Hum Dekhenge: Jawad Ahmed massacres Faiz

Jawad Ahmed takes on Faiz's Hum Dekhenge. I wish he hadn't. Stick to bhangra, Mr Ahmed.

Rafay Mahmood March 17, 2011
This year, it seems almost every institution in Pakistan is commemorating the late Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s 100th birthday - even the Sindh Assembly.

The latest to jump on the bandwagon is bhangra cum do-gooder Jawad Ahmed. The singer has recently released a music video covering Faiz' classic Hum Dekhenge.

While the video may have started out as an attempt to pay tribute to one of the country's greatest poets, it turns out to be little more than a half-hearted attempt to cash in on the "cool" poet that everyone is talking about this year.

The music video opens with an ambiguous, and rather meaningless baritone voice over by Ahmad. He says:
Revolution is a rare event, and cannot be created. It can only be steered, directed and driven towards victory.

What follows is a flood of images of suffering, hunger and protests -  but all this sound and fury signifies nothing.

The video consists of a mishmash of  clichéd images: young men run through different areas of Karachi passing a torch to each other, sketches of Jesus, Moses, Karl Marx, Joseph Stalin , Che Guevera, Mao ZeDong are interspersed with shots of Jawad Ahmed, who sits in front of a setting sun.

The "how to start a revolution" video will confuse audiences and certainly not entertain them.

Singing about Faiz sells

Bringing Faiz to the youth has become the ‘coolest thing to do’ in the industry. He is not the first poet to be covered by mainstream artists; poetry by Bulleh Shah and Allama Iqbal was used in songs in the 1990s. It is ironic that Faiz, a poet who represented freedom of thought is now being exploited by artists for commercial gain. After all, it's Faiz Ahmed Faiz - that's got to sell, right?

Jawad Ahmad's cover song is a first step down a dangerous road. What comes next? Faiz t-shirts ala Che at Zainab Market?

Rafay Mahmood

The author is the Life & Style Editor of The Express Tribune. He tweets as @Rafay_Mahmood

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


IZ | 13 years ago | Reply Jawad Ahmed is the Pakistani Andy Warhol, except while Warhol took banal mass-produced flotsam of consumer culture and turned it into highbrow art, Jawad Ahmed has taken highbrow art and turned it into the banal mass-produced flotsam of consumer culture. . Genius!
Shazia Yousuf | 13 years ago | Reply Come on people! The nazm itself is so powerful, it stirs the soul! Jawad Ahmed also has that strength in his voice that is so totally required for such words. As far as the video is concerned, I agree it is not up to the mark and better work could have been produced. And one more thing, you cannot compare Allama Iqbal, Bulle Shah and Faiz. They (and all the other famous names) have their own place in the world of literature. And if celebrating Faiz brings the youth to reading and understanding Faiz's poetry, they will soon look for other similar works by other peots and writers. Conclusion: effort will not go to waste!!
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