The story behind ‘Teray Bin’
Kiran Chaudhry, one half of the Pakistani musical duo Club Caramel, is a characteristically adventurous, freedom-loving Sagittarian who excels at pretty much everything she puts her mind to.
Ms. Chaudhry has a staggeringly diverse array of talents; while Head Girl at her school in Lahore, her former classmates recall tearing up during her soulful rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You. Musically inclined, she trained with Ustad Fateh Ali Khan while still in her teens.
Kiran went on to win an International Baccalureate scholarship at the World College of the Atlantic in Wales, after which she read PPE (philosophy, politics and economics) at Balliol College at the University of Oxford (yup—she’s an academic whizz kid too). She then practiced law as a solicitor at Freshfields, a London firm, for several successful years. Ever resourceful, Kiran returned to Lahore in 2006 and took over the reigns of her family business while delving into her creative side. ‘Caramel’ was launched as a cover band that began festive ‘club’ nights, earning it the title ‘Club Caramel’ with fans, a name that stuck as the band went on to regularly perform at venues across the country.
‘Teray Bin’ (‘Without You’) is the second release off of Club Caramel’s debut album, released independently under its own label, Caramel Entertainment, that handles everything from concerts and videos to distribution. In the video, Club Caramel conveys emotional angst, passionate rage and romantic sorrow. The baroque-meets-retro mise-en-scene, complete with ebony, scarlet and burnished gold costumes in embossed velvet, brocade and chiffon, pays homage to a bygone era with its latticed windows, silver jhoola, heavy eyeliner and Old-Hollywood style wavy hair. There’s a hint of the macabre in the choice of props: the vampiric dining table resplendent with goblets and candelabras, the poison-filled chalice and the bloodied dagger. Red, the overt colour of passion, pigments the roses, lipstick, liquor-like liquid and splattering of blood.
What were you aiming for with the emotive drama in this video? Did your acting skills from Mamma Mia! (she played a starring role in 2009-10) come in handy during the shoot?
“I’m still learning to act and consider myself a singer primarily. My debut acting gig was “Mamma Mia!” and yes, I learned a whole lot from that experience. In the summer of last year, I also went to New York for an intensive training course in musical theatre at a specialist conservatory at NYU. I focused on the acting part of the course. Yes, I would like to do a lot more acting in the future given the right opportunities. It’s such a thrill to take on another personality for a while. It’s like looking at the world through somebody else’s eyes, with a whole new set of desires and perspectives – its’ enormously interesting and exciting.”
Is the video symbolic for break ups, separations and/or divorce?
“Well, no. It’s not trying to symbolize any archetypes or stereotypes. It’s just a woman’s unique journey on the path of love. She, if anything, defies social norms of how a woman reacts to betrayal. She is no meek wallflower who sits and mourns her loss for long but, rather, seeks to ‘right’ the wrong that is done unto her by seducing and destroying all of ‘mankind.’ In a sense there is a hint of ‘feminism’ creeping in here…”
To what extent was the look and feel of this music video your vision, its narrative and stylistic techniques?
“The concept for the video was brought forward by Aabroo Hashimi of Masscott films, the directors of the video. We had instructed them to come up with an unusual theme, something that was stylistically strong and visually appealing. When they come up with the storyline, it instantly struck a chord with us. The dark and gothic feel is in keeping with the intensity of the song and brings out the darker, more destructive side of love.”
Describe the persona you’re adopting in the video; would you say this characterization reflects a side of your own personality or is it entirely fictitious?
“I’m portraying an innocent girl who changes into a psychotic killer after suffering a betrayal in love. In taking on this persona, I was hoping to show how beautiful love can be one moment, and how utterly cruel and destructive the next. I believe most people have been through bitter experiences in matters of the heart that have changed them in some way, even if they don’t become cold-hearted murderers! This doesn’t make them ‘bad’ people. This is just another, equally interesting aspect of love and how it affects us. We all have such emotions inside us, even if they are not so extreme. But the answer is ‘no’—I don’t really identify with the character in the video, being the hopeless romantic that I remain to this day! I am still unable to watch action thrillers, let alone horror flicks! Having said that, I believe the skill of an actor is to be able to portray a character quite different from their own and I hope that I have been able to do that to some extent.”
Does the video have a lot do with the song or is just one of many interpretations?
“We felt that both the video and the song should be able to stand alone as pieces of artistry, but complement each other in an unusual way when brought together. The song appears to be a simple love song at first, but the video gives it the ‘twist’ that makes it more interesting as an audio-visual experience. The video is, to that extent, an ‘interpretation’ of the song.”
How would you like viewers to interpret and respond to it?
“However they choose. I would not dare so far as to instruct our audience in this regard. They are a sophisticated bunch and can take away whatever they like from it. There is not one ‘correct’ way to interpret our work or, for that matter, any work of an artist.”
More on Club Caramel at www.facebook.com/clubcaramel
a. DIRECTOR: Masscott Films
b. PRODUCER: Adnan Sarwar
c. EDITOR: Fuzzal Ahmed
d. WRITER/LYRICS: Adnan Sarwar
e. VOCALIST/S: Kiran Chaudhry
f. INSTRUMENTALS: Farhan Albert (Keyboard/drum arrangements), Sameer Ahmed (Bass), Ahsan Pappu (Flute), Guitar (Adnan Sarwar)
g. ACTORS: Kiran Chaudhry, Adnan Sarwar
h. CAMEO PERFORMANCES: none
i. WARDROBE DESIGNERS: Fahad Hussayn, Munib Nawaz
j. MAKE-UP/EFFECTS/STYLIST/S: Maram & Aabroo
k. VENUE FOR SHOOT: Evernew Studios
l. HOURS/DAYS IT TOOK TO COMPLETE THE SHOOT/SCENES: 2 days