Friday, 15 January 2021

Our society is patriarchal to begin with: Ayesha Omar

 

Known for her eccentric style statements, fashion-diva Ayesha Omar is not only a popular actor but is also a host, a model, and a famous VJ. The star, who has proved her mettle in films such as Karachi Se Lahore and Yalghaar, Omar is also known – and often criticised - for her rather ‘bold’ personality, that at times conflicts with societal norms, usually in her Instagram comments.

Talking about her outspoken persona, Omar spoke about the aforementioned topic rather candidly as with Mira Sethi.

Societal Norms

Upon question from Sethi, the Bulbulay star divulged on how her persona as perceived by the society and what that specific word means. She started with, “Our society is patriarchal to begin with, so the norm set by society for women is to remain ‘suppressed’ with less confidence than men and shouldn’t be self-assured.”

Judging by what she has experienced, Omar continued, “It’s what I have seen on television all my life that any woman of any age must remain or appear subdued and not too outspoken either. So, you see the term ‘bold’ contradicts with all that I think the word itself means. To me, being bold is being confident, brave and outspoken.”

Reason of Strength

Being raised by a single mother, Omar revealed that all her life she has been surrounded by her mother. The actor shared, “My father died when I was not even 2-years-old, so we shifted from Karachi to Lahore. A nucleus family like mine did everything together, which is why my mother had to be extremely hands-on and self-sufficient. She had to work, had to take care of the house, had to look after the kids, finances and almost everything. As a child, I saw my mother hustle through so much, without any financial means. Which is why she is my strength and always will be.”

The starlet went on to add that her father was a businessperson who left too early for her mother to fight all the family battles that comes after somebody’s death.  Omar shared, “My mother got preoccupied in these struggles that she decided to move away for a fresh start despite of her family being in Lahore and lending a shoulder.”

Journey to Success

Omar also revealed that she was lucky enough to score merit scholarship in a renowned school in Lahore when everything else was falling apart. She remarked how life was different there as she pursued to be an artist later in life. “Painting was my life. I graduated from art school with only one motive in life; painting. But life had different plans and I got into acting. I used to do a sit-com back in college called Kollege Jeans and that was the base of what I’m today. Many offers came along, so as an actor who works 14 hours a day, the painter moved farther away.”

As a style Icon

Inspired by her style sense and way of carrying herself with utmost ease, Omar has always made her way into the best dressed category with sophisticated suave. When Sethi asked for her secret, Omar said, “I think it’s the artistic aesthetics that has cultivated over the years that just translated when I wear something. Although, I don’t pre-plan my outfits, it’s just a last minute thing that just does it every time. But I shall also confess, there is always pressure to remain on top of the game. Be it red carpets or any other party, bloggers, fashion journalists and critics are all waiting for you.”

To Omar, it’s all about how she sees herself, and not the audience. “Look, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t dress for people, I dress for what makes me feel comfortable, small percentage of that is according to the occasion,” she said. “Likewise, around the world there are divas like Jennifer Lopez who could own their vibe and style and not be bothered about public opinion in order to give their 100%.”

Friday, 11 December 2020

Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan Wrap Up Filming of 'Neelofar'

 

The Bin Roye star Mahira Khan shared behind the scenes footage from set, writing:

“I take with me a piece of you.. leaving a bit of my soul with you. My darling Neelofar I shall miss you, oh so much."

Mahira's latest reveal has left fans curious and excited about her and Kapoor and Sons Fawad Khan reuniting on screen together after the pair's iconic super hit Humsafar is still incredibly popular in Pakistan today. The audience is still anticipating Mahira and Fawad's second on screen project with Pakistan's highest budget film The Legend of Maula Jutt, directed by Bilal Lashari.

The film is expected to release in 2021, having been written and directed by Ammar Rasool, and produced by Qasim Mehmood.

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Mahira Khan, Atif Aslam, Aiman Khan make it to 'Forbes'

 

Three Pakistani celebrities have made it to Forbes’ list of Asia's 100 Digital Stars. This includes renowned artists from across the continent like Bollywood biggies such as Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Anushka Sharma, Katherine Langford, KJ Apa, Keith Urban and others.

