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Rahat Fateh Ali fills London arena, sings for flood victims

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LONDON: Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan delivered a mesmerising performance to a sold-out crowd at London’s O2 Arena and also appealed for funds to help the victims of floods in Pakistan.

This was Khan’s third performance at the iconic London venue since he started performing globally over 10 years ago after signing up exclusively with Salman Ahmed — his producer and global promoter.

Khan called on Pakistan’s showbiz community to urgently come together and start raising funds for the victims of floods who have been left with nothing.

“Pakistan is surrounded by a natural disaster of the kind and size Pakistan has never seen before. I appeal to the artist community to help those who have been left with poverty and helplessness only. They need our help,” he appealed.

Nearly 20,000 people attended the show to full capacity on a day when famous Indian singer Neha Kakar was performing in London just a few miles away at the Wembley Arena.

Most of those who attended Rahat’s show were Indians, followed by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

Ahmed, Khan’s producer and global promoter whose company PME manages the maestro, said he was thrilled that a milestone of 10 years has been achieved, bringing glory to Pakistan and one of its biggest talents who has made a huge market from South Asia to the international stage.

Ahmed said that people keep coming back to listen to Khan because of the constant variations, innovations and fusions that are produced in every tour.

“We have all evolved and our relationship has grown within our team and with the audience. Look at the fusion that we add to every show for at least half of the duration. That has brought a whole new segment to our events because Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali does it so brilliantly.”

Ahmed said that diaspora South Asians wait for Khan’s tours and keep asking for more.

He said that qawwalis were popular in all sections of Asians and Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and others are drawn to qawwalis to gain spiritual satisfaction and this genre is an essential element of Rahat’s shows.

He recalled how it has been a great journey working with Khan for over 10 years.

“We did our first concert with Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in Wembley Arena in 2012 and since then we have been selling in the UK and across the world non-stop. It’s been a phenomenal journey.”

“A lot of hard work and team effort goes into the work of managing and delivering at the global level for a global audience to the global standards. We have been successful because we work professionally and we are all on the same page,” the producer and global promoter said.

Khan introduced his son Shah Zaman Ali Khan at the O2 Arena to the audience as his new band member.

A sold-out crowd attends Ustad Rahat Fateh Alis musical night at O2 Arena in London, United Kingdom, on August 29, 2022. — Provided by our correspondent
A sold-out crowd attends Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali’s musical night at O2 Arena in London, United Kingdom, on August 29, 2022. — Provided by our correspondent

Ahmed said: “Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali is following the old tradition of Pakistani Qawwals. His brother Wajahat Ali Khan and now his son Shah Zaman Ali Khan also perform with him at all concerts.”

To make the journey memorable, the producer said he was planning to launch a global tour in 2024 where Ali Khan will set a new record by playing with a 100-piece symphony orchestra.

“That requires a lot of devotion and hard work, and we have already started working on that project. We will make new history and will set new precedents for South Asian music.”

Khan was introduced to Bollywood in Mahesh Bhatt’s movie Paap and performed on stage for the first time in 1998 at a benefit concert in Los Angeles, and as they say, the rest is history.

Khan has now captured the hearts of millions worldwide and continues to mesmerise audiences with his melodious voice and Sufi music. He has had award-winning hits with films such as Dabaang, My name is Khan, Son of Sardar and many more. 

He has been honoured with the Award for Best Music Talent in a Film at the 14th London Music Festival in 2012, the Award for Best Male Playback Singer at the 2011 Filmfare Awards and the Award for Best Singer Male at the Pakistan Media Awards in 2011. 

Ahmed is one of the most experienced and respected Asian art promoters. His alliance with the showbiz started some 34 years ago when he started organizing Bhangra nights and small British Asian concerts.

That was the time when British Asian singers started making their mark. The BBC covered one of Ahmed’s first concerts at the time.

There was no social media and no Asian channels around. The BBC aired a report then to showcase how the second generation of British Asians was growing with a fusion of British and Asian cultures.

