Pakistani singer—and heartthrob of many—Atif Aslam was here in
K-town last Friday for a mega concert at the Dasharath stadium. He was
met with an overwhelming response from an audience comprised largely of
Kathmandu locals. With three hit albums, a major acting stint in a film,
and a long list of chart-topping numbers, including Tu Jaane Na, Tera
Hone Laga, Piya O Re Piya, Hona Tha Pyar, and Bakhuda Tum Hi Ho, to his
credit, Atif has managed to gather a massive fan-base across the world.
The Post’s Rajita Dhungana caught up with this versatile singer to share
some light moments.
What was your experience of performing in Nepal like?
The concert was great. The people here have been very receptive.
Though I’d only just landed in Kathmandu from Dubai, and was tired
before the show, the audience gave me a lot of energy to perform. It was
quite an amazing experience.
If reports are to be believed, 80 percent of the audience was female. Why do the ladies seem to love you? Well, I think they like my music and the way I express myself on stage. At least I’d like to believe so.
There’s a question they’d surely want to know the answer to. Are you single?
Oh, yes I am (laughs). I’m still looking for that special someone.
Many youngsters (female and male) look up to you as a source of inspiration. Do you have such role models? I
didn’t have a mentor as such, but I do look up to singers like Nusrat
Fateh Ali Khan and Jeff Buckley. These legendary musicians have inspired
me in many ways. If only they would come back, I’d get to learn a lot
You’ve been singing in films lately. Aren’t you working on other albums as well?
The trend of releasing musical albums is disappearing in our part of
the world. People are hardly interested in listening to them these days.
Maybe I’ll release some songs and bring them out. I have no immediate
plans of bringing out an entire album though.
You debuted in the acting scene with Bol in 2011. Are you planning to act in more films in the future? I
do have a dozen or so scripts lined up, but they’re basically the same
kind of films where you carry girls in your arms and dance with them.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong in that, but I don’t think I’ll be able
to do such roles. Bol was different, and I’d want to do films that are
Are there any musicians or actors you would want to work with in the future? I’d
like to work with as many musicians as I can as there’s always
something to learn from each person. I wish to work with Peter Gabriel,
in particular. I have always admired Naseeruddin Shah and Aamir Khan, so
I’d like to work with them as well.
What do you do when you are not playing music? I
just stay at home and spend time with my family. Sometimes, I take my
mother out to shop. Well, I am completely a family guy (laughs).
Concerts have kept me busy, and it has been some time since I’ve been
home. I already feel homesick.
Is there anything that you simply love eating? I
really like mum’s bhindi and I love biryani. If anyone makes biryani
for me, I’ll get to their kitchen in no time at all (laughs).
Your concerts have taken you to many places all over the world. Any particular place you’d call your favourite? Yes,
I’ve been to quite a few places around the world, but at present, Nepal
surely is taking the lead in terms of countries I’m fond of. It’s such a
beautiful place, and the people here are very welcoming. I’ve found
that Nepalis are benovolent and friendly. Also, I like Kathmandu’s
weather. I’d really like to visit this place again, not just to perform,
but as a tourist and explore its beauty.
Can you recall any incident involving a fan who’s gone out of the way and done something crazy? When
I was in Australia for a concert, there were these five girls with ‘I
love you’, ‘Will you marry me?’ t-shirts on. I was trying to talk to
them when the fifth one, saying I didn’t give her any attention, took
her t-shirt off. I was caught unawares. It was so embarrassing! I didn’t
know how to react.
No doubt you have a huge fan-following. But where do you think you stand as a singer? I
find it difficult to make a judgement of that sort. I like to believe
I’m always learning, and trying to make myself a better singer and
performer. It always feels good to see a huge crowd of fans while
performing. People take time off from work, and pay a lot to buy a
ticket and attend your show. It’s overwhelming to see all this.