Mahira Khan was the first star to be named in the list, which seemed to be in no particular order. According to the publication, the Raees star was to be a part of the much-awaited action drama The Legend of Maula Jatt, which is touted to be Pakistan’s most expensive film to date. "Khan uses her social media presence — nearly seven million Instagram followers and over four million on Facebook — to raise awareness about mental health issues, violence against women and breast cancer," the description for the actor read.

Atif Aslam also made it. Forbes shared, "Released in May, his song Asma-ul-Husna recites Allah’s 99 names to encourage hope during the pandemic and has over 22 million views on YouTube. Aslam urged his 20 million Facebook followers to stay home to curb the spread of the coronavirus."

Aiman Khan, the older of the popular Khan twins, who is Pakistan's most followed celebrity on Instagram, also received a mention in the prestigious list. "With nearly eight million followers, Aiman is the most-followed Pakistani celebrity on Instagram. She and twin sister Minal run the clothing site Aiman Minal Closet, with 249,000 Instagram followers. Last year, she was nominated for Best Actress at Pakistan’s Hum Awards for roles in TV shows Ishq Tamasha and Baandi."

Congratulations to the celebs!

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Saturday, 5 December 2020

Maya Ali feels 'blessed' to be working with Shoaib Mansoor

 

It was earlier announced that renowned director Shoaib Mansoor will be working on a feature film with Maya Ali and Emmad Irfani. The film was expected to go on the floor in December.

Now, Ali has shared a candid picture of herself with Mansoor, marking the beginning of their venture together, with the two appearing engulfed in the project. Taking to Instagram on Thursday, the Teefa in Trouble actor wrote, "First day on the set of #ABG, blessed to have gotten a chance to work with the great Shoaib Sahab."

Ali's cohorts also shipped the maven and the starlet’s affiliation. "Aaaah! Best of luck Maya! You’re working with the best," commented Mahira Khan, who’s worked with Mansoor numerous times. "Best of luck Maya," added Minal Khan. "All the best Maya," remarked Zara Noor Abbas.

At present, not much is known about the film. But it will mark the first time Irfani plays a prominent role in a feature. The Jalan actor had expressed his excitement over the prospect of working with Mansoor earlier.

“I'm really excited and looking forward to working with someone of the stature of Shoiab sahib (sir). To me, it is an opportunity of a lifetime as he is a colossus when it comes to modern Pakistan cinema,” Irfani had told The Express Tribune. Irfani also shared how he felt about working with Ali, “Maya is a very good actress and I'm sure we will make a good team under Shoaib Mansoor’s captaincy.”

Ali was last seen in Parey Hut Love alongside Sheheryar Munawar, while, Irfani made a cameo in 7 Din Mohabbat In. Mansoor’s last film was Khan and Haroon Shahid's Verna.

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'Waar' brought Pakistani cinema close to Hollywood: Shaan Shahid

 

Popular actor Shaan Shahid in a recent tweet shared the trailer of his 2013 film Waar.

While doing so, the actor relayed why he holds the Bilal Lashari directorial so close to his heart. "#Waar, always close to my heart.. as it brought Pakistani cinema close to #Hollywood," tweeted the Yalghaar actor on Wednesday.

Last year, the producer had hinted at a possible sequel of the blockbuster. Taking to Twitter, the Operation 021 actor shared the poster of the Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ayesha Khan and Shamoon Abbas starrer and wrote, "The Game Changer. It was indeed first of its kind for Pakistan."

In May 2015, it was revealed that Hassan Rana, the writer of Waar 2 would also be directing the sequel. The film would also include Ayesha Omer, Agha Haris Durrani, Bilal Ashraf and Aleeze Nasser. Whereas Waqas Rana would be serving as the producer and Director of Photography of the film

The release date of the film is yet to be announced.

