After months of artificially forced isolation, Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is back on Indian music charts. Yes, ‘artificially forced’ because music, or art, can never be silenced, even in times of war. And, credit for this goes to young Indian music director Vipin Patwa, who almost had to fight with producers to keep Rahat’s voice in the album for the upcoming Akshara Hassan-starrer Laali Ki Shadi Me Laaddoo Deewana.
The crackdown on Pakistani artistes in Mumbai in the wake of Uri terror attack in September 2016 was one event when art paid the price, unnecessarily, as a number of Pakistani artistes were forced not to continue their work in India. Reason: The Pakistani artistes couldn’t openly take a stand against the terror attack.
As many as 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the attack in the wee hours on September 19 by Pakistan-based terrorists. The Pakistani artistes in India were blamed of practising double standards. They were accused of being vocal against terror attacks across the world, but becoming silent when an attack was carried out by Pakistan-based terror groups in India.
As the chorus became shrill against Pakistani artistes, we forgot that artistes are probably the most vulnerable people across the world. They are easy targets — be it in India and more so in an orthodox Pakistan. Vipin agrees, “Art should always be above politics. It should not be shackled by a boundary.”
In a Whatsapp chat with financialexpress.com from Canada, where Rahat is presently performing, the Pakistani singer also shared similar sentiments. “Can you ban air, light and any other form of nature? The answer is NO and the same I feel for music.”
Vipin said he had recorded the song Rog Jaane with Rahat days before the Uri attack. The makers of Laali Ki Shadi Me Laaddoo Deewana had, however, decided to drop the song when controversy erupted over Pakistani artistes after the terror attack.
The Indian musician, who comes from Mau in Uttar Pradesh, said he had to do a lot of persuading to convince the makers of the film against dropping the song. “I requested them a lot to keep the song. I told them it would be an act of disrespect to a senior artiste if his song is dropped from the movie.”
When asked about his stand on ‘terror versus art’ debate that started after the Uri attack, Vipin said, “I am also patriotic and rational. But art for me is above everything. Pakistani artistes should always be allowed to work in India as artistes.”
“And, why would you ban something that gives ‘rahat’ to all,” Vipin quipped while talking about his argument with the makers of the film over Ratat Ali’s song.
Rahat concluded the discussion, saying, “I do not get involved in politics when it comes to music, as music is universal and has no race or religion. I am a singer and that is what I focus on.”
Directed by Manish Harishankar, Laali Ki Shadi Me Laaddoo Deewana will release on April 7. Vipin has composed four songs for the film, including two versions of Rog Jaane, Bezubaan and Naino ke pokhar.