Month: August 2016

Rahat Ali Khan at the O2 Concert Review

Dressed in a golden embroidered jacket, sitting center stage on a bar stool and accompanied by a simple back up band, the heir of Pakistan’s qawwali legacy, Rahat Ali Khan performed before a sold out crowd at the London O2 arena for a special concert marking the celebration of Pakistan’s independence. The entire day was filled with cultural events, food buskers and Bollywood dance lessons just outside the concert venue where a diverse crowd of South Asian fans (and quit a few celebrities) enthusiastically took to their seats.

The concert commenced with what Rahat dubbed his “Love Songs”. But in the tradition of qawwali the “Love” can’t be distinguished between the love for a person or the love for God. There were many instances during the almost 3-hour concert, where devotion and emotion were indistinguishable for the performer as well as for the audience.From the first notes onward, the concert was an unending high consisting of goose bumps, musical elation, uncontrollable smiles and utter joy.The O2 - Rahat-145

Between the sets, Rahat had a surprisingly jovial back and forth with his audience, his respect for them and his art shining through every eloquently worded syllable, illustrating the fact that the singer’s poetic nature is not confined to his songs but also how he treats the people around him.

Although his recent popularity is partly due to his numerous Hindi movie soundtrack collaborations, his unmistakable talent and skill honed through decades of training is always accompanied by the clarity of Rahat’s voice and the Sufi tradition that power his songs.

The crowd erupts in roars as soon as they recognize the initial notes of hits like “Aas Paas hai Khuda” (Anjaani Anjaana) or the mere mention of Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit, on who the song as “O Re Piya” (Aaja Nachle) was picturized. Both songs transcending the forgettable movies that they were in, becoming crowd favorites (as well as a personal favorites) and making us realize that whichever country we hail from, we share an on going obsession with Madhuri Dixit.

Closing the love block with the word “I have too many love songs” and the ever present smile, the musical maestro immediately kicks off his “Punjabi section” of the concert, or as Rahat told the crowd, the language in which you can call anyone, anything and they won’t mind it.

After a few more crowd pleasers like “Samjhawan” (Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhanya), Surili Ankhyon Wale (Veer), we head into the qawalli portion of the concert, which was essentially the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan tribute section, Rahat’s mentor and legendary uncle.

During the intermission  all the performers even changed in more traditional qawalli gear like purple kurta’s and elegant sherwaani’s taking their place in the classic formation behind tabla’s and harmoniums.

The Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan songs have decades old connect with the audience and it is the closest the London Arena got to the rapture and hypnotism of a true qawalli performance in the streets of Lahore or Delhi.

The lazy argument critics always make about Rahat is that he can’t be compared to Nusrat’s talent. (Try it out, go to any Indian restaurant, and start a conversation about Rahat Ali Khan when a song comes on the radio and you will hear “Nusrat wali bhaat nahi hai usme“)

To Rahat’s own admission, he understood early in his career and made the conscious decision to not only focus on classical qawalli but foray into more popular tunes, usually adapted and re-performed for the larger audience whereas his uncle had the popularity hoisted upon him, and he never really felt comfortable in this new modern medium of “music videos”. It is a decision to be applauded as it shows reverence for what has been but a determination to reach people through today’s medium.

But it is also in these songs that the comparison between the Rahat Ali Khan being in the shadow of his uncle becomes clear.  If you have heard the original recordings of Nusrat you realize how incomparable his talent and command of qawalli truly was. And although Rahat comes close, like listening to a great cover band, there is a silent agreement between audience and performer that this is the closest we are able to get to the original, and for most of us, that is already better than any other musical performance we have attended in our life times.

After the qawalli high, we return to some more Bollywood songs of recent years and somewhere, suddenly they seem much simpler and almost child like to the previous compositions. The energy drops a little but the audience is very happy to see their personal favorites ticked of the list and performed live.

Rahat’s commitment and sincerity never fails though, as he croons his personal favorite “Ae Khuda” from Rocky Handsome, a song I have gone back and revisited after the concert and have truly started appreciating for how it stands out compared to more the paint by number hits like Bodyguard’s “Teri Meri” or “Tere Mast Mast do Nain” from Dabangg.

