Unlike other Pakistani singers, ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali says he has no plans to lend vocals to Bollywood songs and is happy that his genre of music is slowly getting the much-needed recognition.
"I am not the one who can sing for movies. Ghazal is my first love and it is really close to my heart. I cannot sing any song if someone just asks me to. The song should also appeal to me, I should like it," Ghulam Ali told IANS in an interview.
Hailing from west Punjab's heartland of Sialkot in Pakistan, the musical genius has been singing ghazals for the past 55 years.
He made an entry in Indian cinema with his popular song Chupke Chupke Raat Din for BR Chopra's Nikaah. His other famous ghazals include, Humko kis ke gum ne mara, Kal chaudavi ki raat thi, and Hungama hai kyon barpa.
"The era of '90s was the best time for ghazals as the genre was at its peak with singers like Jagjit Singh, but later the popularity started dwindling. And I can feel the genre is once again gaining its feet. People are actually coming to hear wherever I perform - whether in India or abroad," he added.
However, the 70-year-old feels that today's singers need to take proper training.
"Ghazal singing is not easy. You have to train a lot in the way you pronounce Urdu words and ensure that you hit the right notes while singing. It takes time and today's singers are not paying complete attention to it," Ghulam Ali said.
The prolific singer had come to India from Pakistan in 1980 and since then he has been performing in both the countries.
Asked how different is ghazal singing in India and Pakistan, he said: "The only difference is that people in Pakistan are taught how to speak in Urdu since childhood unlike in India. This is the reason why their (Indian's) diction is not so clear. But that doesn't mean that the country doesn't have good ghazal singers."
A lot of Pakistani singers like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam have been making waves in the music industry here, but their Indian counterparts have not been getting the same degree of exposure there.
"Singers like Talat Aziz and Hariharan have got a lot of love and affection in Pakistan. Pakistan is a small country and this is the reason why a lot of singers are not getting the right amount of exposure as they get in India," he said.
Ghulam Ali also revealed that he is a huge fan of classical and folk songs.
"Folk genre takes the first place, then comes classical at the second followed by ghazals. After that comes pop and other western genres," he said.
"Whenever I am stressed, I listen to classical music," he added.