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The father of Sania Mirza speaks out about her marriage to Mohammed Shami

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On Thursday, a number of reports surfaced from regional media sources claiming that two of the nation’s most popular and accomplished athletes, fast bowler Mohammed Shami of the Indian cricket team and tennis star Sania Mirza, the ex-wife of Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, are getting married in August.

She now has a strong reaction to the reports and her father, Imran Mirza, has denied the unfounded rumours. It’s all garbage. “She’s never even met him,” he said on Friday to a media outlet in India.

Relevant to mention is that Mirza, who is presently on the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, was married to Malik from 2010 until January of this year, when it was officially verified that she had filed for divorce from her former spouse through Khula (a Muslim woman’s right to do so). With the Pakistani cricket player, she has a five-year-old son named Izhaan.

Yet, Shami and Hasin Jahan, the woman he married in 2014, are no longer together. Between them, they have a child.

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Kubra Khan expressed her annoyance within the initial 15 minutes of watching the new television series ‘Noor Jahan’.

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In a recent interview with a digital magazine, Kubra Khan delved into her character development in the television series ‘Noor Jahan’ and openly admitted to feeling vexed and exasperated while watching the initial episode of the show. She expressed sympathy towards women, such as Safeena [Alina Abbas], who are disregarded by their spouses.

“Initially, it was vexing to observe.” Upon viewing the initial episode, specifically the first 15 minutes, she confessed to feeling irritated.

Khan expressed his annoyance, stating that despite his involvement in the production and participation in the shoot, he found himself angry due to his prior observations of similar occurrences in real life.

“Furthermore, Musaddiq Malek, the director, has skillfully woven the elements of the film together. His work is truly remarkable and clever,” she commented, specifically referring to the opening scene in which Hunaid, played by Noor Hassan, forgets his wife Safeena’s birthday but manages to organize a lavish celebration for his mother, portrayed by Saba Hamid, on the same evening.

“The ‘Sinf-e-Aahan’ actor stated that people perceive the story as relevant and relatable, with each individual feeling a personal connection to it,” the actor shared. “Men who are overly dependent on their mothers should refrain from getting married until they are capable of assuming the responsibilities associated with being a husband.”

Khan, known for his discerning project choices and avoidance of clichéd roles, affirmed that ‘Noor Jahan’ stands apart from conventional ‘saas bahu’ dramas.

Continuing to hint at her character’s growth, she stated, “You will have to wait and observe the drama to find out if she will testify, join the villainous side, or alter the dynamics of the family.”

In addition to Khan playing the role of Noor Bano, the film ‘Noor Jahan’ features a talented cast including Saba Hamid, Ali Rehman Khan, Noor Hassan, Zoya Nasir, Hajra Yamin, Ali Raza, Yousuf Bashir Qureshi, Mahmood Aslam, and Alina Abbas, among others.

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Sania Mirza humbly seeks forgiveness as she begins her pilgrimage to Hajj.

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Sania Mirza revealed on Sunday afternoon that she was lucky enough to start her Hajj journey this year in a fresh post on her Instagram account.

“My beloveds and friends, I am extremely fortunate to have the chance to travel the holy Hajj,” she declared.

As she got ready for this life-changing encounter, she wrote, “I humbly ask for your forgiveness for any wrongdoings and shortcomings.” This opportunity to pursue spiritual restoration and atonement fills my heart with immense gratitude. Please hear my request and lead me down the path of blessings, Allah. I am quite thankful and consider myself very fortunate.

As she started this once-in-a-lifetime voyage, she pleaded, “Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.” “With a humble heart and a stronger imaan, I hope to return as a better human being.”

Millions of fans on social media, including her close pals and members of the entertainment and sports industries, sent their best wishes to the star, asking her to keep them in mind while she prays.

It is noteworthy to mention here that in March of last year, before to Ramadan, Sania Mirza conducted the Umrah alongside her son Izhaan and other family members.

For those who don’t know, Mirza and Malik were wed from 2010 until January of this year, when it was revealed that she had petitioned Khula for a divorce.

With Shoaib Malik’s divorce, Sania Mirza is searching for love.

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