The Debut Edition of the Sufi Route Stirs Souls
by Shantanu Jain Entertainment | November 29, 2017 | Feature
INvision Entertainment AR Rahman
Before the youth of India lost themselves to the massive frenzy of electronic dance music in the early 20th century, Sufi ruled the hearts of all music lovers across the nation. Interestingly, as India progressed with its musical choices matching steps with the West, Sufi still remained a popular choice amongst Indian audiences.
It is rather appalling to realize that even though Sufi has for decades been referred to as the ‘most celestial’ genre of music, no one in the Indian events ecosystem has truly thrived on its magnanimity, bringing to the fore the delicious tranquilising effect it has on the audiences.
November 18, 2017, in the capital, witnessed history in more ways than one as The Sufi Route, a concert for peace, was held at the Qutub Minar, a national heritage property. Curated by Friday Filmworks, INvision Entertainment, and Invloed Matrix, The Sufi Route left the attendees enthralled by not just Sufi music but also with its poetry and dance performances.
This first of its kind concert in India saw the presence of the legendary AR Rahman, along with lyricist Javed Akhtar, Nooran Sisters, Hans Raj Hans, Mukhtiar Ali, Kamna Prasad Sood, Fouzia & Firoz, Dhruv Sangari, Whirling Dervish ceremony from Turkey and others.
Conceptualised as the first of many steps to spread the charm of Sufi poetry the world over, The Sufi Route’s debut edition was as much about peace and inclusion. By partnering with Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi’s Children’s Foundation for the ‘100 Million for 100 Million - A Billion Acts for Peace’ campaign, the promoters of the concert helped the foundation connect with a wider audience and create awareness about their projects. In another first, the concert became the first of its kind in India to have given the first-hand experience of a live music event to hearing-impaired students from Centrum-GRO, an advanced skill training center for the deaf.
The performances at The Sufi Route commenced with a poetry session featuring a range of artists reciting works by renowned saints. Masters of ‘Dastangoi,’ traditional storytelling, Fouzia & Feroz recited poems written by Danish Iqbal “Hazrat Amir khusro Ki”. Kamna Prasad Sood was the host of the poetry session who also recited some of her famous Shayari and poetry. Indian lyricist and television screenwriter Manoj Muntashir also rolled out some of his favorite Shayari. The headliner of the poetry session, however, was lyricist Javed Akhtar who gave a breathtaking poetry recitation of “Ek Aansu”
The celebration moved to music with the splendid performance of Mukhtiar Ali, from the 26th generation of the Sufi singers who performed on “Al – Kabir” along with other songs. Following him, the Nooran Sisters showcased their well-rooted linguistic and musical traditions through their songs like Sayoni, Allah Ho Fakira Di, Main Yaar Mangda Bas Pyar Mangda. Padmashri awardee Hans Raj Hans performed some of the popular tracks like Duma Dum Mast Kalandar, Nit Khair Maangda, Ishq Di Gali Wichon Koi Koi Laangda from the movie Kacche Dhage. And with the music, the dance of the Whirling Dervish troupe from Turkey which showcased Sufi culture spanning eight centuries added to the magical vibe. Qawwali and classical maestro Dhruv Sangari too made the evening memorable with Kab Mori Nayya Paar Karo Tum, Chhaap Tilak Sab Chheeni Re and many more.
The one performer whom hundreds of music lovers from across Delhi had braved the smog for, AR Rahman, truly took the concert to another level. Rahman, a proud exponent of Sufi music, plunged into the evening with his soulful renditions of Kun Faya Kun, Allah Huma Salle Alla, Arziyaan Sari Main, Phool Khile Baagiyan and many more. The evening was made even more special by the performance of AR Rahman’s son who is following the footsteps of his father. Sana from Israel, who is a Palestinian with two passports, also performed along with Rahman.
Exhilarated to have pulled off the occasion, Shital Bhatia of Friday Filmworks, promoter of The Sufi Route said, “We had spent the past months of our lives putting this event together as we knew the music will make it worthwhile. But going by tonight, the performances left us speechless too.”
Namrata Singh of Friday Filmworks, Co-owner and In-charge of Alliances and Partnerships of The Sufi Route said, “The concert’s peace initiative, its support for the rich history of Sufi music and its range of performers were all important statements by themselves. Our team is proud to have begun this historic, inclusive, global journey.”
Gagan Takyar, Director, INvision Entertainment spoke exclusively to EVENTFAQS and said, “Sometimes, the venue of a concert speaks as much as its music and dance, and to see our own Qutub Minar as the background of something so beautiful was a great sight. 20 years after the maestro Yanni’s performance by the Taj, this was as special.”
He added, “The highest point of Sufi Route was when AR Rahman LIVE for the first time in this country to do a Sufi Set. The way he started, the way his chorus backed him up, it was truly a visual delight further elevated by the surround sound. This was one magical moment that shall always remain ingrained in the mind of the audiences.”
Quoting on the challenges faced Gagan responded, “It was a humongous challenge to bring alive this concert at Qutub Minar which has not been an event venue for almost a decade now. No commercial happenings or events have happened here other than the ones at Commonwealth, so it was a big obstacle to get this place as a venue as multiple permissions were required for the same.”
Gagan adds, “One thing we would keep in mind going forward in the successive editions of the property is giving a little more time to the other artists and make it a longer festival which couldn’t happen this time as we were dealing with the 10 PM deadline. We might make it a 2 day festival in the future so all the artists performing at the festive are given their due.”
The Sufi Route is an initiative by Friday Music Project Pvt Ltd, INvision Entertainment Pvt Ltd, and Invloed Matrix. It is supported by Andaz Delhi as Hospitality Partner, Insider. in and Paytm as Ticketing Partners, Harman Pro India Pvt Ltd as Technical Partner, Picture Time Digiplex Pvt Ltd as Digiplex Partner, OneDigital Entertainment as Digital Partner, Scoop Brand Holdings Pvt Ltd as Production Partner, and PVR Cinemas as Multiplex Partner.
Curated by Friday Filmworks, INvision Entertainment, and Invloed Matrix, The Sufi Route left the attendees enthralled by not just Sufi music but also with its poetry and dance performances.