Rahat Fateh Ali Khan: The 24-year-old tune stayed with me

Updated: Dec 10, 2018, 18:17 IST | Sonia Lulla | Mumbai

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan talks about how the composition of his latest track, Dhadkane, was inspired by uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's yesteryear rendition

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Despite spending decades in the industry, veteran classical singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan never fails to tug at the heartstrings as he becomes almost child-like when talking about his uncle, mentor Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Having recently rendered his latest track, Dhadkane, the singer traces the origins of the tune to 24 years ago. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, he informs, had rendered the work of an Italian singer, and it was his rehashed version that stayed with him for over two decades. Using that composition, he penned the lyrics to this track last year, with cousin Jaaved Ali.

Set in the picturesque locations of California, the track sees Khan as part of the storyline for the first time. Talking about his teacher, Khan says, "Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sa'ab trained my voice to make it the way it is today. As his student, I have seen him [sing], and train for eight hours a day, which is why I say that despite all the content about him that's available on social media, the world hasn't heard even 25 per cent of his work."

Yet, he admits that he has struggled when growing in the shadow of a revered senior. "It was tough, and continues to be so. Today too I'm compared to him. Par bete ka baap se kya mukabla?"

As for his sons, he confesses that a career in music in inevitable. An inclination towards classical music too, he alludes, is likely. "Classical music is here to stay. If you notice today's learners too, there's a strong tendency to focus on the sur."

He also has a word of caution for teachers hoping to raise able musicians. "First, the teacher needs to study his students, and then teach them. A teacher must know where the student's strength lies, and then enhance that," he says, alluding to the way he too was brought up.

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