This online archive tries to document and define the boundaries of India’s cinema qawwalis as a genre different from other song types, analyzing how the cinema industry used them to tell its stories as well as entertain the masses, often subverting the ‘traditional’ qawwali beyond its norms. Please do not expect to find the typical 'Sufi' music, literary gems or dargahi qawwalis here - this archive is about popular film music whose primary goal is to entertain the masses.
This archive has brought together qawwali videos from various
sources including commercially available movie VCDs or DVDs,
public domains like youtube.com and other social media
platforms. We have so far archived over 700 songs dating from
1939 to 2022 that could be called cinema qawwali. But since the
definition of cinema qawwali is quite complex and flexible as our
accompanying essay explores, this
selection of songs has been made based on
certain criteria that can be seen here. A selection of over 300 songs have been placed over five pages
on this website based on different decades. Many songs get
regularly removed from the youtube - hence you may find some links
or videos missing. We would be happy to include more songs
that have not been found by us yet.
This archive is a work-in-progress as more songs and content is being added.