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Bollywood humming new tunes

After playback singing, Pak musicians will now be composing for films, writes Ritujay Ghosh.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2006 14:15 IST

Pakistani singers have always been a hot favourite for playback in Bollywood. However, they are now also taking on the role of composers with not only solo artists but also bands creating the music for Hindi films.

The latest in the line is Strings, which will compose the title track of Apoorva Lakhia’s Shootout at Lokhandwala. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will do the same with the song Naina in Vishal Bharadwaj’s Omkara.

“Singing and composing are two separate things. For so long, Pakistani singers had the limited role of singing one or two songs. But now the directors are much more adventurous and want the tracks to be composed by the singer himself,” says Bilal Maqsood of Strings. The group has earlier sung Yeh hai meri kahani in Zinda  and has another offer for composing in a film.

The Pakistani singers compose the music and then do the playback in most films. The films have separate music directors and the artists from across the border are used as an added attraction. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was the first to do this in Pooja Bhatt’s Paap  when he sang Lagi tumse man ki lagan.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has composed the song Naina in Vishal Bharadwaj’s Omkara. Earlier, he had sung Lagi tumse man ki lagan in Pooja Bhatt’s Paap.

Ali Azmat of Pakistani band Junoon composed the music for the song

Garaj baras



and then sang it. Atif Aslam of Jal has three Bollywood offers after

Woh lamhe



became one of the hottest numbers last year.



was a song in my album and the producers of


wanted me to change the lyrics and compose the whole song in a fresh manner,” says Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

“The Bhatt camp started this trend. They are very adventurous and don’t hesitate to experiment,” he says.

The Pakistani band Call has also signed one film. “We will compose for a Hindi film in August. We first got the offer for singing but then the original music directors said we should compose the whole song,” says Zulfikar.

The vocalist says an album is released once in two years and by the time the second album is out many forget the name of the artist. “But composing in a film keeps you in the mind of the audience as you compose three to four songs a year in different films,” says Zulfikar.

Indian music directors see this change as a big leap for Bollywood. “It’s good that Bollywood is changing and directors are trying out Pakistani singers as composers. The original music director won’t mind if one track is composed by someone else as it benefits everybody,” says Anu Malik who was the original composer in





Composer Shankar Mahadevan, who has used Shafqat Amanat Ali of Fuzon in

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

, feels that Pakistani singers are giving a fresh feel to Hindi film music.

“We should accept that there are many Pakistani singers and composers who are better than many in Bollywood,” says Mahadevan. “We used Shafqat for the song


because we thought he could do justice to it. We felt he was a better choice than Daler Mehndi who is also from the

Patiala gharana

,” he says.

With Salman Ahmed composing in Deepak Chopra’s


To Know Go

d and last year’s find Ali Zafar composing six songs in different films, Pakistani singers are making their