Not too long ago, Atif Aslam came under fire when subcontinent’s living legend Lata Mangeshkar stated that she had no interest in listening to his version of ‘Chalte Chalte’. The song is featured on the soundtrack of a Bollywood film called Mitron while the original song featured in the iconic film Pakeezah had lyrics by Kaifi Azmi, music direction by Ghulam Mohammed and was sung by none other than Lata Mangeshkar. Atif’s version, meanwhile, is recreated by Tanishk Baghchi, who is credited for music and lyrics on the newer version.
Speaking to media outlets, Mangeshkar was quoted saying: “This trend of remixing old songs saddens me. Where is the creativity in simply lifting acknowledged, beloved classics and shuffling the notes around? I’ve even heard that the lyrics are changed in the remixes. By whose consent? The original poets and composers wrote what they had to. Nobody has the right to tamper with the creativity of these great composers and lyricists.”
In between performing at an award ceremony that shall not be named and touring spaces such as South Africa this year, Aslam has sung for other Bollywood films including the relatively recent ‘Dekhte Dekhte’ for Shahid Kapoor-Shraddha Kapoor starrer Batti Gul Meter Chalu. Ironically enough, it is a rendition of a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan original.
And yet, the love affair continues with Atif Aslam having sung a new song for the upcoming Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra starrer Namaste England. Released this week, it has already crossed 9 million views. And though suited to Atif’s style, it also feels dated for him now. He also sang a track called ‘Tera Hua’ for an upcoming Salman Khan production. But controversies don’t make too much of a dent on the numbers an Atif Aslam song generates or the kind of draw he has to fans. Salman Khan and Shahid Kapoor both tweeted positively about some songs.
Will this mean he will continue to simply lend his voice to tracks by others or push himself to create his own songs? Time will tell. Until then, the invincible Bollywood ways of Atif Aslam will continue.