RAW

THE MAGAZINE

Uns Mufti

Interview with Uns Mufti
by Nabeel Aejaz
Here is an interview with Uns Mufti a self-confessed noisy person with wild dreams that have the potential to become a reality. Discover him below in an exclusive interview for RAW. Who is Uns Mufti? “Damn man I’d like to know too. If you ever find him please let me know. I’d like a few words with him…. “ I do not refer to myself in the third person and would not be able to answer this question for you. Uns Mufti is the name I was given at birth. Since then it has been associated with numerous mistakes, the kind I would like to refrain from making here. Tell us about your educational and work experience background. I grew up in Islamabad. I consider every educational degree I acquired after my primary education, a complete waste of time. I hated school and loathed college. Most of my time was spent running away from school. I only attended class if there was a good looking girl to look forward to. This was rare since my parents insisted I go to an all boy’s school. They thought I should have fun when I am their age. Until fourth grade I studied in a government school, knew no English and wore a shalwar kameez uniform. I repeated 4th grade after my parents enrolled me in to the Convent of Jesus and Mary. There I learnt English at the hands of the most respected and feared nun in the federal capital of Islamabad. a “baboo burger” overnight. Cannot complain though, years later, I was employed as an English copywriter at an ad agency in Karachi and got paid way more than my Urdu counterparts. the nuns and the girls, is way better than my English. This is because I learnt it way before fourth grade. My grandfather, Mumtaz Mufti to me is the father of Urdu and I have spent more time with him than I did with my father. My mother was an Urdu teacher at the convent. Some kids called her “the butcher” but rest assured I kicked their a** when they said it.

I also want to add here that I do have a Masters degree in English Literature from Punjab University, and I chose to sit for the examination rather than pay Thank the lord for the nuns at my for the degree. ‘That was a mistake too. elementary school who taught me I should have just paid for it.’ What is your inspiration and whom how to read and write English. I wore do you admire? coloured clothes to school, and played There is a dark secret I must reveal dodge the ball with the girls. I became at this point. My Urdu, even after all I would have to say that boredom has
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THE MAGAZINE been my only inspiration, assuming you are referring to my musical inspiration. The lack of fun activities while I was growing up was the only reason I picked up the guitar and actually learnt the 3 chords that I know. Song writing, storytelling and directing are my desperate cry for attention and the only means of having fun without taking my clothes off. We never got a decent enough release locally. We were casually released in India. Now we are in the studio doing another album. Do you think we should release it immediately or wait for another 4 years? I thought immediately would be good. It will be a change. I welcome change. But the only way it is going to happen is when we get to know everyone. How do we do that? When no one, besides a few I admire people who are hell bent on fluent English language speakers have having fun but they are mostly very rich heard sawaal in its entirety, the way it people who can buy their freedom to is meant to be heard. indulge. This admiration offers a sense of security I cannot do without. What do you think is the future of Rushk and its upcoming videos and Again, I will have to thank the albums? missionaries without whom words like inspiration and admiration would have Well someone shouted “feature film, meant nothing. urban cinema in Pakistan”, so we jumped and recorded the title track What is your ambition in life? for it. It was good. It kick started our recording sessions for the next album. ‘Is it to colonise another planet - Lush There will be a new video and single green fields, lakes and springs, milder out soon. climate.’ Then there is the second album and the No, I just want to be a Hollywood Star. I live show. The live show is scarrying want to be “Risky Business.” me to death mainly because I always over do it with the description. But How did Rushk start and what is your the live show has to be theatrical so role in Rushk? putting it together is going to be painful The new Rushk started when Ziyyad and expensive. We are trying to get fell for a demo tape I did with our to a stage where the live shows seem previous line up in Islamabad. Since painless and cheap. then he has taken over the band and I don’t complain because he is a better musician and talented when it comes to sound. He is a stickler for detail, which is why the album sounds the way it does. I’m the noisy one. You know empty vessel make the most noise. It makes for interesting contrasts.

