Friday, 19 June 2020

Sonya Hussyn replaces Faryal Mehmood in movie about lockdown

Gohar Rasheed and Faryal Mehmood were ready to star in a movie about lockdown.

However, director Abu Aleha has revealed to Images that there has been a change regarding the female protagonist.

The filmmaker revealed that "through mutual understanding, Faryal has left the project."

"We had locked Faryal for the role and even had her sign the contract," said Aleha. "But [as time went by and this script kept developing] at the eleventh hour, this character became so difficult that there was a need for workshops and due to her personal issues like marriage and health, she couldn't give us time required for this role."

"We have commitments ahead to OTT platforms that require us to have these shoots done in specific time and way, so we couldn't postpone."

Faryal also shared with Images that "I backed out because I was under the weather... The shoot is really intense and dates were not flexible."

According to Abu Aleha, "We now have Sonya Hussyn and it's officially confirmed."

So now Lockdown stars Gohar Rasheed and Hussyn. Gohar had previously shared that the film shows "how a simple couple gets affected by the horror of Covid-19 and the repercussions of lockdown."

There is no release date of the film as of yet but the intent is to release it on streaming sites such as Netflix or Amazon.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Mahira Khan opens up about the 'Saleem' in her life

Pakistani superstar Mahira Khan recently appeared in a very candid Live session with celebrity designer HSY. Opening up on a lot of things, she confessed that she has finally found that special someone in her life, other than her son Azlan.

HSY initiated the topic as he confirmed that Mahira is indeed in a relationship, while also revealing the name of the lucky guy as Saleem, albeit through a slight slip-of-tongue. “You are in love now, his name is Saleem,” the couturier said, as Mahira got a bit annoyed at the mention of her beau.

After resisting for some time, she finally let her guard down. HSY asked her, “When you look deep into his eyes, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?”Mahira answered by referencing a line from her super hit show Humsafar. “There’s a line in Humsafar, which I thought was beautiful, where Ashar says to Khirad, ‘Pata nahi tum mujhe kis naiki kay badlay main milli ho (I don’t know what I did to deserve you]. I think the same about Salim. I think the same about him.” she said.

The Superstar actor added that she feels blessed and thankful. “I don’t know what have I done in my life… must have done something good because of which Allah blessed me with…” the actor began before HSY chimed in, “Because of which Allah blessed you with Salim.”

Moving on, Mahira talked about how she may have been rewarded earlier as well with the birth of her son Azlan. “I feel like this for my child too. My child is someone I feel super grateful for. He is the centre of my world, everything revolves around him. But I feel the same way about him, the people I love; that there is something that I must have done right.”

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Gohar Rasheed and Faryal Mehmood are working on a film about lockdown

With the coronavirus being a global pandemic, it was inevitable that the entertainment industry - already affected by it all - would have it as a plot for future productions.

 Pakistan's entertainment industry is working on such a project as well, with Gohar Rasheed and Faryal Mehmood pairing up for a film based on Covid-19.

 Speaking to Images, Gohar revealed, "It's a love story with the backdrop of lockdown and the horrors of Covid-19. The whole world is experiencing it right now.
" According to Rasheed, the movie - titled Lockdown - shows "how a common man get affected by [the coronavirus], how a simple couple gets affected by the horror of Covid-19 and the repercussions of lockdown.

" Faryal added, "I can't talk much about the story, but the name kinda gives it away! It's about a couple suffering through these times and how they overcome their struggles to be with each other in the end. A hope for all of us to ignite in ourselves and others!

" She also shared the film is "being made for Netflix or Amazon." 

The script has been penned by Abida Ahmed, with Abu Aleeha directing the project. Asad Malik will be the director of photography and Mont Blanc will produce 

Gohar adds, "The story is very unique, it's very relatable. The way it's been written, the kind of treatment they're doing... it's never been done before. Abu Aleeha has done a fantastic job on it.

" "It's very real. The concept is very original. It hasn't been attempted before especially in Pakistan. I was completely sold on Abu Aleeha's vision for this film. We're trying our best. I really hope with this project we enter the OTT [streaming service] market.

" There is no release date for Lockdown as of yet since the shoot is still ongoing. We just hope the cast and crew is doing their best to practice social distancing while working!

No, Mehwish Hayat does not have Coronavirus

Pakistani superstar, Mehwish Hayat, has rubbished the rumours of being Covid-19 positive. 

The Load Wedding star, on Thursday, took to Twitter and slammed a tabloid for sharing that she has been tested positive for coronavirus.

 “Not true,” she said, adding, “I just wish that our media would be more responsible and check their facts before posting such stories.”

