The newly released single ‘Saajna’ by Tuset Dwiz features a queer story in the music video. Penned by Jen, the storyline immediately makes a strong case for why the queer gaze is necessary when sharing queer narratives because it goes beyond mere tokenism. As I watched the video featuring Riya, Radhika, and Udit, I felt myself getting lost in the world that the protagonist lives in. Unlike a lot of music videos, here the audience does not get insight into the story before the characters. Instead, we follow them through narrow lanes and closed off walls while trying to anticipate the next turn that they, and the narrative, will take. This compact framing of the shots also helps in making us feel like we are actually getting a glimpse of something that feels intimate and special to the characters. It was also great to see the way that symbolism and visual metaphors have been used in the video, for more often than not, music videos tend to bring more literal interpretations of the lyrics to life. Here, however, the focus has been on the pathos.
It is heartwarming to see two femme individuals being romantically affectionate in an Indian music video- and while the male voice could act as a deterrent in some cases, Jen’s pen (and gaze) makes sure that our focus remains on the characters. If centuries of queer art is any proof, then yearning seems to be a very common theme in the stories that we tell. While the video of Saajna captures that beautifully, it does NOT bury its gays (thank Goddess). In fact, it gives them a happy ending, which is unfortunately not something that we get to see on our screens very often. Even in Indian OTT portrayals as recent as Made In Heaven and Mismatched, the focus has been on queer traumas and unhappy endings/ resolutions. Saajna’s video is therefore an incredibly important step in the right direction. Not to mention that it has a montage of two femme characters exploring a historical site together- which is like, the best date ever. Watch this one with your fairy lights on and your coffee mug full. You’re going to want to remember the video.