Work is my prayer, music is my soul: Sadiq Rehmani

kersi - sadiq


Kersi Meher-Homji interviews singer Sadiq Rehmani

It was a conflict of interest for me; to watch the India – Pakistan cricket World Cup match in Adelaide or listen to the Avijit Sarkar – Pushpa Jagadish concert in Sydney. I had the best of both worlds: old favourite songs in the afternoon and the World Cup contest in the evening and night.

Both were equally enjoyable with a thrilling climax. From Avijit’s opening number “Aye mere pyaaré watan” from Kabuliwala to his concluding toe-tapper “Aye meri Zohra Jabeen, tujé maloom nahi” from Waqt, the concert organised by Indian Seniors Group Hornsby was a journey down memory lane. The rhythmic tabla-playing by Abhijit Dan added an extra dimension to the nostalgia.

In between there were singles and duets from Pushpa, the Lata of Sydney. Her romantic song “Ehsaan tera mujh par” from Junglee brought tears to my eyes.

Less known but equally hummable was young Sadiq Rehmani with a guitar in hand and versatility in his vocal cords. He vocalised a medley of different songs in one number, at times asking the audience to sing-along with him. It was this crowd participation that made him a hit. It was a thrill for me and most of the audience to sing along with Sadiq’s medley and fusion of songs, especially “Jara baske, jara faske, Mumbai meri jaan” from CID and “Bekaraar karké hamé yu ne jaiy锝 from Bees Saal Baad.

As many of us know little about Sadiq, I decided to interview him.

When did you arrive in Australia?

Sadique: I arrived in Sydney 16 years ago as a student  studying Master of Public Health at the University of NSW.

From which city do you come from?

I was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. My parents are originally from Gujarat, India.

I believe you have a medical degree. Is singing and guitar playing a hobby? How many hours you practice a day?

I completed my Medicine degree in Karachi from Dow Medical College and practiced as Medical Doctor from 1994 until 2000 in various hospitals in Karachi. In Australia, in addition to Master Public Health I also completed  Master in Health Administration in Uni of NSW and Master of Occupational Therapy in Uni of Sydney.  I also completed  Certificates in Aged Care, Disability and Training/Assessment and currently am working for Department of Human Services for past seven years and teach aged care and disability courses in college. I  also work for a disability organisation.

Work is my prayer, music is my soul. I always enjoy playing guitar and singing. I’ve been doing that for the past 25 years. I was doing lot of charity shows in Pakistan but in Australia I am humbled and privileged to have the company of Avijit Sarkar  and other colleagues for the past ten plus years and playing it at a  professional level. I  don’t practice or rehearse guitar-playing daily but I conduct  guitar classes at Natraj  Academy every Sunday to students and that makes me play with them. But before shows/concerts I rehearse quite often.

Do you come from a family of musicians? You mentioned your father frequently and affectionately at the concert on Sunday [15th of February]. Was he also a singer?

I don’t come from a family of musicians. I and my brother (Suleman Raheemani)  have love for music. Indeed my  younger brother is an accomplished musician  in Pakistan and  is well known in music industry for his work; he is an excellent keyboardist/pianist and composer. A lot of my music inspiration comes from him, particularly guitar-playing and  I learn a lot from him.  My father was an extremely talented individual who always encouraged us to do creative things. He himself was not a singer but a master of reciting religious bhajans and he trained me for that when I was a kid. I miss him a lot as he was a friend, a good father and a loving affectionate person.

What / who inspired you to sing? Avijit thinks very highly of you. How much did you learn from him?

I was born in a poor family so there were no resources to fulfil our musical needs; I always listened to Kishore Kumar and he is my guru as I learned a lot from his style and presentation of songs. Last year I fulfilled my dream of doing a Kishore Night and I sung his numbers for nearly three hours. Most of my songs were solo; I am sure his soul up there somewhere was pleased with my act. Avijit Sarkar is an institution and authority within himself. Since I accompanied him in past ten years I learnt a lot about Indian classical music and ragas and style of singing ghazals and it is an ongoing learning curve for me.  I wish I can accompany him for years to come and learn more and  more from him.


Your favourite singer(s)?

Male singers: Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Yasudas, Jagjit Singh and Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In newer generation Arijit Singh is my favourite. Also Papun, Sonu Nigham, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Female singers: Lata, Asha, Shreyal Goshal.


How many concerts have you given in Sydney?

I have forgotten the count. I did  most of the concerts  with Avijit  Sarkar but also did some freelance performances with some groups. With Avijit  Sarkar we  run a band for the past eight years “JAZBA” (Emotions) and do proper sit-down concerts such as Ghazal  ki Sham, Lata Night and Kishore Night over the past many years.


Any other interest?

I am a gym fanatic… apart from work and music I spend a lot of time in gym; weights, jogging, rowing, zumba… I lost over 20 kilos in the past three years and it is ongoing. I like adventures, visiting rare places in Australia, also mountain-climbing, running in bushes, swimming. I love Urdu poetry (Gulzar, Khalil Jibran and Rumi are my favourites)  and also write some verses every now and then. I wrote this last month:

Tu lagti dua jaisi hai
Par kubool kyun nahin hoti
Wafa ki tamanna nahin hai
Jafa pe zindagi kati humne
Yeh dil ek tang andheri gali sa hai
Ujala sirf oos akailay sitarey se hai
Shayad gali mein roshni oosi se hai
Haan sach hai oosi se hai
Bus ab rab se iltija hai itini woh sitara na tootay kabhi
Sadaa timtimataa rahey issi tarah
Shayad yeh dua kubool ho gi
Isi guma  mein zindagi beet jaye to nijaat hai.


Do-baara, Sadiq, now tell us something about you.

I am 45 years old, have been married 20 years and we have a beautiful daughter Areesha; she is my everything and I love her and my family very much. They are my reason to live.

Anything more for the readers of The Indian Down Under?

Live life to its fullest…don’t look back, look forward…be motivated, determined and courageous. Odds will try to get you down, don’t let yourself down, do simple things in life (don’t hurt others, care for them if you can). Ek aadmi ees zindagi mein insaan ban jaye to bahoot hai.
I love composing songs and writing lyrics. My future project will be doing some medley renditions of  old and new songs and record it.

I recorded a video last year. It was an Arijit Singh’s song “Tum Hi Ho“. Music was by my younger  brother and it was recorded in his studio in Pakistan and the video shoot was in Sydney.

                                  Readers of The Indian Down Under can view the video on

Thank you for your time Sadiq, always a pleasure listening to you.



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