"His vocals are rustic and beguiling at the same time.”
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a household name in South Asia. Being the nephew of the Qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (late), Rahat has carved a name for himself.
Coming from a family of talented Qawwals who gained international recognition, Rahat did not live in their shadows. Instead, he surpassed most of them except Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for obvious reasons.
His singing garnered public attention at the young age of nine. At fifteen, he was part of his uncle Nusrat’s Qawwali group and toured around the world.
In addition to that, he started to showcase his vocal prowess as well on stage.
He marked his Bollywood singing debut with ‘Mann Ki Lagan’ for the Bollywood film Paap (2003). He has gone to sing many Bollywood songs, along with singing for Pakistan television and films.
DESIblitz presents 20 unforgettable songs by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
‘Mann Ki Lagan’: Paap (2003)
‘Mann Ki Lagan’ is a song by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. It features on the soundtrack of the film Paap (2003).
The music has been composed by Shahi. The lyrics are penned by Amjad Islam Amjad.
The song marks the debut of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in Bollywood. It also paved an entry into Bollywood for many Pakistani musicians.
The music video depicts the romance between John Abraham (Inspector Shiven) and Udita Goswami (Kaaya). Shahid Khan for Planet Bollywood speaks about Rahat’s supreme voice:
“Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s evocative voice rules in “Mann Ki Lagan” (lyrics by Amjad Islam Amjad). Related to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, this singer refreshingly does not try to copy the legend.
“His vocals are rustic and beguiling at the same time.”
Watch Mann Ki Lagan here:
‘Bol Na Halke Halke’ – Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007)
‘Bol Na Halke Halke’ is a song by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Mahalakshmi Lyer. It is from the Bollywood film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007).
The song is picturised on Abhishek Bachchan and Preity Zinda. The song has more than 14 million views on YouTube.
Gianysh Toolsee of Planet Bollywood attributes the success of the song to the singer:
“Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is the man behind ‘Bol Na Halke Halke’!”
“Without his voice, the track would not have been the same or the uniqueness would have been missing.”
‘Bol Na Halke Halke’ is a slow romantic number and would make anyone desire for love. The song was among one of the most popular Indian songs in 2007.
Watch ‘Bol Na Halke Halke’ here:
‘Garaj Baras’ (2008)
‘Garaj Baras’ is a song completed for Coke Studio Pakistan Season 1. It is a recreation of the original song by the band Junoon. The Coke Studio version features Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Ali Azmat on the vocals.
It has no official music video and features the set from the first season of Coke Studio. It has over 7 million views on YouTube.
Maaz Ahmed Siddiqui of Reviewit.Pk says the singer’s raag blends well with the original:
“Rahat was chosen just to fuse his raag with the original and that actually worked a great deal.”
‘Garaj Baras’ is considered as one of the best songs of Coke Studio during the Rohail Hyatt era. The song retains the original touch of Ali Azmat, along with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s soulful voice.
Watch ‘Garaj Baras’ here:
‘Teri Ore’ – Singh is Kinng (2008)
‘Teri Ore’ is a song by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shreya Ghoshal. It is from the Bollywood film Singh is Kinng (2008).
The lyrics are by Mayur Puri and the music has been composed by Pritam.
The music video features Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif in a romantic avatar. It has over 37 million views on YouTube.
Akshay did a great job on the screen to this song. It felt as if he was singing it himself.
Praising the singer Raja Senn of Rediff wrote:
“Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is awesome as always.”
Watch ‘Teri Ore’ here:
‘Tere Mast Mast Do Nain’ – Dabangg (2010)
‘Tere Mast Mast Do Nain’ is a popular romantic number from the film Dabangg (2010) sang by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shreya Ghoshal. The music composition of the track is by the duo Sajid-Wajid.
The music video takes place in a crowded market place. It features Salman Khan trying to impress Sonakshi Sinha who is his love interest in the film.
Reviewing the song, Jaspreet Pandohar for the BBC wrote:
“Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s tender vocals draw you in from the first line as he voyages through a man’s amorous awakening.”
Listening to the song would put anyone in a romantic mood even if you are single or have gone through a breakup. This particular song has a magic to it.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan won the ‘Best Singer’ category for this song at the BIG Star Entertainment Awards (2010). He also bagged ‘Best Male Vocalist’ at the IIFA Awards (2011) for this track.
