If you ever thought you would be prepared for Ali Haider’s latest release, you have to trust me on this, you aren’t. You can have seen it a few times, and watch it again and still that feeling of readiness will not fill your bones. This recording continues to surprise because it is so crazy that I can’t help but smile.
The more I think about this recording the more I feel it is closer to Waseem Hassan’s work than it is Ali Haider’s. Waseem Hassan, as you may know is the star behind the Kit Kat Talcum Powder Ad (“excuse me, aap bhi”) that sparked a genre of ads of which Waseem Hassan is the king (and maybe the sole citizen of a grand nation). At first glance, this comparison may seem like a slight against Ali Haider, but I don’t mean it as such. Rather, I find that the tonal quality of this work is similar to the effect that Hassan achieves.
This work, like Hassan’s, seems uninterested with the traditional metrics by which to judge high quality in this art form. The video is made with little regard to framing or production quality. The art is at the core, silly. And that is wonderful. But this silliness and disregard for traditional artistic attributes does not mean that it is unthought or uninteresting. Sprinkled through are moments of genius that make you pause and smile. First, why is Ali Haider rapping? I don’t know, I don’t quite get it. I mean I get it, kids are rapping these days, why can’t Ali Haider. But you know, in a more real sense, I don’t get it. But while I’m dealing with all that he rhymes maula with cola (nice), then ho gi with daddy (clever), and then, this is the kicker, laddu with Kathmandu and abbu (just genius, there are no two ways about it). There is a pawri reference in there too for good measure in case the song wasn’t hip enough for you.
All through this video I have to exclaim: what? why? And I never really get answers. And all of this theorizing above is really kind of pointless because the beginning and end of this song say the title. And I’m forced to ask: what? why? And I am forced to realized that it doesn’t matter. I watch and rewatch, and I still don’t know what’s happening and I don’t know why. Sometimes, that’s ok.