Attending Abbas Ali Khan’s ‘Mehfil’

Singer talks about the concept behind latest video that has been shot at the National College of Arts

Humay Waseem September 06, 2015
The video shows how some paint Abbas as an angel because his songs bring ‘peace’ to them. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY

ISLAMABAD: Abbas Ali Khan has had his hands full with his musical career, ranging from appearing on Coke Studio season 7 to giving the background scores for films, such as Jalebi and Dekh Magar Pyaar Say. But that hasn’t made him shy away from coming up with independent projects, as the singer recently treated his fans with an aesthetically-pleasing yet cryptic video of the song Mehfil from his latest album Tamam Alam Mast.

The video has been shot at the vibrant National College of Arts (NCA) and features veteran actor-painter Jamal Shah as well as NCA art students. Jamal can be seen instructing his students to paint Abbas Ali Khan, not as he appears on the surface but based on their perception of him, giving preference to substance over form, mind over matter and essence over appearance. Khan shared that while giving importance to soul over body, “the song shows that no matter who you are, people will perceive you differently based on their respective belief systems.”

The song portrays each student painting a different picture of Abbas. The depictions range from painting him as an angel because his songs bring ‘peace’ to students to portraying him as a ‘corrupt media mogul’ due to his inclination towards the music industry. “Someone sees me as a clown, probably because they think I’m a media puppet, while others look at me as a victim and feel sorry for me because they feel I’m doomed for being in the media industry,” he explained laughingly.

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As the melody falls into place, Abbas’s voice combines with the soulful kalaam written by Sufi poet Hazrat Zaheen Shah Taji. “Teri mehfil me hum khoye hue se paaye jatay hain, Yahan pe hum hosh atay nahi laye jatay hain,” Abbas adds to the chorus of the song. The singer explained how listening to the song’s chorus for the first time would make one feel it’s based on a romantic relationship between two people. But in actuality, they address the love he possesses for his Creator.

Abbas Ali Khan as featured in Coke Studio 7

Abbas doesn’t fail to keep his fan-following interested. “Towards the end of the video, you’ll see that I’m completely indifferent towards what people perceive me to be. I’m so engrossed in love for my Creator that I only care about what He thinks because that’s what truly matters.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th,  2015.

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