Shafqat Amanat Ali on “Sureeli Baat”, a new musical chat show, and performing in India
A representative of the ninth generation of the Patiala Gharana, ace singer, writer and composer Shafqat Amanat Ali is the bearer of an illustrious legacy. His voice is a refreshing fusion of classical gayaki and a contemporary élan. The Pakistani is set to appear on Aaj Tak’s musical chat show Sureeli Baat. In a recent interview, he spoke to us about the music industry, performing in India and his stint on television.
You have recently shot for Aaj Tak’s Sureeli Baat. How was the experience?
It was a great experience just like coming to India always is. I was also a part of the standalone pilot episode of this show, so the association is old. I received a very warm, hospitable treatment. An indelible memory of this trip is of the short movie the team of Sureeli Baat had made for me with messages from various artistes of Bollywood like Shah Rukh Khan and Raghu Ram.
How is it to perform in India?
The people of India and Pakistan are the children of the same soil and it is just a matter of going across the line. There isn’t really much difference between the ‘daad’ and the ‘waah’. India has always showered immense love on me and I discover new friends on every visit. There is recognition and appreciation everywhere but the warmth with which I am welcomed here is unparalleled.
What do you think of the Indian music industry and its future?
What is truly special about the Indian music industry is its hospitality towards the artistes of various genres. It is a flourishing industry and keeps experimenting. There is no dearth of talent here be it in terms of singers or musicians. Among the singers, Shankar Mahadevan is my absolute favourite.
Your soulful renditions have the power of transporting the audience into another world. What goes on in your mind while you’re recording?
I think it is the apprehension of whether or not I am doing justice to the song that drives me. I conjure up my utmost sincerity and focus on every nuance of the song to ensure that I sing it the way it should be sung.
What is the most memorable compliment you’ve ever been paid?
I was very young back then and had just begun singing. Someone told me once that I was sounding like my father. That is etched in my memory and remains the most special compliment thus far.
What projects are in the pipeline?
There are several Bollywood projects lined up. The movies I am lending my voice to include Satyagraha and Main Hoon Shahid Afridi. There are various other tracks for other forthcoming films under the music direction of Pritam and Vishal-Shekhar among others.