She went on to add, “Call me and check instead of posting anything you feel like for the sake of “followers” and “likes”. This has caused a great deal of distress to family and friends.

” Earlier, few members of the entertainment industry have tested positive of Covid-19, including Nida Yasir, Yasir Hussain, Alizeh Shah, Rubina shraf, Sakina Samo, Naveed Raza. 

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Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Mehwish Hayat calls out littering in Islamabad

Mehwish Hayat is known for using her Twitter handle as more than just a personal diary and now, the diva is using it to call out the littering around the country’s capital, Islamabad – an important tourist spot. 

Mehwish took to Twitter late last night, retweeting a video that clearly showed the dismal state up towards the Margalla Hills. “I love going up to the Margalla Hills whenever I can. It always disappoints me to see all this litter and filth,” she said.

She went on to add, “I somehow expected more from the Islamabad crowd to keep these places of natural beauty clean. Is this the image we want to be showing to the tourists who visit?”

Many people went on to agree with Mehwish, replying to her tweet with their own thoughts. “Margalla Hills is home to more than a 1000 wild species including migratory birds. This reason only, should be more than enough for us take care of it,” wrote one user.

“When you raise your voice for something the administration always takes notice so it’s good to see you raising your voice for Margalla Hills,” wrote another.

Here’s hoping that relevant authorities take notice of the issue and clean up the picturesque sights in the capital. 

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Monday, 8 June 2020

Fahad Mustafa, Mahira Khan starrer 'Quaid e Azam Zindabad' unveils first look

Mahira Khan and Fahad Mustafa’s upcoming film Quaid e Azam Zindabad is one step closer to its release. Actors Mahira Khan and Fahad Mustafa both of whom play lead characters in the film, took to social media to unveil the first look of the film. 

Mahira shared a poster of the upcoming film that shows a bundle of thousand rupee notes with Quaid e Azam’s face being prominent. Along side the poster Mahira wrote a caption that read, ” Kabhi yeh socha hai, note per Quaid-e-azam Ki tasveer kyun hai ? ( Have you ever wondered why is there a photo of Quaid e Azam on the bill).”

Fahad also posted the poster with the same caption on his Instagram.

The film which is directed by Nabeel Qureshi and co-written by him and Fiza Ali Meerza is the first time, Fahad and Mahir would star opposite each other on the silver screen. 

“I have never worked with Fahad Mustafa,” Mahira previously told BBC Urdu. “I really wanted to work with him but there just wasn’t any time. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of projects the two of us have been offered together but the timing has never been right.” 

It is not yet known how the film’s release will be handled in wake of the ongoing pandemic. 

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Sunday, 7 June 2020

The Donkey King on Geo TV is the most watched Television Premiere in the history of Pakistan!

Karachi: The Donkey King has broken all viewership records during its Television premiere. With cinemas closed this Eid, Geo Entertainment brought cinema experience to home by premiering the film on Sunday May 24, 2020 at 1900hrs. 

According to the TV rating data collected by Kantar Media Pakistan, The Donkey King recorded highest ever rating (GRPs) among cable & satellite audience of all ages & genders. The Donkey King dethroned Teefa in Trouble as highest rated TV premiere in history. The film got a whopping 36.8 million impressions. 

Commenting on the success of The Donkey King TV premiere, Asad Qureshi, COO, Geo Entertainment said, “Geo laid the foundation for the revival of Pakistani cinema by producing Khude ke liye in the past and now it continues to be the favorite platform for the biggest and best of Pakistani blockbusters. The Donkey King on Geo Entertainment proved to be the most successful TV premiere ever, and we would like to thank our audience for the overwhelming response and appreciation

.” Aziz Jindani, the creator of the film, too commented on the success of TV premiere and said, “We always promised that ‘The Donkey King’ is a film for all ages and the record viewership number of its premiere reaffirms that fact. In particular, it is most gratifying to note that during the film’s premiere, almost every second child in Pakistan who was watching TV at that time was glued to Geo Entertainment, which is not a kids’ channel per 

se. This presents a compelling case for producing more animated content for TV in future. Stay tuned!” With the maximum number of high profile film titles being premiered on Geo Entertainment, we can safely say that Geo Entertainment is the go-to channel for Blockbuster Premieres in Pakistan.

 The Donkey King is an animated comedy film that was released in Pakistan in October 2018 and has been produced by Geo Films and Talisman Studios. The film features the voices of Jan Rambo, Ismail Tara, Hina Dilpazeer, Ghulam Mohiuddin, and Jawed Sheikh.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

First look for Muhib Mirza's 'Ishrat Made In China' is out

It seems that Muhib Mirza’s long-awaited Ishrat Made in China is inching closer to release as the team shared the film’s promotional ‘first look’ on its Instagram account on Tuesday.

