture because all they had was Noor Jehan.

While expressing this opinion, Azmat recalled how he would be annoyed when he would turn on the TV and there would only be Noor Jehan who he referred to as “mai” (elderly woman) with her “full saari, huge earrings and face overdone with makeup” show up looking like a “kofta” (meatball).

The host quickly intervened, saying that Noor Jehan was a “great” singer (not to mention that she still remains one of the most popular and influential singers in the subcontinent). Azmat, however, said he was only sharing views from his youth.

“I am telling you this from my childhood when we accepted a different culture and then it became a norm,” he said.

A number of people on social media took offence at Ali’s comments. Some advised him to learn respect while others commented that watching the interview was “painful” for them.

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