If we haven’t heard of, or heard Saieen Zahoor it’s our loss entirely. A near-legend in his lifetime this Pakistani Sufi singer who has dedicated his voice to God and who refused to record his singing until 2006, has been coaxed to sing by filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra in his love legend Mirzya.
Based on the Punjabi folklore describing the doomed love of Mirza and Sahibaan, the film’s passionate theme required a Sufiyana voice. Rakeysh as well as his music composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy thought Saieen Zaroor’s voice to be the most appropriate to convey the film’s passionate theme.
Explains Rakeysh Mehra, “My film is set in contemporary times, though we are showcasing the classic ancient era for 20-35 minutes of the film. We’re creating modern folklore through music. I always felt legendary love stories should be interpreted through songs. We’ve recorded 400 hours of music.”
Rakeysh expresses huge respect for the talents of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. “We started recording for Mirzya since before the release of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. My association with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is almost telepathic. It’s like I have a dream. And then, these other artistes come and become part of that dream and give new interpretations and dimensions to my dream.”
Rakeysh admits his association with the writer Gulzar has been enormously enriching. “My writer Gulzar Saab said, “Sirf ehsaas hai yeh rooh se mehsoos karo pyar ko pyar hi rehne do koi naam na do. ‘He’s such a complete artiste. Here’s a true writer who can see pictures. When he writes he paints pictures. He always tells me, ‘I keep talking and talking, you absorb.’ His writing is so layered, it is important for me to keep peeling off layers after layers.”