Uns Mufti
resides in London. Rola is where I work out of. It is where I prepare advertising material, websites, radio spots, TV spots, also where I have my audio studio. The bit of song writing not fit for the musical Rushk makes its way out through Rola. Tell us something about expansion to London? your

Well now that Vasi is in London we thought he might set up Rola there. It is still in its experimental stage. I do want to have a branch office somewhere else on the planet; Tokyo, Moscow or Washington DC if London does not work out. Tell us the concept behind ‘Main Nahin hoon’ and who is Joey? The concept behind the video is all over the video. It is hard to miss it. It is how conflicts occur, how one is put on a pedestal and how one falls. Joey aka Yousaf Paracha is a rock star from Karachi. He is one of my friends. Why do you mostly focus on gays and lesbian subjects? Any particular reason? You have to be gay or lesbian to read into any of our videos like that. It’s a connection for which I’m grateful.

What was the concept behind ‘behti ‘Behti Naar’ was an excellent statement naar’? What did you achieve making about sexuality in Pakistan. Too bad it? the perception here was restricted to homosexuality alone. Maybe the I achieved cult status. Now I can walk heterosexuals don’t want to see into any room in Defence and people themselves that way. In any case I feel recognise me. ‘Behti Naar’ was Saquib it’s the boldest statement Saquib’s ever Malik’s baby. The video was conceived, made. shot and edited by him. The only good Tell us about the recent album release thing I ever did on the set was watching Khuahish having sexual and surgical of sawaal under the BMN records. my wife’s hair sway in all direction and connotations was just about world Why was it delayed and why has it then watch Tariq shave them off. order and where we fit in. been released now? Late for what? You mean they’ve already blown the whistle and now I’m crossing the finish line while everyone else has gone home, retired and moved to Florida or Islamabad. Do you really think that? That would be late. I also met Iraj, heh! Mein Nahi Hoon was main nahi hoon. I feel dumb explaining the video.

What is Rola, who all are part of it and what is your role in Rola? What Tell us something about the upcoming is its objective? projects through Rola especially the animated Kaptaan Pakistan feature? Rola is a Creative Hot shop in Karachi. I started this with a friend who now Vasi and I wrote Kaptaan Pakistan and
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THE MAGAZINE

Uns Mufti

even started work on it. Many a frames were made and many voice-overs recorded. A trailer and a teaser were also developed.2 D animation, where the artist has to draw every frame, is tough to get done in Pakistan. You ideally want the best artists and engage them for a long period of time. So while we have scripts and frames etc ready we don’t have a financer to foot the bill for the production. I am not worried though. This one will find its way out. It is that good! We are always toying with the idea of getting it produced elsewhere in the world. We want a stunner! What is Nira and what are its objectives? Rola was making too much music at a certain point so we created Nira as a brand extension that can serve as our music platform. Nira remains a design / production unit catering to musical talent. This is how we released Rushk, and will release Co-Ven and Rola. This is where we put together the new Rushk album and bands like Positive from interior Sindh. This leaves Rola to engage in more pressing assignments like corporate videos, TV commercials, songs, print and web designing for our corporate clients. Tell us about your upcoming Co-Ven projects and videos? I love Co-Ven. I want to shout this out from the highest mountain. At last a song writer, I cannot stop admiring the album titled Vol 1 and 2. I get more excited about good bands from Pakistan than I do with bands from abroad. Co-Ven is great. Sample them now at www.nira.rola.tv . I am doing their upcoming video. I am so excited I can’t wait to get it done. What are your views regarding the current underground music scene of Pakistan? A good question! Next question please. What are your comments on the Art and Design standards in Pakistan compared to European and American standards? Are we getting there or can we ever take our culture and values to that level? The problem is not the “high art” in American or European design. The problem is our complete denial of who and where we are. Consider this, most cases in a clinic during the summer months in Pakistan are women with burns and boils on them. Their clothing caters more to the current culture than the weather. In conditions such as ours I think we should be discussing about irrigation or how we can make rain and/ or roads. What would you say regarding creating and producing music, videos and art/design in the light of Islam? It is forbidden then why do we do it. The only thing that is forbidden is thinking that any kind of knowledge or expression is bad for humanity. Religion has often inspired and paid for the greatest works of art in human history. The Prophet was a poet. If you had to tell him at the time that poetry, song writing, verse, design, and typography are forbidden, how would you have known what you claim to know now? Your views and comments on the current government and its encouragement of arts. The current government is like any other. They are too busy trying to make money, make fewer mistakes, seem civilized and earn respect much like any other government of any other country. They should encourage arts and people who make bold statements. That way they will score more points and earn respect. What would you suggest to a new comer coming in to the field of music and arts? Leave your “forbidden in our religion” theory at the door. Travel far and wide.

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