Unprecedented Qawwali: A Creation Beyond Time and Imagination

There was a time when Qawwalis were the lifeblood of films and the success of films depended on these Qawwalis. During the golden age of Hindi cinema, qawwali was at its peak and almost every film contained at least one qawwali.

By Bollyy
New Update
Unprecedented Qawwali A Creation Beyond Time and Imagination
Listen to this article
0.75x 1x 1.5x
00:00 / 00:00

There was a time when Qawwali was considered a guarantee of the success of a film. Although many Qawwalis have been made for films, but famous film writer Vinod Kumar tells about the creation of that head of Qawwali in the world of film music, which even after being recorded, singers and musicians continue to sing it 24 hours without getting tired. Kept singing this Qawwali and the only thing on the lips of everyone coming out of the studio was – that such Qawwali has neither been made nor will ever be made in the future.

The Best Qawwalis of Bollywood Films

Golden Era: Qawwalis in Hindi Cinema's Heartbeat

There was a time when Qawwalis were the lifeblood of films and the success of films depended on these Qawwalis. During the golden age of Hindi cinema, qawwali was at its peak and almost every film contained at least one qawwali.

Qawwali is a form of Sufi Islamic devotional singing originally sung in Sufi temples or dargahs throughout South Asia. But since Qawwalis started being included in films, Qawwalis started becoming popular.

Talashe Haq - Wikipedia

Zeenat (1945) - IMDb

As far as the first film qawwali is concerned, it was the qawwali in the 1935 film Talaash-e-Haq - 'Allah Hoon'. After this, a very popular qawwali was composed for the 1945 film 'Zeenat'. Whose lyrics are 'Aahh na bhari'. Which was voiced by Noorjahan, Kalyani, and Zohra.

A very popular qawwali was in the 1958 film Al Hilal whose lyrics were – “Humne to loot liya milke husn walon ne”.

If we talk about the most popular Qawwali, then most people consider the Qawwali of the film ‘Barsaat Ki Raat’ – ‘Na To Caravan Ki Talaash Hai’, the music of which was given by Roshan. After the popularity of this Qawwali, Roshan became Qawwali King who gave many more popular Qawwalis in films.

Roshan addressed the Hindi film industry and Gave great songs like, 'Jo Vada Kiya wo Nibhana Padega', 'Laga Chunari Mein Daag Chupaun Kaise', 'Rahein Na Rahein Ham Mehka Karenge', 'Baharon Ne Mera Chaman Loot Kar', 'Pure Taal Mile Nadi Ke Jal Mein', 'Man re tu kahe na dheer share', and ‘Nigahen Millane Ko Ji Chahta Hai’. But the Qawwali that Roshan Saheb gave to Hindi cinema has no other example.

Regarding the Qawwali of the movie Barsaat Ki Raat, everyone unquestionably believes that neither such Qawwali came before this nor after this. The story of the creation of this Qawwali is also very interesting. It was the year 1960 when famous director P Santoshi was making the film Barsaat Raat with Bharat Bhushan, Madhubala, and Shyama as lead actors. The music of the film was by Roshan and the lyrics were written by the great penman Sahir Ludhianvi.

Sahir Ludhianvi was given the responsibility of writing a unique qawwali. Sahir Ludhianvi composed such a qawwali in which not only Urdu but also all the languages like Braj, Hindi, Punjabi, and Persian were woven into his magical writing in such a way that when you listen to the qawwali, you feel that someone has imparted the philosophy of life and love to you.

Conversations Over Chai: The Masters: Roshan

This Qawwali was beautifully decorated by Roshan Sahab with Raag Kalavati, which was immortalized by great singers like Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle, SD Batish, and Sudha Malhotra by lending their voices.

Roshan Saheb very minutely sang every language in the same style as it is pronounced. For the recording of this Qawwali, the famous studio was booked for the whole night so that there was no noise during the recording.

That day, a rehearsal of this qawwali took place and for recording, all the singers were asked to get ready and reach the studio by seven in the evening. It is said that before its recording, rehearsals went on for 12 hours continuously. Famous singers of the country like Mohammad Rafi Sahab, Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle, SD Batish, and Sudha Malhotra had reached the studio on time. Eighty musicians were called for the recording. More than twenty technicians were also present there so that there were no technical problems of any kind.

