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Rahat Fateh Ali fills London arena, sings for flood victims

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LONDON: Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan delivered a mesmerising performance to a sold-out crowd at London’s O2 Arena and also appealed for funds to help the victims of floods in Pakistan.

This was Khan’s third performance at the iconic London venue since he started performing globally over 10 years ago after signing up exclusively with Salman Ahmed — his producer and global promoter.

Khan called on Pakistan’s showbiz community to urgently come together and start raising funds for the victims of floods who have been left with nothing.

“Pakistan is surrounded by a natural disaster of the kind and size Pakistan has never seen before. I appeal to the artist community to help those who have been left with poverty and helplessness only. They need our help,” he appealed.

Nearly 20,000 people attended the show to full capacity on a day when famous Indian singer Neha Kakar was performing in London just a few miles away at the Wembley Arena.

Most of those who attended Rahat’s show were Indians, followed by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

Ahmed, Khan’s producer and global promoter whose company PME manages the maestro, said he was thrilled that a milestone of 10 years has been achieved, bringing glory to Pakistan and one of its biggest talents who has made a huge market from South Asia to the international stage.

Ahmed said that people keep coming back to listen to Khan because of the constant variations, innovations and fusions that are produced in every tour.

“We have all evolved and our relationship has grown within our team and with the audience. Look at the fusion that we add to every show for at least half of the duration. That has brought a whole new segment to our events because Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali does it so brilliantly.”

Ahmed said that diaspora South Asians wait for Khan’s tours and keep asking for more.

He said that qawwalis were popular in all sections of Asians and Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and others are drawn to qawwalis to gain spiritual satisfaction and this genre is an essential element of Rahat’s shows.

He recalled how it has been a great journey working with Khan for over 10 years.

“We did our first concert with Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in Wembley Arena in 2012 and since then we have been selling in the UK and across the world non-stop. It’s been a phenomenal journey.”

“A lot of hard work and team effort goes into the work of managing and delivering at the global level for a global audience to the global standards. We have been successful because we work professionally and we are all on the same page,” the producer and global promoter said.

Khan introduced his son Shah Zaman Ali Khan at the O2 Arena to the audience as his new band member.

A sold-out crowd attends Ustad Rahat Fateh Alis musical night at O2 Arena in London, United Kingdom, on August 29, 2022. — Provided by our correspondent
A sold-out crowd attends Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali’s musical night at O2 Arena in London, United Kingdom, on August 29, 2022. — Provided by our correspondent

Ahmed said: “Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali is following the old tradition of Pakistani Qawwals. His brother Wajahat Ali Khan and now his son Shah Zaman Ali Khan also perform with him at all concerts.”

To make the journey memorable, the producer said he was planning to launch a global tour in 2024 where Ali Khan will set a new record by playing with a 100-piece symphony orchestra.

“That requires a lot of devotion and hard work, and we have already started working on that project. We will make new history and will set new precedents for South Asian music.”

Khan was introduced to Bollywood in Mahesh Bhatt’s movie Paap and performed on stage for the first time in 1998 at a benefit concert in Los Angeles, and as they say, the rest is history.

Khan has now captured the hearts of millions worldwide and continues to mesmerise audiences with his melodious voice and Sufi music. He has had award-winning hits with films such as Dabaang, My name is Khan, Son of Sardar and many more. 

He has been honoured with the Award for Best Music Talent in a Film at the 14th London Music Festival in 2012, the Award for Best Male Playback Singer at the 2011 Filmfare Awards and the Award for Best Singer Male at the Pakistan Media Awards in 2011. 

Ahmed is one of the most experienced and respected Asian art promoters. His alliance with the showbiz started some 34 years ago when he started organizing Bhangra nights and small British Asian concerts.

That was the time when British Asian singers started making their mark. The BBC covered one of Ahmed’s first concerts at the time.

There was no social media and no Asian channels around. The BBC aired a report then to showcase how the second generation of British Asians was growing with a fusion of British and Asian cultures.

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Yasir Hussain warns artist of action over wife Iqra Aziz inaccurate sketch

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Expressing his annoyance over the inaccurate sketch of his wife, Iqra Aziz, eminent actor Yasir Hussain urged the “artist” not to draw his wife’s sketch again.

Sharing the sketch, drawn by one of her fans, on his Instagram account, Hussain — on a lighter note — warned the “online artist” of legal action if they try to do this again.

— Instagram/ yasir.hussain/screengrab/
— Instagram/ yasir.hussain/screengrab/

A user “C_4__colour” tagged their “masterpiece” to Iqra Aziz and expressed hope that she would like it. The “online artist” wrote on their account: “Sketching after soo long. Not accurate.”

