The ridiculously beautiful Maha Ali Kazmi can not only sing, but also writes most of her own songs. She’s previously released a song Nazar with Overload’s Farhad Humayun and was featured in last year’s Cornetto Music Icons as well. Come Eid and she’s released another song, Jana Nahi, which has been produced by Shahzad ‘Shahi' Hasan (one of the founder members of the Vital Signs, producer for Cornetto Music Icons and half the mainstream music in the industry!) and directed by Aania Shah.
The idea for the song came to Maha when she was strolling idly one afternoon in her garden. “I caught a glimpse of a bird, a mockingbird perhaps,” she said adding that she inched closer to it for a better view, “and it was gone. Just like that! Then I realised how uncanny this feeling was to many of life’s experiences in general — involving people we love, our dreams, hopes etc.”
Speaking about the ephemeral nature of life, she added, “Sometimes, things appear as a blip on the horizon, and in our naivety convince ourselves that this is it. And then as quickly and surprisingly the moment came, it is gone. Just like the mockingbird in my garden.” And that is essentially the philosophy she has based Jana Nahi on.
Shahzad ‘Shahi’ Hasan states, “The melody reminded me of classic 1980s tunes… something I grew up listening to. The music of the 1980s is what has influenced me the most. That’s the direction I took with the music — make it sound real simple. And that’s something that is the most difficult thing to do.”
Sounding somewhat star struck (and rightly so!), Maha said, “In my view, Shahi is perhaps one of the most critically-acclaimed music producers in the country — a legend in his own right. It was a truly humbling experience to have a legend like him produce my song.”
This isn’t the first time Maha and Aania Shah have worked together. “I had actually worked with Maha last year on a styling project,” said Aania, “So when she approached me to shoot the video for Jana Nahi, I was enthusiastically on board. I believe that the interpretation of a music video by a female director would inevitably be different than that of a male’s.”
“Maha was very open to my ideas, from her looks to the way I wanted to execute the whole video. I am very deeply into details; it helps to work with an artiste who has that kind of trust in your intuition and vision,” she added.
Aania had glowing words for the song as well and listened to it from a songwriter’s perspective as well.
“The part aside from the melody, which I liked the most, is the flow in the lyrics,” she said, “They weren’t scattered thoughts. Maha is a multi talented person and you can see how the melody is complimenting the words in this song. As a writer myself, I was keen on showing a story line. A story can create ‘recall’ for the viewers and they remember the song and the visuals associated with it for a long time. Showing abstract beauty shots was not the aim here. There is a story being told with a different warmer mood tone. It’s fortunate that I got to shoot my first music video on the locations which you don’t get to see every day. That definitely added the extra oomph to the shots.”
For the lovely Aania, Maha says, “Aania, I have to say, is exceptionally talented; and versatile as well. For me it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that someone can be a photographer, director and a lyricist and excel in all three at the same time.”
The music video will be available online on Friday, August 1.