Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Qawwali in Bombay Cinema

Yousuf Saeed
Although Bombay cinema (often incorrectly dubbed as 'Hindi cinema') is blamed for “spoiling” the traditional qawwali (a form of high-energy group song, usually sung for mystical purposes in Indo-Islamicate milieu), I would like to propose that Indian cinema has actually helped not only popularise the qawwali (among many who may probably not appreciate traditional forms such as thumri or even ghazal), but also allowed it to evolve from an image of sacrality to a secular entertaining mode that became flexible and inclusive enough to be used as a cinematic device of story telling and emotional communication. 
Although this blog started in 2015, it will now be a part of a larger project documenting cine-qawwalis, supported by the India Foundation for the Arts, Bangalore. On this new website will soon emerge an archive of songs that can be called cinema qawwali, ranging from 1940s to the present times.  












Meanwhile, one can start here.