Third Time’s the Charm

By Sonya Rehman

2004 saw the release of Atif Aslam’s immensely popular, ‘Jal Pari’ and after a two year hiatus, the singer churned out a rather boy-ish and frivolously experimental album called ‘Doorie’.

Atif Aslam

Criticized on local turf for being a ‘sell-out’ – primarily due to the singer’s lucrative deals across the border, in addition to a few half-baked commercials – Atif’s popularity ratings in India soared. And once that happened, his fan-base at home grew. Why? Given his ‘acceptance’ and simultaneous, almost overnight recognition over in India, Atif seemed so much more ‘international’ somehow.

This year, with the onset of 2008, the singer released his third album – ‘Meri Kahani’.
For those used to Atif’s loud, melodious alaaps, racy beats and super-charged tunes…sure are in for a surprise.
‘Meri Kahani’ seems to be comprised of tracks – that flow sinuously, one into the next. A gentle little concoction of soft ballads, with very few fast-paced numbers, the singer’s third production is ripe with sentimental nostalgia.
From ‘Chor Gayai’, to ‘Mann Hota Hai’, and ‘Kaun Tha (Kapkapi)’, most of the album’s songs manage to soothe.
In terms of the song’s compositions, they are mature, yet, primarily raw and acoustic-like by nature. Slightly experimental too. But this by no means implies that Atif has ‘tried to play it safe’.

‘Meri Kahani’ almost seems to be the artist’s private reflection within, manifested into a twelve-track album.
It’s personal and it’s romantic, schmaltzy and yet giddily boy-ish again – what with pop-rock ditties such as ‘Yaaro’, ‘Hangami Halaat’ and ‘Kinara’.

So does ‘Meri Kahani’ measure up to Atif Aslam’s previous two albums? It sure does. But as mentioned earlier, the singer’s third production isn’t bursting with tune, and thus, will surprise. Buy the album, and give it a listen, but do so without any expectations whatsoever.

Love it or hate it, ‘Meri Kahani’ gives Atif’s singing and compositional abilities a whole new dimension.


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