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Saturday, March 17, 2012

17 March 2012 :::: Showbiz news from Today's NewsPaper ::::

Showbiz news from
Today's NewsPaper
17 March 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

‘Uth Records’: An unforgettable episode

When it comes to the field of music, especially when it concerns talented performers and creative musicians, Pakistan is one country that never disappoints.
A recently discovered gem of this country is Affaq Mushtaq and the extent of his true genius was realised in the second episode of “Uth Records”. With just one of his songs, “Aangun”, the musician has raised the bar for other musicians to come. Here’s a musician whose soul-stirring voice flows so comfortably with the music that one fails to notice when it begins and when it ends.
The show has picked up as when Jarar Malik sang “Bewafa” on the first episode, he received a mixed response from listeners. While some viewers found his song catchy, others stated that it was merely of average quality. It was in the second episode when 24-year-old Mushtaq’s voice was fused with drummer Gumby’s creativity and Aamir Zaki’s guitar prowess that pure magic resulted.
Hailing from the outskirts of Rawalpindi, Mushtaq is a formally trained musician who can not only sing well but can also play a variety of instruments ranging from the keyboard to the tabla.
Behind “Aangun”
Listening to the song, one can’t help but say that Mushtaq is already a powerhouse despite his youth and inexperience. Although he’s gotten a break into the industry, he has to fully capitalise on “Uth Records” and make more music to establish himself as a solo artist.
But Mushtaq isn’t the only shining star when it comes to this refreshing pop ghazal, it’s also Zaki’s acoustic guitar playing in the song as well as the percussions which help it reach new levels. Gumby, on the other hand, has definetly matured as a music producer. The drummer keeps his drumming pace light and mellow which goes well with the feel of the song.
Zaki — back and better than ever
Despite his troubled personal life or his sudden and mysterious disappearing acts from mainstream music, no one can deny that Aamir is still one of the finest guitarists of Pakistan. During the shooting of the episode, Gumby said, “Aamir is someone who can understand Mushtaq inside out.”
And he really does understand the melody and the musician as the guitar maestro tries his hardest not to dominate the song at all. Instead, Zaki only adds depth to it with his smart acoustic guitar playing. Kudos to “Uth Records” for bringing in the legends of the Pakistani music industry to the forefront and helping them collaborate with the young superstars of tomorrow.
Perwez — directorial genius
Compared to the first episode, the second one was not only musically rich; it was also one of the most visually captivating. One has to give credit to the way the director of the show, Zeeshan Perwez, documented and showcased Mushtaq’s mesmerising journey from Rawalpindi to Karachi. With a series of subtle, minimalistic yet entirely convincing shots, he made the audience feel connected and closer to the musician.
The already memorable episode was topped off towards the end when it concluded with the song, “Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot” by Sting playing in the background.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shaan injured during shooting of film in Lahore

LAHORE: Actor Shaan was injured during the shooting of an action sequence for the Punjabi film Acha Gujjar. The actor was rushed to Razzaq Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, where he was treated for a minor back injury and discharged with orders of three weeks’ rest.
The incident had taken place in the Iqbal Town area of Lahore on Monday.
The film’s director, Masood Butt said that Shaan was shooting a duel with co-star Shafqat Cheema, who kidnaps Saima and Dua Qureshi in the scene. The actor is playing the lead role in the film.
Following the scene, Saima and Dua run towards Shaan and at this point a police car is supposed to arrive. Butt said that the driver had missed the mark for the scene and Shaan was hit by the car.
“He flew forward in the air around 7 feet, luckily he is alright and he will be resting,” said Butt.
Butt said that the hospital had discharged him with minor injuries and requested that he rest.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Oscar comes home: Golden lady returns with the golden statuette

