Owned, ‘Omor’ and a dystopian masterpiece | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 04, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 04, 2020

Owned, ‘Omor’ and a dystopian masterpiece

Writers are usually advised to shy away from words like 'masterpiece', 'classic', 'perfect' – or other bold terms and such, especially in an industry that tries to promote mediocrity as a given. Quite often, the lack of equipment, manpower and investment is cited as a reason. Yet, the music video for Owned's latest release Omor was perfect for what it set out to accomplish, even though it was made by just one man.

Before getting ahead of myself, Owned is a rock band from Dhaka that has continuously and diligently delivered nothing but excellence for the better part of a decade now. Consisting of A K Ratul, A K Samee, Fasihuddin Ahmed Itmam and Pritom Arefin, their signature, nuanced grunge sound is recognisable in a heartbeat. Yet, their latest music video helps establish new standards for the band.

"From the outset, we did not want to do a live-action music video this time," says frontman A K Ratul, who is also a talented music producer in his own right. "It was quite a hunt, looking for someone who understood our vision and could get the job done." The band came across animator Ali Arman Asgar, and this is where it instantly clicked.

Ali, who is the CEO of Locust Productions, worked a painstaking eight hours a day for four months to turn the concept for Omor into reality. "When the band came to me with the song, I realised that it deals with the theme of immortality. I, myself had been designing what I had planned to be a web-series with similar themes. I thought it would merge pretty well."

The video, powered by live2web, follows the journey of an anthromorphic pig through multiple dystopian realms. It also includes fully-rendered models of the band members themselves. "I took their photos from different angles and rendered them together," shrugged the nonchalant animator, "In the end, it was the rendering that took quite a toll." Even though the scenes were completed in about four months, the making of the video itself took an entire month for Ali's computer. Essentially, just one person accomplished the job of an entire studio full of animators.

"Ali was cordial when it came to our feedbacks," says A K Samee. "We told him to 'go nuts' with the style, but inserted references from our favourite pop-culture phenomenon for ourselves." Samee insisted that even though the easter eggs were put in the video for the band's own amusement, many found them and shared them online. "I am surprised that so many people picked up on those, as it would require multiple re-watches," said the drummer.

Owned shared that the video is the first of a trilogy, that would be made in partnership with Locust Productions. The band is also set to complete their trilogy of albums with Owned 3. "The pandemic has definitely hurt our plans, but we will finish the album as soon as we can," said Ratul. In the meantime, I will enjoy multiple re-watches of Omor.

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