Stories about qawwali

Arth 2 looks visually appealing, glamourous and gripping enough for a successful run at the box office

I always feel that a trailer cannot be an evaluator for how a movie will turn out, like the saying goes, “do not judge a book by its cover”. That is precisely what a trailer is, a cover of an upcoming movie. Mahesh Bhatt’s Arth is the first Hindi film to be remade in Pakistan. Arth 2, a modern day retelling of the original story, has a romantic storyline. With Shaan Shahid playing the lead role, this is one movie you don’t want to miss out on. Setting the original 1987 Arth aside for a moment, the new version looks fast-paced, glamourous and gripping enough to give it a view. ...

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Five songs that stole the show in Coke Studio season 9

It’s safe to say that Coke Studio season nine ended with a lot of hype, grandeur, and lavishness. Similar to its previous seasons, this season was a bag of mixed flavours. Some episodes were brilliant; some were ordinary, while others were below average. Therefore, with a total of seven episodes and 30 songs, here is my pick of the five best creations of the season. 5. Tu Kuja Man Kuja Finale Artist: Shiraz Uppal and Rafaqat Ali Khan Music Director: Shiraz Uppal Shiraz Uppal and Rafaqat Ali created a soulful kalam with a mesmerising chorus – that managed to win my heart. Usually a male duet with similar ...

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Four reasons why Coke Studio’s Afreen Afreen is my new favourite

Coke Studio’s second episode went on air on August 19, 2016, and Afreen Afreen, sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Momina Mustehsan, stole the limelight – rightfully so. While some loved it and others hated it – for me, Afreen Afreen encompassed exactly what Coke Studio is all about. Coke Studio started nine years ago, and succeeded in bringing famous Pakistani singers together on a platform in order to recreate some of the most legendary songs of the past. When I say recreate, it should be made clear that recreation does not mean singing it again, as it is, rather it means creating something new, with the essence of ...

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Karachi, you used to be home

I walk out of the plane and I’m hit with humidity, heat, and a smell that I can’t even describe with words. This is home. The airport is packed as I trudge my way to get my overweight, large suitcases. My eyes are watering, my hair is in a state, and my clothes that seemed so loose back in Rome are suddenly sticking to me as the gaze of almost every male present follows me in a carnal manner.  This is home. I try and relax as I look at the out-dated conveyor belt slowly moving bag after bag until I finally see my own. I push ...

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Is the Lahore Metro more important than Nusrat Fateh Ali’s legacy?

The Lahore Metro, a project first proposed in the early 1990’s, has finally been set in motion after overcoming many of its obstacles regarding funding. After construction had begun, the Lahore High Court intervened and suspended the activity till the Orange Line was rerouted to protect 11 heritage sites from being impacted. These heritage sites include the Shalimar Gardens, Chauburji monuments, St Andrews Church, the tomb of Mehrunnisa and the tomb of Mauj Darya Bukhari. This intervention has calmed the uproar of the masses as it protects the symbols of our culture and history. To most of us what would ...

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The Islamabad Pir-volution?

Take a country of 180 million people where nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line and a growing percentage becomes vulnerable to it every year and what do you have? An open stage for people like Dr Tahirul Qadri (TuQ) to waltz in and prey upon the psychological disadvantages that poverty invariably creates – the most outstanding ones being depression and hopelessness. In a state of utter despondency, man just wants to believe, even if it’s in empty promises and false pledges. In our society, the pirs, the self-proclaimed saints, take the cake when handing out hope to the ...

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#CokeStudio7 Episode 2: An array of ‘could have been’ moments

Coke Studio gives us another episode filled with people who are worthy of being called ‘musicians’. However, there were some stumbles and bigger fumbles by the producers when it came to handling big names and their songs. Akhtar Chanal, Komal Rizvi and Momin Durrani: Washmallay So how does a Balochi song get hijacked from under the nose of a Balochi folk artist himself, relegating him to a dancing performer of sorts while non-singers like Komal Rizvi and Momin Durrani take top credits for a song when they only contributed to its ruin? Does mere chutzpah maketh a song? Or do we just randomly line up female singers who think of ...

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Coke Studio 7 comes with strings attached

What an opening! The much-awaited Coke Studio season seven begins with the hope of fresh music, sounds, return-to-roots and much more. Strings have teamed up to become the sound producers of a huge franchise even though they have no prior music production experience. It was but expected that, apart from picking all the right people, their overall presentation would be a ‘celebration of strings’, given Bilal Maqsood’s love for the guitar. Episode one fared well and stumbled a little as well, but gave much to celebrate. Ustad Raees Khan and Abida Perveen: Mein Sufi Hoon Who can go wrong placing these two maestros together? It was a joy to see ...

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Remembering Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: The man who gave life to qawwali

There are some voices which are dependent on words in order to get heard and appreciated, and then there are those, self-sufficing ones, upon which words cease to exist – the unsurpassed ones. Words perish and what remains is the triad of voice, revelation and a standstill universe. Such is the case with Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. His voice has transcended the realm of words. “I am a peddler, wandering and roaming from one village to another, in the lanes of cities, in the countries of the world, offering the message of peace, wishing to continue to do so all ...

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Did qawwali die with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the Sabri brothers?

The melodious voice became clearer as I walked towards the shrine. And just as I started up the stairs separating the dust of the polluted world from the spiritual atmosphere of the place, the lyrics became discernible as well, “Tajdar-e-Haram, O Nigah-e-Karam…” (King of the Haram, look upon us with mercy…) As strong as commentary can ever be, this poetry has always inspired reverence in faulted souls. Not more than a decade ago traditional qawwali was still thriving and the best place to listen to qawwalis was not a privately organised concert but these very publically hosted urs. Photo: Badar Chaudhary And ...

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