Nusrat Has Left the Building... But When?

Director: Farjad Nabi
No Dialogue, 20 min, 1997, Pakistan
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s metamorphosis from a genuine popular artiste to mass produced exotica of the east.
Nusrat Has Left the Building... But When?
A still from Nusrat Has Left the Building... But When?

This is a film made about the metamorphic career of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the famous Sufi qawwali singer from Pakistan. The film departs from the popular version of Nusrat and goes back to his early roots in pure Sufi music, before and after he exploded on the international scene. Nusrat's metamorphosis from a genuine popular artiste to mass produced exotica of the east left behind many disillusioned listeners and devotees in its wake. Perhaps for the first time this film gives voice to the other side of the song.

Producer: Muhammad Nafees
Director: Farjad Nabi
Camera: Muhammad Nafees
Editing: Amir Nawaz
Sound: Tehsin Ahmad
  • International Premiere and award at Film South Asia, Kathmandu, 1997
Select Screenings:
  • European Premiere at International Film Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1998
  • Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Oberhausen, Germany, 1998
  • Travelling Film South Asia
  • Tour of North America, Europe and South Asia, 1998-99
About the Director:

Farjad Nabi was a freelance journalist writing in English. On the death of Sufi qawwal Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan, he wrote a critical article entitled "Nusrat has Left the Building... But When?". A personal outburst against the 'selling out' of the late maestro, the article was received with consternation bordering on mild outrage by the English reading public. Around the same time he received an e-mail from friends in Kathmandu for some film footage on Nusrat to be shown at the very first Film South Asia Festival. This request sowed the seed of a short film, based on the article, which went slightly out of control and ended up being called a Docudreama (sic). It also ended up winning the second prize at the festival. Farjad has had no formal training at any film school. This is his debut film. He has a degree in law but does not intend to use it ever. He lives in Lahore.

Posted by Magic Lantern Foundation on April 29, 2017

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