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Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Mansha Pasha 'lucky' to have Jibran Nasir


 Mansha Pasha has been quite vocal when it comes to praising her fiance, Jibran Nasir. The Laal Kabootar star has often taken to social media and gushed over the love of her life. 

Recently, Mansha was responding to a fan, who was lauding Jibran for standing up for MDCAT students. The tweep shared, "You are lucky to have this man."

To this, the Mohabbat Tujhay Alvida star shared, "Yes, I am Slightly smiling face." She went on to add, "Alhamdulillah, God has been ever so kind."

Mansha then expressed gratitude for the outpour of love from the students. "Many thanks to all the students messaging in," she wrote, adding, "I do feel truly proud and pray that Allah gives you all the strength to continue to stand for what is right always."

Earlier, in an interview with Iffat Omar, the actor shared how the couple fell in love. "It just happened. We were good friends and after some time we developed an understanding. Both of us were into it, so it happened," Mansha had put it simply.

Talking about what specific traits of the social activist pulled the actor towards Jibran, she revealed that while there are many, one, in particular, triumphed all. " He (Nasir) doesn't make false promises. This is very important to me. By the grace of God, whatever he has promised me as of yet he has fulfilled it," the star exclaimed.

Additionally, Jibran has also been very much supportive of her career, to the point that at times he would want Mansha to take every challenge.

"He's very supportive, Alhamdulilah.  In fact, we are always discussing prospective projects for me. A lot of times he wants me to take up everything. I eventually have to stop him," she chuckled. "All in all he is very supportive. He enjoys it. The stuff he is unable to see, he ends up listening about it from me."

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An abuser cannot be a hero: Mahira Khan


Pakistan's arguably biggest superstar Mahira Khan has never been the one to care for the lists. However, she always finds herself in one or two almost every year. This year, the Raees star was named in the prestigious BBC 100 Most Influential Women of 2020. And she is very humble about it. Khan took to Instagram and expressed her gratitude over the mention among the likes of Jane Fonda. 

"In a year of incredible change, it is only fitting that we acknowledge the female leaders who have helped us weather the storm," stated the outlet while releasing the names As for the reason why Khan was shortlisted, the network acknowledged that she "speaks up about the causes and issues that matter to encourage change."

"Khan is no ordinary actor – she is outspoken against sexual violence, refuses to endorse skin-lightening creams and supports the fight against racism," claimed the outlet. It went on to relay the Bin Roye star's determination to "tackle social issues in her native Pakistan by changing the narrative in films and on TV."In a recent interview with the publication, Khan shared her not-so-easy journey over the years. 

Not joining bandwagons

"I've been approached from the beginning of my career, not just as an actor - even when I was a VJ - I was approached to do a lot of fairness cream products, skin whitening products. It doesn't make sense to me, it never made sense to me," she said in the three-minute clip. "So, I am endorsing an idea that a darker girl, a man is not as attractive as someone with a fairer complexion? It just didn't make sense to me."

First accolade

Khan rose to fame for her portrayal as Khirad in blockbuster show Humsafar, which also starred Fawad Khan. The former won a Lux Style Award for Best Actress, making it her first-ever award win. "This is my first award as an actor, for a drama (Humsafar) that really launched me, in the year that I was launched," she said as she holds the accolade. "I won many awards after that but this remains very, very special," she shared.

The good work

The Verna star was appointed as the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador for Pakistan in 2019. The actor had earlier shared few pictures from a refugee camp she had then visited on Instagram. Showing the same picture, now in a frame, adding, "Let me tell you about this photograph. This was the first time I went as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador to one of the camps, one that was in Karachi. We make passing comments on refugees, let's say Afghan refugees in Pakistan. There is a certain idea of what the Afghan refugees have brought into this country. We are there to raise awareness for that."

Of changing narratives

While attending the protests at Karachi Press Club against the motorway rape case, Khan made a point of changing narratives in pop culture. She went on to share how imperative it is for our masses to be educated over sex education. 

