Before he shot to fame in India with the number Mitwa from the 2006 film Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan was more famous as the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band Fuzön. Numbers like Yeh Honsla, Tum Mile, Tere Naina and Bin Tere, made the singer climb popularity charts, and that’s why he owes his success to Bollywood. “Being a part of such an industry definitely helps. It’s something that you can’t express because one needs to be a part of it to understand what it really means,” he says.
The 48-year-old’s success here has also made the Indian film industry accept him with open arms, with music composer Saleem Merchant even giving him the moniker ‘Rockstar Ustad’. “It suits me the best. When I did my first song (Yeh Honsla) with Saleem, the image that he had of me was that of a guy in a kurta-pyjama with a shawl. But I came wearing jeans and a T-shirt, and sporting a ponytail; so he was quite surprised. After he heard me singing the classical bits of the song, he called me ‘Rockstar Ustad’, and that’s how the nickname stuck with me,” he says.
Ask him about the difference in being a band member and a playback singer, and Shafqat says, “As a band member, you need to make sacrifices, as there are limitations. But when you are working on your own as a solo singer, there are no limitations. Sky is the limit then.”
Any singer he wishes to work with in the future? “I have been very lucky so far that I have worked with the best of the lot. But I am looking forward to collaborate with people with whom I haven’t worked till now,” he says.
Who is Shafqat?
Shafqat Amanat Ali is a student of the Patiala Gharana where he learnt classical singing from his uncle Bade Fateh ali Khan. He made his Bollywood debut as a playback singer when he sang Mitwa in Karan Johar’s film, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. Before entering into Bollywood, Shafqat was the lead singer for Pakistan-based rock band Fuzön.