2003: Music Videos Review

From Material Girl to Rock DJ, music videos have not only been a visual description to the song but also the means to portray singer's image and market their songs. With the passage of time videos have become the most important gadget to market music. Thus, video-making has been dealt with extra emphasis and the visuals are getting improved and innovative day by day. Technology has made life easier for all, especially singers who have now found a way to seduce viewers with great looking visuals even if the music is not all that great. If the video is a hit, it takes the singer and song a very long way. So, hail to the video age.

Here we give you our verdict on the five best videos of the year. We have reasons to believe that they are the best this year brought to your TV set. Read on to find how:

1. Anarkali
Singer: Shabnam Majeed
Director: Shoaib Mansoor

Undoubtedly the video of the year. Shoaib Mansoor's "Anarkali" was watched by a cross section of society, by rickshaw drivers and business tycoons alike. Most loved it, some hated it, but it was watched by all. We puts it on top of the video list because apart from its visual appeal, the painstaking recapturing of the Mughal era, it breaks down all rules of what a video should be. This wasn't a video for a social cause, it wasn't a high-tech experimentation with any technique, and yes, though it was meant to sell a product, the video managed to transcend those tea bags. Shoaib Mansoor's "Anarkali" told the story of the most famous courtesan of the Mughal era in five minutes, with a twist. The focus was not her love for Prince Salim, but her rebellion against the ultimate Mughal-e-Azam, Akbar the Great. Mansoor's "Anarkali" challenged the might of the Mughal empire and believed in love enough to die for it. He turned a nautch girl into a sufi and that was his greatest achievement. That the video instigated debate about the fate of Anarkali's tomb was a bonus. So was the fact that the songs Malika-e-Tarannum Noorjehan sang for Anarkali were recaptured and sold on the "Supreme Ishq 2" CD. For all this, plus the brilliant music and the thought provoking lyrics, we give Shoaib Mansoor two thumbs up.

2. Garaj Baras
Singer: Ali Azmat
Director: Bobby and Ayush

A tour de force from Ali Azmat that, though a known Junoon song, featured a video with just Ali. No Brian, and gasp, no Salman, the brains behind Junoon. Well, "Garaj Baras" is Ali's composition, so maybe it is justified, but it's release more than anything has fanned the flames that Junoon is over and out. But then again, the "Tara Jala" video was released with all three band members, so one never knows. However, it is "Garaj Baras" that has instigated the most comments. Featured on the soundtrack of Pooja Bhatt's "Paap," it features Ali singing in the rain with skinny silver Buddist kids splashing around with him. Playing with light, dark, some flames and a whole lot of water, this video shows how technicaly advanced India is to us. Essentially a promotional video for "Paap," it is being shown on channels on both sides of the border and Ali Azmat's stars seem to be shining brighter than ever. Now, if only he would make up his mind whether he is a lead vocalist or a solo musician, life would be less confusing for all the junoonis out there.

3. Pappu Yaar
Singer: Junoon
Director: Sohail Javed

The good ol' guys of rock are up to teach the ethics of singing to the younger generation in a fine visual endeavour. This comeback hit for the pioneer rock band won them a lot of hard-hitting feedback. The video is made with great-looking sets and the band also sports their new image. Ali revels in his ganj while Salman has gotten rid of the Batman-cape sherwanis. The ever-content Brian seems happy with his rough attire. Their shift from sufi to rock (again) has also shuffled the video directors. Asim Reza has been replaced by Sohail Javed for whom this was just one of the dozens of videos that he has done this year. The video has the band blowing their own trumpet, basking in the glory of their success and bluntly running down aspiring musicians. Some say that it is music critics that the band is hitting at in this video. Junoon's came back this year after a hiatus of several months only to be greeted by a hoard of youth bands storming the scene. Perhaps this is what got them to do a shoo-away "Pappu Yaar." The video can undeniably be counted among the best produced by the band. It's new, rugged and in your face and that too, the Junoon way!

4. Channo
Singer: Ali Zafar
Directors: Ahsan-Amena

Add a cute boy, melodic tune and extensive styling to a video and you get a string of visuals that make a greater impact than the song they are based on. The debut of model/actor Ali Zafar as a singer is sure to impress the music viewers (yes, we have more music viewers now than listeners). The creative duo of Ahsan and Amena direct the video with the styling services of Tariq Amin who gave Ali Zafar several stunning makeovers for "Channo." Zafar sports funky attire all the way from a turquoise leatherite long coat to beautifully embroidered kurta. And if we go by 'what looks good, sells more' strategy then this shall be a sure winner. The easygoing melody of the song is twisted with a fantasy story and brilliant visuals. And if you think it's tacky, then yes, you are right, but you can't deny it's catchy too. At last we have found the local version of Ricky Martin in Ali Zafar! Are all the Marias listening?

5. Husn Walon
Singer: Fakhr-e-Alam
Director: ALF (Altaf Anwar)

Good visuals make a brilliant video. Altaf Anwar makes this statement true with the help of some of the best faces of the local ramp, dazzling clothes and chic makeup. This video features top models from Tanya Shafi to Sunita Marshal, Nadya Hussain, ZQ and Sadia Imam. Fakhr-e-Alam sings a 'pop-qawalli' number with his signature style. The flirtatious Fakhr fantasizes to be with every girl present in the video. The fun bit automatically comes in through Fakhr who acts clumsy throughout the video. He sure is an avid entertainer. Since it has generous doses of glamour, one sees colours and styling being used to the maximum advantage. We are slowly getting to know the rules and wonders of glamour, which has been cleverly used over the years by George Michael, Robbie Williams and Madonna. And it's that attractive imagery in "Husn Walon" that makes the viewers forget about changing the channel for a while and perhaps that's what lured Mobilink to buy the video.

Ahmer Ashraf and Muniba Kamal
December, 2003
The News International, Pakistan