Chandel chats up Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali
Khan, whose song "Tere naina" is creating
only all politicians
could be somehow banished to another planet, all problems
between India and Pakistan can be instantly solved, thinks noted
Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, whose "Tere
naina" song from the film My Name is Khan is
creating quite a ripple.
As far as
artistes and common people are concerned, they can live quite
amicably, without any rancour, he feels. It is ironical that his
next album to be released here by Music Today is named Kyun
Dooriyan, although that has nothing to do with the
differences between the two countries. But when it comes to the
difficulties that Indian artistes face in visiting Pakistan, he
blames it all on the unfavourable security situation there.
This will be
the second solo album of the classical singer-turned-rock star
in India, following his Tabeer, last year, which was a
huge hit. But it is his film songs like "Mitwa"
(from Karan Joharís Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna), "Ye
Hausla" (from Nagesh Kukunoorís Dor) and the
title song from Mukesh Bhattís Tum Mile, which have
made him a household name. Strangely, he doesnít do much of
playback singing back home because most of the producers are
loathe to hiring big-ticket artistes.
He is the son
of legendary Pakistani singer Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, making him
a part of the nine-generation-old Patiala Gharana. This gharana
has produced some of the finest music exponents of our times,
including Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad
Hamid Ali Khan, Asad Amanat Ali and also Shafqat Amanat Ali. But
classical gayaki works with the modern audiences only
when it is complemented with contemporary panache, he said
during a freewheeling telephone interview from Lahore.
trend of giving a chance to classical singers in India has done
a lot for singers like him, Raahat Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad
Sultan Khan. Shafqat is not too sure how long the wave will last
but feels that well-trained singers can add value to film music.
He himself has been a student of classical music tradition of
India and Pakistan since the age of four and has been inspired
by his father, uncle Ustad Fateh Ali Khan as well as Roshanara
Shafqat was the
lead vocalist of the popular Pakistani band Fuzon. Their first
album Saagar was a big hit. Last year, he came up with his debut
solo album, Tabeer, which catapulted him into the front rank in
India as well as Pakistan.
classical and folk vocals with rock melodies. In Kyun Dooriyan,
he has gone more upbeat. Some of these compositions were made
many years ago when he was part of Fuzon, but he has moulded
them to fit into the current contours. Many of the 10 tracks
have a strong classical base, but there is also a rock feel. The
lyrics are in Hindi and Punjabi.
are unmistakable in his creations. He thinks that as long as the
soul of the music is intact, there is no dilution involved.
"The ravayat must not be distorted," he
He is a
vocalist, composer and songwriter, all rolled into one. Does not
wearing so many hats dilute the quality of his creations? On the
contrary, he thinks he can give off his best only this way. You
know your own plus and minus points and sing accordingly.
Singing othersí songs poses greater challenge.
He recalls that
once he assigned someone to write the lyrics for one of his
compositions but the result was not to his satisfaction. That is
why he pens most of the lyrics of his songs himself.
honoured with the Presidentís Pride of Performance in Pakistan
on August 14, 2007, making him the sixth in line from his family
to receive this honour.
present Indian playback singers, Shafqat ranks Shankar Mahadevan
highly, because he feels Shankarís songs are a blend of
classical and contemporary. Among the old stalwarts, there are,
of course, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Mohd Rafi, Kishore
Kumar and Manna Dey.
masters like Amir Ali Khan, Hariprasad Chaurasia and Shiv Kumar
Sharma has done a lot of good to film music in India, he says.
have to make too many compromises while singing for films? He
does not think so, saying that so far he has been able to choose
songs on his own terms.
To his mind,
the entire controversy whether a song becomes popular because of
the star on whom it is picturised or because of the lyricist and
the composer is meaningless. Everyone has his own contribution
to make and should share the credit, he strongly feels.
As far as the
actors go, his favourites are Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan,
although for the sake of being politically correct perhaps, he
says his list is long. And among the heroines, he finds Kareena
Kapoor the most improved. On the alleged copying of Pakistani
tunes by some Indian composers, he says there is nothing wrong
in being inspired by folk or traditional compositions but bodily
lifting them is unacceptable. Fortunately, most of the
established composers donít do this.
Asked whether he gets to see
Indian films, he says these are the only ones that he sees, and
is simply floored by My Name is Khan. If only its message
of amity could spread.