It used to be scary: Rahat on learning to sing from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

One would think it’s lucky to have a legend for an uncle, but for artistes like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, it can be quite a daunting experience.

He recently spoke to Hindustan Tim

es about his jitters during his practice sessions with Nusrat Fateh Ali

Khan back in the day:

Bahut khaufnaaq mahaul banta tha (It used to be terrifying). After he would sing a line, he would ask me to repeat, and I used to get petrified. But he always appreciated my work. He was very strict when it came to music. Whenever he was angry with someone, he would not talk to the person for weeks and months,” he recalls.

Rahat also said that his uncle’s stardom made his rise as a singer “even more difficult [for him].”

“Agar fankar saccha ho (if an artiste is honest),” he said, referring to his uncle, “tou uske fans bhi sacche hote hai

n; aur…woh kisi aur fankar ko accept nahi karte (he or she will have loyal followers, who don’t accept anyone else easily.)”

Read more: Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan fondly remembered by nephew

The seeds of ‘honest’ music, which were sown during his time with Khan sahab, still bear fruit. Talking about the difference between Pakistani and Indian music today, Rahat said that “I think raw material is more in Pakistan. Due to lack of modern technology, the music is still rooted in the land, which is a blessing.”

He added that composing for Bollywood is difficult because “proving your music in today’s times is harder. But I am sure that things will change, and art will again be the most impo

rtant thing to be associated with an artiste. ”

But one thing’s for sure – he won’t be singing an item song.

“I don’t think my voice will suit an item number,” he said with a laugh, “I might just start applying classical genres to it.”

Published in DAWN on September 5, 2015.

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