I was working from home last Thursday when I got a buzz from my editor telling me I had to interview Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for a piece. You can totally imagine how my heart instantly buzzed and I was like “breathe human, breathe”.
The minute I heard the man’s voice, I completely lost my marbles. In every good way possible. Of course, I couldn’t help fan-girling but, hey, I was TOTALLY allowed, given the occasion. And so began one of the best rendezvous of my existence (no exaggeration). It began with me asking him what his journey of learning music under Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan had been?
“Coming from a family of Qawaals, music has been in our family since the last 600 years. Ustad Nusrat Saheb wasn’t just a mentor to me, but a guide, too. Learning under him has not only been influential but also highly enriching. He’s infused in me the music I breathe and create today.”
If you’ve followed Rahat’s saahab’s journey as a student, you’ll be aware of the fact that sometimes, smack in the middle of a performance, a young Rahat would be called to jugal-bandi with Nusrat ji. Imagine singing alongside a legend when you are barely ten years old! *PRESSURE*
The conversation then flowed to the bit where becoming curious, I asked him – had he not been born into a family filled with musicians, would he opt for a different profession?
He very instinctively said, “A lot of people in my family have opted to become doctors or engineers. I was in no way forced into becoming a singer. And if given a choice right now, I still would just want to continue to sing”
Things got super interesting when I asked him, “Rahat ji, besides Sufi music and Nusrat saheb, have any other artists influenced your music? What do you like to listen to?”
You’ll be surprised because he said, “I really like Beyoncé’s music though Michael Jackson is my absolute favorite. I like Justin Bieber too. I am not wary of western genres of music and I like listening to various artists from the other half of the globe.”
WHOA. I hope Beyonce was listening. I couldn’t wipe on the smile off my face for a while. On asking him about his upcoming projects, Rahat ji spoke about soon-to-happen collaborations with international artists, more soul-stirring music and the release of his very new and already trending and number two, song called Saaware.
Singing alongside Anupama Raag and featuring Kunal Khemu and Vartika Singh on video, this duet is about the struggles of love that every army goes through. Even with the strands of uncertainty, when a soldier chooses to love, the journey becomes saccharine. Not just sweet, but deliciously so. The moments of ecstasy seem to stretch eternally. Through the fear, through the doubt, and throw zero promises of tomorrow, love showers all of its grace.
Vibing these exact feels, from the very first time Kunal’s and Vartika’s eyes lock, to the time they say I do, all the weavings and the undulations will take you to the shores of Ever-After. You know then, in those very moments why the words “Kahan tumhe dhoodhu mai, Saaware?” feel like they belong safe in your heart.
Thank you Rahat Saheb for these precious words and even more for these timeless moments.
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