Ali Zafar needs no introduction. The Pakistani model, singer, and actor has appeared in many advertisements in Pakistan and has even played lead roles in Bollywood films like Kill Dill, London Paris New York, Tere Bin Laden and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.
But at its core, Ali Zafar is a renowned musician who has produced three very successful albums and boasts a huge fan following. Naturally, he is invited to perform live for his millions of fans.
But one persistent issue that he faces in nearly all of the concerts is the discrimination the organizers create by adding in VIP seating areas, creating distance between him and his fans who have often paid to come see him live. To address the issue, he wrote an open letter to all event organizers, schools, 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. -Ali Zafar
In his letter, Ali specifically targetted school concerts where this issue is a routine.
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.
He feels that having such a large physical divide between him and his fans and forcing them to stand for hours destroys the very purpose of a good concert.
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.
At the end of his letter, he urges promoters, organizations, and institutions to deal with the issue with the most constructive way possible.
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 organisers, institutions and promoters reading take this to heart in the most constructive way possible. Let the music win.
If you’ve been to a concert yourself, this is indeed a very clear problem where the area around the stage is often reserved for VIPs. We sincerely hope organizers read Ali Zafar’s message and come up with a solution that is for everyone.