Pakistanis got their first glimpse of the most celebrated accolade in filmmaking on Saturday.
The much-awaited Oscar finally arrived in Pakistan along with its proud recipient Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
Her documentary, Saving Face, grabbed the trophy for ‘Best Short Documentary’ at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California last month.
A press conference was organised at a local hotel to welcome the Oscar winner.
Obaid-Chinoy walked into the premises with the statuette in her hand, and was swamped by photographers as she placed it in a glass box on stage.
“I hope that it is not the only time we bring an Oscar home” said a jubilant Obaid-Chinoy.
“When I walked the red carpet along with four other people, it was not just the five of us; I knew that the whole country was standing for us,” she said.  As the categories were being announced, Obaid-Chinoy said she was not very hopeful until Iran won an award as well.
“That was the moment when I got a little optimistic that we might win the award based on the quality of the film,” she recalled.
She also praised co-director Daniel Junge for his efforts, saying that she was thankful to him for letting her give a major part of the victory speech.
After receiving the award, she said she took what is called the ‘winner’s walk’, where award recipients enter a room full of journalists and photographers waiting to greet them.
“All I remember from the winner’s walk are flashes of lights and nothing else,” she said.
“A lot of well-known people from Hollywood lauded me for making it so real and Cameron Diaz was one of them,” she added. A clip from the documentary was screened at the reception where Marvi Memon, former member of the National Assembly, was shown hearing the plea of the acid burn victims.
Afterwards, she initiated a bill in the National Assembly in favour of the acid burn victims, which was unanimously accepted by the assembly.
“The part in which the bill is unanimously passed received a special applause wherever it was screened around the world,” said Obaid-Chinoy.
Elaborating over the subject matter of the documentary further, she said that “Pakistan can solve its problems and that was the thought behind the documentary.
“Acid throwing is a horrible crime, which can be ended if the people and government work together and implement the laws that were created,” Obaid-Chinoy stressed. She concluded by thanking the media, the people of Pakistan, her crew and family members for supporting her throughout.

Film review: Saving face - on the face of it

Ever since Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won the Oscar, I’ve seen comments all over the internet that give the impression that this documentary shows only the darker side of Pakistan.  However, having actually seen the documentary I would like to clear this misunderstanding.
I had the good fortune of watching it, along with other Oscar-nominated works, at the  National Archives in Washington DC on the morning of 26 February, the day before the Oscar winners were announced. While they were all excellent, Saving Face was definitely the best amongst them. Even though it was the longest one, the audience was riveted until the last moment.
Saving Face begins with Sharmeen interviewing Zakia, a victim of an acid attack. Zakia, who had filed for divorce, was attacked by her husband outside the court room after the hearing. Half her face, including one eye, was destroyed.
We are also introduced to Rukhsana, who was attacked with acid by her in-laws. Tired of mistreatment by her husband and his family, she takes her children and moves in with her parents. Soon, financial problems force her to return to her husband and ask forgiveness, a decision that has terrible consequences. In a harrowing scene, Rukhsana shows us the room in which she was attacked with acid by her mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Then there is  Dr Jawad, a plastic surgeon in the UK who travels to Pakistan to treat the victims of acid attack at the Burns Centre in Islamabad. He meets Zakia first and is deeply moved by her story, trying very hard to save Zakia’s eye along with her face. Sadly, the optical surgeons tell him there is no chance of success. Nor does her legal struggle seem to bear fruit: Zakia attends every hearing of the case against her husband but the final hearing keeps getting postponed.
On the other hand, Rukhsana, who is waiting desperately for the surgery to restore her face, cannot undergo the operation because the initial tests reveal that she is pregnant. In a particularly moving scene, Rukhsana hopes the child will be a boy because she is afraid that a girl would face the same difficulties as her.
But there is also hope amid the despair. Zakia’s case is taken up pro bono by a female lawyer, and eventually, both women succeed in gaining the attention of various NGOs. They meet Marvi Memon and push for punitive legislation against acid attacks. Memon, moved by their pleas, proposes a bill in calling for life imprisonment for acid attackers
Near the end, a successful surgery gives Zakia her face back, and the optical surgeon designs an artificial eye for her. Rukshana gives birth to a baby boy and is successfully treated by Dr Jawad afterwards. The bill is unanimously passed in the assembly. In the end comes the happiest moment of all, as the court sentences Zakia’s husband to double life imprisonment terms.
Far from being a biased indictment of Pakistan, Saving Face shows women in Pakistan are moving ahead and fighting for justice in a male-dominated society. It also shows how, contrary to popular opinion, the courts do sometimes dispense justice. Another great aspect of Saving Face is that it brings to light the philanthropist mindset of our society, where individuals feel the need to give something back to their country. Eloquently summing it up is the closing quote from Dr Jawad: “I was not saving their faces; I was saving my own face as I am also a part of this cruel society.”
Correction: An earlier version of the article misspelt the word “successful”. It has been corrected.

