Bollywood composers rediscover Sufi music

Bollywood composers rediscover Sufi music

The divine strains of Sufi music in film songs have become a huge hit with listeners and music directors are cashing in on its increasing popularity. Most soundtracks today boast of at least one Sufi song and they are popular among all age groups -- from seasoned music lovers to youngsters. "Music is the voice of God and Sufi music is dedicated to him. When you sing for God from your heart, it turns out to be soul stirring and listeners enjoy it too," Sukhwinder singh, who has crooned various Sufi tracks, told reporters.

The qawwali form of Sufi music has been used in Bollywood films for a long time, but there has been a recent influx of Sufi songs. "Allah ke bande" ("Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II"), "Man ki lagan" ("Paap"), "Rubaru" ("Maqbool"), "Yeh hausla"  ("Dor"), "Maula mere maula" ("Anwar"), "Khwaja mere khwaja" ("Jodhaa Akbar"), "Ya Ali" ("Gangster - A Love Story"), "Maula mere" ("Chak De! India") and "Arziyaan" ("Delhi-6") are few examples of the genre's success. Forthcoming film "Kurbaan", which stars Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, too boasts of a Sufi flavour in many of its numbers, the prominent ones being "Shukran allah" and "Ali maula".

Composers like A R Rahman, Pritam Chakraborty, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Vishal Bhardwaj and Salim-Sulaiman have often weaved in Sufi tunes in films. And the singers who have crooned popular numbers include Kailash Kher, Sukhwinder Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan, Zubeen Garg, Rekha Bhardwaj and Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. "From my angle, people today like songs with high notes and that's why they really connect to Sufi music. This makes the song popular," Said singer Javed ali, who sang the beautiful Sufi composition "Arziyaan".

"Both Sufi music and Sufism convey the messages of true love. It is not only about the love between a man and woman, but something beyond that," Kailash Kher, who rose to fame after "Allah ke bande", was quoted as saying by a newspaper. But a few singers are of the view that the genre is not being presented in its true sense by Bollywood composers. Popular Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans feels Bollywood music directors take a lot of liberty with the genre.

"The words and the essence of the 'kalams' (works) cannot change, only the orchestra can change. It is a good thing that Sufism and its music are reaching out to the masses, but the music should not detract from tradition," said Hans Raj. Sukhwinder feels that the genre should not be over-utilised in films lest it lose its lustre. "Too many Sufi songs would take away the true fragrance of purity from them. Over use would dilute it. Herd mentality is never productive," he said.

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