Pakistan-based ghazal exponent Farida Khanum, who mesmerised the audience at the Aravalli Concert recently, paid homage to veteran Bollywood playback singer Lata Mangeshkar. “The Indian nightingale was one of the music legends who had inspired me among several other big names. I have performed with the doyennes of Indian music and learnt from them. Lataji was one of them. She was so affectionate,” the 75-year-old singer said.
"I have been showered with so much love in this country that I would not mind staying here if I am invited. The two countries share so much in their musical legacies that it could bridge any divide," Khanum conceded. When asked if the rule of terror hampered cultural exchange across the border, the musician said: "Performers cut across the border and we, the cultural community, on either side of the divide are the same. But performing in India is so much more gratifying."
“I performed with Mukhtar Begum in Kolkata before she moved to Mumbai. It was also around the same time I met Begum Akhtar and she encouraged me to grow. She was never jealous. That was the mood of our times,” Khanum said of her illustrious peer. She said, “If you ask me to name one musician, I would say Amjad Ali Khan.” Khanum rendered memorable ghazals, including her famous track, Aaj jaane ki zid na karo… She’d like to work with Oscar-winning Bollywood composer AR Rahman. “I met him on a flight to the US and he said he would wait for the day when I could collaborate with him,” she said with a smile."