V Kumar has been writing on Bollywood movies and music for several years, highlighting perspectives that are often missed out or ignored.
Best Ever Qawwalis of Bollywood
Qawwali is a form of music that reached its zenith in South Asia during the last few centuries. As a genre, the Indian Qawwali has evolved from the fusion of traditional Indian classical music and Persian-Islamic music brought to India from the culturally rich exchanges with Persia and Turkey during the reign of the Islamic dynasties in the second half of the last millennium.
Although, its origin is old and it did prosper during medieval ages, its real peak has arrived only in recent times, when it began to prosper as a popular music form among all classes of people in erstwhile undivided India and after its division, in both India and Pakistan. Ironically, while it has become restricted to deovtional music in the Middle Eastern canvass, in Bollywood, it has grown across all expressions of life and its celebration. On one hand, it is the staple ingredient of Sufi shrines and on the other, it has grown into the music of love and selflessness ... joining people from all religions and communities by bringing them to the common platform of love, humanity and of course, ... music ...
Here are some great gems of Bollywood - the ten best ever qawwali songs...
JODHA AKBAR (2008)
Khwaja mere khwaja...
A modern qawwali that aptly highlight the secular character of music and its unlimited reach among the masses, this qawwali is also a showpiece of the genius called A R Rahman, the only Bollywood composer to have been awarded with both Oscars and Grammies.
In the movie JODHA AKBAR, the context of the song is provided by marriage of Akbar, the Moghul Emperor of India, with the daughter of Hindu king Man Singh of Amber. She was allowed to retain her religion even after her marriage to the Muslim Emperor. Their marriage cemented the Mughal Empire in India and laid the foundation of its secular character, which was important in making it one of the largest and the most prosperous empires of all times.It also laid the foundation of secularism in India that has surived over half a millennia, in spite of many fanatic rulers, who proposered and perished with time during this duration. Akbar himself started a largely secular sect called Din-E Elahi which advocated equality of all human being and respected all religions equally.
RUSTAM SOHRAB (1963)
Phir Tumhari Yaad Aai Ae Sanam
One of the sweetest and most hummable qawwali one can ever come across. This great Bollywood number from the movie RUSTAM SOHRAB is a creation of music composer Sajjad Hussain, and reflects the singing genius of Mohammed Rafi and Manna Dey - the two greatest singers of Qawwalis in the history of Bollywood, joined by Sadat Khan, while the lyrics are by Qamar Jalalabadi. The greatness of this qawwali lies in its softness, something rather rare for qawwalis, which as a tradition, are sung by a large groups with clappings and other beats.
This one is a gem... softer than a song ... more melodious than a ghazal...
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- Best Folk Songs of Bollywood
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MUGHAL E AZAM (1960)
Jab Rat Hai Aisi Matwali ....
A scintillating qawwali from the Bollywood blockbuster, MUGHAL-E-AZAM. It is not just a great song to listen, but also a treat to watch. The great rendition of Lata Mangeshkar, the great music of Naushad and the spell binding lyrics of Shakeel Badayuni, all combine to make it a sensational song. The context is of the short-lived honeymoon night of the Prince of India with his love, Anarkali, a courtesan, where the poor bride is forced to make the Prince unconscious before she is taken away to the gallows... all in the name of love ! The final icing on the cake is its choreography with Madhubala, Dilip Kumar and Nigar Sultana and the scintillating glass art work of Sheesh Mahal and some great dancing.
AL HILA (1958)
Humein to loot liya mil ke husn valon ne ....
Recorded in 1958, this must be a great contestant for being the first really great qawwali of Bollywood. This only song in the movie AL HILAL was rendered by Ismail Azad Qawwal & party. In many ways, it is the usual non filmi qawwali that has always existed as a music genre of its own, attracting and entertaining millions in Indian subcontinent and abroad.This lighthearted qawwalis song can be considered the basic prototype on which a very large number of qawwali songs have subsequently been created, circulated and enjoyed. In a way it makes its own subgenre of qawwalis. Music credit for this masterpiece is given to Bulo C Rani, while lyricist was Shevan Rizvi.
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- Best Classical Songs of Bollywood
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BARSAT KI RAAT (1960)
Na to karvan ki talaash hai ...
This is probably the best claimant to the award of the best ever qawwali in the history of Bollywood, so rich is its content in terms of classical music, innovation, creativity, beats, lyrics, singing talent and variety. This unique qawwali is an amalgam of contributions from many greats of Bollywood music, who worked together to create this great masterpiece. In a way this is what a qawwali is supposed to be ... a medley of melodies interwoven in a contextual chain, which happens to be a competition in this number. The melodramatic filming of the song adds to the flavor by bringing in the gorgeous Madhubala. The singers are Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey, Asha Bhonsle, Sudha Malhotra and S D Batish. Music is by the great Roshan and lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi.