"Something happens, there is a lot of noise about it. Everybody gets on the streets, everybody talks about it on the media, and then what? And then it dies out. Another news comes out, another story comes out or another rape happens! Then that is just another name or another hashtag attached to it," she said now. "The problem is that we are not ready to educate our public or create programs that educate children, we are not ready to talk about it openly and I think we need to change that narrative while taking responsibility for it."

Khan lamented, "I am a big part of the media of this country. I feel that our films, our television serials, we have to change the narrative," Mahira asserted. "We can't just show a woman being assaulted (by a man) and then falling in love with him and show him to be the hero. A hero cannot be someone who is abusive. So, I think somewhere even we have to take that initiative."

She concluded her candid chat by skimming through the pages of a diary she had kept since before she had her baby boy, Azlan. "I have been writing before he was born," she smiled. "These pages are filled for him, there are few flowers too. As you can tell, I'm very sentimental about this."

Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below. 

Zindagi Tamasha is Pakistan’s official Oscars entry

 
Sarmad Khoosat’s Zindagi Tamasha has been through the ringer but hey, there’s a silver lining.

The movie is all set to be submitted for Oscar consideration in the International Feature Film Award category for the 93rd Academy Awards, final nominees for which will be announced in February 2021.

This year’s Oscar committee was chaired by filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and includes Faisal Kapadia, Asad-ul-Haq, Hamza Bangash, Syed Muhammad Ahmed, Mehwish Hayat, Hasan Shehreyar Yasin, Asim Abbasi, Arshad Mahmud and Jamal Shah. 

Directed and co-produced by Sarmad Khoosat and Kanwal Khoosat and written by Nirmal Bano, Zindagi Tamasha’s cast includes Arif Hassan, Eman Suleman, Samiya Mumtaz and Ali Kureshi.

According to the official synopsis, "the film is an intimate portrait of a family as well as a scorching political commentary on little gods on this earth who police our private passions.”

Everything said, it's a little sad how it's a movie Pakistanis themselves haven't gotten to watch yet. Zindagi Tamasha was slated to be 2020's first Pakistani film release, meant to hit cinemas on January 24. However, it has been stopped from being released, despite being cleared by multiple censor boards twice and it's fate still hangs in the balance.

Speaking about the selection, producer Kanwal shared, “The announcement surely proves that we in Pakistan are ready to tell stories close to the heart. We are ready to represent our people. I cannot stop feeling proud of my team. We have worked countless hours to tell a truly Pakistani story. Many thanks to the committee for recognising our efforts and acknowledging our film."

“All the heartache that Zindagi Tamasha gave me has somehow restored my faith in the power of art too: the sheer, almost physical power of art to make life imitate it. This announcement, for me, is a very bright light shining at the end of this dark tunnel of a year. I made this film in Pakistan and foremost, for Pakistan, for my people and the misfortune that my people have remained deprived of it weighs quite heavy on my artistic conscience.

Some pride is slowly kicking in though and no matter how far we go with this official selection, Zindagi Tamasha will be representing all of us - our ‘Pakistan’. I feel honoured on behalf of my entire team and I am extremely grateful to the committee for finding it worthy enough.” said director Sarmad.

Islamabad to have drive-in cinema

ISLAMABAD:

An open-air, drive-in cinema is planned to be built in the federal capital to help provide residents with some entertainment in a safe manner during the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

This was disclosed on Wednesday by officials of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) who know of the project.

They said that with the government allowing outdoor gatherings in limited numbers and stringent conditions amidst the second wave of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, an outdoor cinema will help people enjoy movies safely. It will be built per international standards and have parking for up to 1,000 cars.

The CDA will choose a location for the project with sufficient parking where residents can watch movies while sitting in their cars. CDA Chairman Aamer Ali Ahmed will personally oversee the project, officials said.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Kubra Khan and Goher Mumtaz are shooting a romantic thriller in Kashmir


 Titled Abhee, the romantic thriller is being locally shot against a backdrop of the beautiful landscapes of Kashmir and will revolve around the theme of nationalism. Lending their vocals to the title track are the very popular Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Aima Baig.

