SOUND CHECK: Ali Zafar, The Gangster?
The blue-eyed boy of our music industry plans to make a return with a hauntingly beautiful video of Aap Jaisa Hai Jawan.
Let’s face it; Ali Zafar has been the bona fide pretty boy of the music industry. Considered a double treat — he sings well enough to get popular acclaim, has catchy songs that appeal to the teeny boppers in the country and has the good looks to make him an ideal candidate for endorsing products — he is the epitome of a Pakistani pop star.
However, it is perhaps the light, ‘bubbly’ perception of himself as an artiste that one feels Ali has, time and time again, tried to disprove. The fact that he is also artistically-inclined also shows the level of visual detail that has previously gone into his videos. Prime examples are his self-directed Yeh Pal, Rangeen, Chal Dil Mere and the Ahsan Rahim directed Sajania. The way he immersed himself into the character he portrayed in these videos perhaps showed his inclination towards acting as well.
Ali is back with a new video that is currently creating quite a buzz on the airwaves. From a high-class conman/bank-robber to becoming completely ghetto as a street thug, Ali seems enamoured by the ‘gansta’ lifestyle. We see his otherwise pretty face distorted into expressions of angst, frustration and downright aggression. He is a prime example of, according to music video director Ahsan Rahim, “a wasted youth.”
“When you are young,” said Ahsan, “you tend to make some very rash decisions that sometimes end in your life being wasted. That was the idea behind making the video.”
Ali Zafar plays the typical hooligan off the streets who indulges in petty street crimes — robbing people on the sidewalk, stealing mobile phones, creating mischief and ending up in gang-fights and what not. He also considers himself to be somewhat of a ladies’ man. He has a sweetheart that he locks eyes with now and then, but doesn’t really make a move. “Well, he’s a hero-type… apni taraf se,” said Ali about the character, “like your writer wrote, he thinks he’s the best looking man around!” he said, referring to the protagonist of Sidrah Haque’s Secret blog of a self-assured pop star series published in Images.
But on a more serious note, Ali firmly iterated that, “The video is not a dance video. It’s not a fun video or a glamour video. It’s hard and it’s painful. It portrays our mindsets in these present times. (It represents) our issues; the crime scene here.
”But it looks at it from more of a personal angle. How when someone steps into the dark side can end up in a darker zone.” The Aap Jaisa Hai Jawan video is introspective and explores human psychology, of how negative emotions/situations can affect and alter our behavior and perception.
When asked about working with Ali again, Ahsan Rahim responded with a laugh,
“Ali ki sari achi videos Ali Zafar, the gangster?mainay banai hain!” (I’ve made all of Ali’s good videos). He added that now he was in the thought-process of making Shahzad Roy’s next video, of the title song from his album, Qismet Apnay Haath Mein.
The ‘hero-type’ in Ali’s music video meets a gory end as he ends up being cornered by the police and gets killed in a crossfire. The moral of the story is clear: Evil deeds meet a just end. “Contrary to popular belief, I do think about the problems we face and how to deal with them,” responded Ali to his recent absence from the music scene, “I need time because I am working on a big project.”
The musician remained tight-lipped about what this ‘project’ was but promised to divulge the details the moment they were finalised. The fact that he’s on a trip across the border makes one speculate whether this so-called project has something to do with Bollywood.—MS