At the close of 2017, former vocalist of the band Siege Junaid Younus released a new video that has the potential to become quite the rage, especially at parties.
Titled Maula Jatt, the song is Punjabi folk-meets-club-music, as Younus would like us to define it.
The track is high on energy, and moves you to hit the dance floor. Of course, the lyrics are fun too, based around iconic Lollywood characters — the loud, gandasa (a long stick that symbolises power) toting Maula Jatt and his counterfoil Noori Natt.
Younus tells Gulf News Tabloid! that he was “always fascinated by these [characters], which became a part of our rural culture ever since the movie [of the same name] came out in 1979. The tagline — ‘Maula Jatt Teh Noori Nat, huqqa pee teh muchhaan watt’ (Maula Jatt and Noori Nat, puff on the huqqa and twirl your moustache) — flashed in my mind, and then I wrote the entire song around it.”
Younus reveals that it’s an old Siege song. “We did it a couple of years back, and also performed it at the Pepsi Smash and Battle of the Bands. But it’s only now that I made the video and released it,” he said.
The video has been shot in Oslo, Norway, by a Norwegian-born Pakistani director Aman Shaikh, and features Sonya Singh, a former Miss Norway.
When asked why he chose to shoot in Norway, the pop artist who is now based in Seattle, reveals that he’s been visiting the country regularly for the past few years.
“The Pakistani community invites me for shows every year on August 14 [Pakistan’s Independence Day]. This time, I thought why we don’t shoot there; it’s a lovely place,” he said.
However, he insists that “no one should try to make sense of the video. Our objective was just to have fun. It could’ve been shot in many other ways; for instance, we could’ve shown the two characters [of Jatt and Nat], engaged in a brawl maybe, etc. But I didn’t want to get into storytelling; I’ve had my share of such videos, and I am bored with them. I just wanted to do something fun this time around. If you see [the video], we are going wild in it.”
On a possibility of Siege band coming back together, Younus says, “Right now, it’s seems rather difficult, also because I’ve moved to the US where I recently got married.”
But he promises to continue to make music.
“I’m a full-time musician, period. I’ve just returned from a very successful concert tour across 25 cities of the US, with a Rajasthani group. I performed covers of Sufi songs like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Allah Hu, and my own Sufi songs like Weray Aa, which we [Siege] had done with Sanam Marvi, and Khari Neem Ke Neechay, which we recorded for Coke Studio earlier.
“Everywhere we went, we met with a great response from the audience comprising largely desis but also goras [foreigners],” he reveals. He also speaks of a show at the Virginia Museum of Arts where “no other artist in the world has ever performed. It was a big honour. We got standing ovation. We’ve also done Diwali shows.”
In the new year, Younus says that his fans should look out for his cover of a famous Noor Jehan ghazal, Jo Na Mil Sakay Wohi Bewafa, penned by the late Pakistani poet and lyricist Khawaja Pervaiz.
“I’ll be releasing its video soon. The audio and a teaser are out already on different digital platforms. It’s a collaboration with Omer Hassan [Symt band guitarist] and Rakae Jamil who is a popular sitar player. I can say with pride that we’ve come up with a great music arrangement,” he said.
Directed by Ali Umair, the video is shot in Lahore.