Half of a Yellow Sun

July 21, 2019

Half of a Yellow Sun

Jimmy Khan likes experiencing unexplored territories. It’s one of the reasons that drew him towards an ensemble film like Parey Hut Love - one of the three Eid releases coming our way.

Though not the central character, Jimmy Khan has acted, danced, sung to the melody of another music producer and most of all, learned as much as he could from the process of filmmaking, and what goes behind the scenes.

One of the things about being cast in a film, particularly a high profile one such as Parey Hut Love, directed by Asim Raza, is that it requires a promotional tour. Jimmy is not part of every promotional spell but makes an occasional appearance and has been living up to the role.

Sitting under the sun and listening to something with headsets on, Jimmy Khan is expecting these series of interviews. The media is in and out as the actors arrive.

For Jimmy, it’s a long way from singing at Gun Smoke in Lahore several years ago. Appearing on Coke Studio, having worked with Asim Raza on his last film, Ho Mann Jahan, having done beautiful live shows in Karachi by collaborating with Salt Arts and much more, Jimmy Khan is on up and up.

Exchanging informal formalities because Jimmy Khan is always approachable, humble and easy to talk to, we jump right into the interview. Jimmy’s schedule is packed with back-to-back interviews and time, we both know, is of the essence.

Among the things Jimmy Khan has done in Parey Hut Love, which stars Sheheryar Munawar and Maya Ali in chief roles, is dancing on a song with Meera jee and dancing on another song, the popular ‘Haye Dil’"

"Dancing with Meera Jee, there were a lot of us on ‘Ik Pal’ in Bahawalpur," - he refers to the extensive cast and song - "It was a lot of fun but my main dance was the song that I sang as well, ‘Haye Dil’. Generally, I compose my own stuff; even if it is for a film I compose myself. So, ‘Haye Dil’ was pure playback. Asim and Azaan were directing me in the studio," reveals Jimmy. This is not the first song Jimmy has sung for an Asim Raza film though. He composed ‘Baarish’ for Ho Mann Jahan and it blew up.

"It’s a completely different soundscape for me as well," he says of ‘Haye Dil’; "it is somebody else’s composition whereas I’m a singer-songwriter so the song and voice becomes me and ‘Baarish’ is a signature Jimmy Khan song. With this, it is a new dimension and that is kind of the idea; see what the versatility will bring. I can sit down and constantly recreate ‘Baarish’ but this unknown territory for me is very important; I need to venture into stuff."

"In PHL, the character is very much like me in real life. There’s a lot of certainty in my character and that’s how the director perceived me as well, which is shocking to me. I hear that a lot that the vibe I give is that I’m sorted. That’s what they wanted and for me this was unexplored territory because I’ve never been on a film set. I wanted to experience it in totality; not just as an actor but because it would give me insight into filmmaking and it was Asim’s film. I worked with him before - not on the set - but for Ho Mann Jahan on the sonic side but this time, I was going to be on the set. I learned about technical aspects, professional aspects and personal dynamics about how you run a team as large as this one and the crew. So, much heart, sweat and soul goes in the process and you get to learn that to create something as grand as this, it is Asim’s energy that drives all these people that you’ve seen in the trailer."

Jimmy made a cameo in Ali Sethi’s version of ‘Chan Kithan’ a while back. It is a folk song covered by many artists. Jimmy Khan Band is covering the song for his EP Tich Button from which 3 songs (‘Nikka Mota Bajra’, ‘Pyar Naal Na Sahi’ and an original ‘Tich Buttona Di Jori’) have been released. Whatever happened to the other two songs, I ask Jimmy as we segue from Parey Hut Love to Jimmy Khan’s music.

"Ali’s a friend of mine," he says of the cameo. The other two songs from Tich Button are ‘Chan Kithan’ and ‘Kir Kir’. But Tich Button releases are currently on hold. Jimmy explains why.

"I thought instead of rushing things, I’d release the two songs - ‘Chan Kithan’ and ‘Kir Kir’ - when they are ready. The audio is done. We’re sitting on the edit; waiting for the editors to finish the job. ‘Chan Kithan’ is almost done, its colour grading needs to be done. ‘Kir Kir’ needs the edit. But ‘Chan Kithan’ will be released first followed by ‘Kir Kir’," says Jimmy Khan about his upcoming songs from Tich Button.

"That chapter is done for me. Only the release and promotion is left. I do small projects, I do music videos. Having worked with Asim and this team, whatever I learned, I will execute on my projects and it should show. Something instinctually needs to come out of this process on my own personal projects that I do."

Having spent a month with PHL team in totality, Jimmy does not plan to leave music behind to pursue a career as a full-time actor, the generic question he has answers with clarity during promoting PHL a few times. He is also a part of Paanch - The Mixtape that will feature besides Jimmy, Chand Tara Orchestra, Sounds of Kolachi, Natasha Baig and Mughal-e-Funk.

Jimmy Khan is open about the fact that his song is not ready yet. So whether the EP releases in the end of August remains to be seen.

At this point, Jimmy Khan had spent the day giving interviews and he thought it was perfectly fine that a number of films were releasing during Eid, particularly at a time when Bollywood films are not releasing in Pakistan.

"You’re shaping something that is going to explode," he says of the cinema industry, but it’s going to take some time. The investors are private. There’s risk and failure in any emerging industry. Economically, we’re not doing too well so at some level; it will have an impact on the footfall of the industry. We can debate the steps. But your disposable income has reduced and it will affect a lot of industries and it will impact cinema for sure."

Sheheryar Munawar, says Jimmy Khan on a concluding note, he has known for a few years because they worked on Ho Mann Jahan. "I was doing the background score for HMJ with Zeb, Taha Malik and Danish Khawaja. I did ‘Baarish’. I feel the family-like vibe that is here. Even now, I’ve done morning shows but it doesn’t feel like work. It’s coming naturally and that’s what needs to be resonated out there."


- Photography by Kohi Marri

Half of a Yellow Sun