Habba Khatoon’s lyrical tale finds a new twist

There have been a number of Sufi songs and Kashmiri influences that have wafted into Hindi film music over the years. But No Fathers In Kashmir returns to the one poet who literally put lyrics into Kashmiri music. The song, ‘Chol Homa Roshay’, is born from the 16th century female Kashmiri poet, Habba Khatoon’s verses, and takes on a new age twang. The song from director Ashvin Kumar’s upcoming film was released today.

The visuals of the song are set to a lovely budding teen romance. As Majid (Shivan Raina) falls for the London-returned Noor (Zara Webb), it is difficult not to smile at the silly innocence. However, this innocence also walks with a sadness as both children are looking for their missing fathers. The song itself becomes a reflection of that.

Habba Khatoon was famous for her evocative, sad and lyrical poetry. However, the 16th century poem finds a very distinctive contemporary touch with its guitar twang. The electric guitar combines with a Cristal Baschet to make an interesting backdrop to the vocals. It injects pace, and rhythm to back up the vocals of Ali Saifuddin.

Saifuddin, incidentally, never met the composers Loic Dury and Christophe Mink. The composers took Ali’s vocals and mixed it to keep the original authentic Kashmiri feel. An interesting and rare instrument used in the composition is the Cristal Baschet which is now almost never used by anyone. The melody and lyrical arrangement of ‘Roshay’ is the centre piece of the entire film’s soundtrack and connects back to the film and its many layers. The song was even recorded again in a female version where the music composers got the Perkins sisters from London to lend their vocals to the song which is another rendition of the song, ‘Roshay’.

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Saifuddin’s original is a far more simpler, but impactful song. The singer’s voice has a resounding quality that makes it almost hypnotic.

No Fathers in Kashmir is set to be released on 5 April.


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