April 25, 2023: A Soldier Returns, an anti-war protest song belted out by India-based singer Asif Rahman and released as a single on March 20, has bagged the Honourable Mention Award in the Best Music Video category at the Rohip International Film Festival in India. Asif’s self-composed track is presented by Empire Diaries.
The song and the music video marked two decades since American and British forces invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power in 2003.
Shortly after its release, Stella Assange, lawyer and wife of jailed whistleblower Julian Assange, shared the music video on social media, calling it a “moving video dedicated to the victims” of the Iraq invasion.
The song narrates a first-person account of a soldier left disillusioned by the horrors of conflict and misery in Iraq in 2003 that the western troops perpetrated. It carries a message to the masses, seeking to awaken them against tendencies of war and violence.
In the track written by Nadim Siraj and recorded in English, the singer reminisces the personalised, gory acts of a soldier, and decries war following the traumatic experiences. He signs off with a cautionary note, singing that his stories from the battlefield will leave listeners “shaken and undone”.
The visuals of the music video, pieced together by the track’s producer Ratna, showcases glimpses from the invasion of Iraq, and also features Asif singing A Soldier Returns at outdoor and studio locations.
The song’s instrumentation includes Spanish guitar and harmonica, both played by Asif. Debdeep Banik’s sound mixing skills and Chinangshuk Chandra’s video editing expertise helped turn A Soldier Returns into the strong contender that it turned out to be for the award.
Singer-composer Asif, now based in Kolkata, is a professional artist who is into folk, western, contemporary, classical, and experimental music. He has been recording music for television series and albums as a singer from his childhood days.
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