Given the current situation of the local industry, it’s no surprise that Pakistani musicians are queuing up to be given an opportunity to unleash their talent — and make some moolah — in Bollywood. And this is not just a one-sided affair. Not only are Pakistanis eager to work on the other side of the border, Indians have also developed a taste for the Pakistani sound.
So what is it that Pakistani singers have that their Indian counterparts lack? And the answer is: originality and fresh sound. It’s precisely due to these two factors that the likes of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam and Shafqat Amanat Ali have been widely appreciated in India. However, the latest addition to this bandwagon is ex-Jal member Farhan Saeed, whose song “Meethi Yaadein”, from the film Qasam Se Qasam Se, completely misses the mark.
After kick-starting his solo career with “Khwahishon” — which lacked originality and sounded like an attempt to bring another version of “Aadat” — Saeed’s second solo attempt is yet another disappointment. The song, which is as cheesy as its title suggests, sounds like a debut composition of a participant on an Indian talent show rather than the work of a well-known and experienced artist. The video of “Meethi Yaadein”, which doesn’t feature any prominent artists from B-town, shows Saeed live in a college concert, with a small crowd cheering him and dancing.
Haste is waste
Unfortunately, for Saeed, everything from the lyrics to the arrangement of the song to its video, “Meethi Yaadein” is an unimpressive attempt from the singer whose cover of “Yeh Jo Halka Halka Suroor Hai” made waves last year. It seems that in the hype surrounding Bollywood, Saeed forgot that he was representing Pakistan — a country whose musicians have dominated the Bollywood music industry for almost four years precisely due to their individuality and unique sound.
Be it Ali or Khan or even a newcomer like Javed Bashir, all have maintained their stature as foreign artists who don’t just go for commerciality but take on selective projects, defining their own terms even when shooting for videos.
And that’s exactly where Saeed has gone wrong. With his latest attempt, it seems he jumped on the first opportunity that came his way, not paying much heed to the choice of film or quality of the song — a decision that can cost him future endeavours in Bollywood.
While Saeed may get his break into Bollywood as an actor (based on his looks), it remains to be seen whether he’ll get recognition for his vocal ability or songs.
Although this is Saeed’s first Bollywood track and his best is yet to come, it’s important to realise that future projects will only come if this one had managed to impress.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2012.
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