Now first to define a Qawwali ... my quick take on it would be a traditional song performance traced back to Islamic and Sufi poets and artists. Originally devotional in nature and thought to have elements of Persian and Turkish music, the qawwali is thought to be a link to the divine through song. Some more detailed descriptions of the qawwali are available on Wikipedia and Chandrakantha's websites.
The Qawwali has been brought to the international scene due to the popularity of artists such as the late, great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the Sabri Brothers, as well as it's prominence in Bollywood films!
The scene is a familiar one: An elaborate stage set with elegant curtains and several platforms, a variety of musical instruments including (but not limited to) a sarangi, harmonium and dholak/tabla, a chorus of background singers clapping dramatically in rhythm, and a dynamic main singer who opens the entire presentation with a beautiful vocal alaap (melody).
This scenario was very popular in early decades of Hindi cinema, but not so prevalent anymore (sadly). There are a few exceptions, but I for one would LOVE to see a resurgence of qawwali items in Bollywood! I miss them!
I'll go out on a limb and say that the obvious KING of the Filmi Qawwali is none other than my darling heartthrob Rishi Kapoor. His qawwalis were immensely popular in the late 70s and early 80s. He exuded so much charisma and passion when performing them that I highly doubt I was the only one besotted with him! For me, Filmi Qawwalis and Rishi Kapoor go hand-in-hand.
But there are plenty more fabulous numbers besides Rishi's - so I thought I'd share my personal favorites. Obviously I think there are PLENTY more than what I've got here ... I've missed many of the qawwalis from the 60s and 70s, and certainly from earlier decades, but I threw this list together from what I could remember and most of my favorites are from the era I was growing up - the 80s and 90s.
So here's my list of favorite Filmi Qawwali songs - what's your favorite?
Filmi Qawwali Playlist includes the following songs:
- Parda Hai Parda - Amar Akbar Anthony (1979)
- Hum Kisise Kam Nahin - Hum Kisise Kam Nahin (1977)
- Pari Ho Aasmani Tum - Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981)
- Aadhi Raat Ko - Parampara (1992)
- Tumse Milke Dil Ka Hai - Main Hoon Na (2004)
- Nahin Hona Tha - Pardes (1997)
- Aaja Aaja Tu Aaja Aanewale - Rajkumar (1996)
- Der Na Ho Jaye - Henna (1991)
- Koi Jane Koi Na Jane - Aur Pyar Ho Gaya (1997)
- Teri Jawani Badi Mast Mast Hai - Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya (1997)
- Ae Mere Zohar Zabhi - Waqt (1965)
- Aaya Tere Dar Par - Veer Zaara (2004)
- Dulhe Ka Sehra - Dhadkan (2000)
- Yaari Hai Imaan Mera - Zanjeer (1973)
- Dekh Lo Ishq Ka - Charandas (1977)
- Pal Do Pal Ka Saath - Burning Train (1980)
- Jeena To Hai Isika - Adhikar (1971)
- Teri Mehfil Mein Kismat - Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
- Mehenge Mar Gayi - Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (1974)
- Jhoom Barabar Jhoom Sharabi - 5 Rifles (1974)
- Tum Nahin Ya Hum Nahin - Karmayogi (1978)
- Eid Ka Din Hai - Deedar-E-Yaar (1982)
- Tumhe Husn Dekhe - Jab Se Tumhe Dekha (1963)
- Haal Kya Hai Dillon Ko Na Poocho - Anohki Ada (1973)
- Wallah Re Wallah - Tees Maar Khan (2010)
EDITED TO ADD: I discovered after I posted this whole thing that MemsaabStory has a wonderful, comprehensive post on her 10 favorite qawwalis that is far superior to mine - so I had to provide a link! Check it out!