MUMBAI: Sufi singer Abida Parveen may be inundated with offers to sing playback for Indian films, but she isn’t interested in signing up.
“I keep getting offers. Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai and many others have asked me to sing in their films. But I have immersed myself in sufi music and I am busy spreading that message,” Parveen, 56, said.
“It is time consuming to spread the message of Sufism and that is why I have not had time to accept any of the film offers,” she added.
Sufi music has been making inroads into the Indian film industry. Soundtracks now have at least one song with sufi influences.
The veteran singer said, “The taste and touch of sufi music started coming in Bollywood through my song ‘Thaiyya Thaiyya’, which was converted into ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ (Dil Se).”
“Then it started spreading and many films started having songs with a sufi touch. Today it has become really popular in Bollywood, which is a good thing. These songs keep love and humanity intact. That is why they connect with people and touch their souls,” she added.
Parveen’s forte is kaafis, a solo genre accompanied by percussion and harmonium, using a repertoire of songs by sufi poets.
Her last album Rukh-e-Murshid, a tribute to her spiritual master Murshid Sahibzada Muhammad Najeeb Sultan, released last year.
Parveen also believes music can bring people together.
“Music is a very good way of spreading love and peace between India and Pakistan. Music is the gift of God and it always helps in connecting and bringing people together,” said the singer.
“It takes forward the message of humanity and brotherhood and that’s why I really like the concept of this concert where they call artists from across the borders to perform,” she added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2010.