EP’s new song “Shor Macha” falls into the same realm of vaguely patriotic messages that invoke people to ‘do something’.
Following the Strings and Atif Aslam duet that released last month, “Ab Khud Kuch Karna Paray Ga”, comes “Shor Macha” by EP, a song that has been released to time with Pakistan’s 63rd Independence Day. With a video directed by the stellar Bilal Lashari, one would think it would have a concrete theme, given that Lashari directed the exceptional “Chal Bulleya” video for the Mekaal Hasan Band last year.
But EP’s “Shor Macha” is yet another sign that musicians trying to produce increasingly politicised songs fail to deliver a concrete message, or even point to the parties responsible for the current state of affairs in Pakistan. It is representative of the mindset in Pakistan that constantly looks to blame conspiracy theories and ‘foreign hands’ for catastrophes; or that of musicians who do not directly blame outfits like the Taliban for the fact that there are few concerts being organised which has led to a loss of earnings for them.
It is ironic then, that the video features the band performing to a digitally created stadium audience, the likes of which EP can’t play to until the security situation stabilises. But the edict of ‘shor macha’ should be able to make that possible.
“Shor Macha” features the band members walking through lanes, the desert, and shrieking their lungs out. The lyrics are perhaps as vague as Strings and Aslam’s: “Ab soch badal kay kuch kar dikha / Jo ban jaye azaad khayal”. Like “Ab Khud Kuch Karna Paray Ga”, the video also uses archival footage of the armed forces and rallies, interspersing it with clips from current events such as the floods in Pakistan. It also uses images of national icons such as Pakistan’s sole Nobel Prize winner Dr Abdus Salam, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Fatima Jinnah, Madam Noor Jehan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the country’s sports legends Jahangir Khan and Imran Khan.
While Ahmed Ali Butt delivers a diatribe from Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan monument, it is oddly remiscient of the time Noori shot a video at the same location for the song “Jaana Tha Hum Ne”. While Noori’s version was shot in the midst of crowds milling at the location, there is no one to hear Butt implore to the masses. In a nutshell, it’s the soapbox oratory that has been perfected by musicians in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2010.