‘Gujarat’s rich songs need to be heard by a larger audience’


Osman Mir is all set to perform Gujarati folk and spiritual folk songs at Paddy Fields festival

Singer Osman Mir is best known for the songs ‘Mor Bani Thanghat Kare’, ‘Nagada Sang Dhol’ and ‘Laal Ishq’ in the 2013 Sanjay Leela Bhansali film Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela. But Bollywood is only one half of his musical personality, as he’s better known for rendering Gujarati folk and spiritual songs.

Mir will be one of the highlights at this year’s two-day Paddy Fields folk fusion festival today and Saturday. Though he plans to sing a couple of film songs, his focus will be on folk and devotional repertoire. This year, the festival's theme is to pay tribute to the greats. The opening night will feature a tribute to poet Mirza Ghalib by ghazal and Sufi artiste Pooja Gaitonde, a qawwali presentation by Munnawar Masoom and a performance by the Meet Brothers. On the second day, sitar exponent Purbayan Chatterjee will be joined by the Tanushree Shankar Dance Troupe to pay homage to late sitar fusion maestro Ananda Shankar. After Mir’s performance, Abhijit Pohankar will present works of Marathi poet-saints Tukaram, Sant Gyaneshwar and Eknath, and Sukhwinder Singh will recite Punjabi folk songs.

Spreading the gospel

Back from a three-week US tour, Mir is looking forward to his Mumbai show. “There have been some attempts in Hindi films to popularise Gujarati folk music. But compared to Punjabi, Bengali and Rajasthani music, the efforts have been fewer. In the non-film sector, Gujarat has so many rich songs that need to be heard by a larger audience,” he says.

Growing up in Rajkot, Mir’s musical journey began by learning the tabla. He became a follower of spiritual guru Morari Bapu and began singing bhajans. “I also grew up on ghazals and Hindi film music, my favourite singers being Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey,” he says.

Widening the circle

Slowly, he began performing concerts of ghazals and bhajans, but the Ram-Leela break have him nationwide exposure. “It was a pleasure to work with Bhansaliji. Besides being an acclaimed filmmaker, what’s really admirable is his knowledge of music. I also got a chance to do a duet with Shreya Ghoshal, whose singing I have been a fan of," he says.

Mir also sang in the Hindi film, Bezuban Ishq and Gujarati movie Lavari, besides doing the albums Ladki in Gujarati and Teri Khushboo in Hindi. “I plan to maintain a balance between film and non-film music. I am now working on a project with Salim-Suleiman, featuring singer Kaushiki Chakraborty. There’s also a song lined up with Amit Trivedi,” he says. Keeping the Paddy Fields concept in mind, Mir will sing with a mix of Indian and western instruments. “My aim is to present traditional Gujarati fare but render it in a different manner,” he says.

Paddy Fields; November 29 and 30 at Nesco, Goregaon; more details at

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 8:44:23 PM |

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