Music only positive connection between India-Pak: Shafqat Ali

New Delhi: Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali, who is the voice behind Bollywood hits like `Mitwa` and `Tere Naina`, feels that music is the only positive connection between the two countries.

Shafqat, who rose to prominence as the lead vocalist of Pakistani pop band Fuzon with hits like `Ankhiya` and `Mora Saiyan` is performing in Pune, Bengaluru, Delhi and Chandigarh as part of his tour.

"It`s a proud feeling that I am here for a noble cause of bridging the gap between India and Pakistan. At least I am playing my role. The relationship between the two countries has worsened due to some people and the only positive connection we have is through music. The fan following of Pakistani singers in India and vice-versa proves my point," Shafqat told reporters in an interview.

Trained in classical music tradition of both India and Pakistan since he was just four-years-old, Shafqat left `Fuzon` in 2006 to embark on a solo career and has not looked back since then.

"There has been no change in my singing style. It wasn`t a very difficult decision to break away from the band, they were insecure of me which I found hard to deal with," he said.

He stepped into Bollywood the same year with `Mitwa` and is now a recognisable name in Indian films with tracks like `Tere Naina` for `My Name Is Khan` and `Bin Tere` from the movie `I Hate Luv Storys`.

"So far I have sung only other people`s compositions. They want you to sing in their own way but it`s been really great. This new experience has been very good and doing play back is very exciting," Shafqat said.

"`Mitwa` was my first song in Bollywood. It always reminds me of my first step in films so it is very close to my heart. I am also looking forward to work with Vishal Bhardwaj and AR Rahman," he added.

Nick-named the 'Rock star Ustad' by Saleem Merchant of the Saleem-Suleman duo, Shafqat also came out with a solo album 'Tabeer' in 2008, based on Folk and Sufi works, which unfortunately was not too commercially successful.

"Private albums don't get a good response due to Bollywood. Thy are pushed back. However, I was satisfied with my work," said Shafqat, who will be performing in the capital tomorrow at the concert organised by Routes2Roots.

He also laid emphasis on the need for rising musicians to get basic training of Classical music.

"Classical training is like a heavy vehicle driving license. You can try anything you want. It definitely helps you a lot," Shafqat said.

Dismissing reports that Indian artists are not encouraged to perform in Pakistan, he said, "People like Jagjit Singh and Udit Narayan have performed there and so have stars like Saif Ali Khan. It's only the security issue that lets them down at times."

Talking about his future projects, Shafqat said he has a few tracks in Bollywood in the pipeline and after returning to Pakistan he will go back to working on his next album.



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