The music camaraderie between India and Pakistan is an old age phenomenon that is still prevalent and seems immortal. The neighboring countries became political rivals post-independence, but the film and music industry binds both the countries. Moreover, just like culture, music in both the countries has common elements too.
When it comes to Bollywood, there are also many Pakistani singers who have made their mark through playback singing in Hindi films.
Here’s the list of 10 Pakistani Singers who have garnered immense fame in India –
1. Noor Jehan –
Noor Jehan is a Pakistani playback singer and actress. She learned music under the tutelage of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab. He had instructed her in the traditions of Patiala Gharana. Also addressed as ‘Mallika-e-Tarannum’, she was the most prolific singer of her era, which spanned over 7 decades (she started singing at the age of 6). She also holds the record for most number of songs sung by a singer in the history of Pakistan, along with Ahmed Rushdie. Fans in India and Pakistan both still enamor her songs. She was also a cultural ambassador of Pakistan.
2. Abida Parveen –
Abida Parveen is a Sufi singer, composer, and a musician from Pakistan, who is also addressed as ‘Queen of Sufi Music’. She mainly sings thumri, ghazals, Khyal, Qawwali, Raga, Sufi Rock, Classical. Parveen is also one of the most mystic singers in the world. Abida is one of the most prolific Sufi artists, who also travels the world for concerts, and also appears in Coke Studio. She was awarded Price of Performance Award by President of Pakistan in 1984, and is also among the ‘500 Most Influential Muslims’ in the world. Her songs are famous in India as much as in Pakistan.
3. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan –
Nusrat Sahab was a Pakistani musician who predominantly sang Qawwali, which is the devotional music of the Sufis. He was known as “Shahenshah-e-Qawwali”. In his career which spanned over 25 years, he traveled different parts of the world for his concerts and created some indelible songs in Mast Qalandar, Nazro Se, Aafreen Aafreen and Tere Bin Nahi Lagda, which many artists still cover, including his descendent Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. In 1997, the eminent Qawwal had received Pride of Performance award from President of Pakistan for his contribution in Pakistani music. He was also given the title ‘Ustad’ after his impeccable performance at Lahore.
4. Mehdi Hassan –
Mehdi Hassan is one of the most influential public figures in the history of Ghazal singing, and is popular as ‘King of Ghazal’ or ‘Shahanshah-e-Ghazal’. He was the chief contributor in making Ghazal popular at international level. His song Aapki Aankhon Ne, Dil Me Tufaan Chupaaye Baitha Hu and Ye Kaghazi Phool Jaise Chehre are hummed by his fans even today. In his career of 40 years, he has contributed a lot to Pakistani Music and was awarded Pride of Performance in 1985. He has spawned many great singers who became his descendants. The famous Indian singer Hariharan is also his student and devotee.
5. Ghulam Ali –
Ghulam Ali is a Pakistani Ghazal and playback singer, who was a student of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Chhote Ghulam Ali. His style of Ghazal singing is unique as he blends the elements of Hindustani Classical Music with Ghazals. He also composes raga-based Bhajans. His most famous songs are Chupke Chupke Raat Din, Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa, and Kal Chaudhvin Ki Raat Thi. He is the most famous living legend from Pakistan, who is equally loved by Indian audience. He had also received the award ‘Pride of Performance’ by the president of Pakistan in 1979.
6. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan –
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a famous Qawwali singer from Pakistan. He had got training in the auspices of the legendary Qawwali singer Nusrat Fatel Ali Khan, who happens to be his paternal uncle. He also works in Bollywood as a playback singer and has sung soulful songs like Mann Ki Lagan from ‘Paap’, O Re Piya from ‘Aaja Nachle’ and ‘Main Jahaan Rahoo from ‘Namastey London’. In his career which spans over 30 years now, he has toured UK and has performed at Wembley Arena and Manchester Arena, and he is the first Pakistani performer to give a rendition at Nobel Prize Concert, which was in 2014. The celebrated singer also has a huge fan base in India.
7. Shafqat Amanat Ali –
Shafqat Amanat Ali is a Pakistani classical singer who belongs to Patiala Gharana, and was lead vocalist in Pakistani band ‘Fuzon’. He rose to prominence with his 2008 album, ‘Tabeer’ which has melodious tracks like ‘Bulle Shah’ and Khaireyaan De Naal. He has performed in Coke Studio India and MTV Unplugged too. Shafqat has sung numerous songs in Bollywood and has received awards for best playback singer many times. He had also received the award President’s ‘Pride of Performance’ in the year 2008.
8. Atif Aslam –
Atif Aslam is arguably the most famous Pakistani singer in India. Right from his album ‘Doorie’, he has left a lasting impression on Indian audience with every song of his. He has toured countries like Canada, US, and the UK for his concerts, and has collaborated with artists from Rhythm Dhol Band (British Punjabi band) as well as Annie Khalid (a Pakistani British musician). Filmfare had nominated his songs – Who Lamhe, Tere Bin, and ‘Jeena’ for ‘Best Playback Singer’ award in Filmfare. With his contribution to Pakistani rock and Bollywood, he has also garnered immense fame in India.
9. Farhan Saeed –
Farhan was the lead vocalist of Pakistani rock band – ‘Jal’, which was a sensation in second half of 2000-2010 decade. His most famous songs are from the albums ‘Boondh’ and ‘Aadat’ – all of which are equally good. The euphonious singer has sung few songs in Bollywood, but is still more loved by Indian audience as the lead singer of ‘Jal’.
10. Adnan Sami –
Adnan Sami is perhaps the most quirky singer and musician of the lot .He had taken a plunge into Indian Pop genre with his song ‘Lift Karade’ – video of which also features Bollywood actor Govinda. Prior to this, he has many albums to his name. After his emergence in Indian music scene, he has come up with albums like ‘Tera Chehra’ (which became most popular in its time) and ‘Kabhi to Nazar Milao’. He has sung and given music in many Bollywood movies, and has also become an established playback singer in Bollywood. With his contribution in Indian music, he has garnered immense fame in India.
There is no dearth of talent in Pakistan when it comes to singing, and apart from aforementioned artists who are the most popular in India, there are some bands that have enormously contributed to Pakistani Music Scene as well.