Saturday, September 24, 2011



I hope Pakistan cricket will be understood and respected. I hope people will feel the other side of me and understand why I am the way I am


LAHORE: Pakistan's former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has stirred yet another controversy, this time questioning the class and temperament of India’s batting stalwarts Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid and also termed Shoaib Malik as ‘inappropriate captaincy material.’

In his just-published biography “Controversially Yours”, the temperamental speedster accused Tendulkar of being scared of facing his scorching pace on a slow Faisalabad track. He also claimed that Tendulkar and Dravid were not match-winners nor did they know the art of finishing games.

"....Vivian Richards, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and the likes of them are great batsmen who dominated with the bat and were truly match-winners. Initially, when I bowled against Sachin, I found these qualities missing. He might have had more runs and records, he lacked the ability to finish the game," he said in the book, yet to be formally launched.

Akhtar, who announced his retirement during the World Cup this year, also cited an example where he felt that Sachin was mighty scared to face him. "We would have faced a humbling defeat in the series but for the fact that we reined in Sachin Tendulkar.” "What went in our favour was that Sachin was suffering from tennis elbow! This severely handicapped the great batsman. We managed to psychologically browbeat him.

"We bounced the ball at him and were able to unnerve him. I returned to the dressing room that first day with the knowledge that Sachin was not comfortable facing fast and rising ball. He was distinctly uncomfortable against me. That was enough to build on," he said. "I bowled (Sachin) a particularly fast ball which he, to my amazement didn't even touch. He walked away! That was the first time, I saw him walk away from me-- that, too, on the slow track at Faisalabad. It got my hunting instincts up and in the next match I hit him on the head and he couldn't score after that", Akhtar wrote.

The 36-year-old Akhtar, who had scalped 178 wickets in 46 Test and 247 I wickets in 163 ODIs, said that Tendulkar and Dravid who have together conjured over 56,000 international runs (over 33,000 by Tendulkar and over 23,000 by Dravid) are not "match winners". "I think players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid weren't exactly match winners to start with, nor did they know the art of finishing the game," Shoaib said.

Akhtar who played for Shah Rukh Khan co-owned Kolkata Knight Riders during IPL has accused the Bollywood superstar and former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi of "cheating."

"Shahrukh and I talked about my not being happy with the money settled on me. Shahrukh and Modi got me to agree. I should have never listened to Modi and Shahrukh," he said in the book. One of the most shocking controversial revelations was that he tampered with the ball on many occasions during his playing days.

Often in the news for the wrong reasons, Akhtar said that the Pakistan team was often approached by match-fixers when they were in India. In an interview to the Times of India, he said: “What I’ve written is my experience, put as honestly for others to know. This is the truth – for the world, it may be a big controversy.” He took a dig at Shoaib Malik saying:

“Shoaib Malik doesn’t deserve to be captain and was made captain because he was a stooge of the PCB Chief Naseem Ashraf.” Another shocking revelation is one where he claims Wasim Akram attempted to end his career. “Wasim Akram threatened to walk out with half the team if I was included in the team. General Tauqir Zia backed me against Wasim,” Akhtar says of fissures previously unheard of. Javed Miandad, Pervez Musharraf, Shah Rukh Khan and Lalit Modi have also come into the crosshairs in the autobiography.

Monday, September 19, 2011



Rahat Fateh Ali Khan fans could be seen in full force Sunday night at Serena Hotel where the legend vocalist and musician got off to a decent start with hymn ‘Milta Hay Har Ta
raf Khuda’ sans any glaring glitches or behind the scenes blunders and concluded the 3 hours live concert with the blockbuster ‘Tere Mast Mast Do Nain’ from the Indian movie ‘Dabangg’.

Zong organized the glitzy night with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, one of the biggest entity at home and across the border while Pakistan Today partnered the event titled ‘Sada-e-Dil’. Two vibrant young men Abdul Rehman Tipu, and Adeel Ahmed from Miradore Productions, Energic and Brad Logic were also behind the show. The two youngsters made this concert- the 3rd from Rahat in federal capital, possible for the viewers of twin cities with the unflinching efforts.

