Meesha Shafi, a cultural and feminist icon and a multidisciplinary artist, has released her latest single, Hot Mango Chutney Sauce. Written and performed by Shafi herself, Hot Mango Chutney Sauce is an electro-pop dance composition with an unabashedly original desi sound.
While the mood of the song is joyful, it cleverly 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. It’s bound to make one wonder why we express our identities by acquiring and flaunting material possessions, instead of nurturing our values and vocalizing principles we believe in.
“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 realization has been fascinating” said Meesha Shafi.
Blending English, Urdu and Punjabi, Meesha speaks colloquially and playfully integrates quintessentially Pakistani idioms and tongue-twisters in her lyrics. “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 realize. 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”, said Meesha Shafi.
Abdullah Siddiqui, who produced the song said: “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. 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 much-awaited music video has been co-directed by Meesha Shafi and Awais Gohar. The art direction was led by Meesha Shafi and Hashim Ali. The music video stars both Meesha Shafi and Abdullah Siddiqui along with Eman Suleman, Zara Peerzada, Baemisaal and Rubab Ali. To make things even more exciting, the anonymous Instagram sensation known only by her handle ‘Swineryy’ also features on the music video as one of her most popular avatars.
The music video for Hot Mango Chutney Sauce can be viewed at: The link will be added here once its live.