New Delhi: In over a decade-long journey, Pakistani musician Atif Aslam has made his 'aadeez' -- a term for his global fan following -- sway to his chart-topping songs. The "Aadat" hitmaker will finally stage his debut performance in Guwahati where his fans too can't wait for his gig.
[Atif Aslam at Royal Stag MTV Bollyland, Indore]
Known for having an ability to hit high notes effortlessly and strumming stringed instruments without being formally trained, the 32-year-old is looking forward to his maiden performance in the northeast this month.
"Indeed, it's my first time in the region. I'm looking forward to performing in Guwahati. I'm very excited about it, but I don't know how they are going to react to the EDM (electronic dance music). I'll probably go for shopping too," Atif told IANS.
After having done concerts in Indian cities like Chennai, Udaipur, Delhi and Ahmedabad, Atif, who believes there are no boundaries when it comes to music, will visit the Assamese city for Royal Stag MTV Bollyland -- a series of multi-city music concerts that see the fusion of Bollywood songs with electronic beats.
His recent concert in Pune got cancelled due to opposition from Shiv Sena, but Assamese musician-actor-filmmaker Zubeen Garg, who enjoys a cult status in the northeastern state, is positive that there won't be any resistance to Atif's show in Guwahati.
"I'm sure he will get a warm welcome. Northeast crowd is very nice...it's upbeat and the timing is very good. Everyone is in a festive mood here (Assam). There is nothing like Pakistani or Hindustani here. No racial thing in Guwahati," said Zubeen.
"The music scene is good here. People listen to Bollywood music, but folk music is very big here," he added.
Fellow Assamese musician Joi Barua, who has also sung for Bollywood movies like "Udaan" and "Dev.D", believes it's "a super occasion".
"An actual 'east meets west' moment for our subcontinent... Two very different cultures. I really wish him the very best," said Joi, who considers Atif's Bollywood debut track "Woh lamhe" from the 2005 film "Zeher" special.
Mridu Pavan Deka, who worked as an animator on National Award-winning film "Sound of Joy", is on cloud nine as he will get an opportunity to watch the "Doorie" singer live.
"I'm eagerly waiting for it. I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will attend the concert. I think a majority of the crowd will be from Guwahati only as Bollywood music is more popular here as compared to other northeastern states, where the presence of western and regional music is stronger," he said.
Atif, who likes being in India, won't entertain music lovers with his bandmates this time. Instead, he will match up to the beats played by DJ Chetas at the upcoming musical event.
Still, his fans in Guwahati, where Pakistani bands like Jal and Strings have rocked before, are looking forward to it.
Kaushik Ram Phookun, 30, said that "he is one singer who kills it when he is live".
"I've been following his music for quite some time now. I love his voice and the way he fuses rock with Sufi. So, I'm very excited especially because he's going to be here in Guwahati," Phookun said.
Asked about Atif's EDM gig, Phookun said: "I wasn't aware of that. But that makes it more interesting."
Biplab Jyotidoley is also geared up for the concert.
"He is a good singer and I like his kind of music. I'm going because of that, and not because he is an artist from across the border. Music has no boundary. Atif is known for performing with his own band, but this concept of performing with a DJ...I would like to witness that," said Jyotidoley.
While there is still time to find out whether his northeastern fans will accept his EDM performance, he surely rocked the 'Aadeez' in Indore with a similar act in April.
(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at email@example.com)