'We were rock stars even before Rockstar

'We were rock stars even before Rockstar


They carry forward a legacy of qawwali that goes back centuries in time; and while the qawwals of Nizamuddin Dargah, more famously known as Nizami Bandhu, admit that it has undergone changes over the years, they say it will continue to flourish as long as there are dargahs (shrines).

“We are talking about how qawwali used to be sung some 750 years go. Then, people used to speak in Persian, the qawwals were hardcore devotees who used to offer namaz five times a day, and used to sing to the beats of the dafli. Today, even though people want the tradition to be taken forward they might not be able to relate to it in its original form,” says Ustaad Chand Nizami, who along with Shadab Faridi Nizami and Sohrab Faridi Nizami, will be performing in the city at the ‘Kun Faya’ concert.

“Which is why,” he continues, “we have adapted to the changing times, while trying to retain the message and sentiment of our ancestors. Hum puraane ko naye andaaz mein pesh karne ke koshish karte hai.”Known for songs like Kun Faya Kun from filmmaker Imtiyaz Ali’s Rockstar, and Aaj Rang Hai from actor Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi
Bhaijaan, the trio belong to the family of qawwals who were court singers of Hazrat
Nizamuddin Auliya.

“Sufi qawwali is a form which has a direct soulful connect with god. The message is always about oneness of humanity, beyond religion. When we sing, we only remember god – our songs are our prayers,” he tells Metrolife. Talking about their upcoming concert, organised by The Films and Theatre Society, the artistes who belong to the ‘Sikandra
Gharana’, say while they will sing the pure form of Sufi with numbers like Chhaap Tilak Sab Chheeni, they will also render a few Bollywood compositions.

“Woh bhi zaroori hai (that is also necessary),” he laughs. “However, having said that, it is also essential to take note that this is a family legacy for us. Yes, there is no doubt that Bollywood has helped us carve an identity, but we have always been connected to the dargah, and will continue to be. We were rock stars in our own way even before we featured in Rockstar, the film starring Ranbir Kapoor,” he adds.

Nizami Bandhu will perform at Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House on April 24.

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