When we say rockstar in Pakistan, only one name comes to our mind – Ali Zafar. From Channo to I’m a Rockstar, Ali Zafar has climbed all ladders of success. Everything he has touched has turned to gold, and it has not come without hard work.
The Pakistani superstar is renowned all across the world, even celebrated in Bollywood. There is one thing that differs Ali Zafar from the rest of the stars, which is the immense love and respect he has for his fans. How can we say that? Well, let Ali prove it to you himself. Ali hasn’t been a huge fan of the way organizers cater the front seats and rows to VIP guests, be them in an event or a concert organized by a school.
So Ali decided to speak out in an open letter to event organizers, schools, institutions and promoters. This is what he had to say:
“An Open Letter to Event Organisers, School and Institutions, and Promoters:
To whom it may concern,
In advance of asking me for a performance, with this letter I would like to address a persistent issue I have been facing at my concerts for some time.
There is a recurring culture of special or VIP seating areas at concerts, placed right in front of the stage and assigned only to ‘special guests’, faculty members, head of departments, principals and owners of institutions. Therefore, in such an arrangement, the students or indeed actual fans are almost always made to stand and watch and participate at a considerable distance from the stage, well behind the VIP or special seating which creates a huge distance between me the artist, and them, my audience, who have often paid to be there. Please appreciate that as a performer, I cannot help but feel this defeats the very purpose of having artists such as myself perform for audiences where both of us are denied any direct interaction.
In the letter, Ali talks directly to schools and other institutions, who usually reserve seats for faculties and private guests. As a star, he doesn’t like seeing his fans suffer.
Speaking specifically about school concerts and without meaning to moralise, I must mention here it is my belief that among many others values, a school’s education is to teach equality to our children; I myself have been raised by two career educationalists and speak from what I have been taught by example and with the utmost respect for educational institutions and academics. Having this physical divide at concerts then goes against the very spirit of equality we should be imparting. Concerts are arranged mostly for students to be able to enjoy a form of healthy entertainment and by having them stand huge distances from the stage to allow for other more ‘special’ guests, I feel is setting a very wrong precedent.
Ali has performed across the globe in different countries, in front of different audiences. If he feels that the way seating in concerts is allocated distances him from his fans, the issue must have been bothering him for a while.
It is my humble request to you then not to have this VIP area in front of the stage and instead allow the real audience, the students, and fans, to be front and center.
I hope organizers, institutions, and promoters reading take this to heart in the most constructive way possible. Let the music win.
Ever been to a local star’s concert? Do you think that the managements and event organizers need to sort out seatings in a better way than they are now? Do you agree with Ali that the VIP treatment separates the performer from his fans? Share with us!