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Watch Aabha Hanjura’s New Two-Part Video Release ‘Roshewalla’

The Bengaluru-based artist sings in her native Kashmiri and Hindi for a love story presented with epic visual effects and puppetry

Anurag Tagat Jul 31, 2019

Bengaluru-based folk pop artist in a still from her new video "Roshewalla." Photo: Hasif Hakeem/Courtesy of the artist

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In the process of adapting a “centuries-old” melody and a Kashmiri tale to fit an enchanting folk rock song, Bengaluru-based singer and folk pop artist Aabha Hanjura also found the right visual medium. Her latest two-part release “Roshewalla” employs shadow puppetry and string puppets along with impressive VFX to narrate a metaphor-heavy story of separation and reunion.

Hanjura, who has been performing since 2011 and started her Sufi rock and fusion act Sufistication in 2012, is releasing material off her upcoming debut album Sounds of Kashmir. “Dilbaro Yuier Valo” and “Chalo Chinaro Ke Gharon” are in Kashmiri and Hindi respectively, covering the story of hope even in despairing times. The two parts together form “Roshewalla,” which roughly translates to “beckoning with love, to join in a journey.”

Hanjura adds, “This is an emotion of celebrating my land and telling people to come along with me back home, to the shade of maple trees that you find in Kashmir. The Hindi version has got a lot of pathos in it but the overall message is very positive and hopeful. I’m trying to spread shade wherever I go, which is true of Kashmiris.” Inside these tracks is also the artist’s own story of displacement and Kashmir at large, which she believes cannot be “viewed in a straightforward dimension.” She adds, “I’m a refugee in my own country today for whatever reasons, and I obviously want to go back home, but unfortunately that narrative hasn’t been heard a lot.”

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Watch “Dilbaro Yuier Valo” (Roshewalla Part 1) below.

Featuring a galloping rock rhythm section – provided by guitarist Tony Das and drum work by Wilfred Demoz – “Roshewalla” also puts the rabab (performed by Abdul Rashid) and santoor (by Umar) in the spotlight. The video is a gripping story that takes place at a puppet show for children. Hanjura says with a laugh, “Just like in Hindi films, [we convey that] ‘sab kuch theek ho jayega’ (everything will be okay in the end). We wanted to capture that innocence, which is why we also had children in the audience, to hint at what we would tell people of the next generation about Kashmir.”

Narrating a love story between a commoner and a princess that is interrupted by a sorcerer, “Roshewalla” is produced by Kochi-based production house MadGenius and directed by Vishak Nair. The shadow puppetry and puppetry (by Kerala collectives Samanwaya Pavanadaka Sangam and Tholpavakoothu Kalakendram) in the video is blended with visual effects by Kochi-based Mili Eugene. Hanjura refers to the dresses and jewelry seen in the video and adds, “Whatever I know of my culture I’ve put it into this video. We’ve tried to show diversity, because there’s people in Kashmir from different religious backgrounds.”

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Up next, there’s more singles from the forthcoming album and a possible live EP that features Hanjura’s folk pop material in Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi.

Watch the video for “Chalo Chinaro Ke Gharon” 

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