Friday, October 19, 2007
"Zindagi me kuch na mila hamko to kya gham hai, Hindustan ki dosti mili yeh kya kam hai. Hindustan me jo choti si jagah pa li hamne kam dino me, vo kya kisi Taj Mahal se kam hai."
These couple of lines in Hindi penned by the second runner-up of "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007" proves that Amanat Ali has totally fallen in love with India. And after the kind of response and affection that the budding singer has received from across the nation and the world, he is much serious about his career in music.
You couldn't win the contest. What were your expectations?
Oh, I had a lot of hope. Right from the beginning and till now, I have received love from not only India but the audiences worldwide. You must have noted that I became the topper in international voting. That's a win for me. As for my career, I have decided to pursue it in this music industry only. I am going to Pakistan now to finish the album that I had left half-done to take part in the contest. I am getting quite a few good offers here in India. So once I finish my album, I will return to India to become a playback singer. I don't want to sever the relationship I have with the Indian people.
Do you think Aneek deserved to win?
If we talk about singing, then all the three of us --- Aneek, Raja and I --- deserved to win. I have no bitterness about Aneek winning. For that matter, I wouldn't have had problems even if Raja had won. And I hope that had I won, they wouldn't have had any objection either. Everybody said that choosing any one of us as winner was very difficult.
Which one of the contest's judges is your favourite music composer?
I like all of them. Even people say that all the judges took good care of us. None of them held envy or grudge against the disciples of the other judges. All of them helped us improve so it's difficult for me to choose my favourite amongst them. Of course, my guru Ismail Darbar was a little extra special for me. He has given me great tips to help me in playback singing.
There was a rumour that votes from the people of Pakistan were not being accepted in the contest. Is it true?
This is false. I only heard that Internet voting was closed very early resulting in fewer votes than expected. Pakistan was part of the International voting, in which I ranked first. In fact, I received more Internet votes from Pakistan than sms votes.
What are you doing now?
I will leave for Pakistan very soon to finish the album I told you about. In February next year, I will embark on a world tour with Anu Mallik's brother Dabbu Mallik. I don't know the other details of the trip as yet. The second reason that I am going to Pakistan now is because I need to get a visa. Once I return to Pakistan after the world tour, I will think about my next career move.
Have you received any offer for playback singing for any Pakistani film as yet?
I have been getting many offers but I want to think twice before taking any step in my career. I am going to be felicitated by the Pakistani government soon.
After singing in Bollywood children's film "Bal Ganesh", have you signed any other film?
Insha Allah, I have sung in quite a few films and hope to sing in more. Recently I rendered the solo title song of K.C. Bokadia's "Junoon", with the music directed by Bappi Lahiri. Besides, I have done a number of films but I can't about them now.
Which Bollywood music director do you wish to work with in the future?
So far, I have already worked with all the composer-judges of the show except Himeshji. So that's one wish. Very soon I would be recording a song for Shahrukh Khan.
Himesh Reshammiya had been planning to take many of the show's contestants on a world tour. What happened to that?
I heard that they would go in February. I don't know any more.
Now that you have forayed into Bollywood, what is your strategy to continue your stay in India?
First of all, I have decided not to reject any offer for playback singing. That's because I think that playback is a medium through which I will succeed in reaching out to my fans and audiences. Along with playback, I would continue cutting albums. This way I would always be in my listeners' hearts.
Many such musical talent hunts have been held across the nation and around the world before. So how do you rate yourself?
Though many participate in such talent hunts, only a few make it to the top and come under the limelight.
What's your take on this?
Yes, I fully agree with you. But at the same time, I also feel that success doesn't last forever. The only way to maintain goodwill is by good and hard work. God-willing I would keep giving the listeners and audience something or the other new. Duplicates have no market these days. When there are so many established singers in the industry, why would anyone want to imitate others. I will try to form my own distinct style so that the audience can keep me in mind, too.
How much is Zee TV helping you shape your career?
It is only because of Zee TV and "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa" that people recognize me today. I was chosen from among crores of people in Pakistan. Hopefully, I would be a more familiar face soon. Even now, when I walk down the streets people greet me as if I am a big star. I am grateful to Zee TV for this. The world tour that I would be doing in February next year is being facilitated by Zee. In the future, I would do many more such tours sponsored by Zee. I hope the channel supports me in the future too.
This is the first time that you were away from your family, friends and country during the Id celebrations. How did it feel?
Yeah, it's the first time that I was away from my family for so long. But the good thing is that my family members had come down to Mumbai for the finals. So I got the opportunity to celebrate Id with my family, even though not in my country. All my family members were there with me except my father, who was in America at that time. He watched me on television and gave me well-wishes later on over the phone.