અજબ આ જગત છે, ઉંડા એના પાયા
આ બધુ જાણવા છતા મુકાતી નથી માયા.
Farida Mir is a popular name among Gujarati community for her art of singing. Despite being belonging to Muslim community, she sings Hindu hymns, which hurts to some orthodox people. She belongs to Mir cast which is said to be have art running in their blood. It is quite fascinating to know how her singing journey started when she was a teen.
Not only she is a good singer but an actress in Gujarati films. She leads quite a famous life and hence controversies too are a part of her professional life.
On a fine evening of Navratri (2009), when she came to Rajkot to perform at a local Dandiya-Ras show, she rendered some time to Speakbindas for an interview. Speakbindas correspondent Vikas Rajpopat dwells into her personal and professional life with interesting questions.
VIDEOS OF INTERVIEW
Note: Video quality is poor due to bad light. Apologies for the same. But Audio quality is excellent.
Excerpt of Video Interview
Q.: Artists have no particular religion such as Hindu or Muslim, their only religion is ART. You sing hymns but you belong to a community (Muslim) where generally hymns are not sung. Was there any difficulty in the initial days?
- It was a surprise for the people knowing I sing hymns being a Muslim daughter. Generally, from a Muslim singer, Kalma, Kavali is expected but people are used to prefer me singing hymns.
Q.: How come you entered this field? What really inspired you?
- My father and two brothers are artists. Being a ‘Mir‘, art runs in our blood and we need not to attend any particular class to learn it. In our cast Mir (belonging to Porbandar), generally women artists are not allowed to perform outside in public. Of course, many women are good singers but mostly male artists are allowed to perform in public.
- One day, with my mother I went to Ranuja (Nr. Kalawad) which is a sacred place known for Ramdev Pir, on festival of Bhadarva Bij. My maternal cousin positively pushed me to sing there in front of public. I sang the first song રણુજા વાળો મારા કાળજાની કોર (Ranuja Walo Mara Kalja ni Kor). People enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately, at that time I knew this song only, I mean I hadn’t prepared any hymns for the occasion. But audience was so keen to listen another hymn from me, which I gently denied due to no preparation for another hymn. Looking at the genuine response from the audience for my singing, tears came into my eyes knowing that they accepted me as a singer just with one hymn I sang. I really enjoyed that moment. This happened 16 years before.
- And thus my journey started from there and then to Karanpara Chowk, world of cassettes, public programs and now Gujarati films.
Q.: You sing hymns; many of them are favorite among people. Which one is that, which you personally love?
- Amm.. most of my hymns are my favorite, because I only sing those hymns which I personally like singing and whose meaning I am aware of. But yes, there is one such particular song which I like the most, in which every listener feels his/her life. I also have found myself in that hymn.
Farida Mir sings the hymn:
અજબ આ જગત છે, ઉંડા એના પાયા, (Ajab aa jagat chhe unda ena paya)
આ બધુ જાણવા છતા મુકાતી નથી માયા – ૨. (Aa badhu janva chhata mukati nathi maya – 2.)
Which means that this world is so strange and full of illusions but still we can not come out (leave it) of it.
Q.: In Hinduism, hymns are said to be the shortest distance to worship and reach to God. Was there any opposition from Muslim community that you despite being a Muslim girl sing Hindu hymns?
- World over, there are always such people who oppose something. I mean, if no one was opposing anything, human would have become God himself! There are also my supporters from Muslim community who take pride of me as Farida Mir. And now my name itself is an unique identity.
- And of course, there are oppositions too who oppose with reason that despite being a Muslim girl, I sing Hindu hymns. To them, I would like to say, and have said earlier too that I have also completed reading Quran Sharif, I have also performed Namaz, I also sing hymns of Hindu gods Shiva and Krishna, so in a way I am a symbol of unity between Hindu and Muslim.
Q.: Celebrities’ life at the outer core seems so beautiful, but in personal life it’s not always that beautiful as they also have to suffer its side-effects. So in your personal life, how supportive and difficult your celebrity status has been?
