Planet Bollywood
Atif Aslam´s ´Meri Kahani´
- Atta Khan           Let us know what you think about this feature article

Atif Aslam, the Pakistani singer best known for a couple of super-hit and critically acclaimed Bollywood tracks (Woh Lamhe from Zeher and Tere Bin from Bas Ek Pal) has just released his second solo album called Meri Kahani. After his successful debut in Doorie last year, great expectations await this incredibly talented playback singer but can Meri Kahani build on Doorie and keep his fans happy until his next super-hit in Bollywood?

(Incidentally the music here is by Pakistani composers Farhad Hamayun, Sheraz Siddiq, Shameer Shami, Mahmood Rehman and apparently Atif Aslam himself!).

Well on first listen it may disappoint especially if you compare it directly to the instantly catchy tracks from Doorie i.e. Doorie (title), Hum Kis Galli Ja Rahe Hain, and the superb Kuch Is Tarah...however give it a few listens, keep an open mind and you may eventually find a soundtrack more rewarding than his debut one.

You see Atif proves the versatility and impact in his vocals in Meri Kahani whereas one felt in Doorie, his vocals played almost second fiddle to catchy, in your face music. In Meri Kahani he is required to make a greater impact with his vocals to hold your attention against some fairly unspectacular (soft rock) music.

So does he succeed? Undoubtedly YES in my opinion! Maybe not in all the twelve tracks here (there are no remixes) but more than enough to warrant a purchase. Here are some of the highlights you can look forward to...

A deep breath from Atif ignites the title song Meri Kahani, co-written by the singer himself and one which turns out to be one of the best tracks here that won't require much listening before it connects with you. This pacey song is dominated by guitar strumming by Shahzad Hameed leaving Atif to add magic with his vocals and how he succeeds! Just listen out for his short verse with simultaneous vocals / supporting vocals midway through which is the highlight of this short but extremely enjoyable track.

Cries of agony greet you in Kinara, another rock based anthem that offers little originality in its drum orchestration or in the lyrics department (again written by the singer)- however Atif more than makes up for this with his singing which oozes confidence and subtlety belying the age or experience of the singer- overall another good listen.

Rabba Sacheya on the other hand tests Atif's Punjabi tongue and he pulls it off with aplomb! The main verses are slow (more guitar strumming this time by Sarmad Ghafoor) but as soon as he releases his lungs with 'rabb soniyan' at the cusp of the chorus, the music bursts into life and has your feet tapping in no time! As the song progresses he goes onto shows amazing ability to control high and low pitched vocals (and at the same time pacing them perfectly). This song was tailor made for Atif!

Arguably the best of the bunch however is the bewitching Man Hota Hai which is co-written and co-produced by Atif. This track puts his almost whisper quiet singing against the sole backdrop of a piano piece and how he delivers! Pay particular attention to the dexterity of his vocals, how they portray to great effect the sincerity, graveness and chilling sadness that the lyrics so demand....

Other recommended tracks include the addictive Chor Gayai, the sweet Humrahi, the subdued but extremely hip Mai Nee and his only duet of the entire soundtrack Kaun The (with S.K.J).

All in all, whilst nothing outstanding in the grand scheme of things, Meri Kahani is still highly recommended for any Atif fan and the general music loving public at large…There is more than enough variety on offer here that test the unquestionable talents of the singer and there is a good chance that on repeated listening you will find at least a few songs here to keep you happy until his next major Bollywood track, in fact it offers much more than Doorie which, whilst good itself, was filled with remixes.

What's more as a listener and music fan, it's great to see these individuals along with other upcoming solo artists such as Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (who incidentally has also just released his debut soundtrack Charkha) and Abhijeet (Junoon) release quality solo albums. It not only prolongs their career but keeps them in the picture of music directors and ultimately satisfies hungry listeners like you and me.

Above all, Atif proves the immense singing talents that preside across the border in Pakistan- he sits alongside Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and the brilliant band Strings all of whom have performed at the very top level in our beloved Bollywood. Expect more from this lot very soon!


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