Dressed in an off white kurta suit, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan walked on stage and greeted the audience with clasped hands before he sat and played the harmonium and mesmerised the packed crowd with his voice. His delivery was a clear example that those gifted with true talent do not need theatrics and stage effects to pull off a great show.

Acclaimed for his rhythms, beat and melody, and enriched with poetic values courtesy a group of musicians, Khan brought the house down with his fiery energy on stage. His Punjabi flick ‘Ajj Din Charhiya Tere Rang Warga’ followed by the ghazal original sung by his uncle late Ustad Fateh Ali Khan ‘Tumhein Dil Lagi Bhool Jani Pary Gi’, and recent hit movie ‘Virsa’ ‘Mein tenu samjhanwan Ki’, and ‘Sajda’ one of the best song in recent time from Indian movie ‘My name is Khan’, electrified the ambiance with the crowds singing along and dancing to the upbeat numbers.

Trained by his late uncle, world music superstar Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan known to his huge international fan-base as Rahat is the sixth generation in his family to pursue the ancient art of qawwali, the mystical Sufi vocal tradition which seeks to induce a state of rapture in performers and listeners alike.

Rahat's wider fame is derived mainly from his multi-award-winning success as a Bollywood soundtrack artist, a non-devotional arena where qawwali has attained major popularity among Indian as well as Pakistani audiences that was also the feature of the night among his 20 numbers Rahat sung on the night.

This sold-out show was thus largely thronged with majority of elite class community from twin cities, where the women gorgeously clad in black shalwar kameez as the doctor orders while few foreigners were seen dancing and swaying in a state of high excitement at the presence of such a hero and master (‘Ustad’ is an honorific akin to ‘maestro’). The sound system too was good enough to pump energy into the audience.

Presiding over a 10-piece band, including young singer Mariam Arif accompanying Rahat in half way through and tabla drums, plus electric guitar and bass, keyboards and drumkit, Rahat delivered a magnificent, spellbinding display of Indian, Pakistani film hits, qawwalis, and ghazals, providing audience a sumptuous treasures.

His incandescently soulful, sorrowful, exultant voice soaring and swooping through themes and variations, call and response, amid settings that ranged from lush, catchy pop – also taking in a handful of dreamy romantic ballads – to sparse acoustic adornment when Ustad rahat fateh Ali Khan started ‘Ye Jo Halka Halka Suroor Hay’ followed by ‘Sab Rishtay Naatay hans Kay Tor Doon’, ‘Oray Piya’ and another blockbuster ‘Teri Ore’ from Bollywood movie ‘Singh is King’.

Rahat also introduced his upcoming song titled ‘Kaisa Hay Ye Ishq’ from the movie ‘Meray Brother Ki Dulhan’.

Soon Rahat turned towards back to back blockbusters included ‘Sureli Akhion Waly’ from Indian movie ‘Veer’, ‘Teri Meri Meri Teri Prem Kahani hay Mushkil’, from the lastest inidan release ‘Bodyguard’, followed by couple of ghazals ‘Meri Zaat Say Benishan’ and ‘Diyar-e-Ishq Mein Apna Maqam Paida Kar’- (Kalam-e-Iqbal).

Later, Khan on demand of large gathering, created very subtle vibrations in his voice, which he uses very beautifully, to convey a whole range of emotions through it. He could make it a sound hopelessly romantic or melancholic while singing ‘Teri Yaad Sath Hay’ sung for ‘Namastay London’.

Khan concluded the nights with back to back three Sufi songs in remembrance of his late uncle Ustad Nusrat fateh Ali Khan ‘Afreen Afreen’, ‘Mastt Nazron Say Allah Bachaay’ and stood up concluding ‘Tery Mastt Mastt Do Nain’ from the hit movie ‘Dabangg’ making audience over-ecstatic.

Fateh Ali Khan, 37 was born in Faisalabad, Punjab into a family of traditional musicians. He is the son of Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan and was trained by his uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in the art of classical music and Qawwali singing.

Rahat performed in the United Kingdom with his uncle at a concert in Birmingham, England on July 27, 1985. His popularity rose when he started singing Bollywood film songs in 2001 with the movie ‘Paap’, featuring the hit song ‘Mann Ki Lagan’. His releases are featured in some of the biggest and highest grossing Bollywood films of today.