- It is such a nice question you have asked. Well, the difficulty of having a big name in society particularly for a bindas girl like me is that common routines such as to drive bike on road, wear free dress, to live a simple life, to walk on road and meet people etc. are broken. Because people do not allow us to lead a common life, wherever we go a crowd appears. So if we wish to enjoy Pani Puri as a common person, we can not. So when from my car I look at others enjoying their life, I feel sad knowing that now I can not do few things I loved the most.
- And the good thing about the status of celebrity that I feel is that, after I die, you know people will at least remember me as there was a singer by name Farida Mir! I mean if we die as a common person, nobody except our near ones take note of that but when a celebrity like us die, their fans around the globe remember them.
Q.: What education you have acquired?
- (Laughs…) In my Kundali, there is no appearance of education, but yes it says that I am to acquire a celebrity status. It is also said that I am yet to receive more fame to which I feel, I have had enough of popularity and fame as I am fed up of it now! God has been so kind to me so far.
- But I remember, when I was a kid and I used to go to school, even during class my mind was engaged with music and singing. I also used to write songs and my teachers were aware of my passion for music and they only used to inspire me for singing during some school party or program.
- So, I studied till standard 10. દસ એટલે બસ (10 is enough). (laughs….)
- And I have observed that some highly educated people who have acquired many degrees in their life and sometimes I have found them standing by my side as a waiter. Of course, I am not denying the importance of education, but what I mean to say is, it’s all about luck blessed by God. And I am thankful to God for the art he has poured in me, if not education!
Q.: Your art journey has reached to Gujarati cinema too. What have you done in Gujarati cinema?
- I have acted in many Gujarati films. People highly responded to my movie દુખડા હરો દશામાં (Dukhada Haro Dasha Ma) which was my super-duper hit Gujarati movie. The glad thing about this movie is that, women used to carry coconut with them at theater as a part of their faith for Goddess Dasha Ma as movie is about goddess.
- Secondly, in the movie I am shown being beaten by my sister-in-laws, and I have seen women literary crying in theater seeing me being beaten. Of course, it’s a movie but still I feel happy knowing that my fans can not bear any trouble to me, let it be even as artificial in the film.
- I am thankful to my fans who accepted me as an actress too in Gujarti films.
Q.: Any special happy moment during many a programs that you done so far?
- There are many of them as I am signing for last 16 years. And in this span, I have never felt that any of my programs has failed or say a organizer repented, nope.. never. And I am glad about that. But I can say that I find it more happy when our program is in Kutch region. Audience of Kutch gives very good respect to ladies artists, they shower money upon an artist in a good manner and appreciate the performance genuinely. And I can surely say that, an artist who has been successful in Kutch, can be successful everywhere.
Q.: Farida Mir has been said to have involved in few personal controversies that your fans came to know through newspapers. What you have to say about those incidents and news?
- You name me a celebrity who has never been with controversies? So I am not the first! But yes, initially I used to feel bad and nervous knowing some negative news has been appeared in news but now it has been quite common for me because people will consider today’s newspaper as scrap tomorrow. And you would be aware of the fact that Hindi television and film celebrities are said to be paying for such stunt news to remain in the public eyes. But here, I am getting publicity for free of charge, so it’s a good thing, isn’t it?!!
- But I feel bad for my fans when such news come out. Like our (artists’) most of life goes on travel due to our frequent programs at different places. So if I say about my accident news, it appeared as I I got badly hurt, admitted in hospital etc. and some news said I died! I mean, they exploit small incidents of our life in a big way. My cell number is known to all leading press medias, so at least if they could confirm the fact first with me before posting the news, so that at least my fans will receive less troubles.
Q.: Any message you would like to give to your fans through Speakbindas?
- The first thing I would like to say to my fans is that stay away from rumors about me. I feel I am totally safe with your prayers for me. I will be glad to live in your heart forever. And please also stay away from duplication that you might have come to know like some ladies go by fake-name as “Voice of Farida Mir.” Please carry an earnest desire to listen good and true music.
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