The Arts

Lockdown Blues: Ali Sethi, Farida Khanum and Rekha Bhardwaj Hold Live Instagram Gig

While Khanum sang the number she is most celebrated for – 'Ab jaane ki zid na karo', Rekha reportedly sang 'Phir le aaya dil'.

New Delhi: In the time of an acute crisis forcing people to stay indoors, a handful of informal collaborations between musicians from Pakistan and India have taken place through social media this week – throwing up live music sessions to the delight of their fans.

On March 24, Pakistani singer and author Ali Sethi announced on Instagram that he would be going live for “a very special session” with his fans.

That evening, Sethi indeed dropped a pleasant surprise to music lovers by bringing together legendary Pakistani singer Farida Khanum live on Instagram to talk, and subsequently sing, alongside Indian musician Rekha Bhardwaj.


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Sethi, the winner of the 2010 Shakti Bhatt Award for his novel The Wish Maker, is presently filming a documentary on his mentor, Khanum. He is currently in New York, confined to his home and became the first Pakistani musician to offer live music for fans on social media.

In the March 24 session held at 7:30 pm India time, Rekha in Mumbai was soon joined on Instagram by her husband and well-known Bollywood filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj. According to a March 25 report on Dawn, “Director Vishal Bhardwaj also joined in and what resulted was a melodious night that proved you can be social while social distancing.” The report said, “There were discussions on music and life. Rekha performed a few lines written by Vishal while Sethi also belted out a few tunes for the audience and the Bahardwajs just loved it!”

While Khanum sang the number she is most celebrated for – ‘Ab jaane ki zid na karo’, Rekha reportedly sang ‘Phir le aaya dil’.

Last checked, the video clip of Khanum singing the immortal song had nearly 50,000 hits.

On March 23, yet another India-Pakistan musical partnership took place on social media. This time of Mumbai-based singer-songwriter of Gully Boy fame, Ankur Tewari, brought live to Karachi by Salt Arts, a music arts and entertainment agency based in that Pakistani city known for its live event Strings.

The Dawn report added, “It’s strange that it took a pandemic to unite us this way but hey, that’s a nice silver lining in all this tragedy.”