Remembering Asad Amanat Ali Khan - Pakistan's Iconic Ghazal Singer

Remembering Asad Amanat Ali Khan - Pakistan's Iconic Ghazal Singer
April 8 marks the 16th death anniversary of one of the most prominent ghazal singers of Pakistan – Asad Amanat Ali Khan who sang memorable songs for several Pakistani films during the golden era of the industry.

He was born on September 25, 1955 in the renowned Patiala Gharana of musicians, in Lahore. Being the son of vocalist Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, he started learning classical music early, recording first song at the age of 10.

His great grandfather Ali Buksh Khan, the founder of the Patiala Gharana, passed on his legacy to Akhter Hussain, who then transferred the gift and training to his sons Fateh Ali Khan, Amanat Ali Khan, and Hamid Ali Khan.

Amanat Ali Khan passed on the torch to his son, Asad Amanat Ali Khan. Asad was not inclined towards academic studies, and he joined a private institution and began singing professionally after completing his matriculation.

He began his career with 'Thumri' and then went on to record some of his popular Punjabi numbers and ghazals, including Umra Lagian, Zara Zara, Kal Chaudhvin ki Raat, and Ghar Wapas Jab Aao Gey, a famous ghazal written by eminent journalist and poet Ayoub Gohar.

Following his affiliation with a renowned musical family, Asad had a topnotch command over different genres of music.

One of the songs that he performed in almost every concert, arguably his father's biggest hit, was Insha Ji Utho.

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In an interview with anchorperson Naeem Bukhari, Asad said he was carrying the musical legacy of his father by singing his masterpiece.

He worked for Pakistan Television for more than two decades where Nisar Bazmi, an iconic music composer of the subcontinent and producer of the PTV, introduced him to the film industry where he sang his first song Tu Mere Pyar Ka Geet Hai for film 'Awaz' in 1978.

He also introduced Asad to the world of live television. The adept ghazal singer recorded over 1,000 songs for PTV.

Asad also contributed to the Pakistani film industry, featuring on several soundtracks. Moreover, he caught the attention of Bollywood and contributed soundtracks there too.

He was also famous for his 'soz-o-salam' recitations in Urdu describing the events of Karbala, and appeared on many radio and TV specials in this regard over the years prior to his death.

Like his father, the government acknowledged his immense contribution to Pakistani music by awarding him the Pride of Performance on March 23, 2007, just two weeks before his death.

Today's generation is less aware of Asad's contributions but he left a significant impact through his soothing and melodious voice.

His brothers, Shafqat Amanat Ali and Hamid Ali Khan are also renowned names in the subcontinent's music.

The author is a practicing lawyer and freelance journalist. His areas of interest are cultural diversity and socio-political issues of Sindh.