Meesha Shafi went all out with her newest single 'Hot Mango Chutney Sauce', a electro pop dance number that mixes Urdu, English and Punjabi lyrics and a beat that is modern yet quintessentially desi.
The music video features models Eman Suleman, Zara Peerzada, Rubab Ali and Baemisaal, producer Abdullah Siddiqui, Hashim Ali and anonymous content creator Swineryy.
The makers of the song have described it as one with a joyful mood that "employs irony and sarcasm to question an unfortunate yet comic facet of urban Pakistani society: the rampant obsession with consumerism and the inability to understand ourselves beyond the facade of “wealth” or “success” we put up in social settings".
“The idea of writing this song came out of a period of reflection on the rat race we often find ourselves in, where much of the focus is on what people own instead of who they are. It’s a pitfall that is particularly hard to avoid in an industry literally called showbiz, so coming to this realisation has been fascinating,” Shafi said in a press release.
“Ultimately, the song pokes fun at our collective identity crisis, which is only worsened by our colonial hangover as many of us have begun to realise. Even within the race, we’ve come to attach a higher value to aspects of pop culture that have no roots in Pakistan or the wider South Asian community. So whether it was cultural references in the lyrics or the visual translation of the track into a music video, I aspired to create something uniquely us — desi and proud.”
Shafi has written and composed the song while Abdullah Siddiqui has produced it. “The themes Meesha was working with on this song really resonated with me because I’ve personally begun to feel like culturally there’s an obsession with keeping up appearances, and sacrificing authenticity in the process," he said. "The lyrics really excited me and amused me, especially because they are in such stark contrast to the kind of introspective and sombre work Meesha has been known for, but I’m so excited that people finally get to see this side of her.
"I had the time of my life producing this track to reflect the spirit in which Meesha wrote it; brash, maximalist, super-charged and unapologetically fun. We tried to create a representation of South Asian motifs that felt completely fresh yet authentic, and I really hope that comes across.”
The video, which is bursting with colour — and flavour — has been co-directed by Shafi and Awais Gohar. The art direction was led by Meesha Shafi and Hashim Ali. It also features hilarious cameos from everyone’s favourite catty aunty and Shazia's daughter hater, courtesy of the very talented anonymous internet sensation Swineryy.
One thing that immediately caught our eye in the music video was the clothes. The outfits worn by the models and Shafi are all modern twists on desi outfits. The clothes are all colourful and wild and very Meesha Shafi, which makes sense since she had a hand in the styling and wardrobe along with Hashim Ali.
The music video was filmed in Lahore and Toronto. The Lahore part of the video features the models grooving in the back of a truck carrying mangoes. The truck is decorated with neon lights and adds to the groovy vibe of the video.
The song itself mixes Urdu, Punjabi and English. One example are the lyrics:
'Why are you so jealous,
Teray ansoo mangay umbrellas
Why are you so jealous baby
Hunn das tey, just tell us'
We don't usually see a lot of electro pop in Pakistan music and we're definitely enjoying the way Shafi has blended three languages and a lot desi sassiness in her song.
Collaborating with Swineryy on 'Hot Mango Chutney Sauce' was also hilarious. But for all her witty one liners in the music video, the best was the one she ended with: "I just want Meesha to know that consent is very important."