Young singer Rutaba Yaqub released her latest single “nazar/surma” on Tuesday evening, mulling the question “what if?” would have been the lives of people from Pakistan and India if there was not a border between the two countries.
Yaqub wrote and produced the song together with Indian singer Abhilasha Sinha for the music streaming platform Spotify as part of South Asia History Month.
While the two artists have never met each other, the pain of Partition is common among residents of the two South Asian neighboring nations.
The two approach the divisions between them as how they spent their childhood in very different yet uncannily similar worlds.
Set in melancholy electro pop evocative of a Phil Collins track, they ask: “how different things would have been if they were not under constant surveillance, would have had any fear?”
Abhilasha continues “only we are right while all others are wrong!”
The song was shot separately, with Rutaba’s part shot in a studio while Abhilasaha’s shot outdoors in a different country.
The video was directed and edited by Ismail Kayani. Omar Daraz shot the video while Ikram Khan produced it while Zoya Uzair provided the vital art direction.
Young Maryam Luni did a fantastic job with intricate make-up and face art on Rutaba, putting on small eyes around Rutaba’s face along with pearls and diamonds strategically, stylistically and tastefully depicted by Luni. She also uses small toy eyes (like the ones used on stuffed toys) on her Rutaba’s face to enunciate the impact of constantly keeping someone under watch.
Art direction and other styling were done by Zoya Uzair.