Qawwaali is a unique form of song sung in chorus whose composition has a marvellous combination of beats in which meaningful and heart-striking words are strung like beautiful flowers in a huge garland. It is sung in chorus with clappings mixed by the group led by a male or female leader. Sometimes there are two Qawwaal groups participating in Muqaabla-e-Qawwaali (Qawwali-duel), trying to dominate each other by getting verbose towards the competitor.
Literally speaking, a Qawwaal is one who repeats a Qaul (promise) and Qawwaali is the song which the Qawwaal sings. The Qawwaali tradition has been continuing in India for centuries and mainly it was propagated by the Sufi saints. Even today, there are several specialist Qawwaals in our country. Listening to a good Qawwaali may take you into a state of trance. Bollywood movies have carried the Qawwaali tradition a long way through several memorable Qawwaalis. I dedicate this review to such memorable Qawwaalis from Hindi movies only.
The best Qawwaali from Bollywood, in my opinion, is – Na To Kaarvaan Ki Talaash Hai (which covers – Ye Ishq Hai Ishq Ishq) from the movie Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), composed by Roshan, penned by Saahir Ludhianvi and sung by the Manna Dey, Batish, Rafi, Sudha Malhotra, Asha etc. It’s been picturized on Bharat Bhushan, Shyama, Shabaab and many supporting characters. Since I have already included it in my review of my most favourite Bollywood songs, I list out the other top ten Qawwaalis from Bollywood movies (according to my personal choice) :
1. Kya Kya Na Sahe Humne Sitam Aapki Khatir (Mere Huzoor – 1968) : My most favourite Qawwaali (after the one mentioned above) which has been penned by Hasrat Jaipuri, composed by Shankar Jaikishan, sung by Rafi, Lata and others and picturized on Jeetendra, Raaj Kumar, Mala Sinha and others.
2. Chandi Ka Badan Sone Ki Nazar (Taj Mahal – 1963) : A mesmerizing Qawwaali-duel picturized on supporting characters (with the main cast being the audience), sung by Rafi, Asha, Manna Dey, Meena Kapoor etc., composed by Roshan with the credit of the lyric going to none other than Saahir.
3. Teri Mehfil Mein Kismet Aazma Kar Hum Bhi Dekhenge (Mughal-e-Aazam – 1960) : A memorable Qawwaali-duel picturized on Madhubala, Nigar Sultana and others (with Dilip Kumar being the judge). It’s been penned by Shakeel Badayuni, composed by Naushad and sung by Lata, Shamshad Begum and others.
4. Ye Dil Ki Lagi Kam Kya Hogi, Ye Ishq Bhala Kum Kya Hoga (Mughal-e-Aazam – 1960) : Another memorable Qawwaali from the same movie, sung by Lata and others. It’s been picturized on Nigar Sultana and others (Dilip Kumar and Madhubala being in the background).
5. Jab Ishq Kahin Ho Jaata Hai To Aisi Haalat Hoti Hai (Arzoo – 1965) : A Qawwaali very close to my heart, picturized on Naazima and others (indicating to Saadhana). It’s been sung by Asha Bhonsle, Mubarak Begum and others, penned by Hasrat Jaipuri and composed by Shankar Jaikishan.
6. Meri Duniya Lutt Rahi Thi Aur Main Khamosh Tha (Mr. and Mrs. 55 – 1955) : A sad and touching Qawwaali sung by Rafi and others (meant for Guru Dutt), penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri and composed by O.P. Nayyar.
7. Sharma Ke Ye Kyun Sab Parda Nasheen Aanchal Ko Sanwaara Karte Hain (Chaudhvin Ka Chaand – 1961) : A great Qawwaali sung by Shamshad Begum, Asha and others; picturized on Waheeda Rehman and others (Rehman being hidden from their eyes); penned by Shakeel Badayuni and composed by Ravi.
8. Hamein To Loot Liya Mil Ke Husn Waalon Ne (Al Hilal – 1958) : An enchanting Qawwaali sung by Ismail Aazaad and chorus, penned by Shevan Rizvi and composed by Bulo C. Rani.