Watch ‘Tere Mast Mast Do Nain’ here:
‘Main Tenu Samjhawan Ki’ – Virsa (2010)
‘Main Tenu Samjhawan Ki’ is a Punjabi song by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for the Indo-Pak film Virsa (2010).
Famous Pakistani singer Jawad Ahmed is the music composer of the song. Farah Anwar provides the female vocals for the song.
The music video depicts a sad romantic mood and features Indian actor Aarya Babbar and Pakistani actress Mehreen Raheel. It has over four million views on YouTube.
Despite Virsa’s average critical reception, fans did appreciate the soundtrack. It was particularly due to this song that the soundtrack became very popular.
The song was recreated twice for the film Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014).
One version features Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal on vocals. Another unplugged version from the same film features Alia Bhatt on vocals.
‘Main Tenu Samjhawan’ became one of the most popular Punjabi tracks from 2010. The track also displays the versatility of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Watch ‘Main Tenu Samjhawan’ here:
‘Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji’ – Ishqiya (2010)
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is the singer of the song ‘Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji’ from the film Ishqiya (2010).
Gulzar is the writer of the song, with Vishal Bhardwaj directing the music.
The music video highlights the romantic chemistry between the characters of Naseeruddin Shah (Khalujan) and Vidya Balan (Krishna Verma).
In her review for Hindustan Times, Ruchika Kher writes about the appealing elements of the song:
“The song instantly strikes a chord with the listener thanks to its retro feel and soothing orchestration.”
The song, ‘Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji” has a feel-good factor to it, being the perfect choice for listening when in a romantic mood.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan won the 2011 Filmfare Award for ‘Best Male Playback Singer’ for this song.
Watch ‘Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji’ here:
‘Sajdaa’ – My Name is Khan (2010)
‘Sajdaa’ is a song from the Bollywood film My Name is Khan (2010). It is sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan and Richa Sharma. The music has been composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy.
The music video of ‘Sajdaa’ touches upon the romance between the characters of Shahrukh Khan (Rizwan Khan) and Kajol (Mandira Rathore).
It also features the relationship they have with their family and friends.
‘Sajdaa’ has over 10 million views on YouTube. Ruchika Kher in her review for Hindustan Times writes:
“It’s a Sufi number that tugs at one’s heartstrings.”
“The sounds of tablas and dholaks keep the listener hooked. With great voices behind the mike, Sajda is a must hear.”
‘Sajdaa’ is a heart touching song that reminds us of the value of relationships.
Watch ‘Sajdaa’ here:
‘Teri Meri’ – Bodyguard (2011)
‘Tere Meri’ is a beautiful romantic track from the Bollywood film Bodyguard (2011) sang by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shreya Ghoshal. Himesh Reshammiya is the music composer of this song
The song features Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor as each others love interest. It has more than 87 million views on YouTube.
The Times of India placed the songs in its list of top 10 Hindi songs for the year 2011.
Joginder Tujeda from Bollywood Hungama noted the soundtrack of the film:
“For those who are hunting for melody which boasts of a much longer shelf life, there is ‘Teri Meri’ and ‘I Love You’ (by Pritam) which are all set to rule the charts in days to come.”
‘Teri Meri’ remains evergreen as people widely listen to it not just in South Asia but everywhere around the world.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan received Filmfare Awards (2012) and IIFA Awards (2012) nominations for this song.
Watch ‘Teri Meri’ here:
‘Pata Yaar Da’ – Zinda Bhaag (2013)
‘Pata Yaar Da’ is a song from the Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag (2013). It is the title track of the film.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is the singer of the song, with Hassan Mujtaba writing the lyrics. The music comes from Sahir Ali Bagga.
The music video features different clips from Zinda Bhaag. Syed Abbas Hussain of Youlin Magazine expressing the exciting aspect of the song, writes:
“Thaatan Maarda (sic) by the iconic Rahat Fateh Ali Khan especially does so quite rousingly.”
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan won the ARY Film Award (2014) in the ‘Best Playback Male Singer’ category for this song.
