Building Bridges of
By Talat Sattar
is a never ending experience of pain, bliss, grief, and
learning. It is beyond anyone’s imagination what the
world holds for tomorrow, which makes life very interesting.
One of the interesting aspects of life is meeting new people
who leave an everlasting impression on your life; most of
the time the impression is unpleasant but a few times it
Annie Akhtar, one of my best friends from San Francisco,
invited me to a musical show in Mehran Restaurant arranged
by Ms. Mariam. I met the main performer of the evening and
I thought I had known this person my whole life. She was
humble, caring, and down to earth. I started thinking how
long have I known this person, and where did we meet before?
It was mind boggling as I did not recall meeting this person
before in my life, but there was still some connection and
The second time I met Alka was at the Peprika Restaurant
in Antioch where Zeeshawn Ansari had arranged a musical
show on the occasion of the opening of his new Pakistani/Indian
cuisine. She treated us like her family and congratulated
my family on our newborn son, Shamyl.
Of course I am talking about Alka Bhatnagar, the world famous
Bollywood singer, actress, dancer, and on top of that a
good mother and wife. Alka Bhatnagar was born in a family
with a long tradition in music in Meerut. Gifted with a
melodious and baritone voice, she learned music from her
father, a great exponent of classical and light music in
Alka’s favorite singer is Madam Noor Jehan and there
is hardly any musical concert where she does not sing Madam’s
songs. Most of the time she begins her show with “Allah
he Allah Kia Karo, Dukh na kisee ko dia karo”, and
ends up with, “Dama dam mast qalandar”.
Alka has won a number of awards. Rightly, she is recognized
as a singer of eminence. She has performed not only int
India but in many other places and has simply enhanced the
distinguished gathering with her memorable songs and ghazals.
Alka was privileged to have learnt music from the famous
Ustad Altaf Hussain, Ustad Mohd.Wazir and Ganesh Prasad
Misra. She is one of those few artistes who have succeeded
in combining the finest nuances of classical music with
an element of modernity with her imaginative improvisations.
Her control over her voice, mastery over modulation, superb
intonation and "stress" are some of the salient
features of her singing. She has evolved her own style which
is a curious mix of the finest of baritone and the lowest
Alka and her brother Sandeep, a famous ghazal singer, have
given numerous performances in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia
and Middle East. She appeared on Singapore TV and radio
several times and viewer response to these shows was reported
to be very high.
Alka Bhatnagar wishes to build a bridge of good relations
between India and Pakistan. “I want to see them live
in peace and harmony as they have done for centuries,”
says Alka. She is very satisfied with the current peace
movement between India and Pakistan and also wants to play
some role to further it. Alka would like to have an opportunity
to perform in front of President Musharaf and thank him
for creating this peace environment between India and Pakistan.