Garam Anday's Areeb Kishwar Usmani and Anam Abbas
Garam Anday's Areeb Kishwar Usmani and Anam Abbas

When is a good time to listen to Garam Anday’s 'Maan Behn Ka Danda'?

Probably as you get ready for another day of men talking down to you, staring at and stalking you. And, while you’re stuck in traffic or trying to unwind after a long day of dealing with the patriarchy, make sure you check out the new music video.

There is a kind of vindictive joy one experiences while watching girls behave badly and 'Maan Behn Ka Danda' is an unabashed celebration of female anger.

The video starts with a line of girls gasping for breath as their heads are dunked into basins filled with water. They all wear white and stare at the floor, a striking contrast to the rest of the video in which a bunch of girls run around the city of Karachi, overturn tables, loiter, ride bikes and smash televisions. They wear jeans, kurtas, dhotis and t-shirts in an array of colours as they graffiti ‘Aurat March 2018’ onto a wall, stand on top of cars and brandish sticks.

MBKD has been produced by Haniya Aslam who spoke to us about why she took on this project, “I had a great time working with [Garam Anday band members] Anam and Areeb. Anam played me the demo and I loved it. While I was away these young women have been fighting courageously for issues very close to my own heart, such as making public spaces in Pakistan more accessible to women. I had been wanting to help out somehow and doing so through music made the best sense.”

The song itself is catchy and dangerously easy to sing along to. You may find yourself humming 'haramion kay badhshah/lafangon ke sardar/jhoota tera moon/jhoota tera pyaar' as yet another man honks at you while you try to cross the road. The rest of the song features some sharp images and plenty of threats. MBKD is the perfect song to blast at full volume in your car with the windows rolled down.

Despite all this angst, MBKD manages to be wickedly funny. In one scene, a boy checks out a girl as she sits at a dhaba, trying to read. In the next shot, she rolls a pair of eyes onto a board game as the boy writhes on the floor with a bandage wrapped around where his eyes used to be.

Anam Abbas, one half of Garam Anday, says, “There is a liberation that comes with the expression of anger and this is why comedy is equally important in the song, lyrically and visually…I think we take power away from the other by approaching these (issues) so irreverently because when you come into your power the ‘threat’ loses its power. The second half of the video is equally as important because we are free and we are light and the 'danda' itself is taken comedically because we have already won.”

The video also prominently features a mural of Qandeel Baloch which has reportedly now been painted over and the shot of the girls loitering in front of the mural is gold.

Critics will of course ask why there is so little composure in a song about female anger and resistance. In other words, why do women always have to make such a fuss? Let me pre-empt this complaint by recommending they go listen to 'Main Irada' from the latest Coke Studio season instead.

For the rest of us, MBKD is a fantastic addition to the local music scene. A song titled 'Millennial Bahu' is allegedly in the pipeline and it will be exciting to see what Garam Anday comes up with next. For now, we will have to make do with watching these girls running riot across the city. Who says feminists don’t know how to have fun?

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