Darmiyan. An epic tale inspired by Qamar Saleem’s love of classic literature that’s also his brand-new single. Another signature one-of-its-kind creation, Darmiyan has been trending all over social media and might probably even break Pakistan’s internet, if the current success of the song and music video is any indication to go by. With so much depth and passion in his musical creations, we delve into his inspirations and ideas and catch up with the creative genius to find out more about his new single and the story behind it An artiste with a full-time job, yet refusing to create anything less than groundbreaking, Qamar Saleem has built a global music following out of nothing but pure genius and humility, choosing to release his first single during the days of the pandemic; a time when most of us felt pertinent to remain conservative, for fear of losing more than we already had. He has put himself out there to share messages to uplift the public, proving with hit after number one hit, that he’s here to stay. With so much depth and passion in his musical creations, we delve into his inspirations and ideas and catch up with the creative genius to find out more about his new single and the story behind it. Thanks for doing this interview, Qamar. Let’s start with how you arrived at the idea to make Darmiyan an animated music video? The feel of the song together with lyrics skillfully crafted by Peer Zahoor lent a mystic feel to Darmiyan. So, I thought to myself, “this needs a different kind of video to truly bring out the emotions.” After extensive research and speaking to my team, I realized that an animation video for a song in Pakistan and the region has never been done and there are only few global examples of its kind (with an epic storyline). My need to consistently do something unique already gives me reason to pursue this line of thinking. Hence, the idea of an animation video firmed up to being that which would be unique and first-of-its-kind in many ways, while telling the story of Darmiyan the way I envisaged. How difficult was it to produce the animated music video for Darmiyan? Very challenging! It took nearly one year. This is always the case when you are trying to do something brand new, untested, or untried. Starting from selecting a team, it took many attempts and exploration to finally decide on who to work with. Thereafter, it was about properly depicting the story through both the song and the lyrics while coming up with a story and characters depiction that fit in it, which took months of pondering. Working on the visuals and trying to weave it all together so it flows just right was nothing short of a miracle, especially while making sure every aspect connects to the song. Even after finishing the video, it still took several iterations before we could finalize it. Let me offer great thanks and congratulate the team led by Vivek Koundal, who worked with me tirelessly and patiently, to come up with a final product that truly makes me really proud of this pioneering initiative. Is there a personal connection to the story of Darmiyan or is it solely based on your love of literary epics? Indeed, there is. The storyboard of the song took shape during the bedtime stories that I used to read to my youngest daughter Aleena. In many ways, she is co-creator and inspirer of Darmiyan story and has helped me along the way. Of course, I took liberties in weaving in elements from epic tales I grew up reading and inspiration from some characters she loves from the stories I would tell. Therefore, this song is very special, born of the giggles, laughter, gasps, and joys from a time I will always treasure. Why is it so important to you that epic works and ancient/medieval literature be revived and shared with the youth of today and future generations? I grew up reading epic literary works like Adventures of Amir Hamza and Tilism-e-Hoshruba, which are simply fantastic pieces of work. When I compare this to the famous books of today, I find that classical literature is very rich. I do not just mean the storylines alone but the connection to our history, culture, heritage and purpose. Unfortunately, these works are fast being forgotten and losing significance in our modern lives, which deeply saddens me. I feel this is our responsibility, the generation that has treasured this literature, to keep it alive. That is absolutely true! It has been said that you made some contributions to a project regarding Tilism-e-Hoshruba. Could you touch on that and share with us what Friends of Hoshruba is about? Owing to my love for ancient epic literature, my very dear friend, Osama Siddique (an acclaimed author), mentioned Project Hoshruba to me, that he was working on with his friend, Musharraf Ali Farooqi (another famed author), to revive classic literature. This really excited me and as I learnt more about it, I knew I had to be a part of this project, given my passion for epic adventures. I have supported the project to the best of my abilities and am glad the book Tilism-e-Hoshruba is now published and I am happy to be featured as a Friend of Hoshruba for my contributions, which is a matter of great pride. Details about the project and more can be found at projecthoshruba.com. I hope everyone will choose to contribute to this project in their own little way to keep it going. I would encourage the youth of today to get hold of this book and discover unmatched adventures of Tilism-e-Hoshruba. Have you personally experienced unfulfillment yourself? I’m sure we all have, myself included one way or another. There have been many heartbreaks along the way in my journey, from loss of love to family to ambitions to passions. And I feel there is always something that hangs in-between when feelings, journeys and relationships remain unfulfilled or incomplete. In many ways, Darmiyan is about the remembrance of all that’s lost and emotions that never got repaired. But personally, at the same time, I deeply thank Allah, as with every disappointment, came newer avenues that have blossomed in my life. How do you personally handle disappointment in such situations? I feel in the moment, when you are feeling such disappointment of loss or unfulfillment, all seems lost. The younger we are, the more we feel and the less we can comprehend the silver lining that could exist, and that life is full of drama, with which we must live and cherish. Which is why, the best way to cope, I find, is to look ahead, stay positive and thank Allah, for what does not break you makes you stronger. Do you see this branching out into other products like a children’s book, a graphic novel for teens and adults or even a fantasy novel maybe? Interesting you mention this. This is what my daughter Aleena and I were discussing, and she gave me all kinds of ideas on how Darmiyan cannot just be a song, but it must become much more than this. Hence, I am certainly exploring each possibility. In fact, first attempt at turning Darmiyan into an illustrated story can be found on my website www.qamarsaleem.com. As you all know, I have always trodden unbeaten paths, so this might as be another one I venture into! What’s next for Qamar Saleem? To pursue music alongside a hectic work schedule and pressing family commitments is becoming harder and harder for me. However, I do not want to let my revived passion die out, so although I do plan to release more music in the future, I will release them gradually. In fact, I have an interesting song that I’ve been working on for the last few months that could be the next one to be released, so stay tuned. There you have it, readers! The charismatic Qamar Saleem sharing his thoughts and inspiration for his new single, Darmiyan! Make sure to stay tuned to www.qamarsaleem.com for fresh updates and album releases and if you haven’t already, check out Darmiyan, available on all major music and music video streaming platforms.