Rahat, we don't love you that much
Organized by the Pakistan Youth Alliance in partnership with Miradore productions, ‘Rahat Fateh Ali khan plays for charity’ was an event most people (with big bucks in their pockets) were looking forward to.
The security at Serena Hotel was tight. As the clock struck eight, cars started pulling in carrying the made up, designer clad women and handsome men ready to enjoy a night out.
The event looked like a high class wedding more than a concert. There was a clear division between who had more money to spend and those who didn’t.
Witnessing Rahat Fateh Ali Khan perform was an exciting prospect for me, but before I could see him play live, an annoying singer named Shumaila had to be endured. Her voice was all over the place as she molested a Reshma number. After that, Rahat Fateh Ali took center stage and appreciated the crowd by saying:
“Thank you Islamabad, you are all good sunnay walay, I love you”
He started off with an Amir Khusro qawali Man kunto maula.
He had the crowd swaying with his sheer brilliance. But 2-3 songs into his set list, things started getting monotonous, the hall acoustics weren’t as vibrant as they should have been, high ends were too high, low ends were barely audible. People soon started going out to the lobby complaining that they "couldn’t understand a single word”.
The Rahat faithful though remained seated and enjoyed every bit of his set.
Songs from the great Nusrat Fateh Ali’s Pia ghar aya, Allah hoo, Halka suroor added to Rahat's performance. Did he do justice to them? Probably not as much as was expected but he still showed that he can move audiences with his voice.
A lot of foreigners were present who were swaying to the beat of the tabla. A Spanish doctor admired the efforts put in by the organisers. Shahzaib disagreed and felt that the management “sucked”. A teacher named Hina, who came to see the singer perform also complained that the management was very haphazard.
According to the organisers Rahat waived a huge chunk from his fee for the charity event - which was scheduled to be held in the middle of February but was postponed because the singer was busy taking care of some shady business across border.
The initiative was a positive one, but musically, the sound fell apart only to be saved by the brilliance that was Rahat Fateh Ali’s voice.