Local musicians, artists and aficionados have been thronging this quaint, exuberant piece of heaven, Best View Resort, right in the heart of the Dal Lake.Â
Singer Richa Sharma has been at home with her Kashmiri â€˜brotherâ€™ musician Jaan Nissar Lone and his family, holding interactions on music, art and Sufism.
For Richa, along with work, this trip was about self exploration and establishing a spiritual connect with the Valley.Â
She was here to shoot for the song Mere Ali Maula Ali, which to her, is a tribute to Kashmirâ€™s spiritual wealth that has brought her closer to the divine. â€œI found solace here, as thereâ€™s a â€˜pakeezgiâ€™ to this place,â€ she says.Â
The song, composed by musician Jaan Nissar Lone, has been shot at various prominent shrines across Kashmir. â€œWhen I heard about the project, I knew I had to do this for the depth and feel of the lyrics.â€
Taking more about Ali Maula, she says: â€œThe song is just prayer, a way to reach to the higher power. Whatever is negative is happening in the world â€” the pandemic and any difficulties â€” the prayer is being made to the divine. If the lyrics are great, the listener is automatically transported to a different zone.â€
â€œWhen I was told that I will also feature in the album shot in the Valley and I jumped with joy. I would say this song just became a medium for my Kashmir visit, which has been more of a â€˜journey inward or self explorationâ€™. What is amazing is the strong spirituality revelations that I experienced while shooting here,â€ says Richa, who has several Bollywood hits to her credit.
She talks about such an experience in Khankah-e-Maula. â€œI had one such experience in Khankah-e-Maula shrine when we were picturising this song. I was standing at the shrine window when tears automatically started rolling down my eyes. My heart felt light after this. This is an experience that I may never be able to put in words,â€ she says.Â
Accompanied by her elder brother, this wasnâ€™t also a personal visit.Â She says: â€œThe the hospitality of the culture of Kashmir has no match. I made some great friends here. While I enjoyed the mesmerising beauty of the Valley, my take away has been that there is more to this place than the greenery and the healing â€˜aabo hawa'. Itâ€™s the strong Sufi aura that is unique to Kashmir,â€ she says.Â
About this life-altering trip, Richa adds, â€œI visited Kashmir in 2000 for the launch of DD Kashir TV channel. It was a brief day-long visit and I didn't get to move around. Visiting Kashmir has been a long pending wish. But thanks to â€˜brotherâ€™ and music composer Jaan Nissar Lone who made this visit possible,â€ says Richa.
Richa also decided to record for her own song Dil Janiya, which she says has been part of singing career, and is â€œclose to my heartâ€, which she calls her audition song in Kashmir.Â
â€œBoth the song and the place are special to me. I used to sing this song in auditions when I landed in Mumbai a few decades ago. This is my own composition and I never hesitated to present it before the legendary music directors even when everyone wanted to hear budding singers sing songs of prominent singers. Since this place is special to me, so is the song. So this was a perfect place for the song,â€ she says.
The song has been penned by bureaucrat Nitishwar Kumar, and produced by Mumbai based music company A.R. Music Studios, and composed by Jaan Nissar.
â€œWe have all worked very hard on the song, but each song has its own destiny. The message that the song carries is that a prayer holds so much more power. For me this song is only a medium that made this life-altering trip possible. I have travelled across the globe, but this place gave me solace. Thereâ€™s a pakeezgi in this place,â€ she says.
While the pandemic, along with the political uncertainty has been hard here, but hospitable owner of the Best View Resort Farooq Kotru is an upbeat man. â€œIt has been a pleasure hosting these creative guests,â€ he says.