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Friday, March 30, 2012

Revival of Cinema: 'Screening of Bollywood movies a temporary measure'

ISLAMABAD: With major Pakistani productions few and far in between, screening of Indian movies in Pakistan have become a temporary guardian angel  for the local cinema industry, Chairman Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) said on Thursday.  
“The decision to show Indian movie is only a temporary one and is taken to keep the cinemas functioning across the country while satisfactory steps are taken for the revival of local film industry,” said Barrister Shahnawaz Noon while talking to APP.
Pakistan’s film industry commonly known as “Lollywood” has been on a constant downward slide for the last 12 years, which has not only reduced the entertainment opportunities for movie lovers in the country but also caused losses to those associated with the profession.
Blaming previous government for neglecting the film industry, Noon said that the present government took all stakeholders on board and announced funds for various projects to revive and make it a competitive industry.
Besides funds for artists, technicians and other persons associated with film production, the government has approved the project of National Film Academy and Film Laboratory, establishment of four cinema houses in the federal capital, scholarships for studying subjects regarding film-making and reduction in additional taxes, he added.
The CBFC Chairman further said that the board comprising of old members was dissolved and new members were appointed to bring young talent forward, which will introduce new ideas for the benefit of the film industry in Pakistan.
He was of the view that Indian movies were screened only on temporary basis and the establishment of a film laboratory and funds announced by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani would help improve the standard of Lollywood films within six months.
Commenting on Pakistani artists working in Indian movies, he said “apart from filmmakers, it is also the responsibility of our artists to make every effort for the revival of their own industry instead of leaving it.”

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Farhan Saeed: Yet another failed attempt

KARACHI:  Given the current situation of the local industry, it’s no surprise that Pakistani musicians are queuing up to be given an opportunity to unleash their talent — and make some moolah — in Bollywood. And this is not just a one-sided affair. Not only are Pakistanis eager to work on the other side of the border, Indians have also developed a taste for the Pakistani sound.
So what is it that Pakistani singers have that their Indian counterparts lack? And the answer is: originality and fresh sound. It’s precisely due to these two factors that the likes of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam and Shafqat Amanat Ali have been widely appreciated in India. However, the latest addition to this bandwagon is ex-Jal member Farhan Saeed, whose song “Meethi Yaadein”, from the film Qasam Se Qasam Se, completely misses the mark.
After kick-starting his solo career with “Khwahishon” — which lacked originality and sounded like an attempt to bring another version of “Aadat” — Saeed’s second solo attempt is yet another disappointment. The song, which is as cheesy as its title suggests, sounds like a debut composition of a participant on an Indian talent show rather than the work of a well-known and experienced artist. The video of “Meethi Yaadein”, which doesn’t feature any prominent artists from B-town, shows Saeed live in a college concert, with a small crowd cheering him and dancing.

Haste is waste
Unfortunately, for Saeed, everything from the lyrics to the arrangement of the song to its video, “Meethi Yaadein” is an unimpressive attempt from the singer whose cover of “Yeh Jo Halka Halka Suroor Hai” made waves last year. It seems that in the hype surrounding Bollywood, Saeed forgot that he was representing Pakistan — a country whose musicians have dominated the Bollywood music industry for almost four years precisely due to their individuality and unique sound.
Be it Ali or Khan or even a newcomer like Javed Bashir, all have maintained their stature as foreign artists who don’t just go for commerciality but take on selective projects, defining their own terms even when shooting for videos.
And that’s exactly where Saeed has gone wrong. With his latest attempt, it seems he jumped on the first opportunity that came his way, not paying much heed to the choice of film or quality of the song — a decision that can cost him future endeavours in Bollywood.
While Saeed may get his break into Bollywood as an actor (based on his looks), it remains to be seen whether he’ll get recognition for his vocal ability or songs.
Although this is Saeed’s first Bollywood track and his best is yet to come, it’s important to realise that future projects will only come if this one had managed to impress.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2012.

