Koi Nahee: Video Review

Song: "Koi Nahee"
Singer: Sajjad Ali
Director: Sohail Javed
D.O.P: Imran Ali

Not many singers in the local music scene are as musically and vocally correct as they are politically correct. Sajjad Ali is one such artist. The singer is back with his latest video, "Koi Nahee", currently playing in heavy doses on various music channels. "Koi Nahee" is yet another clear cut attempt by Sohail Javed, who is making a massive amount of videos for the most high profile artistes. Sohail has churned out the most number of videos with the most number of artists in a span of less than two years, but in spite of all these 'mosts', quality has been a preference at least so far. But it is not that he overworks himself. According to him, they just come out at the same time.

Unlike many other videos this video doesn't grow on you; instead it strikes an impact right there and then. The imagery works well with Sajjad Ali's mellow melody. After a hiatus from the music scene with "Teri Yaad", Sajjad Ali is all set to hit back with an equally melancholic "Koi Nahin". This is the first video made out of his new album "Rangeen", which is still not out in the market. This brilliantly shot video may pave the way for success of the album, but then again, anything Sajjad Ali will sell.

The story in this video simply translates onscreen the lyrics of the song, which are not only heartrending but evocative as well. The video is attempted to best portray the feel of the song and it hits bang on target. There is a sombre touch to the various stories woven in the video and it goes well with the ghamgeen mood of the song.

There are three stories running in the video, all three emphasizing the universal human struggle with pain and grief. They highlight some of the painful moments in life like sacrifice, departure or the loss of a loved one - things we all go through. The first story is the lonely parents whose only son is settled abroad. The monthly money that he sends is not the substitute for his presence. While the other story shows the struggle of a young man who is forced by society to do a crime and the rest is about how he faces the aftermath.

The casting doesn't really fit in at times. The character of the criminal is one example, which doesn't work with the kind of character they want to show. He should have been portrayed as an angry young man, perhaps harder than the sobbing hulk of a sissy one sees on screen. The last one discusses another topic which is relevant to our society and that is of divorce and how this decision has the potential to ruin lives. Contrary to the casting, the sets and scenes are quite impressive thanks to the director of photography Imran Ali who has done a good job.

In the local music videos it seems to be inevitable for the singer himself to appear in the video, and it happens in this one as well. Although, this video is based on a story Sajjad Ali's appearance is not irrelevant. Sajjad has never looked better. He is strolling along in a long woollen coat and a scarf ruffled around his neck, singing his gorgeous song of sorrow. Sajjad's image is sophisticated and is shot so that the three stories on which the video is based, revolve seamlessly around the singer.

Recently videos have been carrying oodles of glam and vibrancy to make the video visually appealing. The pop industry seems to be awestruck by the use of colour and beauty and video directors increasingly rely on exaggerated styling. And Sohail Javed has not been an exception. He has also been employing the "Pappu Yaar" (Junoon), "Tere Bina" (Fuzon), "Jogi" (Hadiqa) and "Tera Naam Liya To" (Ali Haider), et al. His latest "Tara Jala" for Junoon however was a diversion from this rut.

The element of glam is lacking from "Koi Naheen" yet the video doesn't fail to impress the viewers in the least. This shows the liquid quality of the director who moulds his vision to songs as they come. Sohail has been making music videos left, right, and centre but has so far managed to stick to originality. How has he managed that so far, only he knows, but for how long can he continue producing original ideas in the backdrop of the amount of work that he is doing is anybody's guess.

This man in the long coat look, which is quite a fashion cliche, works on Sajjad as he hasn't been exposed in such a look before. Young designer Munib Nawaz has done the wardrobe. Sajjad also sports a new haircut with extended sideburns from Laiqa Hasan, a deviation from the long zulfain that Sajjad has flaunted since the very beginning. Even then the mushroom effect of the cut reminds the viewers of the old Sajjad Ali in "Teri Yaad", just that the shades are missing.

But what really makes the video tick is the song, which is fantastic pop take on the classic ghazals of yore. A beautifully done number, "Koi Nahee" is Sajjad at his very best. And I won't be surprised at all if you see more people humming the song than talking about the video.

A nice addition to the tally of thirty odd videos Sohail has directed in a period of two years, the "Koi Nahee" video gives us a much needed respite from the glossy videos with fantasy stories, which feature regularly on music channels these days.

Ahmer Ashraf
February, 2004
The News International, Pakistan