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Friday, March 23, 2012

Alamgir: Late honours for a legend

Pakistan Day this year will be a special one for the fans of Alamgir, popularly known as the ‘Elvis of the East’, who will be awarded the Pride of Performance at the President’s House in Islamabad. Decades of sheer hard work and passion for music have paid off as the government finally recognises the efforts of the pop legend whose contribution to the country’s music is immeasurable.
The 80’s singer’s recent comeback to mainstream music scene with a revamped version of “Keh Dena” with Kristie Yung not only made his fans nostalgic but also reminded them of what the maestro is capable of. His popularity was proven by the over 260,000 hits the official channel of his video on YouTube received in just a month’s time. Next in the pipeline is a new patriotic number with the legendary singing trio Benjamin Sisters.
A rough ride
However, despite the success of his latest single, all’s not well at Alamgir’s end. The singer was diagnosed with complete renal failure in 2004 and has been undergoing regular dialysis for the past few years. Although the issue has been taken up by some fans, who have made cause groups on Facebook and formed organisations to collect donations, the pop legend still needs financial help.
The singer, who lives with his family in Atlanta, Georgia, recently came back to Pakistan and has been making appearances on local morning shows in a bid to muster support from fans and authorities for his medical condition. “Although I am on a five-year waiting list in the US, two of my fans in the US have already consented to donate a kidney to help me,” said Alamgir in a morning show on PTV Home. However, the singer clarified that there is no confirmation whether their kidneys will be the right match. Other than worrying about finding a kidney match, the singer is also concerned about the cost of a transplant — which amounts to a whopping $60,000.
Promise of hope
The authorities, however, haven’t disappointed the artist. “I’ll try to help you out in whatever way possible,” said Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Provincial Health Minister of Sindh during a live call in a morning show. When asked whether he will be able to involve the federal government in this case, Ahmed replied, “I’ll try to do that. Additionally, I will see how the Khidmat-e-Khalq foundation can help you.”
Meanwhile, director of Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplant (SIUT) Dr Adib Rizvi also seemed optimistic about Alamgir’s treatment. “I understand that the process of finding the right donor is a long and hard one but there are so many hospitals in Karachi with many people willing to donate. I don’t think it will be a problem to find a kidney donor,” he said while sitting next to Alamgir in a morning show. Rizvi also agreed to give out details regarding Alamgir’s kidney match in order to facilitate the process of attracting willing donors.
Additionally, many artists are planning to collaborate to play at a series of fund raising concerts around the country with Alamgir. This widespread interest from the media and authorities has set the ball rolling and hopefully the singer will soon have some viable solution to his problem.
Legendary musicians with Pride of Performance
Allan Fakir – 1980
Allan Fakir, a Pakistani folk singer, is one of the most well-known names in the Sufi genre. He was particularly known for his lively style of performance — marked with Sufi dancing and animated facial expressions. One of his famous songs is a duet with Mohammed Ali Shyhaki, “Allah Allah Kar Bhaiya”, which was a big hit and increased his popularity in mainstream music industry tremendously.
Abida Parveen – 1982
Abida Parveen is a Pakistani singer of Sindhi descent and one of the foremost exponents of Sufi music. Parveen sings in Urdu, Sindhi, Seraiki, Punjabi and Persian, and together with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is considered one of the finest Sufi vocalists of the modern era. She received the award of Pride of Performance in 1982 and Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2005.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – 1986
Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was primarily a singer of qawwali, who managed to gain unprecedented success at local, as well as international level. He reached out to Western audiences with a couple of fusion records produced by Canadian guitarist Michael Brook. In 1995, he collaborated with Eddie Vedder on the soundtrack of Dead Man Walking.
Nazia Hassan – 2002
She was an iconic first Pakistani pop singer. Her song “Aap Jaisa Koi” from the Indian film Qurbani made her a legend and pop icon in all of South Asia in the 1980s. The singer, who was also known to have redefined the pop genre, managed to sell over 55 million copies worldwide. Sadly, did not live to receive her Pride of Performance award in 2002.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2012.

Babar Ali will act in Punjabi Film Putar Sher Khan Da

Lahore: Pakistani actor Babar Ali has accepted an offer for a Punjabi film Putar Sher Khan Da. According to sources producer Younis Malik  first offered the role to another Lollywood actor Saud.
The sources said that Malik is also planning to cast Babar Ali in his second film Putar Maula Jutt Da. However, he would first shoot Putar Sher Khan Da. The shooting for the film would start in April. Stage Dancer and actress Nargis would play a role for heroine.
At the time, when Pakistan’s film industry has perished, film producers are hell bent on making such ridicules films.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I miss all my ex-flames: Veena Malik

Actor Veena Malik, who had a controversial relationship with tainted Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif and later got engaged to American national Faisal Akbar Khan on a rebound, says that she still has a soft spot for her former lovers. “I love all my ex-boyfriends. I still miss them sometimes, but I don’t want to go back to them. The past is the past. I am not among those who love someone at a time and hate them later. But I always cherish memories,” she said. The actor, who is now harbouring dreams of tying the knot with her soul mate on ‘Swayamvar Season 4 – Veena Ka Vivaah’, also shared that she was upset at Pakistan’s loss to India in Sunday’s ODI match. “I have been in India for one-and-half years now, but I will always root for Pakistan. Peace talks, relationships between the two countries are all good, but when it comes to a match between India and Pakistan, it’s serious cricket and nothing else,” she said. 