The film, that is largely a spin-off of Mirza’s 2006 satirical TV series Ishrat Baji, stars Muhib himself alongside Sanam Saeed, Sara Loren, Ali Kazmi, Shamoon Abbasi, Nayyar Ejaz, Shabbir Jan, Imam Syed, Salman Saqib (Mani) and Mustafa Chaudhry. It will also mark the acting debut of acclaimed designer Hassan Sheheryar Yasin (HSY).

Ishrat Made in China was announced in January 2019 but later stalled and is now gearing up for release soon.

The hit 2006 cult-classic television show Ishrat Baji is returning soon as a feature film. We can’t wait to see the much loved Ishrat Baji, a character made famous by Muhib Mirza, on the big screen soon,” read the caption on Muhib’s look for the comedy.

The team also introduced Cake actor Sanam Saeed’s look. “To all those who were looking forward to seeing the marvellous acting of Sanam Saeed on-screen, buckle up! The most bankable actor will be earning the appreciation and praise on screen with her commendable acting in Ishrat Made in China.”

Earlier in April, the cast and crew of the film called for help as they found themselves stuck in Thailand due to the global lockdown. The shoot for Ishrat Made in China had kicked off in there before the situation took a serious turn. As a result, half the cast of the film was stuck in Thailand with no way of returning home.

Back then, Abbasi had told The Express Tribunethat the team was waiting patiently for Pakistan to open its air space. “PIA revealed the list of countries’ flights that will be allowed and Thailand wasn’t one of them,” he said. “Not to mention, Thailand is also expected to close its air space soon. And if that happens before PIA resumes its flights, then we are doomed.”

But now, they are all back in Pakistan.

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Sunday, 31 May 2020

Sadaf Kanwal and Shahroz Sabzwari have tied the knot

Model Sadaf Kanwal has changed her name on Instagram to Sadaf Sabzwari following the rumours surrounding her Nikah with Shahroz Sabzwari. News of the couple having a nikah today was rife on social media. However, since Sadaf changed her name, pictures of the the newly married couple have started circulating too.

Both the celebrities have also shared pictures from the intimate ceremony on their Instagram and turned off the comments.

“Complete,” wrote Sadaf, while Shahroz simply thanked God.

The Express Tribune reached out to Behroze Sabzwari for a comment and the veteran star neither confirmed nor denied the news.

 “It is nobody’s concern if they got married or not, this is our family’s matter,” he shared.”Why do people think they have the right to any one’s personal life?” He further added that many need to stop sharing news that doesn’t concern them. 

“People need to stop maligning the name of someone’s daughter just because they have nothing to do.” The Tanhaiyaan star then concluded, “Syra is our granddaughter’s mother and she will continue to be our daughter.” Last year, rumours of Sadaf and Shahroz dating went viral as well. 

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Saturday, 30 May 2020

All That's Going On With The Viral Uzma Khan Scandal

Uzma Khan is a Pakistani actress and model. She started her career with the film Waar and later appeared in the film Yalgaar. On-screen actress Uzma Khan who has become the most recent casualty of a viral video via social media, has been blamed for taking part in an extramarital entanglement with the "alleged" son in-law of the business head honcho Malik Riaz, which is being disputed.

Uzma Khan, who got popularity from the film "Jawani Phir Nahi Ani," alongside her sister, became the centre of an ugly dispute which ensued after Amna Usman, the woman whose husband was involved with Uzma, barged into her house and attacked her and her sister, posting the video on social media.

A short clasp of the video that as of late became a web sensation via social media indicated Uzma Khan and her sister Huma Khan being investigated in a video. The lady whose voice can be heard in the video cut cases constrained the two sisters to acknowledge taking part in an extramarital affair with her significant other. She took to Facebook to share her official statement.

“I have been shamed, blackmailed, harassed, been threatened to kill in the past three days. I feel I have nothing to lose now and I have decided to fight the strongest people of Pakistan,”

Uzma wrote. “For me, it is either I get justice or I will be killed but there is no turning back now.” According to Uzma Khan’s Statement she said, I have been blackmailed, threatened and harassed."

There seems to be a controversy involved if they caught them red-handed, man’s identity should have also been exposed, not just declaring Uzma Khan and Huma Khan. The woman whose voice can be heard in the video clip states to be the wife of Usman and is goading the two sisters to accept sleeping with her husband.