Shafqat Amanat Ali: Sky’s the limit

Some voices are truly timeless; their resonance penetrates borders and crosses language barriers, tugging at our heartstrings every time we listen to them. Ex-Fuzon member Shafqat Amanat Ali, who rose to great heights of fame with numbers like “Akhiyan” and “Mitwa”, is one such voice. The classically-trained singer, who recently returned from a tour to Canada, India and Dubai, shares the latest on his side with The Express Tribune.
“By the grace of God, life has been amazing,” says Shafqat, while adding that singing Pakistani songs all around the world is an overwhelming experience due to the diverse tastes of music lovers. “People in Dubai, India and Pakistan have similar concert favourites, but in places like Canada, tastes are quite diverse — some people crave for Fuzon tracks while others for Bollywood numbers.”
Stint in B-town
Ever since leaving Fuzon in 2006, Shafqat has concentrated on his solo career, keeping himself busy with recordings in the studio, working on different drama Original Sound Tracks (OST), promotional songs (for brands and corporations) and some Bollywood numbers.
The singer, who was recently shooting a video in Karachi, claims that no matter how much music he produces in Pakistan, his songs get more airtime in India than here. “Many of my new songs are simultaneously released in Pakistan and India. However, they are hardly aired on Pakistani channels and the impact is felt in concerts when the local audience can’t sing along because they don’t know the lyrics,” he says.
Hence, as the local industry faces a slump, Shafqat claims he generates a larger chunk of income from across the border and testimony to his popularity in India lies in the fact that his latest songs for Bollywood films Jodi Breakers and Love Breakup Zindagi have gathered immense following. Currently, the singer is producing a song for an Indian 3D film which is in the making.
When asked which Indian music director he prefers to work with, Shafqat replies, “It’s very difficult to give one name because all of them have a distinct style. But I would really like to work with people I haven’t worked with, someone like Vishal Bhardwaj or maybe AR Rahman.”
Inside the Patiala Gharana
Reminiscing about the stalwarts of the famous Patiala Gharana (the musical family that Shafqat hails from), we ask Shafqat about the future torchbearers of the family name. According to Shafqat, Amjad Amanat Ali’s sons Salman Amjad and Ali Amjad are ready to enter the industry whereas Sikander Asad (Asad Amanat Ali’s son) is also waiting for the right time to surprise everyone.
“Even my own 15-year-old son Saadat Ali Bakhs is getting formally trained from the gharana but before getting into music he has to complete his proper schooling and education,” says Shafqat proudly.
Bollywood awards and nominations
2012 — Nominated for Best Male Playback Singer at the Filmfare Awards — “Dildaara” from Ra.One
2012 — Nominated for Best Playback Singer Male at the Zee Cine Awards — “Dildaara” from Ra.One
2011 — Nominated for Best Male Playback Singer at the Filmfare Awards — “Bin Tere” from I Hate Luv Storys.
2011 — Nominated for the Global Indian Film Awards Best Playback Singer Male Awards — “Mitwa” from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

LPNY — it’s a guilty pleasure

London Paris New York (LPNY) started off as a typical run-of-the mill Bollywood style movies. Girl (Aditi Rao-Hyderi), Lalita, very desi, a Madrassi feminist who goes to pursue education in New York, bumps into boy, Nikhil (Ali Zafar), son of a rich film-maker daddy, spoilt, gets everything served to him on a silver platter; we had to applaud the originality. The “accidental bump” happens at Heathrow Airport in London.
What are they doing there?
Lalita is very rudely informed during her transit flight to London that due to delays on the current flight, she has missed her flight to New York and shall be given a hotel room to compensate for the loss. Nikhil, happens to be travelling to London to enroll himself in acting school, but will be staying with his uncle for the first few days.
The two “bump” into each other when Lalita drops her book, which Nikhil picks up to give back to her and from there begins the “unexpected” magical love story of Nikhil and Lalita.
After indulging in cordialities at the airport, the two end up spending a day in London together. How that happens is again the beauty of Bollywood! Bouts of jealousy, spurts of anger and the tension surrounding sexual attraction give away the concept behind the movie. This was one of those flicks that you can predict scene to scene. But a guilty pleasure nonetheless. The one thing, however, which was a tad confusing and weirdly refreshing was the fact that the movie literally concentrated on the two lead actors with barely any supporting cast. It worked because Zafar and Rao-Hyderi were able to carry the film through on their own — no one else was required.
Zafar in particular was brilliant. Certain scenes, in my opinion, were shot “too in the face”, but he played it off well and his acting was heart wrenching at one point.
Rao-Hyderi, who played the role of an inquisitive journalist inRockstar, did a decent job. A very pretty face, did not overact, but didn’t make a lasting impression as such. Her role, however, changed throughout the movie and the different looks that she was going for, she adapted to just perfectly. Her skills in the French language were impressive and used brilliantly in LPNY.
All in all, the movie was a great one-timer! A fun experience, which allowed for loud laughter; this typical but not-so-typical Bollywood movie was anything but a bore.