Thursday, September 20, 2007
He came all the way from Pakistan to be a part of the vishwayudh in Zee's 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007' in India. Now, he is the only one left from his country, and he wants to be the voice of the world. We find out what makes this young contestant tick.
Amanat, you are the last contestant from Pakistan still fighting it our on the stage of 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa'. How do you feel?
I feel great, although the pressure has increased, since I am the only one left. Honestly, it doesn't matter whether I'm from Pakistan or Hindustan. What matters is that I am in the top four. Now I have to work even harder.
You feel great? Despite the fact that all your friends from Pakistan have gone back? Haven't their eliminations upset you?
I have also lost Indian friends in the eliminations. I felt equally bad for all the friends whether they were from Pakistan or India. I do not have any special feeling from contestants of Pakistan alone.
What is the feedback that you are getting from them?
All their expectations are with me. They are happy that I'm still in the competition.
How much pressure are you under?
There's too much pressure on me. As my guru Ismail Darbar ji says, "with the time that has elapsed and the fact that you have reached nearer your goal, my expectations have increased. You have to sing better than ever now." His words have inspired me, and strengthened my resolve to take on the increasing pressure as a step towards proving myself.
You have spent quite some time in India. Are you homesick?
I do get homesick, but when I find love in the hearts of the audience, I do not feel that I am away from home. I wish it was possible for my family to come here and see the love that I have received.
The Indian audience saved you. How do you feel?
I am really grateful to them. I'm trying to reimburse their affection by singing better everyday but the rest is in their hands.
You are in India for the first time. How has it treated you?
I have told you earlier that I don't see any difference between the two countries, India and Pakistan. A border separates the two, otherwise I see the same roads, the same buildings and above all, the same love of the people. This country gave me inspiration to sing better.
Where have you been to in India till now? Tell us about your favourite places and dishes.
I have been to Satara, Luknow, Allahabad, Ahmedabad, Delhi and many other places in the process of shooting. I have seen all the places in Mumbai. Satara and Mumbai attracted me the most. I like non-vegetarian food, and I'm happy that in Mumbai I can get it easily. Here I like most sev puri, paani puri, bhel puri and vada pau. In Pakistan we call paani puri, gol gappe and it's a little different there. They serve water separately.
Songs from Pakistan have a better market in India. What do you think your scope in India is?
I am happy that Pakistani singers have better acknowledgement in India. The singers from Pakistan like Soukat Amanat Ali, Atif Aslam, Rahat Fateh Ali, Ghulam Ali, Nusrat Fateh Ali and Adnan Sami are all very popular in India. They have developed a completely unique style. I pray to Allah that I also can develop my own style. I'll launch my album after this competition, and I have faith that people will appreciate it.
Will you stay here for ever like other singers from Pakistan?
I have tested my luck and have been somewhat successful. As far as living in this country is concerned I would very much want to, but I have to go back as my life is in Pakistan. However, I am also thinking of spending at least 10 months every year in India. Let us see.
If you have to choose any one between them?
I'll definitely choose India.
Does music has its own tradition in Pakistan?
It's the same in Pakistan as in India. In Pakistan there are greats like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Nurjahan, Ghulam Ali or Mehendi Hassan, and in India, there are greats like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Manna Dey ji and Rafi sahab. They are all equally respectable. We have a saying, "take a brick from the ground and you'll find a singer underneath." Playback singing is big here, and most aspiring singers take Sonu Nigam as their idol. But things are different over there. They choose either Pop or Ghazal or Sufi.
Are you scared of losing?
See, this is a competition and anyone can lose. I'm not afraid of losing. Even if I lose, I have won the love of the Indians.
How did you react when you heard that you were selected for this show?
Coming to India was the best experience for me. I was so excited when I got to know that I was going to India. I had only heard about it till then, and it was a place I always wanted to visit. It is God's grace my dream came true. And I promised my friends that I'll tell them incidents of India after I go back to Pakistan.
You seem to have quite a heavy female fan following.
There are many people who love me but you see only the girls! Maybe it is their love that has kept me hanging in so far.