Alluding to the infamous video that has become a local scandal, the JPNA actresses reacted, 'since you’ve shamed me in front of the whole world anyway. Since I’m a woman and obviously the vulnerable and easy target, carry on but now I will fight till my last drop of blood', Uzma likewise said that she has registered and FIR against her harassers.

“I request Punjab police to register my FIR and conduct my and my sister’s Medical examination (my basic right) before our wounds start to heal. I hope I am as much Pakistani as Malik Riaz,” she concluded.

Ever since the video went viral on social media, Hashtag #UzmaKhan is trending on Twitter

Meanwhile, barrister and human rights activist Hassaan Niazi took to social media sharing the details of the leaked video in a series of tweets.“This filthy tabloid has decided to hide the name of Malik Riaz’s daughter, who went into the house of Uzma Khan and Huma Khan. Their clothes are wet Bcz Mitti ka Oil has been thrown all over them. Usman is son is the law of the lady making the video. y only blame Uzma. Where is a picture of Usman”, he wrote in a tweet

However, the situation escalates with ferocity as Malik Riaz takes to his social media platform to renounce his involvement in the case, stating that he is being maligned with ludicrous rumours and false statements, being completely unrelated to the so-called attackers or Usman himself. In addition there is a twist in the tale with Usman Riaz's wife, Amna Usman, releasing her response to the entire debacle.

Time can only tell what is to follow after seeing all sides, social media is booming with updates!

Friday, 29 May 2020

Watch: Zara Abid's debut short film 'Sikka' hits YouTube

A short film featuring Zara Abid playing two characters connected by common but hard-hitting realities  has hit YouTube after the tragic plane crash. 

Paying a tribute to the model, the film starts off with the message, “To you Zara, your undying love. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. It will live in our hearts forever. May your soul rest in peace.” 

The PIA flight 8303 took the life of the model along with 96 others. Taking place two days before Eid, the horrendous incident left several Pakistanis and the entertainment fraternity in dire shock and incapable of celebrating the occasion with the same fervour. 

The short film, however, is a brilliant tribute to Zara’s talent. Directed by Ahmed Sarym, the model’s debut project became her last. Titled Sikka, the film shows two sides of the same story. Two characters with the same ending, same trials and similar struggles – connected by the fact that they are women. Both the characters have been played by Zara and the film itself is narrated by Saba Qamar.

It starts off with showing the underprivileged Zara sneaking out of her home – escaping the troubles of the house she is confined to – to find peace and company outside of it.

 Progressing to the upper-class Zara who leaves her house in a fancy car accompanied by her boss who makes her day bearable with approving her project and having a good meal with her. 

After both these characters have managed to distract themselves with the little happiness they could find, they return to shopping, in hopes that whatever they buy can cheer them up once they’re home. 

But as they return to their natural habitat, they are faced with the same old trials, surrounded by the same old thoughts and men who think they belong in the house and not outside of it. 

The film bearing no dialogues and only Saba’s narration is a thought-provoking watch. It helms the notion of breaking established stereotypes and goes on to question how any of us are any different when all our struggles are the same. 

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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

No Eid cheers for cinemas this year

ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: Having invested millions on establishing and maintaining their multiplexes, owners from Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sialkot, and Hyderabad have been suffering great losses due to the coronavirus lockdown. And now, it seems like the little making up they could have done on Eid will also not happen this year

Distributor Nadeem Mandviwala explained how business had already been in the dumps after the government banned the screening of Bollywood films last year. “There was a lack of production of local films to begin with. But even the ones that did manage to be released before covid-19 struck did not perform that well,” he told The Express Tribune.

Mandviwala went onto reiterate how Hollywood is planning to screen its 2020 releases in September but the situation in Pakistan is deteriorating day by day. In a country where entertainment is demanded but entertainers are criticised and films are not fit to compete with heavy budget international productions that are being screened in the same cinemas, survival is difficult.

“With a monthly rent of Rs4 million, expensive films cannot suffice our expenses. Setting up a digital and computerised cinema requires nearly Rs20 million to Rs30 million. Theatres have been closed for 50 days now and without maintenance, the machines we use might stop working. Who would compensate for our loss?” asked Mandiwala.

He continued to complain about the lack of government interest in maintaining these houses, adding that even if the government grants permission to screen films again, owners will remain at a loss after accommodating the audience in line with the SOPs. “It has already become impossible to arrange salaries, pay bills and taxes,” Mandviwala lamented.