Sharing the “masterpiece” with his fans, Hussain wrote: “Beta thank you. Good effort bus ainda meri bv ki ki tasveer nahi banani aap neBeta baat case pe chali jaye gi warna [Thank you child. It was a good effort but just don’t draw a sketch of my wife in the future, otherwise, you will have to face a case.”.

Colour’s work received a mixed reaction from the netzines.     

A user appreciated his work and remarked: “Good job”.

Another user: “No doubt sketching bht achi hai. iqra aziz nh bolei bs???? [No dbout the sketching is nice., but dont’ call it Iqra Aziz’s [sketch]”

Another user named ‘Laddyygorgeouss’ said: “Iqra aziz nh lg rhi [It doesn’t look like Iqra Aziz].”

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Zayn Malik: Ex-One Direction’s Urdu hit ‘Tu Hai Kahan’ leaves millions longing for more

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British heartthrob Zayn Malik, who is known to the world for his melodious vocals in English, has now tested his singing mettle by crooning an Urdu language love song — and apparently, the fans can’t get enough of it.

Collaborating with the Pakistani band “Aur”, Zayn features in the remake of their popular hit “Tu Hai Kahan” which has more than 95 million views on YouTube.

However, the remake too, has received significant praise from fans as the song has garnered more than 3.5 million views on the video-sharing platform.

Expressing his views on his experience of singing Urdu lyrics, the 31-year-old — a former member of the popular boy band One Direction — told BBC in an interviewthat he loved the song and hoped that fans would love the collaboration after he brought some of himself to the rendition.

This is not the first time Zayn has showcased his vocals in Urdu, as the British singer — who rose to fame after his music career kicked off via One Direction following his appearance on the British TV music competition “The X Factor” in 2010 — previously included Urdu lyrics in his track “Tightrope”, from his 2021 album “Nobody is Listening”.

The collaboration cannot be termed unexpected as the British singer — who was born and raised in Bradford — has Pakistani roots as his father immigrated to the UK from the South Asian nation.

This is how the fans reacted to Zayn’s collaboration with the Pakistani band.

“This is a great gesture by Zayn by collaborating with these youngsters and making their song much more popular than it was […] Zayn collaboration gave it those extra wings and wind to it,” commented a fan.

Zayn Malik: Ex-One Directions Urdu hit Tu Hai Kahan leaves millions longing for more

Meanwhile, another termed the song a “masterpiece” and thanked the British artist for encouraging the talented Pakistani artists.

“This collab is going to be my comfort song for a long time,” wrote an X user.

“Zayn stans will forever cherish this song. We truly appreciate you all for making this happen,” said another.

Whereas some fans were “shocked” to see how eloquently Zayn managed to sing Urdu lyrics.

“One of the best and unexpected collaborations ever […] truly a masterpiece,” a user commented on the song.

“Big love […] thanks for all the support,” Zayn said while reacting to the overwhelming praise from the fans.

The collaboration between Zayn and Aur — comprising Ahad, Usama, and Raffey — reflects the band’s open-minded approach to music as it believes that music has no boundaries, the essence of which is reflected in the song.

Reacting to the global popularity and overwhelming reactions from the fans, the band said they were taking Pakistani music to the world stage and “can’t wait for the world to vibe to their music”.

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Har Pal Geo becomes first entertainment channel to hit 5 million followers on WhatsApp

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Pakistan’s most popular entertainment channel, Geo Television’s Har Pal Geo, has made history by garnering a staggering 5 million followers on its WhatsApp channel — a tour de force that remains a dream for others.

This overwhelming achievement is a testament to the viewers’ immense love for the entertainment channel’s world-class content not only in Pakistan but also around the world.

Har Pal Geo has become the first entertainment channel to pull off that feat worldwide.

Taking to Facebook, Har Pal Geo’s team wrote: “A heartfelt thank you to our followers for making us the world’s first entertainment channel on WhatsApp to reach this milestone.”

 “Your support is truly invaluable,” it added.

Followers seem to have fallen in love with the top-notch content produced by Geo Entertainment, which is why its WhatsApp channel, too, is now becoming popular among the masses with many praising the diversity and variety of entertaining stories being told.

Followers remain glued to their screens watching theIqra Aziz and Talha Chahour starrer Mannat Murad andfollowing the storyline of Maa Nahi Saas Hoon Main, among other shows.

Meanwhile, fans are waiting with bated breath for their favourite on-screen pair Yumna Zaidi and Wahaj Ali to fire up the TV screens in the second season of Geo’s blockbuster drama serial Tere Bin.

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