Tag Archive: Celebrity Exclusive

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan: gives sensational performance in Leeds

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Rahat Fatech Ali Khan gives sensational performance in Leeds

Rahat Fatech Ali Khan gives sensational performance in Leeds

The musically captivating voice of the world-renowned king of Qawwali and Sufi music - Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, enchanted almost 6,000 people at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on 30th August with a sensational performance.

The show, part of his ‘Back To Love’ tour, gave the audience a whole range of Bollywood songs, old and new heartfelt melodious tunes and some sensational Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan classics. This was his second visit to Yorkshire.

Speaking exclusively to the Asian Express newspaper he said: “Bringing the show two years running to this region and having the electrifying response from the audience is all that an artist like me could ever wish for, I’d like to thank them for their love and respect.”
The musical maestro’s infectious energy eventually saw people getoff their seats and dance in the aisles.

Though he wouldn’t disclose his ‘secret’ pre-performance energyboosting tricks, he said that he is deeply inspired by the vast numbers of young people in the UK attending his performances.

“I have tried my utmost to carry on my uncle’s (Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) legacy - but with a twist – with my own style,” he said. “I challenge myself to reinvesting and reinventing in the beautiful qualities of Qawaali and Sufi music, with the desire that it strikes a chord with the audiences of today.

“Even though the depth and meaning of the lyrics may not be fully understood by some of the younger generation in the West, I see that they have a strong connection with this genre of music. I’m so excited being part of that.

“I thank Allah for putting me in the position where I am respected for my voice and what I do. I pray that I can continue to please my fans.”
This year’s Rahat show in Leeds was brought by Pasha Shisha - with whom Asian Express teamed up as a proud media partner.

Shabir Hussain, Pasha’s events co-ordinator said: “For us at Pasha, our desire to give people great entertainment was fulfilled. The feedback and comments that we’ve had have been amazing.

“After the event, he came to wind-down at Pasha on Leeds Road and we had the opportunity to show him our hospitality.”

Mr Hussain confirmed that all profits of the show will be going to the Penny Appeal charity, which will be helping innocent Palestinians in Gaza.
Rahat’s management PME World, confirmed that they would return to bring another show to Leeds in 2016.


Shaan: If Yo Yo Honey Singh can sing, then anyone can

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Shaan singer

Shaan: "If Yo Yo Honey Singh can sing, then anyone can"

He may have swayed us with his mesmerising tone over the years, sung an array of chartbusters for several Bollywood hit films like ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’, ‘Jab We Met’, ‘Don’ etc etc etc. He may have lent his vocals for leading men of Bollywood from Shah Rukh Khan to Salman Khan to Aamir Khan to Hrithik Roshan and others, yet the very versatile singer Shaan is displeased with the ongoing trend.

He recently spoke about the current sensation Yo Yo Honey Singh, how music has lost its essence, how singers now succumb to doing only item numbers, why people are crazy behind party anthems and much more.

Being a singer was considered an elite thing back then, what do you have to say about the current scenario with so many songsters flooding in the industry?

SHAAN: Unless you can do something incredible with your voice you are just among millions who are singing today with their antics. Going back to the golden era is always going to be great and the voice is also genuine. I was probably among the last generation of singers whose voice is not being pitched. But even that changed from 2004-2005. Now even my voice is being pitched wherever I sing.

Is singing losing its sheen?

SHAAN: If Honey Singh croons a number and considered as a song, which is ideally what? - a rap or someone just talking in rhythm, then everyone can sing. If I ask you to sing ‘Lungi Dance’ even you will be able to. How difficult is that? And if that is accepted as his biggest hit, then the level of song writing and songs has dropped so hard that if I add four more notes people won’t be able to sing it. You just need to have fun beats, tune and lyrics to make a song today. Wherever I go my brief is only Honey Singh type gaane banao!

Don’t you think it is the order of the day?

SHAAN: Who am I to dictate what works and what doesn’t. For the common man if it is working and if these songs are reaching out to them, then who can stop it? Earlier also there were raunchy lyrics like in the track ‘Piya Tu Ab Toh Aaja’ but you never felt ashamed of it because the tune, the singing, the music, etc was done like a jazz song. But now the music ability has only dropped. So it’s the way you sing. If you sing a good song like ‘Hume Tumse Pyaar Kitna’ in an indecent way with a guttural tone, it will obviously sound sick. The tonality has to be perfect. If a situation is a cabaret and the girl is throwing herself on you how can the lyrics not be raunchy?

So, will you succumb to it?

SHAAN: I probably will because I have to survive. Today if you go to a party will you stop the DJ from playing the song? No. On the contrary you will dance to ‘Munni Badnaam’ quite happily. So it’s easy to raise questions but practically you have to stay with it. Kids are listening to such kind of stuff and enjoying. This is my profession, not my hobby or passion.

