Rajasthani folk singer Mame Khan, in an interaction with us, said about Sufi songs, “Sufi music is the music of the rooh (soul). Music of the insides. Sufi means absolutely pure.” For Mame Khan, who is set to perform at the folk-oriented festival Big Gig Exclusive, Mussoorie, this weekend, Sufi music is all about connecting with one’s inner self. India has a host of Sufi musicians scattered around the country in today’s times including Sonam Kalra, Rabbi Shergill and Hindi film industry’s very own Sufi virtuoso A.R Rahman. In short, the genre is honest praise to the almighty.
Though Bollywood’s rendition of Sufi songs may not be ‘pure’ in a sense of the genre, it has helped popularize it. Here’s a list of songs that, through the medium of films, have shown the masses the serenity brought in by the wave of Sufi music.
Kun Faya Kun
One of the more popular Sufi songs to be released in the last couple of years was Kun Faya Kun from the Ranbir Kapoor starrer Rockstar, which was chided at the box office but heard an echo of applause for its music, locations and its leading man’s performance. The song, composed by A.R Rahman and shot within the gilded walls of Delhi’s Nizamuddin Dargah, has Mohit Chauhan, A.R Rahman and Javed Ali blowing Sufi life into the film.
Another film that plummeted as soon as it began the box office ride, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi 6, comprised powerful music. Arziyan served the crucial scenes in the film with poise and poignancy, where a matter of life and death gets interspersed with Sufi magic, therefore eliciting a tear or two from the engrossed audience.
Khwaja Mere Khwaja
Sung in praise of Khwaja Garib Nawaz of Ajmer, Khwaja Mere Khwaja is another of A.R Rahman’s classic Sufi tracks, created for the film Jodha Akbar, that apart from getting a Hindi release, even gained major popularity with its Tamil version – Khwaja Endan Khwaja.
Maula Mere Maula
Written and directed by Manish Jha, Anwar was a 2007 film, starring Siddharth Koirala and Nauheed Cyrusi that told a love story set in a US-centric post 9/11 India. What more befitting than the inclusion of a Sufi-laden song Maula Mere Maula which takes time to absorb one in, but as it does, the essence is irrefutable.
Teri Deewani does not belong to Hindi film music. It is part of Kailash Kher’s Sufi fusion band Kailasa’s eponymous album. With Kailash Kher’s wide-reaching audience base, this single was telecast on Indian music channels. Kailasa’s depiction of love and surrender transcends from humans to the inexplicable higher authority.
Piya Haji Ali
Khalid Mohammad’s grim film Fiza, set in the backdrop of the 1993 Bombay riots, tells the tale of an innocent boy (Hrithik Roshan) who vanishes and eventually gets inducted into terrorist activity. The boy’s mother visits the shrine of Haji Ali in Mumbai, to look for an answer to her son’s whereabouts.
Tu Jaane Na
Though some Sufi artists believe that the presence of swirling dervishes is not the only defining factor of a Sufi song, ‘Tu Jaane Na’ had become an anthem, more of a heartthrob if you will, across the country when it released. Till today, there won’t be a moment when a jilted lover doesn’t fret over his mashooka if this plays on the radio.