Monday, March 26, 2012

10 questions with Ali Zafar

From becoming the country’s biggest music sensation to making it big in Bollywood with the critically acclaimed Tere Bin Ladenand the commercial success of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Ali Zafar has always made us Pakistanis proud! Not only has he done great work but he has also shown a positive side of Pakistan to the world.  A tete-a-tete with the rising star about his new Bollywood movie, London Paris New York
1 How was the experience of working in LPNY?
We had a lot of fun shooting in three different cities, two of which (London and New York) are world hubs while Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And since each place had its own charm, that made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable. Now that the film is out and has received appreciation and great reviews, it feels even better to be associated with such a project. Overall, it has been a fantastic experience!
2 Your acting stint in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan was amazing. Do you think you’ve done an equally good job in LPNY?
It’s only my third film  and I’m still learning. Whether it’s acting or singing, I like to consider myself a student rather than a master of a particular form of art. Abhishekh Sharma, the director for Tere Bin Laden, thought that this was my best acting so far.
3 LPNY is the first Bollywood movie in which you composed the music too. How was the experience?
It’s slightly different from composing music otherwise but nonetheless very refreshing, memorable and interesting. I love making music so it felt great to keep in touch with my musical side too. When I compose music for my own album, I do whatever I feel like. But in composing music for a film, I had to rely on the framework given and satisfy the entire team, not just myself.
4 Aditi Rao is a newcomer. Were you hesitant in working with her?
We needed a fresh face and Aditi was perfect for the role.
5 How was the experience of working in MBKD different fromLPNY?
MBKD was a big scale commercial comedy with Katrina and Imran whereas LPNY is a love story revolving around two people. Also,MBKD targeted the masses and LPNY targets the youth, so both films are very different from each other.
6 With only three films, you’ve become a major name in Bollywood. What is the reason behind that?
I think it’s because I work extremely hard around the clock, and with a lot of sincerity and humility. Also, I don’t have any unnecessary biases in my heart.
7 Amitabh Bachchan recently tweeted that while in hospital, he heard your music and it comforted him. How did that feel?
Appreciation coming from a legend like Amitabh — who is known to appreciate art and someone who is into classical acting and music — felt really good.
8 Do you think there’s a constant pressure on you considering you’re representing our country across the border?
I obviously do think about what people are going to feel like back at home and what they’re going to think but then at the end of the day I really can’t please everyone. So I make it a point to keep my own conscience satisfied. I do what I think is right and hope people like my work.
9 Have you ever felt any bias from the audience, considering they know you’re a Pakistani?
No, I haven’t faced any biases. I’ve been welcomed with an open heart and a lot of appreciation. More than me, it’s the people who are responsible for making me who I am today.
10 Your fans would love to know about your future plans and projects. What’s next for Ali Zafar?
I’m doing a comedy film with David Dhawan called Chashme Baddoor. So that’s up next.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, March 25th, 2012.

'Channo' girl: Veena’s victories

The year has just begun and Pakistan’s very own controversy queen, also known as the “Channo” girl now, Veena Malik has already added a myriad feathers to her cap. India has turned out to be the land of opportunities for Malik, who has received tremendous amount of publicity — both good and bad — since she started her career in India with reality show “Bigg Boss” season 4 in 2010.
After two years of persistent hard work, Malik now has her hands full of big projects and she feels that she is finally getting rewarded for her efforts. “From walking the ramp during Jaipur Fashion Week to shooting for my second reality show ‘Swayamvar’ which will be aired next month, life is as adventurous as a rollercoaster ride these days. I’m overwhelmed by the number of projects I’m getting here,” says Malik.
Strutting her stuff
The actor, who represented fashion brand Libas at the Jaipur Fashion Week, states, “I have always loved the ramp. I received an overwhelming response from the crowd at fashion week. As I walked down the ramp, people started screaming my name. I just loved walking the ramp for designer Riyaz Gangji.”
A music maestro?
Malik adds that just because she is doing fashion shows and television series doesn’t mean she is not giving time to her singing career which was launched with her song “Channo” from the film Gali Gali Chor Hai. “After the success of ‘Channo’ I have become more confident about my singing abilities. I will be singing more and will be releasing more songs. I do not have any plans to release an album for now, but I have already recorded three tracks, while five more are in the pipeline.”
Putting the gift of gab to good use
The multifaceted diva, who also tried her luck at cricket commentary during the Asia Cup 2012 in Bangladesh, says, “Asia Cup disappointed me to a great extent. I had thought India versus Pakistan would be a happening match but sadly we lost. Then again, I was looking forward to India and Pakistan playing against each other in the finals but that too did not happen. So yes, I was extremely upset the way Asia Cup turned out.”
The Bollywood saga never ends
The actor says that she is also unhappy that her upcoming filmMumbai 125 Kilometer’s shooting has come to an end. “Working with Hemant Madhukar was an amazing experience. I think this film gave me a chance to grow as an actor. We had several thrilling moments during the shoot which is why it is going to be one of my most memorable projects. Many scenes of Mumbai 125 Kilometer were shot in the dark and we even shot at strange and exciting locations like the jungle and the graveyard.”
Where the wrapping up of one venture has left her sad and nostalgic, Malik is also excited to start shooting for Supermodel in June. “I am impatiently waiting for the shooting to begin.” Apart from the Indian projects, Malik also has some British projects lined up, details of which she said, “it’s too early to disclose”.
Coming back to Pakistan
Even though she is at the zenith of her career, Malik says she still misses home and wants to visit her family in Pakistan. “I really miss Pakistan and I’m dying to be with my family but it seems a little impossible this year as a lot of projects are lined up one after the other.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2012.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Allah Hoo – Second OST of upcoming film Tamanna

Check out this newly released track from the upcoming Pakistani film Tamanna. Directed and shot by Steven Moore, Allah Hoo is sung by Sahir Ali Bagga and Hina Nasrullah.
Starring, Salman Shahid, Faryal Goher and Omair Rana; Tamanna is expected to hit cinemas in ‘summers’ this year
Attached below is the song video. Also do checkout the way Lahore is shot for this song. We bet you would love it.
Produced – Sarah Tareen for Concordia Productions
Directed – Steven Moore
DOP Cinematography – Steven Moore
Additional Cinematography – Yasir Nisar
Written and Recorded – Sahir Ali
Vocals – Sahir and Hina