Speaks to The Asian Today about his videos, the tour and the British accent
Meet Zaid Ali. Son. Student. YouTuber. Having shot to fame through his YouTube videos, depicting the life of Asian families, Zaid Ali has become a household name. The proud Canadian is stopping in the UK for the United We Stand tour, Zaid spoke to The Asian Today about his videos, the tour and the British accent.
How is the first stay to the UK been?
The weather is much better here because I’m from Canada. Canadian weather is known to be extremely horrible. The only thing that’s been a little weird is the accent. It’s a little odd – but it’s unique. You guys say “innit” after literally everything and “bare” a lot.
Tell me about United We Stand – how did you get involved?
Basically, the manager of the entire tour reached out to me and purposed the whole tour to me. He told me it was for a charity cause for Syrian mothers and their children. The whole tour is being sponsored by Islamic Help. I always wanted to do a tour. The fact that it was for charity it made it much better. United We Stand consists of five people – I, Mesut Kurtis, Preacher Moss, Harris J and Saif Adam.
It’s your first tour with United We Stand – how has it been?
It’s been amazing. The people of the UK have shown a lot of love. Almost every city has been sold out. The crowd has been amazing. We’re looking for the £1 million pound goal. It’s been an incredible experience so far.
Your popularity comes through YouTube, where did the inspiration come?
I’ve been making YouTube videos for five years now. The main popularity of my videos began around seven months ago. I’ve always been making desi videos. YouTube being banned in Pakistan, content wasn’t being reached. That’s when I started making videos on Facebook and that’s when my popularity exploded. Mothers, fathers, grandparents and whole families come together to watch videos and share them.
Has your videos ever been shared by anyone famous?
There have been some Bollywood celebrities that have shared my videos like Sonakshi Sinha, Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, Malaika Arora, – so yeah, there have been quite a few.
Has this put extra pressure on your future videos?
Not really. It does make me proud that people on a higher level can also relate to these small little comedy videos that I make. It makes them laugh which means that there is something in them.
Who would you want to share your videos to?
Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. Their both people whose hard work has inspired me.
Did you ever think that you’d get this type of reaction?
No. Not even a fraction of this. When I first started I just made these little videos and thought lets just see how far I can get with them. I am very grateful that I have come this far. It makes me feel happy but I also know that I have a responsibility on my head because there are a lot of youth that follow me. I feel that it is my responsibility to make sure that they are not misguided. I don’t use swear words and try to use less girls in my videos. Comedy is on one side but through that you can push out some very positive messages.
Your mother appears in some of your videos. What was the reaction from your parents?
I started randomly putting my mother in my videos when I first started. I used to tell her what to say in the videos – her main line being “Hi. I’m mom.” She’s a very cute person. She looks like a teddy bear in the videos. She has her own personality. After she started coming in my videos, people absolutely loved her. Every where I go, people always ask my about her.
Do you feel, as a Pakistani, you have a responsibility toward changing perceptions about the country?
Yes, definitely. A lot of the Pakistani actors and actresses will literally do anything as long as long as money is given to them, and I feel that is the mentality that needs to be changed in the Pakistani industry. One thing I follow by my heart is “whatever God has written in your fate, you will get that. It’s your choice whether you make it the halal way or the haram way.”
There’s a rumour that you turned down a part in a movie.
Yes. It was a Hollywood movie. I turned it down because of the kissing scene in it. That was my first instinct. The person that offered me the role was kinda shocked. I’m really proud of myself and I think my parents are too.
Outside of your videos, what kind of person is Zaid Ali?
He is the same person. I just don’t do a lot of “Brown vs White” in real life. An average day in my life is really boring. I think of ideas. Get the resources that I need. Film it and post it online. It’s all about monitoring after that. I’m the kind of person that likes to stay inside. Even when I’m on tour. I used to like playing basketball and soccer but I gave them up. I’m mostly a one-man team. Shoot, edit and write the scripts myself.
You’ve collaborated with Superwoman and Dhoombros – Who has been your favourite?
Dhoombros. It’s a Pakistani guy thing! We have a stronger bond. We’ve collaborated three times and it was very fun.
I want to get into Bollywood. I want to become a Bollywood actor in the future but not for the stereotypical movies that Bollywood is know for. I want to star in message movies – like Aamir Khan does. He’s one of the actors I look up to in the Bollywood industry.