written by Akshata Shetty It's the love and
respect that he receives in India that encourages him to visit the
country year after year, says Pakistani singer Atif Aslam. It has
nothing to do with promoting his films. "I didn't come to India to
promote my film ( Bol) last year.
I do not promote my films the way all Indian actors do. The subject was
strong enough to make its own place. And it wasn't a very big role. I
come here to perform for my fans," says the singer who was in the city
recently. His singing has been appreciated and criticised, but one hears
people from all age groups humming his tunes. What makes him click? He
says, "I don't know if it's the voice or the style of singing. I have no
idea!" But he points out that he is highly disappointed with the new
age singers. "I don't understand why the new generation singers are
singing in my style. I think that if they follow themselves, they will
be much bigger than Atif Aslam."
The singer also clears the air
about certain song versions that have been attributed to him. He says,
"People have been telling me that there's a version of a song from Talaash — I have no idea about the song - and it says it's written by Atif. Then there is a version of Nadaan Parindey again attributed to me on the internet. It sounded like my voice and I was like 'maine yeh kab gaya hai?' It's not me."
He was once quoted by TOI as saying that Bollywood is going through a
stagnant phase. Does he still feel the same? "I still think so. The
budgets of the commercial films are very high. The fun films and films
like Bol get unnoticed because of the fact that they don't have
a huge marketing strategy and a lot of directors do not believe in
marketing strategies. For me, it's not a form of art anymore."
In the race to make films a hit, he feels that the music doesn't relate
much to him. "Nowadays when I sing for these high budget films, I don't
feel like I am a part of the art. I feel like I am singing just another
song, unless and until I really work on it, like the song and think
'this is me'," he says. But he is excited about Race-2, for which he has lent his voice. Ask him if his fans will get another hit like Pehli Nazar and he says, "I did a couple of songs in the film. It was very challenging to top Pehli Nazar."
The singer is also all praise for music composer Pritam. "A musician
has to evolve with time and Pritam has. He is not making the same kind
of music," he says.
Collaborations help an artiste grow and
understand music played across the world. That's what helped Atif find
his sound when he met Slash (of Guns n Roses). It all started when he
performed a song with GnR in NY. "We did the Pink Floyd
song Wish you were here. Slash and I have a common friend and that's
how it worked out," he says. In fact, it worked out so well, that Slash
and Gilby Clarke came on board for Atif's song Ek main aur ek tu.
Atif shares, "The song features Clarke (on guitar), Matt Sorum and
Slash. It's online, but just a small section. The best thing about the
song is that it's going to be in Punjabi."
It's not just
singing that Atif is tuned into; he is looking forward to meaty roles he
can portray. Ask him if he has been offered any films and he says, "I
have received offers from a lot of directors. And it goes like, 'ek
ladka hoga aur ek ladki hogi, aur phir romance hoga aur phir khatam
hoga. Acha aisa hoga, ki do ladkiyan hogi aur aap end mein mar jayenge'. Been there, done that." So is it that everybody wants the lover-boy image on the big screen? "For that, we have Ali Zafar, Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor. I want to do films like Bol. It needs guts to make a debut with that kind of a subject, because such films don't get accepted," he says.
Musician Jonathan Paul, who was part of Atif's band, is reportedly the
youngest musician from India to perform at the O2 Arena in May 2012. The
only Indian to have performed at the stage before Jonathan is music
composer AR Rahman. Jonathan said, "The O2 experience was beyond
spectacular. I had the privilege to perform on a Grand Piano on one of
the modern world's greatest stages. As an Indian boy, to be invited by a
Pakistani superstar Atif Aslam, in England, it was incredibly inspiring to witness the power of music uniting people across borders and boundaries."
Elated with the performance, Naz Chowdhury (of that O2 concert),
shared, "We were thrilled with his performance with Atif. He's the
youngest Indian pianist to perform at the 02."