Singer-Songwriter Zeeshan Khan Makes a Pensive Solo Debut With ‘Khoya Hai Dil’


The artist, part of Pune Sufi rock band Malang, talks about writing new material and his bond with brother and standup comedian Zakir Khan

Anurag Tagat
Jan 05, 2023

Zeeshan Khan. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

With a nostalgic solo debut, singer-songwriter Zeeshan Khan sings about purpose and paths on “Khoya Hai Dil.” You may recognize it in a different context too, considering it was used by standup comedian (and Zeeshan’s brother) Zakir Khan’s recent comedy special Tathastu.

Khan, who established himself in indie circles first with Pune’s Malang the Band, performing high-energy Sufi rock, tapped into a more subtle and emotional space with “Khoya Hai Dil.” Supplied with a music video in which the artist is walking through a rain-soaked Times Square in New York City, the song’s “end credits” video version racked up over a million views on Instagram, with the music video itself gaining 128,000 views on YouTube.

The song came as a way of Khan exploring the crossroads he was at between continuing in a stable day job or getting into music full-time. He says, “For any middle class person, quitting a stable job is a big decision. However, I realized soon that my urge of making music was greater than making ends meet. The lyrics of the song represent this mood of reflecting and finding your purpose and a place where your heart truly belongs.” The song also became a dedication to his late grandfather, sarangi maestro Ustad Moinudien Khan Sahab.

With the song licensed for use in Tathastu by Amazon Prime Video, Khan says he shares a “very loving and respectful bond” with his brother Zakir. “Also, very few people know that he [Zakir Khan] is a sangeet visharad [qualified degree holder in music], so discussions about music feature heavily in our interaction. His journey is an inspiration not just for me but for many in this country. I know that he has my back in whatever I do,” Khan adds about his brother.

For the last five years, the singer-songwriter has taken on stages across India with Malang but he says it was also time to explore newer genres and collaborate with other artists to reach an audience different from the band. He says about the solo material he’s working on, “As for the songs that I’ve been writing, these are pieces that I have been working on for a very long time. It’s a mixed bag and an interesting one at that. There are two types of songs that I’ll be releasing in 2023, one type that moves my heart and another that makes me learn.”

By his own admission, Khan says he’s a new artist and plans to “develop a body of work” before he reaches out for collaborations. “I am attempting to release at least one song every month in 2023,” he adds.

Watch the video for “Khoya Hai Dil” below.

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