The Punjab government has already decided to keep cinemas closed on Eidul Fitr, with the provincial government rejecting the appeal of cinema owners. An official, on the conditions of anonymity said, “Making arrangements to ensure SOPs are being followed in cinemas won’t be feasible during Eidul Fitr. Thus, we have decided that all cinemas shall remain closed.” Not to mention, the release of films slated for Eidul Fitr, including Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan’s The Legend of Maula Jatt and Urwa Hocane’s production debut Tich Button, along with several others that were being produced in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, have been postponed.

In view of the ongoing crises, an announcement allowing the release of these films can only come once the situation improves. According to a senior official of the Central Board of Film, “Censorship certificates were issued to the films in March and the agency had granted approval for the screening of commercial and non-commercial films. But the federal government closed cinema halls for the safety of the public and nothing can be done until they re-open in line with the new SOPs.” 

Chairman Pakistan Film Distributors Associations, Chaudhry Ejaz Kamran, however, believes the situation is the same around the world. “We had films that had completed before Covid-19 took over, but the producers wanted to wait until Eid to release those films. Since cinemas will not be re-opening – and they shouldn’t until arrangements are made for people’s safety – we will work on a strategy to streamline their halted release. We need to observe the international film market and wait for the right moment,” he concluded.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Pakistan's cinema industry in dire straits

ISLAMABAD: With some of the most awaited releases of the year being shelved worldwide in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the year 2020 has been absolutely devastating for the international cinema industry. However, for a country like Pakistan which manically slates its biggest releases for Eidul Fitr, hoping to bank on the holiday crowd’s eagerness to splurge on movie tickets, the timing couldn’t have been worse. 
According to a leading film distributor Nadeem Mandviwala, the last two months in lockdown have broken the local cinema industry’s back and left little to be hopeful for.

 “Eid days are usually the most sought after dates for film releases in Pakistan, which is also when the local cinema industry makes most business. However, this year, the global coronavirus pandemic has postponed all releases slated for Eid, be it from Hollywood, Bollywood or Lollywood, which has left the cinema industry in dire straits,” he shared. 

Whereas on the other hand, the pandemic has also put a damper on the spirits of film enthusiasts and cinemagoers and left many feeling apprehensive about the big screen. “I am a huge Marvel fan and had been counting days till the release of the movie Black Widow, until it was postponed to November. 

However, I doubt the virus is going away anytime soon and I am not sure if it will be safe to go to a cinema in the coming months,” expressed Saira, a resident of Rawalpindi. Similarly, Ibrahim, a third-year engineering student from Islamabad believes that the government’s decision to close cinemas during the pandemic was a wise call to make amid current scenario. “I was actually quite looking forward to watching The Legend of Maula Jatt with my siblings this Eid, but even if the cinemas were open and the release wasn’t postponed I would have never gone considering how contagious the virus is. I think we should be responsible citizens and avoid all public gatherings until the government has found a way to deal with the disease

.” However, speaking to The Express Tribune Mandviwala shared that shutting cinemas completely is not the logical answer to the pandemic. According to the distributor, cinemas in the country pay as much as Rs4, 000,000 in rent every month, for which expenses have to be met and movie tickets have to be sold. “Developing a digital computerized cinema costs between Rs20 million to Rs30 million and there is a lot of advanced machinery involved. If cinemas continue to remain shut over a prolonged period, there is a risk that lot of expensive equipment will be damaged due to non-usage. 

Who will cover our losses if something like that happens?” he questioned. “Even if the government allows screening films to a limited audience under its SOPs, the cinemas will still be incurring losses on account of utility payments, electricity charges and employee salaries. This is a huge industry and something better needs to be planned for it if it is to survive the age of coronavirus,” he asserted.

Monday, 18 May 2020

The Legend of Maula Jatt, Tich Button: Eid releases halt due to Covid-19

ISLAMABAD  : Covid-19 has caused immense damage to the film industries across the world putting the global economy at risk with both Bollywood and Hollywood film producers at the verge of losing millions of rupees. 

Similar is the case with Pakistan’s film industry with filmmakers halting film releases and production since the pandemic took over.

 Following the consecutive halt, the release of films slated for Eid-ul-Fitr – including Fawad and Mahira Khan’s Legend of Maula Jatt, Urwa Hocane’s debut production Tich Button, as well as various films in Rawalpindi and Islamabad – have been postponed.

In view of the current situation, the announcement for release of the films will only be made after the situation improves. According to a senior official of the Central Board of Film, the coronavirus has affected the film industry across the globe. 

The screening of local films has been banned. While talking to The Express Tribune, the official revealed that censorship certificates were issued to the films in March. The agency had granted approval for the screening of commercial and non-commercial films. But the federal government closed cinema halls for the safety of the public. 

Thus, films will be screened after the federal government permits cinema houses to re-open in line with the new SOPs.

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