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