He may have many Bollywood projects in hand, but Ali Zafar knows how to multitask. Pursuing his music career, Zafar is set to release his latest video “Jee Dhoondta Hai” from Jhoom on June 23.
The song features Mirza Ghalib’s poetry, which is believed to be written for a courtesan. The video befits its lyrics themed on universal love, starting from physical relationships to a journey of spirituality. It opens with Zafar searching for his companion on a beach until reality strikes him and the viewer is taken to the next scene in old Karachi where two pimps are waiting to catch their victims. While the first pimp has eyes on three young girls walking down the street, the second one is more interested in the beauty of another girl passing by.
Zafar plays the role of the first pimp. Though not deeply interested in the lone girl’s beauty, he follows her until she vanishes, only to be caught by the other pimp who brings her to the brothel. Zafar tries to rescue her, but she considers him the real perpetrator and finally kills herself.
As the girl dies in his arms, Zafar meets a symbolic death and the viewer is taken back to the beach where the singer dies in the same girl’s arms.
The director of the video, Abdullah Haris says, “The concept is that the water washes away his sins and impure life. If she dies a physical death, he dies a spiritual one.”
Haris added, “I was willing to do this video for Ali Zafar because he has a very versatile personality.”
The six-and-a-half minute long video was shot in two days. “It shows the self-discovery of a man, his love and then his struggle, only to be involved in a spiritual journey, in the end,” said Haris.
Sharing more details of the project, Zafar said: “‘Jee Dhoondta Hai’ was the last song I added in Jhoom. I had recorded it three years ago. Before finishing the album, I felt that a song like this was missing. I had already sung one [poem from] Mirza Ghalib in the album Koi Umeed Bar Nahin Aatee and thought, “Who could get enough of the great maestro?” So I added ‘Jee Dhoondta Hai’ in the last few days before finalising the record.”
Explaining why he chose Haris, who had previously directed only two commercial videos for Hadiqa Kiani, Zafar said: “I thought it is important to nurture new talent looking for opportunities to prove their mettle packed with potential. I saw some of his works and was very impressed. I gave him freedom to work with me in whatever way he wanted to. I think he made well of that freedom.”
Famous for her role in the film Slackistan, Aisha Linnea Akhtar plays the female lead in the video. “I have always liked working with new people. I had seen Aisha Linnea in a friend’s photo album and thought she was pretty and suited the role. However, we wanted her to look torn, broken, emotionally drenched and suicidal in most of the scenes. I think she was in agony during the shoot!” said Zafar.
Hoping for the success of his latest video, the singer said: “It was a difficult task to reflect Ghalib’s poetry in a music video. We hope we did it justice.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2011.