The exchange of art and music between India and Pakistan has “strengthened over the years” and remains unaffected by political intervention on both sides, says popular Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali.
He feels music managed to be a bridge between the two nations even when artistes from his country were barred from performing in India due to political pressure.
“Politics hasn’t really been able to ruin the musical bond between India and Pakistan. This bond has always been there. In fact, it has strengthened over the years,” Amanat Ali said during his visit to New Delhi.
“I believe that had this musical bond not been there, the situation would have been worse. But, yes, there are times when a lot of things get cancelled due to tension. Like the Ghulam Ali concert got cancelled,” he said in reference to the cancellation of the ghazal maestro’s scheduled performance in Mumbai due to protests by the right-wing outfit Shiv Sena last year.
“These types of political movements do affect this bond. But what’s good is that neither Ghulam Ali said that now he will not perform in India, nor did his Indian fans say that they don’t want him here,” Amanat Ali said.
In that sense, he believes music has been a constant bridge.
“We always try to do so through various projects [together with Indians]. Sometimes the traffic gets high or low, but that happens due to the political situation or some other factors... But this bridge has always been there,” he said.
Nevertheless, he believes that when governments from the two sides begin bilateral talks and negotiate on issues, they should be brought to a logical end.
“It takes just one person who comes and does something or says something that builds controversy. And after that, everything gets ruined and goes back to zero. I feel we should understand that whatever we are starting, we should take it to the end and ignore people who try to ruin that on both sides,” he said.
Asked about his experience of working in India, Amanat Ali, who has sung hit Bollywood numbers like Mitwa, Yeh Honsla, Bin Tere and Dildaara, said: “Bollywood was always open for Pakistani artistes. It is growing every day.
“Also, a lot of people from India like Daler Mehndi, Mika Singh and Kailash Kher have performed in Pakistan. People’s choice of music is same on both sides. The songs which get popular in India get popular in Pakistan and vice-versa.”
Amanat Ali says he also gets the love and attention of Indian music aficionados when he performs in the country, and finds it “a whole different experience.”
Does he feel Indian and Pakistani musicians today are getting widely influenced by western trends?
To that, he said: “Different trends have come and gone by, but only those songs get popular and stay with you which are melodious and meaningful. There are a lot of melodious tracks that we get to hear even today in India.”