Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bilal Khan - Khabi Gham Na Aey

Bilal Khan, the guitarist who started his musical career under a tree in a University in Lahore, has made a video for the song Khabi Gham Na Aey. This is his second professional video after Bachana.

The song in this version is a different version to the acoustic version from the Bilal’s album Umeed. I like this video version more than the album version. The production is better and the extra instruments add interest. I like the option to turn on captions and sing along. Translated captions, like those on Bilal’s performance on Coke Studio, would have been nice for those who can’t understand what he is singing.

The video is set in a clothes shop and stars a shop assistant and Bilal as a mannequin. Nothing much happens in the first half. There are some arty shots of rain against the window and footage from the security cameras as well as close ups of the characters. In the second half it’s all action as the sales assistant accidentally knocks off Bilal’s head and puts it back on. There is an earthquake and lightening strikes. Bilal comes to life and makes his way over to his girl. But when he gets there and reaches out to her he finds that she herself doesn’t move.

Music videos starring shop mannequins are not new, but these are the first mannequins I have seen who suffer an existential crisis. I like it when a music video tells a story, but I’m not sure I want to spend time trying to figure out what that story is.  I like Bilal’s music because it is simple and beautiful. This video detracts from the music and the view spends too much time thinking about the video and not about how beautiful the song is.

There has been confusion over the story and what the exact meaning of the concept is. The film’s director Abdullah Haris tried to explain his abstract concept on his facebook page, but I’m of the opinion that if you have to explain your concept so that people can understand it then it doesn’t work in the first place. I rather like the following story suggested by a youtube user: the girl is not a shop assistant, but a mannequin who comes to life at night and spends her time admiring Bilal. When she has finally willed him to come alive, he touches her and their time together runs out.

Overall, this video is different, creative and interesting. The concept might be too abstract for some people, but I like the ambiguity of the story. Both the song ad the video are good but it’s a shame that there has been more talk about the concept of the video than the music.

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