Reality in Motion

July 17, 2022

Awais A. Gohar discusses the music video for ‘Hum’ by Faris Shafi.

Share Next Story >>>
Faris Shafi is the best rapper and hip-hop artist in Pakistan today, with each song telling a story that looks inward as it reflects his outer world.


I

f there is a godfather of blistering raps, thoughtful writing with an aversion to pandering, it is without a doubt, rapper and artist, Faris Shafi. When Faris Shafi teamed up with artist and sister Meesha Shafi during Coke Studio 14, they whipped up a storm, common to the ones with true rebellious spirit. Incisive shooters, with respect to their respective musical identities, they had the audience grappling with the song, its context, its symbolism and theme.

Since then, Meesha Shafi has dropped an independent, original song ‘Rajkumari’, and Faris is not late to the party either. The hip-hop artist, who is known for songs like ‘Nazar’, ‘Lafz’, ‘Introduction’, ‘Molotov’ showcased the grip he has on language as he throws out rap ciphers that are observant, personal and presented in a kind of visual vortex the song is worthy of.

For his newest music video Faris Shafi went with Awais. A. Gohar (who was recently director of photography for Sarmad Khoosat’s Kamli), his long-time collaborator.

But as Awais. A. Gohar, friendly and forthcoming, admits, the music videos he has directed for Faris are more natural than posed for a certain shot.

Speaking to Instep about the latest collaboration, ‘Hum’, with Faris Shafi (and Talal Qureshi), Awais reiterated that in comparison to other videos, the idea was to keep ‘Hum’ simple. “The aesthetic was that the music video will be simple but even within that simplicity, something significant is conveyed.

Awais A. Gohar is among the best storytellers working in the music scene. 'Hum' by Faris Shafi is his latest landscape-based tale.

“There are layers upon layers that are nuanced. When Faris played the song to me, it almost felt like a monologue, a personal conversation with his (late) father and when I heard it, the same notion would keep coming up. There is a man sitting alone and he goes to windowsill or a gallery in a way a person goes out for a cigarette break. It’s not necessary if the man is smoking or vaping or even listening to music, but that 5-minute break is a personal moment. From another person’s perspective, all he sees is a guy who’s listening to music or is a smoke break.”

Behind the allure of the gutsy and personal song, Awais recalls looking for a very specific sort of window and they found one. Once that happened, everything fell in place.

For the music video of ‘Hum’, once the location was finalized, it took, as Awais remembers, about two to three hours.

“During the main shoot, it is often just me and Faris,” he says, “so it has a moment of intimacy. Storytelling via landscape comes naturally to me…”

And with a song as provoking as ‘Hum’, the end result was one that the director was happy with. His equation with Faris has always led to terrific music videos but with each one, they’ve set the standard higher for what’s to come next. Until then, revisit, ‘Hum’, what it means and why is the context of the music video and song combined is so very gripping.

Faris Shafi is not overexposed so when he does drop a song, you have to pay attention and once you do, there is no rapper – at least locally - who can meet him even halfway.

Awais A Gohar’s equation with Faris has always led to terrific music videos, but with each one, they’ve set the bar higher for what’s to come next.

“During the main shoot, it is often just me and Faris,” Awais says,
“so it has a moment of intimacy. Storytelling via landscape comes naturally to me.”

And with a song as thoughtful as ‘Hum’, the end result was one that the director was happy with.



More From Instep