TAJ MAHAL (1963)
Chandi ka badan, sone ki nazar ...
Another great rendition within the great qawwali tradition that prospered and reached its zenith during the 1960s, thanks to some great music composers and equally talented singers, with finesse of classical artistes and the innovation and creativity of modern era. This number from Taj Mahal is one of the many famous qawwalis that represented contests between male and female teams.
Singers are Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Asha Bhonsle and Meena Kapoor. Music was composed by Roshan while lyrics written by Sahir Ludhianvi.
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- Best Hot Love Songs of Bollywood
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Aaj kyon humse parda hai...
Another contestant for the tag of being the first great qawwali of Bollywood, this one is great because of many reasons, the most important of which is the infectious careless enjoyment that is depicted in this number. Contrary to the serious mood of the movie that focused the plight of women caught in not so honorable trades, the qawwali takes viewers to another plane ... where only music reigns and and everything else gets subordinated to it.
Singers are Mohammad Rafi and Balbir, music is composed by N Dutta and lyrics are by Sahir Ludhianwi.
AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY (1977)
Parda hai ... parda hai ....
A great and very famous qawwali from the late seventies. It is not just a musical number but also displays the power of love and the way love has consistently remained the central theme of entertainment in the subcontinent, especially in Bollywood. It also highlights the progressive and secular character of evolving Indian societies.This number was one of the most often heard numbers in all public entertainment events and musical nights during the seventies after it became a rage.
Another evidence of great talent of Mohammad Rafi. Its music was composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and lyrics are by Anand Bakhshi.
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- Best Ghazals of Bollywood
Bollywood ghazals, the musical version of the literary ghazal, has evolved with immense popularity in Bollywood. Here are the ten best ghalzals of all time, with audio-visuals.
BARSAT KI RAAT (1960)
Ji chahta hai choom loon ....
Another great qawwali from BARSAT KI RAAT, which was a great musical of 1960s, with three extraordinary qawwalis - another milestone indicative of the rising popularity of qawwalis in Bollywood. This one is also in the form of a musical contest - which was a central theme in the movie. Singers are Asha Bhonsle, Sudha Malhotra, Balbir and Bande Hasan. The music of this masterpiece was composed by Roshan and its lyrics were written by Sahir Ludhianvi.
Piya Haji Ali....
Another truly great qawwali where A R Rahman has contributed not only as a composer but as a singer too along with Srinivas. Lyrics are by another legend - Gulzar. This song which comes on the backdrop of the story of a mother whose son has taken to terrorism, is not just a reflection of Indian music, but also its age old civilization that rises above religious stresses and makes room for everyone in the end. Who ever may be in power, humanity survives!
The Best Ever Qawwali
HUB IN FOCUS THIS WEEK...
- Best Hard Hitting Songs of Bollywood
Ten great songs that make a strong and hard hitting points on important issues... but melodiously... songs that extend beyond music to become a statement of the society ... calls for introspection !!!
© 2012 V Kumar
V Kumar (author) on July 09, 2013:
They are awesome. I agree with you.
vivek on July 09, 2013:
where is arziyan delli6 and kun faya kun rockstar they are awesome
V Kumar (author) on January 14, 2013:
You are right. I made the correction. Thanks for pointing. Anu Malik composed 6 of the songs of this movie, and was nominated in the Filmfare Awards for the best music director for this movie, but this qawwali was composed by A R Rahman. One song was composed by Ranjit Barot. Thanks again.
sooraj on January 14, 2013:
PIYA HAJI ALI composed by A R RAHMAN not anu malik.
V Kumar (author) on December 14, 2012:
I think I agree with FS.
FS on December 14, 2012:
People are just voting for new ones it seems. Na tu karavan ki... is the best bollywood has produced PERIOD. listen to it guys.
V Kumar (author) on October 22, 2012:
You are right. It is "pal do pal ka saath hamara....". A very popular number indeed.
Anu Sood on October 22, 2012:
isn't there a qawwali in the movie "the burning train"? if i recall, it was an incredibly catchy tune...
Vidhi Khatwani on October 18, 2012:
coorrect where is kun faaya hmmmmmm?
leaving that kwaja mere khwajaand parda hai parda r d terrific!
xyz on October 17, 2012:
Why is kun faya kun missing?
V Kumar (author) on September 27, 2012:
Fully agree with you ..... another great masterpiece, like every other number from this movie.
navneet sahay on September 26, 2012:
Just hear the classic Quawwali sung on screen by the mesmerisingly beautiful shyama "Nigahen Naaz ke Maaron ka haal kya Hoga " from the epic arsaat ki raat you will also love it if u r real connosiour of Quawwalis
wbapartner on February 21, 2012:
Kwaaja mere kwaaja is a great song. So soulful and divine. There is also maula from Delhi 6 and kun faya kun from Rockstar. I think one of these two also can be added to the above list.