Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Bollywood people remember me only on special request: Altaf Raja said – I am active on social media after the era of cassettes is over


6 minutes agoAuthor: Akash Khare

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In 1997, a music album was released named 'Tum To Thare Pardesi'. This was the debut album of Qawwali singer Altaf Raja and it was such a hit that a record 40 lakh units of this album were sold during that period.

Altaf Raja's name became popular on everyone's lips overnight. After this, many private albums of Altaf were released but he could not repeat the success of his debut album. In his career, Altaf also did playback singing in many films including 'Pardesi Babu', 'Company', 'Ghanchakkar', 'Hunter' and 'Tamasha'.

Now Altaf has brought the title song 'X Squeeze Me Please' of MTV's reality show 'Splitsvilla 15'. This song has been filmed on Altaf Akasa, Sunny Leone, Tanuj Virwani and Urfi Javed.

Dainik Bhaskar spoke to Altaf on questions related to this song, personal life, career and Bollywood. Here are some excerpts from this conversation…

The title song 'Ex Squeeze Me Please' of 'Splitsvilla 15' has been filmed on Altaf and Akasa.

The title song 'Ex Squeeze Me Please' of 'Splitsvilla 15' has been filmed on Altaf and Akasa.

Question: Are you trying to reconnect with the youth by joining this show?
answer: I am already connected with youth. I am always connected with them through social media and seeing this connectivity, I have come on this show. I am very thankful to MTV Splitsvilla for offering me such a good song 'X Squeeze Me Please'.

Asa Singh composed it well. Akasa is a co-singer and it was a lot of fun working with her. We enjoyed a lot while shooting this song. I have also written poetry in this song, so I hope people will like it.

Question: When you were approached for the song 'X Squeeze Me Please', what was your first reaction?
answer:
I was in Kolkata when I got the offer for this song. I had a 15-day tour there in December. The makers had sent me the scratch and as soon as I heard it, I said yes because it was like a golden opportunity for me.

I have a 27 year old relationship with MTV…since 1997. Because even when my song 'Tum To Thaare Pardesi' became a hit, I had given many interviews on MTV. At that time Malaika Arora was the host of that show, so I have been associated with MTV for the last many years.

This song is sung by Altaf and Akasa.  It has been composed by Asa Singh.

This song is sung by Altaf and Akasa. It has been composed by Asa Singh.

Question: You were born in a musical family. Did your interest in music build up automatically or did you come into this field due to pressure from your parents?
answer: Of course it was self-built because music is never done under pressure. It hits you automatically. All the musicians and poets used to come to my house. There used to be rehearsals. Used to go to HMV Studio many times with parents.

When I used to watch the recording being done there, my interest in music arose from there too. I never thought of making a career in any other field other than this. Rest, I had to come into this field, this was my destiny.

When it was decided to make a career in this field, then I started working on Riyaz and voice. While doing this, today I am in front of you.

Altaf's father Ibrahim Iqbal was also a famous qawwali singer of his time.

Altaf's father Ibrahim Iqbal was also a famous qawwali singer of his time.

Question: When did you see the worst phase of your life?
answer:
My parents were always so supportive that they never let me feel any bad phase in life. Even when he was a teenager, he was supportive. Then even when I decided to make a career in this field, he remained completely supportive.

He got me trained from good masters. From Ustad Iqbal Khan Sahab. Pandit Govind Prasad from Jaipurwale ji and Prakash Sharma ji. My parents never made me realize when I would become a singer and start earning money. I pray that everyone gets such parents.

Altaf's mother Rani Roop Lata blessing him during a show.

Altaf's mother Rani Roop Lata blessing him during a show.

Question: With changing times, did you bring any change in your singing?
answer: My style is so famous, so how could I change it? Every artist has his own style and is recognized by it. Be it Kishore Da or Rafi Saheb. Yes, you may get different types of songs, but every singer is remembered for his style.

Altaf Raja with his mother and actor Jackie Shroff in this picture from the 90s.

Altaf Raja with his mother and actor Jackie Shroff in this picture from the 90s.

Question: There was a time when only your songs were heard everywhere. Why couldn't you maintain that growth? What do you think is the reason for that?
answer: Even today if you look, you will hear my songs on social media. There is no need for maintenance, the only thing is that the era of audio is over. Then I started my YouTube channel where my fans still listen and appreciate me.

I believe that every artist's peak period is 5 to 10 years. After that a new artist comes. But this does not mean that any artist is finished. Even today Kumar Sanu is seen on Indian Idol, right? So in the same way my shows also continue.

Altaf's music album 'Tum To Thare Pardesi', released in 1997, sold a record 40 lakh units at that time.

Altaf's music album 'Tum To Thare Pardesi', released in 1997, sold a record 40 lakh units at that time.

Question: What changed in your life after the era of cassettes and audios ended?
answer: There was no change because by then I was established. An artist becomes established in his peak period. After that the artist becomes busy in his work. Like I keep doing many shows all over the world and in India. So it is not that I am not visible so I do not work.

Altaf last sang the song 'Dil Lagana' in the Bollywood film 'Hunter' released in 2015.  It was filmed on Gulshan Devaiah and Radhika Apte.

Altaf last sang the song 'Dil Lagana' in the Bollywood film 'Hunter' released in 2015. It was filmed on Gulshan Devaiah and Radhika Apte.

Question: You have worked in Bollywood after a long break. Why so?
answer: Bollywood was never my dream. My dream was to have a private album of singing, which I am maintaining till now. When Bollywood calls, they always come with some special request. His first demand is that he will picturize the song on me only. So whenever they remember me, I am present.

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