Just before he took to his harmonium, the award-winning musician Attaullah Khan couldn’t restrain his heartfelt gratitude for being able to perform live in India.
“Ages have passed by since I have been singing and my voice has reached you in the form of cassettes and CDs. But today, I have got the chance to sing in front of you,” declared the artiste from Pakistan, for whom it was as big a moment as it was for Delhiites who were present at Purana Qila to attend the concert ‘Ibaadat - Mehfil-e-Ruhaaniyat’.
Organised by the NGO AAS to support the cause of cervical cancer awareness, the concert drew large crowds due to the immense fan following of the Pakistani legend and Indian artiste Harshdeep Kaur.
Just before reaching the stage, an elated Harshdeep confessed to Metrolife that “It is always special to perform here for I belong to this city and feel that Delhiites like music concerts more than Mumbaikars. But to constantly perform for concerts is not an easy job. Infact, I have had just a banana shake since morning to keep my energy level high and stomach in good shape!”
Soon she appeared on the stage and mesmerised the audience with her art of storytelling enmeshed with musical compositions. Introduced on the stage as ‘Sufi ki Sultana’, Harshdeep, adept in the art of engaging the audience, shared interesting anecdotes. Such as before singing Heer from Jab Tak Hai Jaan, she said, “It was my dream to sing my Heer like Sufi singers and I was fortunate to get the chance to do so when AR Rahman asked me to sing this song.”
Striking the right note to the evening with Ik Onkaara (Rang De Basanti) and Jugni (Cocktail) to Kabira (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) and Saiyan (from TV serial Bani Ishq da Kalma), Harshdeep sang all her popular numbers. However, she forgot to sing Katiya Karoon (Rockstar) and by the time she was reminded of the same by the audience, her musicians had packed up. It is then that the true Indo-Pak cultural exchange was visible since Pakistani musicians on harmonium supported Harshdeep to sing on popular request.
The long wait of fans was over as Attaullah Khan rendered a soulful prayer to the Almighty to initiate his performance for the evening.
Under the open moonlit sky, the singer’s voice touched Indian hearts as the audience saw him perform in front of a tomb-inspired stage backdrop. Parvar digar-e-alam was the prayer with which he set the tone and tenor of his performance, followed by Chok na chandi aana, Bedardi se pyar and Ishq mein hum tumhe kya batayain.
Lovingly known as ‘Lala’, the Pakistani artiste did not disappoint the audience and ensured that he sang all his popular numbers to mesmerise his Indian audience,
including Achcha sila diya and wrapped up the enchanting evening with his new song - Kaali kameez.