Popularly known as the ‘Elvis of the East’, Alamgir, the man who is regarded as one of the pioneers of pop music in Pakistan, needs his fans’ help and support. In an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune, he reveals the latest update on his health.
“I’m waiting for a matching kidney donor,” says Alamgir. “It’s a three-year waiting list, so please keep praying.”
The singer was diagnosed with complete renal failure in 2004 and has been undergoing regular dialysis for the past few years. Although the issue has been taken up by some fans, who made cause groups on Facebook, and a few ventures have also been organised to collect donations, the pop legend still needs financial help. “I’m trying to raise funds for my treatment and if God wills the people of Pakistan will respond as they always have, with love,” exclaims Alamgir.
Alamgir, who lives with his family in Atlanta, Georgia, landed in a financial crisis because his health insurance did not cover transplant costs, reports Pakistan Today.
When asked whether any government official has contacted him to help out, Alamgir remains a man of few words, “Yes — I would prefer to leave it at that.”
The pop legend’s desperation for funds and support reminds one of yet another legend, Mehdi Hassan Khan, who was supported by his fans all over the world and, after a lot of media hype, by the government as well. However, unlike Hassan — the man credited with hits like “Dekha Na Tha” and “Maine Tumhari Gagar Se”— Alamgir has two issues to consider: he has to first find a potential donor and then bear the expenses. Hence, the pop singer requested local hospitals to help him find a potential match. “It will be very kind of them to do that; with God’s help, I will be able to find a donor. It’s a long process and patience is key,” says Alamgir.
Despite the fact that Pakistan’s ‘King of Pop’ is not in the best health, the performer in him is still alive and kicking as he plans to release more music after he recovers. Clinging to the belief that music is the best escape, Alamgir has been regularly practising his vocals as well as writing new songs. “Music is life to me, its takes me away from reality and calms me down, I still play music and sing and very soon you will be able to see me back with new songs,” adds the 57-year-old.
Alamgir is one of the few singers of his time (1970s) who is still remembered for his live performances — his agility on stage and dance moves made his performances a great audio-visual experience for the audience. His songs, which are popular even with the younger generations today, are truly timeless.
The singer’s last performance was in the The Musik Awards (2007) where he brought the crowd to their feet by performing revamped versions of his hits. There is no stopping Alamgir who hopes to make a comeback for his fans, “I need your prayers and support so that I can entertain you once again.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2011.