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one week later…

June 21, 2010

it is clichéd to claim that you have had a ‘crazy’ week. i mean the general response to that is ‘yeah? get in line!”

but then again, i have somehow managed to convince at least three people, from completely diverse backgrounds, to work on the film.

i have also been turned down by a troupe of kick-boxers because our proposed shooting dates clash with a world cup for their sport.

and then there is all this stuff to think about regarding the film.

one decision is one i had thought was made, but now i am unsure. it was for the song i was going to use.

i wanted a song sung by a woman, and of course it had to be pakistani. i wanted the song where the woman is in control, her control over the song translating into control over the relationship. the choice had been obvious – the original album version of “Chup” by zeb and haniya.

Chup by Zeb and Haniya.

its easily one of the best albums out recently, and this song is surprising in its versatility. after several listens, you feel the sacrilegious thought that while the coke studio version was good, it couldn’t improve on how good the original was untouched. but the best bit is that the song’s lyrics are rather aggressive yet the singing doesn’t play up on it, creating a wonderful juxtaposition. its very powerful without being in your face. almost sly.

but then something happened. i had come across a video via dishoomdishoom which was absolutely fabulous.

coincidentally, my wife found the same video independently of me in the UK a day later. and then she discovered this amazing album, called “The Sound of Wonder.”

Here you’ll find fuzzy, scuzzy, twang-happy, spaced-out and funked up urdu-grooves complete with harmonium melodies and driven by some of the most random factor, freakish, finger-numbing, percussion that the South East Asian mainstream has ever had to offer. Above all, Lollywood soundtracks sound RAW!

and it was there that i discovered this song.

it is absolutely brilliant – the music has been produced at such a high quality and versatility. it is so infectious. and the vocals are literally dripping, they are so sultry. in fact, it scares me.

check out the original video of this song from the film it was in, Aaj Da Badmash. the free hand camera work is quite brilliant but the dancing lady is rather risque.

it actually embarrasses me that old pakistan (young at the time) was so bold, in terms of sound, in terms of the camera, in terms of the content. but as much as i love the song, i feel that whether swinging pakistan bought it in the ’60s or not, current day pakistan is certainly not going to spare judgement on a woman being so expressive now. im not talking about the dance, but the way the song is sung. my heroine is immediately a vamp, a nautch girl. and perhaps there was a certain joie de vivre about these roles in the past, but now its just a surefire way of making sure the audience, no matter how liberal, loses empathy and sympathy for the woman.

still, the quality, the freshness, the boldness and the ambition of the sound made me want to re-evaluate what i would like to do with the song i had chosen originally. and i figured that since i am in lahore, and i know they are here too, i should get Zeb & Haniya to appear for a bit in the film. that would be a gesture grand enough to eclipse the regret of not choosing the sounds of wonder.

unfortunately i have no money, and i don’t know the two singers. but, if anyone here knows anyone, or knows anyone who knows someone who knows someone else, please, drop a line in the comments section. help get zeb and haniya involved in this project. should i add exclamation marks, or are we all too clever for those?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2010 07:27

    I suggest you contact them yourself…They seem accessible enough. A friend sung ‘aitebar’ somewhere and wrote to them saying how much she loved it etc and one of them added her on fb wanting to see a video the friend singing her version of the song.

  2. July 28, 2010 03:57

    Can’t find you on Twitter, but thought you might like this:

    http://aphotocontributor.typepad.com/aphotocontributor/2010/07/moving.html

    Far too technical for my interest – and perhaps you aren’t interested in shooting street at night, but still.

    That version of Dam Mast Qalandar is epic!

    • July 28, 2010 14:54

      thanks for the link

      they’ve got some lovely equipment though, and the results are gorgeous

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