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Singing Old Tunes

Hans Raj Hans has lent his voice to the songs Duma dammast qalandar and Jindwa in the upcoming film Partition: 1947. In conversation with Komal Sharma, the Sufi singer talks about his inspiration, emotional attachment to this film and lots more

Since Partition:1947 is set in 1947, the year of Indian Independence, Hans Raj Hans was instructed to adapt to the style of that era while singing his songs. “She (director Gurinder Chadha) wanted me to sing the way singers used to before Partition as she thought the quality of my voice could match up to that era and bring out the pre-Partition essence. She wanted me to not only sing but also act in the song. That’s how I feature in the song as well,” reveals Hans.

Duma dam mast qalandar is a popular Sufi number, which has several versions. “This song was first written before Partition, when Pakistan did not even exist. It is a spiritual song and was written in honour of the most esteemed Sufi saint of Sindh, Shahbaz Qalandar. So I have tried to sing the song the way it has been introduced initially,” explains Hans.

He goes on to add that they needed a song that could be played at parties or family functions and he presented many options. “They liked Jindwa. Finally, the team liked my compositions and then they used this song in the film.”

Hans also mentions that AR Rahman, who has scored the music of the film, was very happy with his work. “He didn’t have to work much on either of my compositions. All he had to do was to put the finishing touches to the song.”

Hans Raj Hans claims the film will showcase the true reason for Partition and the people involved. “If people understand this film, I am sure it will be the biggest film at this point,” he believes. He adds that when the audience can relate to a film like Dangal, which is the story of a common man, they should be able to relate to this film too. “The audience will relate to it because this is the story of every common man. Besides, Partition did not end in 1947; it is still happening. People are dying here as well as in Pakistan too. And people know that entertainment hi sab kuch nahi hota. They need to understand the importance and value subjects like this.”

About his experience working with internationally acclaimed director Gurinder Chadha, Hans says, “She knew I was there only to sing but still she discussed the entire film with me. She likes challenges and her thinking is very different. At this moment, we get to see more commercial films than content-driven ones. So in spite of living abroad, her heart is still in India and she wants to do something for the country and her people.”

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