A music video ridiculing the political system and scenario in Pakistan received almost 85,000 hits in just a matter of days and went viral after being uploaded on YouTube two years ago — this is none other than Beygairat Brigade’s satirical single, Aalu Anday. The three-member band is back with another tune on similar lines, Sab Paisay Ki Game Hai, which attempts to explain the nature of the ruling class in the country.
“With this track, we tried to explore the general behaviour of our rulers and democratic forces,” laughs Ali Aftab Saeed, lead vocalist of the Beygairat Brigade. “It’s meant to be a pun on these dynamics — we tried to make it very playful also so that it doesn’t come off as a lecture.” The band also features Hamza Malik on guitars and Daniyal Malik on percussions. This track has been composed in collaboration with poet Arshad Bhatti and producer Saad Sultan.
A satirical number
Sab Paisay Ki Game Hai is a simple track and minimal instruments are used giving the song a soft touch — something Sultan is known for. Shot by Farhan Adeel, the video features a chai stall in Lahore along with Aftab, Sultan and Bhatti. It’s made in a typical Beygairat Brigade manner as it includes a subtle, satirical and small waltz which reminds one of Indian actor Dharmendra’s dance moves.
“It’s very rare that Punjabi halkas have this perspective because historically, Punjab has had a traditional and nationalistic approach to things,” says Aftab. “That tradition has been a little challenged lately and we wanted to show that people from this region are also singing these kinds of songs.”
Aftab reveals that Bhatti approached the band to help with the composition and the track was a result of the collaboration. The lyrics are pretty direct and point playfully at the dynamics of big money which is prevalent in Pakistani politics. Bhatti may not be that well-known but he is also the brains behind Arieb Azhar’s Hum Charsi Bhangi Hain. He will soon be releasing his own album.
Delays and hurdles
While the video was ready for release a couple of weeks ago, it was delayed due to load-shedding, limited resources and lack of outlets to release music — YouTube ban made things worse for musicians — and other issues, says Aftab.
“If there was some political reason or something in it for the bands, musicians would’ve protested more loudly,” he says, adding if it were related to a film, things would’ve been different referring to the ruckus that took place during the September 21 riots. “So I don’t really blame musicians for not going out in this environment, because I didn’t go out and protest either.”
Aftab adds they have another single, Dhinak Dhinak, which is ready for release but they are waiting for YouTube to be up and running again. Apart from that, the band is also keen on working on a song regarding the upcoming elections; however, the uncertainty regarding when they would actually take place has meant the band would have to wait.
“Whenever we sit down [to record/release a song], something always happens, like a Qadri or whomever,” he laughs, adding if they can get some assurance that elections will take place, they would go on with their song’s production.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2013.
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