Singer and Qawwal Rahat Fateh Ali Khan of Pakistan is well-known for his fraternal affinity with Indian composer Salim Merchant, who recently commemorated this in an emotional Instagram post. As part of the Salim-Sulaiman partnership, Salim uploaded a photo carousel documenting their adventures together, from performances to hangouts.
Despite the lack of specific locations, Salim emphasized the importance of the “last picture in this sequence,” which turned out to be the exact moment they recorded the moving song “Aafreen.”
Salim thanked Rahat for their work together and for getting to know him well in the post’s description. “We have a unique connection and are like brothers to Rahat bhai,” he wrote. The composer went on to say, “I cannot express my happiness to have known him so closely,” referring to their work together on Ore Piya, Saaiyaan, Dillagi, Mujhko Teri Zaroorat, Padharo Maula, Aafreen, and a few performances.
Rahat and Salim’s many musical styles highlight the depth of their collaboration. Essentially, Salim’s tweet encourages artists to keep pushing artistic boundaries instead of exploiting art to promote hate speech or nationalist causes (we’re looking at you, Fighter creators).
The connection between Salim and Rahat highlights the power of music to bridge cultural divides and bring people together, regardless of the difficulties that may arise between countries. Fans of Pakistani music and Bollywood films long for the kind of lasting cultural connections that transcend political divides, and Salim’s post exemplifies this.
It’s tragic that we can’t enjoy this singer’s music. An anonymous commenter under Salim’s post argued that politics had no place in art. “Wow, that was the era when we could receive music from all over the world,” someone else chimed in. The big hit, Habibi, slipped your mind, as a fan pointed out. Oh, the partnerships. Myths and legends. A third Bollywood star voiced their disappointment with RFAK, sir.