Unplugged: Rahat Fateh Ali

Ali Usman April 22, 2010

LAHORE: The darling of Indian composers such as Vishal Bhardwaj (Maqbool, Omkara and Kaminey) and Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has rarely sung for a Pakistani film soundtrack. It is not surprising, given how few local films are produced in Pakistan. But that does not mean he is unavailable. “Singing for Pakistani films is my first priority.

Whenever someone approaches me to sing a song for a Pakistani film I grab the opportunity to render my services for my country’s sake,” Rahat Fateh Ali Khan told The Express Tribune. Khan said that whenever he sings for any Indian films, he maintains his distinctive style that sets him apart as a Pakistani singer. He is featured on the soundtrack of two upcoming films - Jawwad Ahmed’s Virsa and a new film being directed by Altaf Hussain. He elaborated on the latter song. “The music was composed by M Arshad.

Idrees sahib and Ghafoor Butt have also worked on the song. I worked with the same team 16 years ago so it was a great pleasure for me to sing this song,” he said. Khan rejected the idea that he didn’t sing for Pakistani films because he earned more money from Indian filmmakers. He said that he hoped the Pakistani film industry would prosper so he would have more opportunities to work on local films. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who is a disciple and the nephew of qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, said that people somehow believed he wasn’t doing anything for qawwali but it wasn’t true. “Qawwali is my first passion. I can never give it up.

I am working on some qawwali projects with Pakistan Television. The Pakistan Sufi Council Vice President Yousaf Salahuddin and I are also working on a qawwali project,” he said. Khan is working on an album with Salahuddin which would feature his voice set to the poetry of Allama Iqbal’s notable works Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa. Despite being one of India’s most sought-after composers, Khan is extremely patriotic. “Pakistan has immense talent and potential. I am a proud Pakistani and feel very happy when I get respect as a Pakistani in India because of