Lost in Khayal

The boundary between fashion and music has been blurred once again, and this time round it’s fashion designer Saadia Mirza who has caused the phenomenon.

Khayal is not a music video per se, and it doesn’t try to be one. If one happens to stumble upon the video midway, it would seem as if they’ve stumbled on to a commercial. The music itself is quite refreshing with Beenish Mehmood at the vocals and music by Ali Sher. But this isn’t about music. It’s the showcase of Saadia’s collection is what’s that matters. Both designer and director emphatically state that this is just a music video to promote Saadia’s line — which Beenish’s vocals and Ali’s composition does quite nicely.

Like a small jigsaw piece, this music video was part of a larger project called Kashf: The Lifting of the Veil. Kashf is a motion picture recently made by New York-based Pakistani writer and director, Ayesha Khan. At the same time, Saadia Mirza was keen to break out from the fashion norm but to also to celebrate the life of a departed loved one, “I wanted to make a music video about my five lines and accessories … but I wanted it to be special so I chose the poetry from my sister who has passed away.”

Khan (a friend of Mirza’s) then recommended director Nasir Khan to the designer for the project. Nasir had taken part in many award-nominated productions, including Kashf, which was previewed at the Berlin and Cannes film festivals.

The director speaks of his involvement, “It’s not what people usually hear or see in Pakistan, it’s different. We had a discussion with Saadia and she wanted to display her line, plus we had poetry from her late sister — which was quite special to her. So we divided her line into four pieces, chose four different models and four different locations.”

The models are Tooba, Gia Ali, Neha and Aleena, and were handpicked by Saadia. The video was shot at three majestic and grand locations the Punjab, including the historic Katas Ruins and the century-old Church of St. Andrews. The locations add to the sheer scale of the shoot, which also stars four different models in Saadia’s collection.

But the focus, of course, is still the designer, “We grasped the essence of the line, the essence of Saadia’s work, but at the same time since this would portray not just the designer but also the country, which is why we chose these locations.”

And what does the designer think of all this? “It’s interesting because in the video you see all of my collection and my sister’s poetry.” With such diverse input it is pretty clear that the project holds a special place in her heart. “The shoot itself was very tiring but great fun. Coming from a print medium to a video-based medium was tricky, because we have to be very careful with what we do. Once it’s done it’s done, there’s no going back.”

She speaks of course about getting things right the first time and then being able to get noticed. And people have taken notice, “Well, Ayesha then used the video. It was bought by her for her film and because of that we’ve been approached by an established Indian jeweller and they’d like to do something with us and an Indian superstar.”

Its pretty clear that that what was once a music video about Khayal is becoming more than just that.

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