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Rahim Shah, The One and Only


Report and photos by Talat Sattar


Having already toured USA, Europe, Middle East, Afghanistan and the UK in his short career, Rahim Shah is certainly the most in demand Asian artist and is known as one of the best stage artist in the world. His previous albums such as "Ghum" and "Yarana" have achieved world wide success and launched Rahim Shah as a super star. Rahim Shah says that his album "Yarana" celebrates the age-old friendship between Afghanistan and Pakistan and I call it Pak-Afghan Yarana.


The 32 years old Rahim Shah was born and raised in Karachi, Rahim Shah belongs to the wonderfully enchanting valley of Swat, village of Dakorak near Charbagh. Mother Nature has blessed him with captivating vocals. Rahim Shah is a multilingual Pakistani singer and is regarded as one of the best Asian artist in the world.  Rahim Shah had a very rough childhood and belongs to a very poor family. Rahim Shah first gained prominence through his song, “Pehlay to kabhi kabhi ghum tha”, which is an adaptation of an old Pashto song and a voice of his heart. Rahim Shah stated that he was penniless at time of making of this video and he had to sell his blood to come up with money to pay his bills.


Talking about his visit to Afghanistan, Rahim Shah said he was excited on his first trip to Afghanistan. "I wish I could have spent more time in Afghanistan, which is like a second home for me. I would have loved to visit other parts of the country as well but because of time constraints I had to return home after a two-day stay," Rahim Shah said.  

Talking about his other album “Saba Ru”, Rahim Shah said the name is quite interesting as "Saba is the name of the person in focus and 'Ru' in Pashto means slowly. This album is indeed another feather in Rahim Shahs feathery cap.  In contrast to his previous albums, Rahim Shah in this album has proved to have developed into a maturely captivating artist.  


Rahim Shah sings in Pashto, Punjabi, Urdu, Sindhi and Balochi. In an interview he revealed that Rahim Shah is not his real name and, in fact, it is his elder brother's name. He is the most notable Pakistani pop idol. He has released Pashto, Punjabi, and Urdu albums. His albums are as follows: Ghum (debut-1999), Saba ru (2001), Channa (2003), Pyar Nahin Milta (2004) and Yarana (2005).


He is one of the most popular Pashto pop artists and has a huge fan following outside Pakistan and Afghanistan too. In his interview he revealed that his mother is his biggest fan.  He is sometimes compared to Sonu Nigam of Bollywood.


 Afghania (NWFP) has produced some of the best artists in the world, Amongst poets, one of the pre-eminent living Urdu poets - possibly the pre-eminent living Urdu poet - Ahmad Faraz, amongst prose writers, the legendary Urdu essayist Syed Ahmed Shah Patras Bokhari — and his brother Zulfiqar Bokhari, an equally legendary broadcaster renowned for his Urdu recitation of verse and prose, both Dalip Kumar and Raj Kapoor were also born in Peshawar.   


 Rahim Shah is, in fact, part of a minor revolution going on in Pakistan in pop-music in regional languages. Rahim Shah is the central figure in Pashto pop music today and also has a number of hits in Urdu, especially including Jhoola. In fact, he has been singing also in Punjabi and Sindhi and his Punjabi song Tairay ishq nay has also done very well.


Rahim Shah stated in this interview that he has no affiliation with any political parties and will also like to stay away from politics in the future.


Rahim Shah was on a US tour and visited Sacramento for Pakistan 60th Independence Day celebration. His popularity was evident from the reception he received at this Independence Day event and at the end he literally ran away from the hall to a waiting car parked right in front of the hall with started engine. Answering my question regarding his fleeing from the hall, Rahim Shah laughed and said that his fan are so crazy about him and they will break every bone in his body just to show how much they love him. 



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