Ali Zafar's new song 'Game Bun Gayi' had tickled the fancy of many Pakistani K-pop fans before its release. While the promotional teaser and Zafar's new purple hair had promised that the song would be similar to K-pop, 'Game Bun Gayi' ended up disappointing many of the genre's devotees after its release.
The singer had recently teased the release with the caption "K-pop in Pakistan?"
In an interview with the Express Tribune, he had commented, “I recently saw the deep love and admiration for K-pop and bands like BTS in Pakistan.
"[Let me] just say that I've become a fan of their fans," he said. "They're all so cool. Hence we've incorporated some elements from that genre in the video as a tribute. I hope they all like it. The song releases this Eid."
Many K-pop fans — particularly the BTS ARMY — were delighted at the tribute and anticipated a collaboration between Zafar and a K-pop artist. One user wished for a collaboration with BTS themselves and pleadingly replied to "Ali Oppa" to make it happen. You know you've made it big amongst K-pop fans when they start calling you "oppa", a Korean term used to endearingly refer to someone as an older brother.
Other users said that a collaboration with any K-pop artist would be great since scoring the boys themselves right from the get go would be way too difficult.
The song 'Game Bun Gayi' left many fans confused when it was released on July 21 though. Users on Twitter couldn't understand what was so K-pop about Zafar's song.
Many expressed their disappointment at the effort not being close enough to K-pop. One user wrote how the song was a "normal pop music video [and] not K-pop".
Another user highlighted that the singer needs to "step up his dance game" for it to be close to what K-pop music videos depict.
One user tried to be as polite in their criticism as possible. "No offence to Ali Zafar," they wrote. "But what was so K-pop about that song? Please enlighten me."
Quite a few fans wondered whether the singer had used the genre for clout to promote the new single.
The term "clout" is used by BTS fans in particular to highlight public figures who call attention to the band in order to gain approval amongst fans for their own personal content. American singer Charlie Puth was criticised by BTS fans in 2020 for using the band for clout. According to Variety, legions of followers spammed Puth's TikTok posts with comments that called him out for using BTS for "clout" and "fame".
It wasn't all doom and gloom on Twitter though. Many BTS fans were honoured at Zafar's tribute to their fandom and really liked what he had to offer. Users thanked "Ali Oppa" and sent him heart emojis in the same colour as Zafar's new hair. Purple is considered the colour of the BTS ARMY and "I purple you" is often used within the fandom after the phrase was coined by a BTS member.
Much like fans on Twitter, we didn't really see much K-pop in the song either. It would be interesting though, for a Pakistani musician to actually collaborate with a K-pop act. What did you think of the song?