Woh Lamhey: Video Review

Song: "Woh Lamhey"
Artist: Jal
Director: Xulfi

"Woh Lamhey" is a brilliant example of how a good song can save the grace of an average video. Videos are after all ads for music and what music this is. The track is by the once disputed and now sorted band, Jal, the duo that broke up right after delivering their first hit and what a hit it is. Still playing heavily, "Aadat" has gone to become the voice of new generation and has lead the band to break into two pieces. Both the parts came out of Jal are justifying the hype '"Aadat" succeeded in creating. Two parts of Jal; one is of the composer Goher Mumtaz (called Jal) while other is the solo act of singer Atif Aslam. The strange thing is that both bands have the same songs to their albums. And one can only judge a song on the basis of a better version or abetter video. In that case, this video barely bags passing marks.

This particular video is by Goher, who I guess has taken the legal rights of the name Jal. While Atif hasn't made the video of the same song yet, so one can't really say whose is a better effort. Directed by Xulfi, a new name, the video hardly does justice to the melodic melancholy of the song. There is a new singer onboard with Goher who is crooning to the beat. He doesn't sound as impressive as Atif, whose haunting vocals served as a backbone of the band's debut hit. Although, it's always the composer's song, but Goher seems to have failed to find a match for Atif's vocals. He might be scoring well as far as the music and its composition is concerned.

The video of "Woh Lamhey" starts as the band members drive to the wilderness. Their destiny is what remains of an old building. The three members merrily drive their Wrangler while moving to the tuneful beat of the song. The rest of the video focuses on how they discover the place while singing. There is nothing outstanding about neither the video nor the way they perform onto it. The concept of 'three boys out to play in the wild' might be simple but doesn't turn out to be very effective.

What saves the video from total disaster, apart from the song, are quick shifting angles. The jump cuts from one shot to the other in the video give some movement to the otherwise dragging visuals. The smooth edit almost brings the video from 'boring' to 'worth a watch'. At many points in the video, there are low angle shots of the singer who is seemingly trying hard to deliver the vocals. It is a total overdose because after a while you get the feeling that there are far too many of them.

The other prime focus of the director is the band with random shots of the place. But at that deserted place, there isn't much the director can play with. He cannot deliver an exceptional video, low budget notwithstanding, because there isn't much of an idea in the first place. Neither are there any great scenic views in the surrounding and nothing remotely exciting about the place itself.

"Woh Lamhey's" video might turn out to be one of those, which are not striking at the first sight but grow on you with the passage of time, because the song is quite good. After all, the same thing did happen with "Aadat." However, it is a fact that the video is a low-budget endeavour, which is also not very well directed and runs without any story to it. To sum it up, the "Woh Lamhey" video falls a little short of being extremely ordinary, even though delinquent fans of Jal with angst might see in it the symbolism of exploring 'the emptiness inside'. But then again, they would find the same 'philosophy' if the director had shot white cardboard.

Nevertheless, what's worth a mention is that at least we get to see something different as far as the visuals are concerned. The new generation of music video directors are trying their best to make their mark, which is a healthy sign. At least these videos have a fresher perspective. An empty house looks better than boy meets girl. At the end of the day, "Woh Lamhey," as a song is addictive enough to be rerun incessantly on the tube. After all, videos are inherently about the music.

Ahmer Ashraf
October, 2004
The News International, Pakistan