Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, my everything: Rahat

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, my everything: Rahat

By Arti Dani

Published: Sun 26 Nov 2017, 10:01 AM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 1:41 PM

TO CELEBRATE THE 20th anniversary of Sufi maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's death, his nephew Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has organised a tribute tour.  The tour has seen sold out dates all over the world having already toured UK, Europe, North America, Canada, Australia and Asia. Dubai will be the final leg of the world tour which will end with a grand performance on December 15 at Dubai World Trade Center. Rahat's fans can look forward to an electrifying four-hour performance as they will be treated to the best numbers of Nusrat and Rahat.
 "We started the Tribute Tour in the month of March. We wanted to do 48 concerts to celebrate 48 years of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's life. We are performing my uncle's iconic Qawwali songs. The experience and response so far have been remarkable. Qawwali was his specialty and we realised that a lot of people came to the concert just to hear his songs. They really enjoyed the Qawwali nights. We also included some of my Bollywood numbers for the younger generation who came to hear my music. But I want to add that,  whatever I perform, and whatever that I am, is all thanks to my uncle. No one has contributed to the music industry the way my uncle has," said Rahat while talking to City Times at Taj Dubai last week.
Ustad Nusrat is considered as one of the greatest singers of Qawwali. He made the genre popular on the international platform and collaborated with many Western artists as well.
And his nephew Rahat has made sure that his legacy continues. He has a huge following because of his music especially Bollywood songs like Teri Meri (Bodyguard), O Re Piya (Aaja Nach le), Tere Mast Mast Do Nain (Dabangg) and 2016's Jag Ghoomeya (Sultan) and continues to mesmerise live audiences with his melodious voice and Sufi music.
He happily reminisced his childhood memories with Nusrat. "I started learning music from Nusrat since I was six years old. I would wait for him to give me the cue to start singing. He observed that I was so curious to sing all the time hence he enjoyed training me as well. I gave my first performance when I was 9-years-old at my grandfather's death anniversary. A lot of maestros had come to perform at that function, and I performed a specific raga and people loved it," Rahat said.
"For 25 years, Nusrat saab created a stage in his house to celebrate his father's death anniversary. And every year, he would sing different variations of ragas. He would sing in front of maestros, improvising on those ragas," he added.
He also shared with us the joys of making music with the Qawwali king, "I remember once he was making a very difficult composition. He asked me to collaborate with him on that song. I made the song and he loved it. I was also around when he recorded Afreen Afreen and Aa Ab Laut Chalein in Mumbai. However, I wasn't around when he was composing the music for Bandit Queen. People still listen to songs from that film."
Tickets for the Tribute Tour concert on sale now on For details call 052 5647810 or
052 5647220

Nusrat, the funny man
Rahat: I remember when he would start singing, he just wouldn't stop. The session would go on endlessly. Whenever he would start a ghazal, the day would end, the night would begin, the next day would start... People would go home, finish their chores and come back but he would still be singing. He was not interested in any worldly things or issues and was only into his harmonium and his music. Apart from music, he loved comedy shows. He was very good at comedy as well. He enjoyed funny shows. I remember once he went to Madhuri Dixit's house and he made everyone there laugh a lot.
My ustad, my life
Rahat: First of all, I have learned everything about music from him. But more importantly he showed me how  to compose music and how to understand others' music. I have worked with music directors like Vishal Bharadwaj, Shankar Mahadevan, Himesh Reshammiya, Pritam, and Vishal-Shekhar. They all belong to different genres, but I share a comfort level with them all because Khan saab taught me how to compose. And it's because I can compose that I can understand other people's music.
Nusrat's fav B'town singer
Rahat: He really enjoyed working with Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle. It was his childhood dream to sing with Lata. I was present when he met Lataji for the first time during a song recording. He was so happy.

Revisiting Afreen Afreen 
In 2016, Coke Studio did a stunning rendition of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's iconic song Afreen Afreen. The rendition was a standout success globally, cementing his position as one of South Asia's most iconic entertainers. "I was very scared when I was told that they are planning to make a new version of his iconic song Afreen. I prayed to God first asking for blessings. Fortunately, the song turned out well. The process of turning that qawwali into a soft song was done beautifully, that's why I agreed to do the song," said Rahat while talking about the experience of making the song.

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