The star-studded cast includes Saleem Sheikh, Usman Peerzada, Mahmood Aslam, Ehtesham-ud-Din, Yasra Rizvi, Hina Bayat and Asif Raza Mir.

The movie is being directed by Asad Mumtaz and produced under the banner of an international UK-based company Daniel Johnes Productions, which is all set to dive into its very first venture in Pakistan.

The story is drafted by Gohar himself with Shoaib Rabbani behind the screenplay.

No release date has been announced yet but the movie is expected to come out early next year.

Ways to Enjoy Seamless Streaming Experience

 Image from Unsplash.com

Ever since the big break of the streaming industry, the number of people cutting the cord has increased yearly. This is due to the prevalence of internet-enabled devices and of course, the flexibility that streaming services affords its subscribers.

Effect of COVID-19 on Cord-Cutting

The year 2020 has also been an overwhelming one, the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease being the highlight of the events that took place this year. The outbreak forced people to stay indoors and this meant more TV viewing time for individuals and families. Ordinarily, this should translate to an exponential increase in income and viewership for cable TV providers and streaming platforms but only the latter wins.

If anything, the pandemic has made more people switch to streaming services – absence of live sports being one of the major contributors to the increase in cord cutting this year. Because people have to work or study from home, they would rather have the flexibility of watching their favorite content during their leisure time rather than having to get pulled out of an event so they don’t miss a show or sporting event.

Enjoy Seamless Streaming Experience

Since streaming is dependent on Internet connectivity, there are possibilities that connection might be unstable or the streaming experience might not be seamless. Outlined below are a few ways by which you can enjoy streaming services from anywhere in the world:

        Reduce Video Quality: On days when the Internet connection is poor or not as fast as desired, reducing the video streaming resolution will enable you to stream your content with little or no buffering at all. Asides this, lower resolution enables you to reduce data consumption rate so you can enjoy streaming content for longer periods.

 

        Use a VPN: You might want to get a VPN for Netflix if you are geo-restricted from accessing Netflix or any other desired streaming service in your current location. A VPN connects you to a remote server, giving you an IP address to make it seem like you are connecting from a different location. This is one surefire way to address geo-restriction.

 

        Switch to Ethernet: In most homes, Wi-Fi seems to be the most common mode of connection for devices as it is convenient and enables you to move around easily. In times when you experience lagging, switch to Ethernet cable as it provides dedicated internet connection to your streaming device at higher speeds than Wi-Fi.

 

        Disconnect other Devices: This is also in a bid to provide your streaming device with a faster connecting speed. Removing competing devices from the network leaves less strain on your bandwidth allowing for stronger Internet connection on your streaming device.

Fast.com is a service provided by Netflix to allow users to check their Internet connection so you can utilize this to know how strong your Internet connection is for streaming. Bear in mind that you need at least 15Mbps download speed for 4K streaming.

Friday, 20 November 2020

See Prime Brings together Aijaz Aslam and Zoya Nasir in new short film ‘Chambeli’

 

[Karachi] With 2020 approaching its end, and the Coronavirus pandemic still on the rise, See Prime – the digital platform has kept the viewers entertained with the release of new content. Coming back with another thrilling short-film for its viewers that shows how this time might have taken a toll on all aspects of life - the platform has released a new short feature with Aijaz Aslam and Zoya Nasir in the lead.

The short film titled ‘Chambeli’ is an amalgamation of mystery, suspense, drama, and deceit. It depicts the life of a couple who in order to escape the boredom of COVID lockdown decide to go to a guest house for a weekend getaway. What follows is an exhilarating and horror filled stay at the 'haunted' guest house where the couple turns on each other to scare the partner with the story.

Penned by Shahid Doger, the short film has been co-produced by Mahib Bukhari and Ali Hussain. The short-film is directed by Awais Sulaiman and stars Aijaz Aslam and Zoya Nasir in the lead and Zohreh Amir and Tanvir Abbas in pivotal roles.

