Ali Zafar released a motivational song ‘Jaan De Deinge’ (we shall sacrifice our lives) on the occasion of Pakistan’s Republic Day (March 23).
The track, which was written, composed and sung by Zafar, is familiarly intense — his vocals are at their finest, complemented by the guitar riffs (featuring brother Danyal Zafar) that never lets the mood of the song dip.
The video deserves a special mention, also because it is directed, cinematographed and edited by Waleed Akram (of Khayaali Productions). He came to prominence last year with the promo of his in-the-works ‘Harry Potter’ fan film, ‘The Last Follower and the Resurrection of Voldemort’, which portrayed the Gothic architecture of the Government College University (GCU), Lahore, his alma mater.
“I always looked at GCU as Pakistan’s Hogwarts,” he tells Gulf News tabloid!, in an exclusive chat.
Akram completed his Masters in Linguistics from the institute in 2014, but he always wanted to be a filmmaker. Having cut his teeth on low-budget music videos and commercials, not to mention the Potter film, he landed recently at Zafar’s Lightingale Productions.
To his surprise, “Ali liked my work. I pitched him the idea that we should do the video in such-and-such direction, and explore the country in a different way. He supported me throughout. Since I am new here, and he is a multi-dimensional international star, with a fan following around the globe, for me it was a big thing that he relied on a new director.”
The video was shot at a variety of locations — from the Northern areas of Pakistan to interior Lahore.
“We wanted to capture and celebrate diversity of cultures and religions. I am really happy with the result,” Akram adds. “The video has been received very well.”
Akram is quick to attribute the success of the video to Zafar, saying: “He contributed a lot [to the video] in terms of ideas. Without his input it would not have been possible.”
The project was wrapped up in under three weeks so that it could be released on March 22.
Interestingly, this is one national song that has not been sponsored by ISPR, the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces. As such it never becomes a cumbersome propaganda video.
Akram’s flair for fluid aerial and moving shots was obvious in the promo of ‘The Last Follower’. Here, too, he displays that amply. Though, he says he didn’t use any high-end camera equipment — “just the Sony mirrorless cameras and drones, that I had worked with earlier also.”
His justification: “I’m not familiar with the bigger cameras, so I didn’t want to go wrong. Secondly, with big cameras you are technically restricted, and I didn’t want that. But I believe that it doesn’t really matter whether you have big or small equipment; the results can be achieved if you stay true to your content.”