Watch ‘Pata Yaar Da’ here:
‘Ishq-E-Mamnoon’ – Ask-i-Memnu (2013)
‘Ishq-E-Mamnoon’ is a recreation from the title track of the Turkish namesake Urdu dubbed television series. The original name of the Turkish television series is Ask-I-Memnu (2008)
The recreated version has the beautiful voice of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. EMU is the composer of the music, with Parmesh Adiwal being the director
The music video focuses on Rahat Fateh Ali Khan singing and features characters from the television series too.
It is among the best soundtracks done for a dubbed television show in Pakistan.
Watch ‘Ishq-E-Mamnoon’ here:
‘Malal’ – Main Hoon Shahid Afridi (2013)
‘Malal’ by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is on the soundtrack of the Pakistani film Main Hoon Shahid Afridi (2013). Music duo Shani-Kami are composers of the song.
The music video stars Pakistani actors Humayun Saeed and Mahnoor Baloch. It depicts the romance between the two characters.
Galaxy Lollywood, Momin Ali Munshi reviews the song, writing:
“The song Malal sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has quite the soothing effect with its “kamaal kay” lyrics and tone.”
‘Malal’ is a beautiful song and the music video adds more effect to it.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was nominated under ‘Best Playback Male Singer’ for this song at the 1st ARY Film Awards (2014).
Watch ‘Malal’ here:
‘Zaroori Tha’ (2014)
‘Zaroori Tha’ is a song by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan from his album Back 2 Love (2014).
Sahir Ali Bagga is the music director, with the lyrics coming courtesy of Khalil Ur-Rehman Qamar.
A direction of Rahul Dudd, the music video features the real-life couple and former Big Boss (2006-2018) contestants Kushal Tandon and Gauahar Khan.
Rukmini Chopra from Bollywood Life notes in her review:
“Emotional and powerful, the singer’s stint has the famous sufi touch to it which he is well known for and the voice quality overall doesn’t disappoint as usual.
“‘Zaroori Tha’ is the first original non-film music video in India to reach over 200 million views.”
The song is also in the film Hamari Adhuri Kahani (2015), which stars Emran Hashmi and Vidya Balan.
Watch ‘Zaroori Tha’ here:
‘Jag Ghoomeya’ – Sultan (2016)
‘Jag Ghoomeya’ from the Bollywood film Sultan (2015) is a melodious romantic track. It presents the vocal powers of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan once again.
The music video features Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma. It has more than 115 million views on YouTube.
Writing for Bollywood Life, Rashma Shetty Bali said:
“Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice is magic and we bet that his fans will not be disappointed with Jag Ghoomeya.”
Arijit Singh was the original singer for the song.
However, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan coming into the equation was a blessing in disguise with his specific vocals.
Watch ‘Jag Ghomeya’ here:
‘Afreen Afreen’ (2016)
‘Afreen Afreen’ from Coke Studio Pakistan Season 9 is a recreation of the original namesake song by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Momina Mustehsan sing the Coke Studio version.
Pakistani singer Faakhir Mehmood is the music composer of the song. The recreation is in honour of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
It has no official music video. The video features the two main singers as the house band do justice to the original Qawwali.
Kinza Amjad from the Express Tribune compliments the song:
“The Coke Studio version turned the song into a praise of beauty for its listeners.”
It is the fastest Pakistani song to reach over 215 million views on YouTube. In 2017, it became the most viewed Pakistani video on YouTube.
Watch ‘Afreen Afreen” here:
‘O Khudaya’ – Actor in Law (2016)
‘O Khudaya’ is a song by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for the Pakistani film Actor in Law (2016). Mohsin Abbas Haider is the lyricist, with Shani Arshad being the composer of the song.
The song features Pakistani actors Fahad Mustafa, Mehwish Hayat, Lubna Aslam alongside the late Indian actor Om Puri.
The music video depicts a depressive mood and the song showcases a similar sad feeling.
Nadir Hassan from Newsline Magazine described the soundtrack of Actor in Law as “stellar” crediting Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s contribution with ‘O Khudaya.’
Despite the sad tone of ‘O Khudaya’ it is a lovely song and has a catchy melody.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was nominated as ‘Best Singer’ at the International Pakistan Prestige Awards (2017) for this song.