The concert closes with Jiya Dhalak, his big introduction to the Bollywood audience and Mast Qalander, his uncle’s greatest hit.

Rahat Ali Khan sang for us with only a small intermission for 3 hours straight with power, sincerity, keeping in mind what the audience asked from him but giving them much more than they needed. He gave them the memory of an unforgettable experience with a true musical master of the likes that appears only once in a lifetime.

Win a DVD of the Stunning Sci- Fi Identicals!

For chance to win a copye of the DVD of Identicals: Like our Facebook page/ Follow us on Twitter and drop us a mail with subject line: “I want to win!” on Upodcasting@gmail.com

UK entries only and competition deadline is 22 august!

Here’s the trailer and synopsis:


The film follows an organization Brand New-U which identifies networks of IDENTICALS – people who walk like you, talk like you, but are walking through different, better lives. Slater (Lachlan Nieboer) seems to have the perfect life, the perfect job and the perfect girlfriend. But when Slater’s girlfriend is abducted by Brand New-U, he is forced to become an Identical. As he moves through a series of parallel lives, he becomes more and more obsessed with finding his girlfriend, but what he must find in the end is himself.

IDENTICALS is available on Digital/VoD 15th August and DVD 22nd August

Dishoom Review Upodcast

New Podcast for your Ear holes! This week we take to task the Buddy Action revival directed by Rohit Shetty starring younger brother Varun Dhawan, John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez.

We are joined by Hani from wonderful podcast The Bollywood Project and Sujoy aka @9e3k.

(Here is a link to our appearance on their show)

Will Dishoom enter into the pantheon of other classic buddy cop movies?

Does pack enough punch to Dishoom?

Listen/stream/download to the episode below and find out.

Or Subscribe to our iTunes feed and never miss a show!

Win 2 tickets to the Ustad Rahat Ali Khan Concert at the O2, London

Pakistan’s most famous Qawwali singer Ustad Rahat Fateh Khan, the nephew of the late, world-renowned singer Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, will perform his greatest hits live for the first time at The O2 on Sunday 14 August 2016.

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 22 April and are available at AXS.com or by calling 0844 856 0202 or from www.theo2.co.uk.www.theo2.co.uk.

But we have a pair of tickets to give away for Free! and it couldn’t be easier.

Just click on the banner below and sign up with your email adress, and the lucky winner will be randomly drawn. Deadline for the the competition is 8th of August! So sign up ASAP!

Click on the image to enter the competition!

The performance will coincide with Pakistan and India’s independence weekend celebrations and will be Ustad Rahat Fateh Khan’s only London show this year. Discussing his forthcoming show Ustad Rahat Fateh Khan said; ”I’m very excited to be performing at The O2, London, for the second time, following my sold out tour in 2013.

“Coming to the UK is always a thrill for me and my performance is timed to fit the Independence Day celebrations for both Pakistan and India. I have a fantastic team of musicians joining me and will be performing my greatest film hits and new material, as well as my esteemed Uncle, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s popular Qawwali numbers, to rock the arena.”

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was chosen at birth by his uncle Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for tutoring in the traditions of qawwali music, a form of Sufi devotional popular in South Asia. Six weeks after his uncle’s death in 1997, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan took his position as leader of the group and has since become one of the most talked about Pakistani artists in the world.

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has performed on a variety of recordings, and his songs and vocals have featured in numerous hit Hollywood and Bollywood films including Bodyguard, My Name is Khan, Dabangg, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Drishyam, the Hollywood film Apocalypto and many more.

The maestro has released over 50 albums with over 100 hits in Bollywood and has been presented with numerous awards including Star Screen Awards for Best Male Playback 2010 and the IIFA award for best male vocalist 2011. He has also been a judge on top TV shows in India such a Chhote Ustad and Junoon, Kuch Kar Dikhaane Ka. He was the headline performer at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2014 and recently performed at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in March 2016.

In 2014, Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan released his latest album ‘Back 2 Love’ which sold millions of copies worldwide.

The ticket will also include access to a variety of free live events and activities including Bollywood dance workshops, DJs, specially selected street food stalls and more.