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

Showbiz news from
Today's NewsPaper
22 March 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Akhbar-e-Jehan Magazine (March 19 to March 25, 2012) - Planet Lollywood

Pushto telefilms: Back from the brink

Swat, the land of colour, roses and flowing rivers was once synonymous with love, peace, and hospitality. How this paradise on earth became a valley of death and destruction still sends shivers down the spine. The transformation not only saw loss of lives, but also loss of an economy, culture, arts and films.
Ravaged by terrorism and militancy, artists (especially females) were severely punished and killed while many of the DVD shops were either torched or blown up. After the mayhem, many artists gave up their professions and many even left the area and moved to other parts of the country. However, after many long and painful years, the collapsed and deserted Pashto telefilm industry has once again started picking up momentum as the scenic valley is again swarmed with local and national movie and drama artists.
Coming back to life
With visible signs of revival of the industry, local artists can finally breathe a sigh of relief. “We feel no fear and do our work peacefully. The situation is back to normal and renowned Pashto film and drama artists have started coming to Swat for filming,” Usman Ghani, a famous film and drama artist, told The Express Tribune during shooting a scene for his new telefilm.
The revival of the industry has not only rejuvenated hope of local artists, cameramen, editors, writers, singers and poets but it has also relieved DVD shop owners to a great extent. “I had a very good business before the chaos. Two or three telefilms and music albums would be released from my production house every year but when militancy took over the region and we had to give up this profession,” said Bacha Rehman, owner of the Shalimar Video Recording Centre in Mingora. However, he added that after five years of waiting, his business has started flourishing once again as new Pashto dramas and films are being produced locally.
Mehr Ali Shah, a movie editor who had a flourishing video studio, also saw a hard time after he was threatened by the militants asking him to close his studio. “I had to shut my studio in compulsion after which the dark days of my life began as I did not know any other profession. I had to take a loan in order to carry on with life. Now, although, we have returned to our old profession, I am still in debt,” he said. However, Shah says he is content with the present pace of his work as he has three plays lined up which have to be edited.
Meanwhile, famous Pashto comedian Fazal Rehman, alias Silai, is also busy shooting his new telefilm Abai Mey Ministera Shwa and is hopeful that it will do good business and break all previous records set by his plays and telefilms.
Apart from dramas and telefilms, three musical shows were also staged successfully in recent days in which renowned Pashto singers, dancers and stage artists performed.
Let down by the government
Although, the recovery of the entertainment industry in Swat is bringing the businesses and jobs of hundreds of people back on track, they still feel a sense of betrayal by the government and NGOs. “It is very strange that our sector was completely destroyed by terrorists. Our shops were bombed or torched and we were persistently punished but neither the government nor the NGOs came to help us,” said Fazal Wahab, Senior Vice president of All Swat Video Shop Association. “Even the hotel industry was assisted by USAID but we were completely ignored. For more than five years, we paid our shops rent from our own pockets and had to resort to borrowing money to feed our families,” Wahab said, adding that their children were forced to drop out of school because they couldn’t afford it.
Wahab stated that their valuable equipments, DVDs, CDs, video cameras and other accessories were destroyed but no organisation bothered lending a hand. “We have purchased all equipment with borrowed money and resumed our business once again but we still have a long way to go before we reach our previous position,” he said.
Therefore, he, on behalf of his Association appealed to the government, UNESCO, USAID and other non-government organisations to help them financially so that they could recover from the five years of financial flux.
The end of entertainment Song and dance
The Swat valley, once a famous site for shooting local Pashto songs and videos, was left crippled after the Taliban burned down music and CD shops, closed cinemas and killed and threatened dancers. In 2007, unidentified people blew up six CD shops in Ishaq Market and partially damaged 20 nearby shops, according to Daily Times. The owners of CD shops received threatening letters asking them to close their entertainment centres within 15 days and several shops at the market were blown up after this.
Even local actors and singers were threatened and harassed. Umar Rahman, a local artist from the Hazara area of Kabal Tehsil, who performs in the video market said, “I am really fond of acting; it was miserable when the Taliban took control of the region, our other friends migrated to Mansehra and Abbottabad. The actor said that even after the ban was put, actors used to shoot dramas secretly, which they released on both Eids in the Kabal area, reportedThe Express Tribune.
Leisure activities
In late June 2008, the Malam Jabba Ski Resort located in Swat valley was set on fire and destroyed. According to sources, the centre was reduced to ashes and its facilities such as chairlifts and sight-seeing towers were also torched. All of this marked the aftermath of the Swat valley between government security forces and Taliban militants. However, the ski slope at the resort was rebuilt in 2009 when the government regained control over the hill station. The hotel has undergone reconstruction and rehabilitation and is gradually returning to its former glory, according to