Bollywood has helped attract a new audience towards Sufi music: Parwati Kumari 


Panaji, December 2022– Bollywood has provided a platform for Sufi music to attract new audiences, according to noted exponent of the Sufi singing genre Parwati Kumari, who performed at the ongoing Serendipity Arts Festival 2022.

Kumari and Kalpana Patowary, both vocalists, performed folk and Sufi qawwalis as part of the ‘Sufi-Folk Tales’ segment curated by Bickram Ghosh for the country’s premier arts event.

Folk singer – Kalpana Patowary

“When we were kids, we were always attracted by the glitz and glamour that Bollywood had. I feel Bollywood is a great way to reach audiences of all kinds. When we bring such genres to Bollywood, there’s a chance it grabs new audiences, so that’s a great advantage,” Kumari said.

When asked about the state of Sufi music in India and whether it has managed to attract new audiences in the last few years, Kumari said that the genre, which was birthed by Islamic sufists, continued to be admired and loved not just in Asia, but across the globe too.

“I wholeheartedly believe that music has no religion or caste. It’s open for anybody who wants to appreciate the art and that is the beauty of it. Sufi is a beautiful genre, it’s sung mainly to showcase devotion while feeling one with God.  It’s enjoyed everywhere in the country and it also attracts huge crowds when performed on international music as well. So I feel that Sufi music has its own fan base everywhere,” she said.

Speaking about the revival of interest in Sufi music among youngsters, Kumari said that music, like all other aspects of life, was hinged on evolution and adaptation.  “There is always a need to adapt to newer generations and their interests moderately. For our performance at Serendipity Arts Festival, we are presenting a cocktail of genres. I presented Sufi music, while Kalpana show-cased folk expertise, to a melody of drums and a plethora of other instruments. I like to keep the newer generations in touch with Sufi music, so it is important to incorporate tiny elements of what they like, without straying far from the roots,” she said.