Watch ‘O Khudaya’ here:
‘Dekhte Dekhte’ – Batti Gul Meter Chalu (2018)
The song was originally in the voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
The name of the original song is ‘Sochta Hun,’ which came out in 1985. The revamp song ‘Dekhte Dekhte’ is in the film Batti Gul Meter Chalu (2018).
The song has two versions, one with the voice of Atif Aslam and the other by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
The music video features Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor. Rahat’s version has over four million views on YouTube.
Joginder Tujeda from Bollywood Hungama reviewing the film expressed:
“A song about how love changes shades in a matter of time, ‘Dekhte Dekhte’ could well be picked by those with a broken heart.
“That said, the song never gets into a boring ‘dard-e-judaai’ mode and instead stays on to be reasonably lively, given the kind of genre that it belongs to.”
‘Dekhte Dekhte’ is a great example of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan doing justice to his uncle’s Qawwalis.
The song does not come close to the original but is an amazing number nonetheless.
Watch ‘Dekhte Dekhte’ here:
‘Mere Rashke Qamar’ – Baadshaho (2017)
‘Mere Rashke Qamar’ from the film Baadshaho (2017) is a recreation of the Qawwali by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is the singer of the 2017 film version, with Tanisk Bagchi being the music composer.
The music video stars Ajay Devgn and Ileana D’Cruz, with the shooting taking place in different locations across India.
The remake features the original voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as well alongside Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The song has more than thirty-three million views on YouTube.
The remake cannot surpass the original but is rightfully in a league of its own.
Sreju Sudakharan of Bollywood Life wrote:
“This is a gem of a romantic track, with some soulful vocals and a brilliant composition.”
“I am glad that the makers retained the voice of the original singer, the late legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, while his equally talented nephew Rahat Fateh Ali Khan supplements his uncle in his inimitable style.”
Watch ‘Mere Rashke Qamar’ here:
‘Koi Chand Rakh’ – Koi Chand Rakh (2018)
‘Koi Chand Rakh’ is a song by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for the namesake Pakistani television series.
The song is written by Sabir Zafar and the music has been composed by Shani Arshad.
The music video showcases clips from the television series and has over 17 million views. Afshan Abbas for HipInPakistan talking about the song:
“Rahat’s euphonious voice spreads magic once again with this mellow romantic number.”
“The singer has done justice to the beautiful lyrics written by Sabir Zafar and also to the extraordinary composition by Shani Arshad.”
The song is an emotional rollercoaster. ‘Koi Chand Rakh’ is certainly worthy of an award and hopefully, it will get one in the foreseeable future.
Watch ‘Koi Chand Rakh’ here:
‘Sanu Ek Pal Chain’ – Raid (2018)
‘Sanu Ek Pal Chain’ is a remake of the original song. It was originally a song by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and released in 1993.
The remake is sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for the Bollywood film Raid (2018).
The music video displays the romance between Ajay Devgn (Amay Patnaik) and Ileana D’Cruz (Malini Patnaik) in the film. It has more than 85 million views on YouTube.
Debarati S Sen wrote in her review for The Times of India:
“Of the four, two numbers, ‘Sanu Ek Pal Chain’ and ‘Nit Khair Manga’ are from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s collection and have been recreated by Tanishk Bagchi with additional lyrics by Manoj Muntashir.
“Both the numbers sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan tick all the right boxes in terms of melody, music and soulful rendition.
“One can find an instant connect when you hear these tracks, as the familiar tunes tug at your heartstrings.”
The song bagged The Mirchi Award (2019) under the ‘Recreated Song of the Year’ category.
Watch ‘Sanu Ek Pal Chain’ here:
Rahat is known to perform many of these songs when he tours the UK and around the world.
Rahat has many other excellent tracks that did not make our list of twenty.
These include ‘Jiya Dhadak Dhak’ (Kalyug: 2005), ‘Jag Soona Soona Lage’ (Om Shanti Om: 2007) and ‘Aaj Din Chadeya’ (Love Aaj Kal: 2009).
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will certainly have many more popular songs in the future along with continuing the Qawwali legacy of his uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.