Folk singer Shoukat Ali’s music immortalised in new documentary

Film showing life and times of renowned folk singer released on YouTube on Friday

Adnan Lodhi July 01, 2017

LAHORE: A Canadian film company has produced a short documentary on the life of renowned Pakistani folk singer Shoukat Ali, in the hopes to commemorate his contributions to the Pakistani music industry. The film – which is about an hour long – pays tribute to the struggles Shoukat faced throughout his career and was released over YouTube on Friday.

According to reports, the untitled documentary has been narrated by none other than Rashad Mahmood and includes interviews with some of the biggest singers from the subcontinent, even Lata Mangeshkar. It sees Shoukat’s peers acknowledging his talent and also offers pictures and videos of various performances, documenting his journey from a young aspiring singer to the heights of popularity.

Shoukat happens to be one the biggest stars to come out of the Pakistani music industry, with about five decades of singing and a Pride of Performance award under his belt. He is perhaps most renowned for the national songs he rendered during the 1965 and 1971 wars with India, such as Saathion Mujahidon Jaag Utha Hai Sara Watan, Mera Puttar Pakistan Da and Apna Quaid Aik Hai amongst many others.

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Besides this, Shoukat released many albums and lent his voice to many film songs, as well as performing at the Asian Games held in New Delhi in 1982. He hasn’t been in good health for the last few years but still performs at various musical programmes occasionally, while his songs Imran and Mohsin try to follow in his footsteps as well.

Naturally, Shoukat is riding high on the positive response received by documentary. “I have always sung out of love for music and for my country Pakistan. Music and Pakistan are my two passions and everything I have ever done revolves around them,” he told The Express Tribune. “In my life, I have performed all around the world and earned many honours for Pakistan. And no doubt, Pakistan has given me a lot too.”

Shoukat continued to express how grateful he was for being made the focus of the documentary.  “I believe social media a great platform to promote music from and there was a need for someone to highlight my work,” he said. “Therefore, I think my son Mohsin and the production company in Canada has done a wonderful job in documenting my work. It deserved to be highlighted. In fact, I think the work of all good singers should be highlighted this way so that emerging singers can learn from us.”

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According to Shoukat, Canada is brimming with fans of Pakistani folk music. “People in western countries really enjoy Pakistani shows and want to listen to Pakistani folk music,” he explained.

“There is no doubt that my father, Shoukat Ali, am known as a folk singer in Canada too and the public wants to know more about me. That’s why we have made this documentary on him,” said Imran.

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