Javed Ali: Whenever I’m in Delhi, I make it a point to visit Nizamuddin Dargah

Bollywood singer Javed Ali, who was born in Delhi, says he still misses the lanes of Old Delhi, and his musical upbringing there.

music Updated: Sep 18, 2017 19:10 IST
Naina Arora
Naina Arora
Hindustan Times
Delhi,Javed Ali,Gurgaon
Singer Javed Ali shares his fond memories of growing up in the Capital.

Singer Javed Ali may have gone places and won hearts with his soulful voice, but he remains immensely attached to Delhi — the place where he was born and brought up. The Capital has played a huge role in his life, from inspiring him culturally, to providing a childhood full of music.

In Gurgaon recently, for a Sufi concert, Ali recollected his childhood memories that included rehearsing with his guruji and gorging all the good food that’s available at Old Delhi. “I have always been fond of food, and would visit places such as Jama Masjid. I always miss Delhi’s galiyaan (lanes), food, and people. Jabhi bhi main Delhi aata hoon, 90% main koshish karta hoon ki main Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, Hazrat Matke Shah Baba mein jaoon (I try my best to visit Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah and Hazrat Matke Shah Baba, whenever I am in Delhi),” he says.

Most children grow up playing with toys, but not Ali, who grew up with musical instruments. He says he never wanted to become a playback singer, and credits his musical upbringing to his father. “My father would make me [do] riyaz on the tanpura (a stringed instrument). Pehle guruji ke paas jaata tha, phir school jaata tha. Phir ghar riyaz kar ke aata tha (I would visit my guru for practice before I went to school, and later came back home only after another round of practice). I never thought I’d become a playback singer. Mere ustad rahe hain bahut saare (I have had many teachers). I am very lucky that my family, especially my father, Hamid Hussain, had a musical background. He encouraged me a lot. I started singing because of my father,” he reminisces.

Having crooned a variety of songs from Arziyan (Delhi-6, 2009) to Tum Tak (Raanjhanaa, 2013), he says he always dreamt of developing versatility. Having sung in languages including Gujarati, Marathi, Rajasthani, Punjabi, and Bengali, among others, he says, “Singer aisa hona chahiye jiski speciality bhi honi chahiye aur mahaarat bhi. Usko jo bhi diya jaaye, vo use nibha sake (A singer should be one who has a forte and yet is able to do justice to whatever he/she is asked to sing).”

Talent, above all, is the primary ingredient for being a successful singer, says the 35-year old, adding, “It’s easy, nowadays, to make a name for yourself. Aaj ka time aisa hai ki itne saare reality shows hote hain. Aap raaton-raat star ban jaate hain (Nowadays, there are so many reality shows. People participate in them and become stars overnight). But it’s your talent that takes you ahead in life. In the previous days, if one had to make a career in music, [they had to] think where to start, [and think of ways to] connect to enter into the film industry.”

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First Published: Sep 18, 2017 19:10 IST