Just like our culture, when it comes to music, there’s a lot in common between Pakistan & India. There are several popular songs from Hindi movies that have been sung by Pakistani singers and they do have their fans here in India.
And even though we are talking about Bollywood songs here, its worth mentioning that there have been other great Pakistani singers (classical and sufi singers) as well , who have chosen not to sing for films (be it in Bollywood or in Pakistan).
Here are the top 10 Pakistani singers in Bollywood, of all time!
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
The legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (extremely popular in India) is his uncle. After Nusrat’s demise, Rahat filled in the void, as he had the talent and a similar singing style (bit mellower tone). An extremely gifted singer, unfortunately it took the death of his uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for people to start noticing him. Despite being a versatile singer, for several years, he did try to sing the way Nusrat did (perhaps to fill the void). However of late, he’s been doing quite well for himself even in Bollywood with several hit songs to his credit.
Since “Lagi Tumse Mann Ki Lagan” (Paap), he’s one of the most sought-after singers, especially to sing the earthy, qawwali type of songs. And because there’s always a requirements for such type of songs in our films, Rahat is here to stay.
He’s already sung in several films and judged TV shows like “Chhote Ustaad 2” and “Junoon – Kuchh Kar Dikhaane Ka”. He’s also the voice behind “Nazar Mein Rehte Ho”, the theme song of Aman Ki Asha, a joint initiative of The Times of India and the Jang group of Pakistan.
Atif Aslam is definitely one of the most popular Pakistani singers, and even the most sought after singer in Bollywood. Youngsters are just crazy about here, not just in India, but even in UK and Dubai. Started as a pop singer and it didn’t take long for Bollywood to notice his talents. You can also see him as the judge on several music reality shows.
A big star here, his popularity in India has not only ensured him a full-fledged career here, but he’ll now be seen in Pakistani movies as well (after years of singing). After several years of popularity in Bollywood as a singer, he also acted in his first film as an actor, a Pakistani production called “Bol”.
A multi-talented person, Ali Zafar is a singer, composer, song writer, painter and also a film actor. Hugely popular overseas (was even voted as the sexiest man by one of the magazines), he’s acted in a few Bollywood movies as well (sings his own songs as well).
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Perhaps one of the most popular names in the last few years, several of his songs have been either remixed or used as it is in several hindi movies. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was the Shahenshah of Qawwali and has performed in several countries around the world including India, Japan, England and Dubai. Nusrat also taught Rahat Fateh Ali (and was his uncle), who’s currently pursuing his singing career in Bollywood.
Noor Jehan (real name Allah Wasai) started singing at the age of around 6 years and got early training from Ustad Barey Ghulam Ali Khan, who taught her classical music. She has performed as a play back singer in many movies, most of which are still alive in our hearts even after so many years.
Mehdi Hassan (known as the King of Ghazal), has millions of fans worldwide, and even Lata Mangeshkar is a big fan of his voice and ghazals. Mehdi started his career at radio Pakistan as a thumri singer, but because his interest’s was in Urdu poetry he started focusing more on Ghazals. Checkout the best Mehdi Hassan songs of all time
He’s consciously stayed away from singing for films, though he has sung a few! If not the best, Ghulam Ali is definitely among the best ghazal singers in the world. More then Pakistan, he seems to be more popular in India, Bangladesh, UK, and Dubai people.
His “Kabhi To Nazar Milao” album with Asha Bhonsle topped Indipop charts all of that year (2001) and his next sold over 20,00,000 copies. Adnan continues to sing in several Bollywood films (as well as compose) and is also seen on reality shows (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs). By the way, the Pakistani born singer is now a citizen of India (by naturalization).
Though he seems to be struggling in recent times (both professionally as well as in personal life). He was in the news lately for his public and turbulent spat with former wife Sabah Galadari.
Shafqat Amanat Ali
Least popular of all, he’s slowly but surely making his way here. In-spite of a household name in Pakistan thanks to his lineage, as well as his famous band Fuzon (“akhiyan to ole ole”, “aankhon ke sagar”), Shafqat still welcomed the opportunity to work in Bollywood.
He has only done selective work till now, working with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy on “Mitwa” for “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna”, and his last song has been “Dildaara” for another Shah Rukh-starrer, “Ra.One”. He continues to do Live concerts in India, and like his counterpart Rahat aki, Shafqat has also done several songs for Aman Ki Asha.
Abida Parveen is one of the foremost exponents of Sufi music. She sings mainly ghazals and her forte id, Kafis, a solo genre accompanied by percussion and harmonium, using a repertoire of songs by Sufi poets. She was also seen as a judge on one of the music reality shows.