Saturday, January 11, 2003
Z E R O I N G  I N  O N . . .

The master of melody
Dharam Pal

Altaf RajaWHATEVER he does, he does with the conviction to excel. Which is why master of melody Altaf Raja rarely leaves any scope for complaint. What is striking about Altaf Raja’s voice is its authenticity. What eventually wins the hearts of his audience is the creative poetry in his songs.

The pardesi guy who became on overnight sensation with his super-duper album Hum to Thehre Pardesi is back with his new album Ek Dard Sabhi Ko Hota Hai. The title song of this album "Ek Dard Sabhi Ko Hota Hai" has already become a hit.

This album is being presented by the Venus music company after the super-duper success of Nitin Mukesh-Anuradha Paudwal’s Dil Mera Dhadkan Teri and Altaf’s hit albums Dil Ke Tukde Hazaar Huye, Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala, Taaza Hawa Lete Hain, Aaj Ki Raat Na Jaa Pardesi and Do Dil Haare.


Born in Nagpur, this professional qawwal is confident that his new album also will be appreciated. The songs in this album are supported by melodious music jointly presented by Altaf and Vaishnav Deva of the Dil Ke Tukde fame. The lyrics have been penned by Arun Bhairav, Zaheer Alam, Munawwar Khan and Shravan Sinha, a budding lyricist who wrote the popular "Jaan Leva" song of Moksha.

Though Altaf admits that two of his albums Aaj Ki Raat Na Ja Pardesi and Mujhe Apna Bana Lo did not make as much an impact as Tum to Thehre Pardesi, they both sold fairly well. "I still feel that the success of Tum To Thehre... cannot be repeated. The Guinness Book of World Records has noted it down as the highest selling (10 million copies) non-filmi album, Altaf says.

Commenting on his guru, the late Mohammad Shafi Niyazi, Altaf proudly declares, "I have learnt a lot from Niyazi Sahab and have used that knowledge in my album Ek Dard Sabhi Ko Hota Hai, which has a number of catchy songs. I think I have done justice, both as a singer and as a composer."

After the Tum To Thehre Pardesi wave, Altaf also tried his luck in films. He has done items songs like Ishq aur pyar ka mazaa leejiye… (Shapath), Kar lo pyar… (Chandaal), the controversial song Biwi to ghar ki rani hai… (Mother) and Paisa paisa… (Trishakti).

Talking about his songs in Ek Dard Sabhi Ko Hota Hai, Altaf says it is full of Indian melodies, including folk songs. I have tried to use music which brings the flavour of all regions of India.

The master of melody started practising harmonium from Iqbal Khan at the age 15 and also received training on the keyboard from Prakash Sharma. He learnt classical music from Pandit Govind Prasad Jaipurwala. The late Mohammad Shafi, a well-known qawwal and composer, introduced Altaf to Venus. Great music should have melody, poetry and rhythm. Altaf’s singing has all these three elements in abundance.