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This online archive plans to chart the boundaries of India’s cinema qawwalis as a genre different from other song types by documenting popular songs from Bombay cinema that could be called qawwalis, analyzing how the industry used them to tell its stories as well as entertain the masses, often subverting the ‘traditional’ qawwali beyond its norms. This archive has brought the recordings of qawwalis from various sources including commercially available movie VCDs or DVDs, public domains like youtube.com and other social media platforms. The song recordings would also be archived off-line.


We have so far listed over 325 songs dating from 1945 to 2018 that could be called cinema qawwali. But since the definition of cinema qawwali is quite complex yet flexible, as our accompanying essay explores, this selection of songs has been made based on certain criteria that can be seen here. Needless to say that we would be happy to include more songs here that have not been found by us yet. The 325 odd songs have been placed over five pages based loosely on different decades.
Criteria for selection
Criteria for selection
1940-1950s
1940-1950s
1960s
1960s
1970s
1970s
1980-1990s
1980-1990s
2000-2010s
2000-2010s
Lead Essay
Lead Essay
Statistics on songs
Statistics on songs