181210 Ahmad Jilliani
Ahmad Jillani, the lead vocalist and guitarist of Badnaam, at the video launch of ‘Aik Nuktay’. Image Credit: Supplied

Grunge metal Sufi band Badnaam, who made it to the top two finalists in Pepsi Battle of Bands season two last year, have released their first music video.

Titled ‘Aik Nuktay,’ the track is a soulful rendition of the ‘kalam’ (poetry) of 18th century Punjabi Sufi poet Baba Bulleh Shah, backed by some heavy drums by Lala Ahsan, strong guitar riffs by Rahim Shahbaz, and Ahmad Jillani’s aggressive (read anguished) vocals.

The video, which was launched recently in a series of events in Lahore and Islamabad, is equally impactful. It is teeming with symbols — consider, for instance, a repressed child being force-fed a bowl full of coins of money, which he eventually throws up, while his parents gorge on the ‘golden’ chicken meat served on the dinner table; or, the common man of today, played by upcoming actor Sa’ad Khalid, who is driven insane by the barrage of negative images broadcast on his television.

It is through such metaphors that debutant director Imran Sajid attempts to understand Bulleh Shah’s lines, which are a comment on modern man’s dilemma of being caught between the lust for worldly pleasures and the call of his purer self.

“Basically, we’ve taken different elements of the society,” lead vocalist Jillani told Gulf News tabloid!. “The video depicts how we have moved far away from our core, or origin, so to speak.”

In the final moments of the video, a man is shown dumping his TV in a faraway, deserted place. By doing so, he rejects the power and clout that mainstream media exercises on audiences and, as Jillani pointed out, becomes one with his true self.

The concept is by Fazal Ahmad (of ThinAir Films).

Badnaam’s next outing will be an album. “We’re working on it, and plan to release it next year,” Jillani said.

Asked if an album was a commercially viable idea, he said: “We’ve planned four videos which shall be released one at a time, before the entire album is out. We have already moved onto our next video, which should be out in a month’s time.”

According to Jillani, an album is “very important for an artist or band; it’s an achievement for us.”

He also hinted at a “digital release, on iTunes, Spotify, and other international platforms.”