Do you consider Sonu Nigam as your closest contender, since you guys started out together and can do a lot of modulation with the voice?

SHAAN: Sonu Nigam is more versatile than me. He is more talented than me and I’m not being modest. I am saying this in all honesty but I think I am next closest or second to him because we came around almost the same time. We did different kinds of songs. Even KK is one of the finest singers. We all are great buddies.


Rani ties the knot

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Well, it's true. 36-year-old Rani Mukerji and her long-time boyfriend Aditya Chopra (42) have finally exchanged wedding vows.


Choosing Italy as the venue, the wedding on April 21st was a very small intimate affair with very close family and friends.

Rani said: "I would like to share the happiest day of my life with all my fans all over the world whose love and blessings have been part of my journey all these years. I know that all my well-wishers who have waited for this day will be really happy for me.

"It was a beautiful wedding in the Italian countryside with just a few of our close family and friends with us.

"The one person I missed terribly was Yash Uncle, but I know he was there with us in spirit and his love and blessings will always be with Adi and me. I have always believed in fairy-tales and with God’s grace my life has been exactly like one, and now as I enter the most important chapter of my life - the fairy-tale continues."


Saucy Saif

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One of Indian cinema's most versatile actors Saif Ali Khan will return to the silver screen on November 29th as a high-rolling, high-stakes gangster. The film, ‘Bullett Raja’, sees Saif essay the role of ‘Raja Mishra’, a commoner who gets transformed into ‘Bullett Raja’ - a notorious, care-a-damn attitude bad boy. With an engaging story full of twists, turns and tantalising action sequences, the film promises edge-of-your-seat entertainment with a generous helping of tongue-in-cheek humour and romance. So the Asian Express caught up with the bollywood hero to find out more about him, his body and much, much more…

saif ali khan

Q: The action sequences in Bullett Raja look very physically demanding, did you have to get in shape for the film?
A: I wasn't fit when I did the Race 2 run. I was okay but I am way fitter now and it looks different. If you are fit your body language changes. You are more agile in the kind of action you do, particularly like in Bullett Raja, it's incredibly physically demanding. It's a great feeling when you are fit and you are looking good on camera.

Q: 100 crore used to be the benchmark for film success in Bollywood but with films like Chennai Express breaking the 200 crore mark, will Bullett Raja break that record?
A: Oh I don’t know, it’s so hard to tell. I am really happy with Bullett Raja and how it has shaped up. It’s a really nice movie but who knows how much it will make.

Q: As an actor, how important is your image?
A: I don’t know how important it is for an actor to have an image because an image can sometimes stereotype you. There are many other aspects that contribute to an actor’s income such as being a brand ambassador and for those aspects your image is very important, but for acting itself I don’t think it is very important.

Q: Would you like to work in Hollywood?
A: It depends on the role. Right now in India I am being offered great roles and I love my job because we work really hard at what we do, but we get the time to relax also. So yes, I would like to work in Hollywood if I was offered the right role, and if it did not conflict with my work in India, I am not interested in raising my profile internationally for the sake of it, it would have to be because it interests me first and foremost.

Q: In Bullett Raja you take on a completely new avatar, can you tell us a little about the movie and your character?
A: The starting point for the film was the kind of films these guys have been making — Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster and Paan Singh Tomar. I don’t watch too many films, maybe I should watch more, but I’m clued into these films. Somewhere I had put it out that I wanted to do such films and I also wanted to work with Tigmanshu. And it worked out. We had met a few times and we were discussing various scripts when I finally said, ‘Look I leave it to you. I’m okay with whatever you come up with’. Luckily for me, the film we zeroed in on was something really exciting. We were talking about all kinds of films but not this — it’s more of an Indian Scarface. It’s an interesting role, which involves total acting rather than playing an extension of my own self. That’s rare.

Saif Ali Khan

Q: This is the first time you are doing a film opposite Sonakshi, how was it working with her?
A: Sonakshi’s very nice. I like her work in films. She’s genetically an industry child. They are different. They know how to act and behave and Sonakshi seems like a well-brought up girl.

Q: You too are an industry child…
A: Not at all. I’m an outsider to this industry. I haven’t been brought up in a filmi atmosphere. Not that it’s good or bad — it’s a fact. We were brought up in a cricketing house. Of course, I remember visiting film sets as a child, but that was different. I had no understanding of what was going on. There’s a way of behaving in the industry which you learn. But people like Sonakshi or Kareena know it from the start.

Q: You started working on Bullet Raja just after your wedding. How are you catching up with Kareena?
A: It’s just a matter of time management. Your work is also important. You do a little bit of work and then you are at home. You shouldn’t change too much, you must still be able to get on with your own life but then put aside some time to spend with your loved ones too.