Talking about the latest release, the Executive Producer Seemeen Naveed said, “As the COVID pandemic struck everyone especially couples - we decided to show a story that will be quite relatable. Aijaz and Zoya have done a tremendous job in playing their characters with so much precision. “

Keeping the viewers preferences for content consumption, See Prime is streaming back to back original content and this latest release ‘Chambeli’ has been released on 13th November on See Prime's YouTube Channel.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjLKlPZsqk4&feature=youtu.be

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Actorism, not feminism: Iman Ali's remarks over pay disparity cause uproar


Actress Iman Ali made headlines back in April for her controversial comments about the models of today, in an interview with Iffat Omar. While she received backlash from fans, followers and her peers over what she had said, another clip of the same interview has been making rounds on Twitter lately and it’s made matters worse.

This time, however, Ali is sharing her thoughts on feminism, in the clip. When asked whether she believes in it, the Khuda Kay Liye star begins, "See, the definition (of feminism) unfortunately, I should not be talking about this because again, this is going to be super politically incorrect." 

She continues, "First, I think we should understand what feminism is. Feminism, to me, is to celebrate being a woman. Women trying to portray or become like men cannot be feminism because then you are negating your whole womanhood. So, trying to become a man is not feminism." 

Ali goes on to comment on pay disparity, saying that when a female actor demands equal fee as her male counterpart, it's 'actorism', not feminism. "If you are as good as your male actor at your job, you deserve to be paid as much as your male actor." 

Omar, at this point, interjects, "But unfortunately..." but Ali cuts her off again, saying she agrees with the host here. “But when women try to become masculine and embarrass themselves in the name of feminism..." 

Once again, Omar asks the starlet if that is what she thinks feminists are doing. Aly replies, "But this isn't the right way. Feminism is not being portrayed correctly in the world; we are not getting it right. We are just annoying everyone now. Make them understand instead." 

The actor adds how women won't be insulted if they confess that they love cooking. "I mean, what's wrong with that?" she asks. Omar quips, "If you love to cook! That should not be made your duty. Men can cook too. It shouldn't be obligatory for women to cook. If she doesn't want to cook, she should be given enough voice to object and ask for a cook." 

Ali thereby replies, "Then it's like saying when men don't feel like working or going to their jobs. It is like he doesn't want to earn and feed the whole family or take sole responsibility for it. But that's a loophole in socialism.” “Men have to take care of the whole household because they don't let the women work," Omar explains. "But that's where our society is at fault again.

 This society has made men, men. We think only men are at fault, whereas women have been wrong as well. If women have been wronged, they are to be blamed equally. Women should raise their sons better. If they aren't doing that right, then whose fault is it?" Her statements divided Twitter as many spoke up against the actor while others supported her. "Classiest actor of Pakistani film industry for you," quipped one user.

While many schooled the former model on how she perceived feminism, other lauded Iman over her stance. "She makes sense to me. “Feminism is celebrating womanhood not emulating manhood," penned one user. One user said Iman nailed the definition of feminism. 

Have something to add to the story? Share it in the commnents below.

Friday, 13 November 2020

Reema's transformation pays homage to quintessential Pakistani film heroes from the 70s

Former actor Reema Khan is currently living her best life in the States, reaping the fruit of her years of hard work in the Pakistani cinema. She recently shared a picture standing ahead of an Abraham Lincoln mural to mark the President-elect of the US – Joe Biden's win against Trump. 

"As Lincoln said, 'nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.' We hope that President #JoeBiden will bring peace, harmony, equal rights and unity among people worldwide," she wrote in the caption.

And now, Khan has shared pictures from what appears to be a Halloween themed party, stunning her followers with her transformation. 

Her attire and accessories could easily remind one of a Pakistani Punjabi film hero from the 70s and there's no denying she didn't nail the look. Proudly wearing a shalwar kameez she may have borrowed from her husband, Khan took the liberty of draping a turban around her head while layering her kameez with a jacket paired with a shawl on top. But the winner of course, was her beard and moustache. 

Sharing the pictures from the event on her Facebook page, Khan wrote, “Fabulous, funny and fantastic look with friends.”