Legendary singer Alamgir, popularly known as the ‘Elvis of the East’, was paid a musical tribute by many artists at an event held at the Karachi Expo Center on Saturday. The event titled ‘Dekha Na Tha’ was an ode to the artist’s dogged devotion to his art and his vocal prowess which kept on improving during his 40-year-long career. Alamgir’s career started in 1972 through the state-run channel PTV and 40 years later, he was awarded the Lipton PTV Lifetime Achievement Award.
Age is only a number
Clad in white, the singer cemented his superstar status by making a grand entrance in a green Volkswagen, followed by a spellbinding performance of his song “Yeh Shaam aur Tera Naam”. His entrance made the hosts of the evening, Anoushey Ashraf and Faizan Haque, recall the good old days of PTV and the audience was transported to the time of sepia-toned television shows that were hosted by veterans Anwar Maqsood and Moin Akhtar and musical programmes that were predominantly the domain of Alamgir and the Benjamin Sisters.
Alamgir danced and sang with the vivacity of 16-year-old boy. He sang some of his most popular songs such as “Yeh Shaam Aur Tera Naam”, “Mujhay Dil Say Na Bhulana”, which he sang twice and “Shuro Tum Hi Say Howa Pyar Ka Silsila”. Seeing Alamagir perform energetically and engaging the audience with gestures just like he used to decades ago was a deja vu experience for the audience.
Cheers to Alamgir
The singer was also acknowledged by superstars like Nadeem Baig, who remembered that Alamgir always gave 110 per cent to all his projects. Actor Shabnam and and her husband Robin Ghosh described him as “a talented and extremely dedicated singer of his time” while A Nayer vouched for Alamgir’s “hard working nature”.
On the other hand, singer Saleem Javed also reminisced that his first-ever audition for PTV was one of Alamgir’s songs. Music composer Niaz Ahmad considers him “an evergreen singer, who can perform for the next 20 years” and Benjamin Sisters recalled that, “he was a couple of years senior to us but he never treated us like juniors”. Last, but not the least, the producer Zaheer Khan who discovered the potential in Alamgir said that he was, “an outstanding musician, who introduced Pakistan to pop music.”
A buffet of talent
The musical night saw some brilliant performances by child stars Ahsan and Rose to “Hum Chale Tu Hamare Sang Hein Nazare Chale” as well as seasoned artists like Saleem Javed, Own the band, actor-cum-singer Teepu Sharif and Ahmed Jahanzeb, who sang some of Alamgir’s classics.
Benjamin Sisters sang “Woh Jo Sapno Jaisa Hai” and Shabana Benjamin and Alamgir performed a duet on the song, “Mujhe Dil Se Na Bhulana”. Rahim Shah’s energetic performance on “Gori Panghat Pe Thehro Ghar Nahin Jao” and Faakhir Mehmood’s rendition of “Albela Rahi” made the audience nostalgic.
All’s well that ends well
Towards the end of the evening, Alamgir was awarded the Lipton PTV Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to him by Ustad Rais Khan. The singer concluded the night with his most famous song “Dekha Na Tha”. One could see that Alamgir himself was having a blast as he became extremely animated while singing the song and even fell on the stage while singing the verses “Kho Gayey Sapno Main Hum”. What seemed like an accident at first turned out to be just an act. People helped Alamgir out of the auditorium like he was hurt or unconscious, later the media was told that he is doing well and it was part of his performance.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2012.
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