“By the grace of God, life has been amazing,” says Shafqat, while adding that singing Pakistani songs all around the world is an overwhelming experience due to the diverse tastes of music lovers. “People in Dubai, India and Pakistan have similar concert favourites, but in places like Canada, tastes are quite diverse — some people crave for Fuzon tracks while others for Bollywood numbers.”
Stint in B-town
Ever since leaving Fuzon in 2006, Shafqat has concentrated on his solo career, keeping himself busy with recordings in the studio, working on different drama Original Sound Tracks (OST), promotional songs (for brands and corporations) and some Bollywood numbers.
The singer, who was recently shooting a video in Karachi, claims that no matter how much music he produces in Pakistan, his songs get more airtime in India than here. “Many of my new songs are simultaneously released in Pakistan and India. However, they are hardly aired on Pakistani channels and the impact is felt in concerts when the local audience can’t sing along because they don’t know the lyrics,” he says.
Hence, as the local industry faces a slump, Shafqat claims he generates a larger chunk of income from across the border and testimony to his popularity in India lies in the fact that his latest songs for Bollywood films Jodi Breakers and Love Breakup Zindagi have gathered immense following. Currently, the singer is producing a song for an Indian 3D film which is in the making.
When asked which Indian music director he prefers to work with, Shafqat replies, “It’s very difficult to give one name because all of them have a distinct style. But I would really like to work with people I haven’t worked with, someone like Vishal Bhardwaj or maybe AR Rahman.”
Inside the Patiala Gharana
Reminiscing about the stalwarts of the famous Patiala Gharana (the musical family that Shafqat hails from), we ask Shafqat about the future torchbearers of the family name. According to Shafqat, Amjad Amanat Ali’s sons Salman Amjad and Ali Amjad are ready to enter the industry whereas Sikander Asad (Asad Amanat Ali’s son) is also waiting for the right time to surprise everyone.
“Even my own 15-year-old son Saadat Ali Bakhs is getting formally trained from the gharana but before getting into music he has to complete his proper schooling and education,” says Shafqat proudly.
Bollywood awards and nominations
2012 — Nominated for Best Male Playback Singer at the Filmfare Awards — “Dildaara” from Ra.One
2012 — Nominated for Best Playback Singer Male at the Zee Cine Awards — “Dildaara” from Ra.One
2011 — Nominated for Best Male Playback Singer at the Filmfare Awards — “Bin Tere” from I Hate Luv Storys.
2011 — Nominated for the Global Indian Film Awards Best Playback Singer Male Awards — “Mitwa” from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
SOURCE: Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2012.