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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Musical Pakistan tour: Strings attached

KARACHI: 
Pakistani band Strings have been on an extensive Pakistan tour covering 10 cities which started on February 2 and ends on March 3 as part of the Colgate Max Fresh campaign. They have already entertained audiences in seven cities and performed in Sialkot last night. The Express Tribune spoke to the talented twosome about their month-long tour.
Regarding the cities covered so far, Faisal Kapadia stated, “The Pakistan tour has already taken us to the cities of Hyderabad, Karachi, Bahawalpur, Multan, Lahore and Islamabad and Sialkot. Three other cities will be covered within a couple of days including Sargodha, Gujranwala and Faisalabad.”
When asked why Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and more specifically the city of Peshawar, were left from the line-up, the musician responded, “There is no particular reason for leaving Peshawar behind. Audiences from smaller cities are more excited about the concerts. In cities like Karachi and Lahore, where bands perform regularly, there’s obviously less excitement.”
On choosing smaller cities, Kapadia shares an interesting insight, “Very few bands get a chance to visit these places, so this was a great opportunity for us. We hope our concerts will be loved and cherished by all.”
When it comes to the band’s plans for the future, Kapadia asserted, “During the summer, we will be working on our songs and will be recording in the studio. By autumn, we will come out with new songs which String fans will definitely enjoy listening to.”
Cancer fundraiser
On Tuesday evening, the duo took a break from the Pakistan tour and flew over to Dubai and performed at a fundraiser event arranged for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH). About 1,000 people attended the event at the Atlantis Hotel, in Dubai and DHS 2 million were collected through donations. The star-studded event was attended by celebrities like Behroz Sabzwari, Adnan Siddiqui, Aamina Sheikh, Fawad Afzal Khan and Mahira Khan.
When asked why the band chose to perform at this event, bandmember Faisal Kapadia says, “This was probably our sixth fundraiser event for SKMCH. We firmly believe in giving back to society.”
When asked what made the night special, he responded, “The highlight of the night was when Imran Khan requested us to sing the song ‘Mein Toh Dekhoon Ga’.”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Punjabi films: Behind the buxom beauties and macho men

LAHORE: “Whatever the past had, it’s gone; the best is always yet to come,” states director Syed Noor. Despite having faced a slump last year due to box office failures coupled with regular bouts of illness, he says there is no looking back as he announced his upcoming films on the occasion of his 61st birthday at the Metropole cinema.
“People keep telling me to stop making Punjabi films,” said Noor, who revealed he has three films in the pipeline for the coming year. “I always say why shouldn’t I make Punjabi films?”
Noor, considered one of the best film-makers in Pakistan, has super-hits like ChoorianJeeva and Deewane Tere Pyar Ke to his credit. However, with a slump in the overall film industry and the economy in general, the director faced many failures as well. Unswayed by these setbacks, he held on to his determination of keeping the Punjabi cinema alive and continued making films. “We had many problems and failures in the industry. I feel that made me sick in some ways,” said Noor, whose film Dane Pe Dane failed at the box-office in 2011. “After thinking long and hard about the issues the industry faces, I came to the conclusion that it’s important to show the industry in a positive light and until that happens, even good work will be overlooked.”
Shareeka
Shareeka, which will be directed and written by Noor, will star Shaan and Noor’s wife Saima, while Tariq Tafu will be doing the songwriting for the film. The story, which will revolve around six families, will be shot in Punjab. Without sharing too many details, the director said that the film, which he claims is a “fun comedy”, will be relatable to all families in the province. Noor further stated that aside from the two confirmed stars, he also plans to feature some new actors.
Meri Shaadi Karao
Speaking about his other venture, Meri Shaadi Karao, the director confirmed it will include Indian Punjabi Daler Mehndi’s son Gurdeep Singh in the lead role. The film, which is a co-production of Noor and Mehndi, is scheduled to be released in June this year.
Noor is of the opinion that the Indian industry could be a good starting point and one can learn a lot from it. Shot in Dubai, the story will revolve around six characters: three Pakistani and three Indian. Also, the music will be produced by the likes of Arif Lohar amongst some Indian musicians.
The director, however, has received mounting criticism for calling a ban of Indian films, while being involved in a Pak-Indian co-production. “As long as Indian films don’t damage our industry, I’m okay with them,” said Noor. However, he added, “Film exhibitors decide which film to play in their cinema and many refuse to play Pakistani films, which is unfair.”
Price of Honour
Additionally, the director confirmed that the private screenings of the issue-based film Price of Honour have started. The film, which he hopes to release in June, explores the issue of honour killings and violence faced by women in Pakistani society. “The subject of the film is sensitive so we are privately screening it to get a good idea of how people will react,” said Noor.
Popular Punjabi films 
Majajan
Majajan is a Pakistani Punjabi film directed by Syed Noor which was released across theatres in Pakistan in 2006. Majajan is a love story, inspired by the life of Baba Bulleh Shah and his ‘ishq’ with his‘murshad’.
Maula Jatt
This is one of the most popular films in the history of Pakistani cinema. It is a Punjabi film starring actor Sultan Rahi in the lead role with Aasia and Mustafa Qureshi as the villain Noori Natt. Maula Jattis a classic, a film that reached cult status in Pakistan.
Choorian
Choorian is a Pakistani Punjabi film produced by Chaudhary Shahzad Ali and directed by Syed Noor. It’s a story about a city boy Bakhtu (Moammar Rana) who is in love with his uncle’s daughter Billo (Saima).