It is music that touches you beautifully and differently — you find the sounds, the melody, and the lyrics, synonymous to words like roohaniyat, sukoon, divinity and spirituality. That, in layman’s terms, is Sufi music. And no, you don’t need to be someone who ardently follows religion to understand the sheer power and divinity of this genre. The emotional accessibility, purity and mysticism that Sufi music exudes, is what has led to its wide popularity.
When you listen to songs like ‘Bulleya‘ (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil), ‘Kun Faya Kun‘ (Rockstar), ‘Kabira‘ (Yeh Jawaani Hai Diwaani), ‘Arziyan‘ (Delhi 6), ‘Khwaja Mere Khwaja‘ (Jodhaa Akbar), ‘Mere Maula‘ (Khakhee), ‘Piya Haji Ali‘ (Fiza), ‘Ya Rabba‘ (Salaam-E-Ishq), ‘Saaiyaan‘ (Heroine), ‘Murshid Khele Holi‘ (D-Day) and ‘Tu Jaane Na‘ (Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani), you realise that there is a distinctive magical melody in Sufi poetry.
Sufi and Bollywood go back decades In the last few years, Sufi songs have seen a meteoric rise in the popularity charts and remain a steady feature on the playlists of youngsters. But then, Sufi music is not really new in films. Interestingly, it has been a part of the Hindi film industry since decades. Singer Mohit Chauhan says, “Earlier, there were a lot of Sufi expressions in films and they used to come out in forms of qawwali. Every movie used to have a great qawwali in those days.” Singer Rekha Bhardwaj adds, “Back then, qawwali was the preferred form. But jaise jaise people became more aware of Rumi and Hafiz, somewhere, this new form emerged. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sahab was a huge reason why this genre came to the forefront so well.”
Sufi rock, pop, trance and EDM have gained popularity Sufi music has seen a lot of changes and this genre has embraced many kinds of music. Popular Sufi exponents say that the beauty of this genre lies in its ability to embrace all kinds of music. Over the years, with instruments and experimentations, it has blended with qawwali, majazi, haqiqi, trance music, rock, pop and EDM.
Singer Kavita Seth says, “I believe that Irshaad Kamil’s Tum Hi Ho Bandhu from Cocktail, despite its pop-rock genre, has a Sufi feel. When I began the song Yaara Tere Sadke…, I was reading out Sufi poetry. The song in Neerja, Jeete Hain Chal, also has a Sufi connect. It is a motivational song.”
Mohit adds, “With time, the sound has changed, the style of expression has changed and now, we have a whole lot of different kinds of Sufi stuff in films — there are ones that are fused with Western elements, like there is Sufi rock.” Naadan Parinde from Rockstar, sung by AR Rahman, is a good example of this genre.
Even an item song can have a Sufi connect This kind of music has a vast reach, and it cannot be bound to any particular genre like romantic Sufi, soft Sufi, Rock Sufi, etc… Rekha explains this when she says, “Even when I am singing an item song, it can have a Sufi element to it and I can connect with the divine.”
© 2015 All Bollywood News. All Rights Reserved.