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Shabad Aag di Khushboo Shreya Ghoshal

The First Notes

In the sleepy village of Sri Bhaini Sahib, beyond the urban seams of Ludhiana, children wake up to the song of birds and the notes of the dilruba, rabab and taar shehnai. The sweet, distant hum of Assa di vaar, the early morning shabad (hymns), lights up each day like milky white sunshine in the deep winters of the north. Faith and music flow here as one. Infinite and immersive…

In this nucleus of the Namdhari Sikh community, every child learns Hindustani classical music before she learns the alphabet. Young girls draped in flowing, spotless whites sing intricate ragas and tease out the notes from the tanti saaz, the forgotten Sikh string instruments, with as much ease as they Instagram or zip around the village on a scooter… Born into music, the girls seem anything but torn between the modern and the sacred. Music meets their laughter in perfect harmony.

Sacred Sounds

With almost all its 6,000 verses set to 31 key ragas as well as a ragamala between its pages, the Guru Granth Sahib is perhaps the only scripture in the world to be entirely set to classical music. Followers of Guru Nanak also believe that when he recited the shabad, he asked his companion, Bhai Mardana, to play ragas on the rabab. So, it’s hardly a surprise that the Sikh community is by far more musical than most. And the Namdharis are its fiercest guardians of sacred music.

Shabad Aag Di Khushboo Short Film Poster By Virtual Bharat

Musical surprises

Yet, when you’re told that Sri Bhaini Sahib is home to Grammy award winners, or that every known musical giant of the Indian subcontinent — from Ustad Bismillah Khan to Kumar Gandharva, Pandit Ravi Shankar to Ustad Zakir Hussain — has visited this quiet corner of rural Punjab, it seems incredible. Some even claim that Rajan Mishra, one half of the Rajan-Sajan collective, could afford to quit his job in a textile company and focus on his riyaaz, thanks to a key Namdhari Satguru, who supported him.

Today, the young girls of Sri Bhaini Sahib are the keepers of this flame…


Created By:
Mukti Krishan
Amal Sudhakaran
Second Unit:
Anirudh Ganapathy
Original Music:
Sri Bhaini Sahib Ludhiana Punjab
Music Produced by:
Bhagirath Bhatt
Christy Sebastian
Researcher and Assistant Director:
Niyantha Shekar
Abhijeet Deolekar
Camera Assistant:
Prakash Bamne
Post Production:
Open Mind
Production House:
Bharatbala Productions
For Studio Virtual Bharat
Mrinnalini Mitra
Lynette D’mello
Sayan Debnath
Shruti Mishra
Akshay Parvatka
Yash Khaire
Prakash Bamne
Shrikkanth Govindarajan
Varsha Ramachandran
Kannan Rajaram
Ghanshyam Patil
Project Virtual Bharat:
Hari Krishnan
Jawahar Sharma
Abhijeet Deolekar
Special Thanks:
Shreya Ghoshal
Sri Bhaini Sahib, Ludhiana, Punjab
Produced By Studio Virtual Bharat

Behind The Scenes