9. Nigaah-e-Naaz Ke Maaron Ka Haal Kya Hoga (Barsaat Ki Raat – 1960) : Another magic by the team of Roshan and Saahir created in the voices of Asha, Sudha Malhotra and Shankar-Shambhu, picturization being on Shyama, Shabaab and others.
10. Aaj Kyon Humse Parda Hai (Sadhna – 1958) : A memorable Qawwaali in the voices of Rafi, S. Balbir Singh Aatish and chorus, penned by Saahir and composed by N. Dutta. Supporting actors sing it for Vyjayantimala on the screen.
Other than these top ten, the following Qawwaalis are also worth remembering :
1. Aahen Na Bhari, Shikve Na Kiye, Kuchh Bhi Na Jubaan Se Kaam Liya (Zeenat – 1945) : A classic Qawwaali sung by Noor Jehan, Johra Baai, Kalyani and others, picturized on Noor Jehan and others, penned by Nakshab and composed by Mir Saheb Hafeez Khan.
2. Mere Dilbar Mujh Par Khafa Na Ho (Dharm Putra – 1961) : A romantic Qawwaali by Rafi and others, penned by Saahir, composed by N. Dutta and picturized on Shashikala, Balam etc.
3. Phir Tumhaari Yaad Aayi Aye Sanam (Rustam Sohrab – 1963) : A Qawwaali very close to my heart which has been sung by Rafi, Manna Dey and others, penned by Qamar Jalalabadi, composed by Sajjad Hussain and picturized on Prem Nath and others.
4. Nigaahen Milaane Ko Jee Chaahta Hai (Dil Hi To Hai – 1963) : A Qawwaali penned by Saahir, composed by Roshan and sung by Asha and chorus. It’s been picturized on Nutan (with Raj Kapoor and Pran being the onlookers).
5. Milte Hi Nazar Tumse Hum Ho Gaye Deewane (Ustadon Ke Ustad – 1963) : A entertaining Qawwaali-duel sung by Rafi, Manna Dey and Asha and picturized on Pradeep Kumar, Sheikh Mukhtar and Shakeela Bano Bhopali. Ravi has composed the lyric of Asad Bhopali.
6. Main Idhar Jaaoon Ya Udhar Jaaoon (Palki – 1967) : A very emotional Qawwaali sung by Rafi, Manna Dey and Asha and picturized on Waheeda Rehman, Rajendra Kumar, Rehman and others. Shakeel Badayuni is the lyricist and Naushad is the composer.
7. Jeena To Hai Usi Ka Jisne Ye Raaz Jaana (Adhikar – 1971) : A very good Qawwaali giving an exemplary message which has been sung by Rafi and chorus, penned by Ramesh Pant, composed by R.D. Burman and picturized on Pran and others.
8. Aise Besharam Aashiq Hain Ye Aaj Ke (Putlibai – 1972) : A Qawwaali sung by Yusuf Aazaad and Rashida Khatoon, written by Zafar Gorakhpuri and composed by Jai Kumar. It’s been picturized on Jaymala and others.
9. Haal Kya Hai Dilon Ka Na Poochho Sanam (Anokhi Ada – 1973) : Laxmikant Pyarelal have composed the lyric of Majrooh which has been sung by Kishore Kumar and others and picturized on Jeetendra and others.
10. Yaari Hai Imaan Mera Yaar Meri Zindagi (Zanjeer – 1973) : A memorable Qawwaali picturized on Pran (singing for his friend Amitabh Bachchan), sung by Manna Dey, written by Gulshan Baawra and composed by Kalyanji Anandji.
11. Ye Maana Meri Jaan Mohabbat Saza Hai (Hanste Zakhm – 1973) : A very popular Qawwaali penned by Kaifi Aazmi, composed by Madan Mohan, sung by Rafi, Balbir and others and picturized on Naveen Nischal, Priya Rajwansh and others.
12. Raaz Ki Baat Keh Doon To Jaane Mehfil Mein Phir Kya Ho (Dharma – 1973) : A popular Qawwaali containing meaningful words pertaining to the twist in the story of the movie, penned by Varma Malik, composed by Sonik Omi, sung by Rafi, Asha and others and picturized on Pran, Bindu, Rekha etc.
13. Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom Sharaabi (Five Rifles – 1974) : A very popular Qawwaali sung by Aziz Nazan and others, penned by Naza Sholapuri, composed by Kalyanji Anandji and picturized on Ambika Johar and others.
14. Mehengaai Maar Gayi (Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan – 1974) : A fitting Qawwaali on the things prevailing in India (in those days as well as these days) sung by Jaani Babu Qawwaal, Narendra Chanchal, Lata and Mukesh. Laxmikant Pyarelaal have composed the lyric of Varma Malik and the song has been picturized on Jaani Babu Qawwaal, Moushumi Chatterjee, Manoj Kumar etc.
15. Raat Abhi Baaki Hai, Baat Abhi Baaki Hai (Do Khiladi – 1976) : An unforgettable Qawwaali of Jaani Babu Qawwaal whose words have been penned by Gauhar Kanpuri and the composition is of Usha Khanna.
16. Ye Waqt Ki Hera Pheri Hai (Hera Pheri – 1976) : A hilarious Qawwaali picturized on Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna, sung by Kishore Kumar and Mahendra Kapoor, penned by Indeevar and composed by Kalyanji Anandji.
17. Hum To Jhuk Kar Salaam Karte Hain (Fakira – 1976) : A humorous Qawwaali picturized on Shashi Kapoor, Danny Dengjongpa and others, sung by Kishore Kumar and Mahendra Kapoor and penned and composed by Ravindra Jain.
18. Hai Agar Dushman Zamaana, Gham Nahin Gham Nahin (Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin – 1977) : A superhit Qawwaali picturized on Rishi Kapoor, Zeenat Aman and others; sung by Rafi, Asha and chorus; written by Majrooh and composed by R.D. Burman.
19. Parda Hai Parda (Amar Akbar Anthony – 1977) : Another superhit Qawwaali of Rishi Kapoor (singing for Neetu Singh) which has been written by Anand Bakshi, composed by Laxmikant Pyarelaal and sung by Rafi and chorus.
20. Pal Do Pal Ka Saath Hamaara, Pal Do Pal Ke Yaarane Hain (The Burning Train – 1980) : A unique Qawwaali picturized in the running train on Jeetendra, Asha Sachdev, Neetu Singh and several other artists which has been authored by Saahir, composed by R.D. Burman and sung by Rafi, Asha and chorus.
21. Chehera Chhupa Liya Hai Kisi Ne Hijaab Mein (Nikaah – 1982) : A Qawwaali-duel sung by Mahendra Kapoor, Asha, Salma Agha and chorus and picturized on Salma Agha, Asrani and others. It’s been authored by Hasan Kamaal and composed by Ravi.
22. Ho Mubarak Tujhe Humnawa Mil Gaya (Ghulam-e-Mustafa – 1997) : A pleasant Qawwaali sung by Saabri brothers and picturized on Satish Shah, Tiku Talsania and others (Nana Patekar and Raveena Tandon being the onlookers) through which the singers congratulate the newly wedded couple. Rajesh Roshan has composed the lyric of Anand Bakshi.
23. Ek Mulaqaat Zaroori Hai Sanam (Sirf Tum – 1999) : A Qawwaali which has not been picturized as a Qawwaali in the movie but is played in bits and pieces alongwith the scenes of the story when it heads towards its climax. The performers involved are Sanjay Kapoor, Priya Gill and others, composition being of Nadeem Shravan and the words having come the pen of Sameer. This Qawwaali sung by the Saabri brothers, Jaspinder Narula and chorus is very close to my heart and I love listening to it again and again.
24. Ishq Hai Zindagi, Zindagi Pyar Hai (Ishq Hai Tumse – 2004) : Himesh Reshammia has composed this romantic Qawwaali penned by Sanjay Chhel. It has been sung by Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan and Vinod Rathod and picturized on Dino Morea, Bipasha Basu and others.
25. Hum Subah Ke Bhoolon Ko Pata Ghar Ka Bata De (Road To Sangam – 2010) : An exemplary and spiritual Qawwaali authored by Sudhir Nema, composed by Nitin Kumar Hariya & Prem Hariya, sung by Vijay Mishra, Ghulam Qadir Khan & Ghulam Murtuza Khan and picturized on Paresh Rawal and others.
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