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Listen to Hyderabadi Qawwali in Mumbai

Ustad Ateeq Hussain Khan Bandanawazi, a classical sufiana Qawwal of Hyderabad, is all set to perform in the city this weekend. He chats about his gharana and the art of Sufi Qawwali

Ustad Ateeq Hussain Khan Bandanawazi started singing at the age of five and learnt various forms of classical singing such as dhrupad, khayal, thumri, bhajan, dadra and tarana, from his father. “In our family, we first learn Hindustani classical music as the base of everything else and then we can specialise in a style that we want, which usually is Qawwali,” he says.

Bandanawazi Qawwal led by Ateeq Hussain Khan (far right)
Bandanawazi Qawwal led by Ateeq Hussain Khan (far right)

Talking about the changing trends in the appreciation of this art form, Bandanawazi explains, “We want people to understand sufiana Qawwali. We try our best to perform the traditional style of Qawwali. Filmi Qawwali has changed the scene a lot. It is more entertainment based, reaches a larger audience and people’s exposure gets limited to just that. For us, Qawwali is a way to connect with God.”

When we ask him about the numerous talent hunts on Indian television, he quips, “Everyone wants to become a singing star instantly, these days. I think a person should spend a few years learning first, then choose which path to take.”
The group, known as Bandanawazi Qawwal, has toured all over the world for various Sufi Qawwali shows. They consist of eight people, mainly from Bandanawazi’s family and some of his students. “The group existed even in my father’s time, now, the younger generation of the family has taken over,” Bandanawazi shares.

In 2010, he performed at the Delhi Commonwealth Games program, the Jashn–E–Dilli, and the Urdu Heritage Festival, which was organised by Delhi government. His memorable performances include Hazrath Rumi, The Sufi Festival of India and one at the Sacred Music Festival organised by Dalai Lama Organisation. Bandanawazi Qawwal has also received the Sangeet Ratna Samman from Mahrashtra Art & Culture Department in 1998.

The group has performed in Mumbai before. “We have always received a lot of love in Mumbai. A Qawwal has to
create an ambiance. This time, too, we will attempt to do that. We will perform the works of celebrated poets like
Kabir, Khusrau and other veterans,” he concludes.

On: August 23, 9.30 pm onwards.
At: blueFROG, ground floor, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Lower Parel.
Call: 61586158

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