Iconic radio presenter Ameen Sayani dies at 91

According to the famous radio announcer Ameen Sayani, this Qawwali was adorned with Raag Kalavati, and the style of Qawwali was kept like the style of Pakistani Qawwal Mubarak Ali Fateh Ali. As soon as there was complete silence on the streets at night, Roshan Saheb permitted recording inside the studio.

All the singers and musicians sang this qawwali with full devotion. All the singers and musicians were so engrossed in singing this qawwali that they did not realize that the recording was completed successfully. When it was announced that the recording was completed, the singers and musicians present there started shouting – such a good Qawwali. Such Qawwali has neither been made till now nor will it ever be made.

Hearing this, one of those singers and musicians said – Yes, I say keep singing this Qawwali all night long.

The rest of the people supported this. Many people said – Really? It feels like singing this qawwali all night long. Don't know when we will get to sing such Qawwali.

Manna Dey

After this, everyone agreed that they would sing this Qawwali throughout the night. But by then Roshan Saheb had left. On this Manna Dey said to Asha Bhosle – Asha, please go down and see if Roshan Saheb is gone. Stop them and tell them that we all will sing this qawwali the whole night. When Asha Bhosle went down, she saw that Roshan Saheb had sat in the car. Asha Bhosle called Roshan Sahab. Roshan Saheb saw that Asha Bhosle was saying something by waving her hand. Roshan Saheb came out of the car and asked what the matter was. Asha Bhosle said – Roshan Sahab, no one is going home tonight. Everyone decided that we would all sing Qawwali the whole night.

Roshan Saheb told the staff handling the night work at the famous studio that we had booked the studio for the whole night. Our guys will be in the studio all night. Make arrangements to ensure that tea etc. is available whenever needed at night. I will give whatever the expense is.

Reality Shows Cannot Produce Playback Singers': Asha Bhosle - Masala

The tall and lean S D Burman with wife Meera, son Rahul Dev Burman and  singer Asha Bhonsle - Silhouette Magazine

After this, everyone kept singing Qawwali the whole night. It was morning while singing Qawwali. Some singers and musicians left the place in the morning but still many people remained and everyone kept singing at nine in the morning. The magic of this Qawwali remains intact today because everyone, from the person who wrote it to the one who composed it, the one who sang it and played it, has taken this Qawwali as a challenge and given their best. Where Manna Dey has spread the magic of classical singing. On the other hand, Asha Bhosle and Sudha Malhotra are seen competing to surpass each other. Mohammad Rafi enters this qawwali when half of the qawwali is done but after that only Rafi Saheb's magic works. When Rafi Saheb takes this Qawwali in his hands, then this Qawwali goes out of the hands of all other singers and the reins of Qawwali come into the hands of Rafi Saheb. Rafi Sahab's voice is for the lead actor Bharat Bhushan and in the filming of this film, it is shown that after half of the Qawwali, Bharat Bhushan takes the harmonium and starts singing. Next to him, a musician is also singing along with him. Rafi Saheb's voice is for both Bharat Bhushan and Sajinde sitting next to him and the surprising thing is that at the same time when Rafi Saheb sings for Bharat Bhushan, his voice sounds different to Bharat Bhushan, and as soon as he sings for Sajinde When he sings, his voice sounds completely different. How can it happen that the same singer sings in completely different styles for two people at the same time?

Why Mohammad Rafi Will Always Be Missed - Rediff.com

During the recording of this Qawwali, the world saw that the great singers and musicians of that time kept singing this Qawwali without getting tired 24 hours a day and the only thing on the lips of everyone coming out of the studio was – such Qawwali was neither made nor will ever be made again.

More than 62 years have passed since this Qawwali was composed, but even today it is true that such Qawwali has neither been made nor will be made in the future.

Vinod Kumar
Vinod Kumar

Vinod Kumar is a famous film writer and journalist who has written many books on many personalities in the cinema world. These books include 'Meri Awaaz Suno', '150 Stars of Cinema', and 'Rafi Ki Duniya', apart from biographies of Devanand, Dilip Kumar, and Raj Kapoor, etc.

- Vinod Kumar

Read also:

Latest Stories