Many Pakistanis believe that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has been trapped by a certain lobby in India that stems from professional jealousy because the singer has been doing so well in Bollywood, especially with the recent awards he received at the Filmfare Awards. However, the Indian authorities seem adamant that there is more to the case.
Back home, people say that the singer has been given a raw deal. Singers and actors in Pakistan unanimously condemned Khan’s arrest at the Delhi Airport for possessing undeclared money saying that he had not snatched that money from anyone but had actually earned it after doing nearly 12 shows in India.
Artistes feel that if the law was broken, the authorities could have kept the money and allowed the singer to go.
Pride of Performance recipient, Ustad Badar-uz-Zaman spoke to The Express Tribune terming Khan’s arrest as a ‘well conceived conspiracy’. “Rahat is a thorough gentleman. I know him since his first performance in 1983. He doesn’t know these cunning tactics that have been used to trap him. If some artistes in India want him to fail they should do it through competitive work and not by using such tactics,” says Zaman.
Zaman said a similar incident happened with singer Adnan Sami Khan in India. But others say that it was a case of tax fraud. “What needs to be remembered is that during the same period two Bollywood stars also saw tax raids at their homes” say observers. Zaman said that some Indian singers feel threatened by their Pakistani counterparts, “This is an effort to sabotage relationships between Pakistan and India. Whenever an artiste from the two countries visits it helps improve ties. Look at the way we treat Indian artistes when they visit Pakistan. Surely, we get a lot of respect in India but a certain lobby doesn’t want Pakistani artistes to excel in the Indian entertainment industry,” explained Zaman.
The artiste further shed light on the matter saying that Khan was given the money by the show organiser at the eleventh hour so that he couldn’t escape the arrest. “I have been doing shows all over the world and know very well that artistes don’t know about such procedures. Event managers take care of such things. Khan has nothing to do with this, he has been trapped,” he added.
Mian Yousuf Salahuddin said that the law was definitely broken but arresting Khan was highly inappropriate. “Rahat’s manager Chitresh Srivastava was accompanying him and he too has been arrested. Indian authorities could confiscate the money but shouldn’t have arrested him. When Jagjit Singh came here he also took Rs10 million with him this way. So this happens. If Rahat had been doing this for awhile, authorities should have given him a warning. He has been a frequent visitor. The sad thing is that he has been arrested just after he won several awards and hence, rivals in India,” he added. However, observer say one cannot equate the laxity of Pakistani authorities with the vigilance shown in India.
Composer M Arshad, who recorded nearly 500 songs with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has also worked with the singer said, “This was not the first time Rahat went to India. This has been ‘arranged’ by a certain lobby there. Why do these kinds of things only happen to Pakistani artistes in India? First, Adnan Sami and now, Ratat Fateh Ali Khan — our kids are amazing and when singers over there (India) sense trouble and competition, they start arranging for such things. Why was the money for the show paid to him at the airport? Rahat should have been careful but he is not the one to be blamed for it,” said the composer.
The singer’s arrest seems to have caught a stir in the industry with music composer, Faisal Rafi claiming that Khan has been victimised, “Now I ask the Indian authority, how is an artiste to take his own earnings back home? They should first make a legal system for it. This is what a manager does and I think there must have been some mistake because Khan is at his peak now,” says Rafi.
Stepping up to the limelight, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s wife Nida Rahat said that she has spoken to her husband and he is doing fine. “This issue will settle soon,” added the wife trying to be optimistic about the situation.
Khan has produced several hit numbers this past year and recently won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for his song, “Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji” from the film, Ishqiya.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2011.