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Who can forget the still hummable song ‘Purani Jeans’ of noted singer Ali Haider. Though he belongs to Pakistan but according to him music knows no boundaries, here he tells us his story.
You will be surprised to know that no one in my family ever sang. I feel it is a gift of God which he has bestowed on me. I express my happiness, sorrow, joy, pain, anguish all through my songs. Initiatially, I used to sing rock, peppy numbers of youth, with age came maturity and I started singing Sufi Kalaam, Nauhe, Naat along with my regular songs. Before and after Purani jeans I had never heard sufi, even if it was being played somewhere, I never used to understand it.

Then came what you may say the worst phase of my life. My son expired. And I lost interest in everything in my life. I was numb for four-five years. Nothing mattered to me. My family and friends tried their best to make me sing again but music in me died with my son. There was nothing I could do. But then as they say, for a singer music is like oxygen. As the time passed my healing process also started, I began listening to sufi songs, naat, qawwali and nauhe. A very strange experience II would like to share with you, somebody gifted me a book of Baba Bulle Shah’s writings, when I started reading them, I was astonished by his depth and the beautiful analysis of life. I started buying his books. The first book that I bought and the first page which I opened, just flipping through it was, ‘Bulla ki jaana’, immediately I started humming it, a completely different tune of what has been sung by other singers. I had Goosebumps and I started singing again. My music got a new dimension and everybody was surprised because they felt that I would always sing ‘Purani Jeans’ kind of songs. This song or you may call it naat, got a lot of appreciation. Then I sarted singing couplets of osh Malihabaadi and many other sufi poetry by unknown writers of their times.
I started getting offers to work in TV serials, movies etc, I did some. I got offers from Indian film industry also to sing for them but nothing interested me. Things are good, by God’s grace. I am not rushing things, whatever Almighty has planned for me will happen as and when He wants. These days you are having new artists with great talents with superfast speed, but I have stopped thinking about success. People come and go, everybody is running after success and money, in the process many singers of my time have vanished. I am blessed that even after so many decades people remember me and my songs.
I believe art and music can be a great healer between the Indo-Pak relations. Pakistani singers are appreciated here; Indian movies, actors and songs are a big fan base in Pakistan. There are politics being played but no one can stop us from watching Indian movies.
To all my fans here, I would love to thank them from the bottom of my heart, for appreciating me and always welcoming me and my music with open arms. An artist only needs love and appreciation. Even during those dark days of my life my fans had a great helping hand, they are the ones who used rto send me letters to start singing again and how much they miss my music. It is only because of their prayers and encouragement that I am here today, the place I belong to, with the same energy with which I had first started my career. I wish them all the very best in life.

But my heart belonged to writing, singing and doing as much riyaaz as possible. God blessed me with two beautiful daughters; spending time with them, listening to their innocent chit-chats gave birth to my album ‘Bachpan ki Badaami Yaaden’. Still, my family is my priority; I hardly stay away from the, maybe for 2-3 weeks in 6 months. My wife and daughters appreciate my work and support me in all my endeavors.

As told to Ambreeen Zaidi

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Ambreen Zaidi


Maharashtra ,  INDIA


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