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Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Josh of Iram Parveen Bilal (Exclusive Interview )

Iram Parveen Bilal talks about the upcoming screening of her film and how she developed this film
Ali Abbas
Iram Parveen Bilal, the maker of Josh, spent 4 years working on her debut film which is the only Pakistani film to make it to the 14th Mumbai International Film Festival this year. Josh is the only fiction film from Pakistan to be screened at MAMI in the last 5 years. The story of Josh is simple and powerful and based on Fatima, a committed schoolteacher living the cosmopolitan high life in Karachi, who is devastated when her nanny, Nusrat, inexplicably disappears. Though her friends and family beg her not to disturb the status quo and confront the powerful feudals in Nusrat’s village, Fatima travels there to investigate. Will the trials and tribulations deter Fatima’s resolve? Will the quest challenge an already complicated romantic relationship? What all shall Fatima have to sacrifice in the search for answers?
 Josh (English Title: Against the Grain) is the story of a privileged woman whose life is shattered in a single moment. It is the story of a woman in search for a dangerous truth.  It is the story of the biggest challenge to Pakistan’s still reigning feudalism: the country’s youth. The film explores the internal debates the young are struggling with, and how solutions can be attainable if and when they stand united.
In this exclusive interview, Iram Parveen Bilal talks to Lollywood Café about the upcoming screening of her film and how she developed this film.
Q1: Tell us about Josh: what inspired the story of this film, and is it fair to say that the film is to some extent based on the Khana Ghar story.
Josh is a story of what happens when you find your world turned upside down and you want to take control of your life again. What happens when you want your life to be much bigger than yourself and about others. It is a story of hope, of trying, of redemption. It is a story of the youth, of Pakistan, of the pain, the pleasure and the spirit of unity and independence. Ultimately, if I were to pick one thing, it is about “never giving up”.
Regarding Khana Ghar, Parveen Saeed was a character we were following for the 2010 Sundance selected BHUTTO documentary, which I crewed on. For more information on her daring mission, please visit
Q2: How many years have you spent working on Josh?
From concept to film, 3.5 years.
Q3: Is the end product of Josh exactly what you had envisioned for the film when you started out working on it?
That’s a hard one because a film is so organic. It becomes a film that you start liking since it changes so much along the way. So is it a film I set out to make exactly? Of course no. Is it a film I am happy and proud to be associated with it? Yes.
Q4: What locations have you filmed Josh in?
Karachi and its outskirts.
Q5: Describe a fun anecdote from the set of Josh.
Whenever we were waiting around to set up the next scene, I would start making everyone sing to boost up their energy. We sang “Jeevay Pakistan” to the “national anthem” to “billo de ghar”! Tipu, Mohib and Kaiser sahib are very talented singers and we would just all start singing aloud. I also made some of the cast hold hands and do yoga breathing and scream before scenes to let loose. We did some physical work! Also, my amazing AD, Saima Mohiuddin (who anyone should hire in a heartbeat) was teased quite a bit as she would be yelling “back to one” all the time to make sure things were on time. So up till now, people call her “back to none”. There were some charming times. Oh, and one time, we had a dog on set that we needed to bark for a scene. When all else failed, I started barking to make it bark! I do a good bark, but it still didn’t work! I just remember when people were trying to figure out who was barking. It’s one of those lame, useless talents that I have!
Q6: We absolutely love the festival poster for Josh that is being used for the screening of this film at the 14th Mumbai International Film Festival: tell us about the thought process behind the film?
The poster was designed by the incredibly talented Areen Salam and her team at We are also very excited about it. It is a concept poster which describes one woman’s journey to fight the status quo in plight of justice.
Q7: The love triangle of Josh is based on Khalid Malik, Aamina Sheikh, and Mohib Mirza: what motivated these particular casting choices?
The film is first and foremost a mystery thriller that has characters that happen to be attracted to each other. I loved their work and they seemed apt for the characters I had in mind, so we shared the script with them and they were all excited to come on board.
Q8: What is the Josh in Josh?
Never give up.
Q9: When will the film be released in Pakistan?
We are right now focusing on the festival circuit. Then comes distribution, but our fans will be the first to know. Please follow us on to stay up to date with the progress.

Q10: What other renowned films from around the world have been showcased at MAMI?
Oh, the list is too long. From Hollywood to Iran to Japan to France, they showcase the most respected cinema from all over the world. Last year, they gave Morgan Freeman the lifetime achievement award, this year it is Waheeda Rehman. In our section, we have films from Oscar nominated directors such as Michel Gondry  (of Eternal Sunshine fame) and award winning filmmakers like Michael Hanneke, Ken Loach and Walter Salles. It is a mix of honoring Bollywood as well as independent cinema since it takes place in Bombay, the hub of it all. They honored Amitabh Bachchan during their 12th festival. We are humbled and proud to be included.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Madonna dedicates song to Malala

Pop star Madonna, who has voiced her political and social views through the MDNA tour, most recently took on the Taliban when she dedicated a song to Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old who was targeted by the militant group, reports
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Madonna told her audience that the incident made her cry.
“The 14-year-old schoolgirl who wrote a blog about going to school. The Taliban stopped her bus and shot her. Do you realize how sick that is?” she said and shouted: “Support education! Support women!”.
Later, Madonna performed an onstage striptease to reveal “Malala” stenciled across her back and saying “this song is for you, Malala”, she began singing Human Nature.
Malala remains on the ventilator with specialists saying the following 36 to 48 hours were critical for her.
Madonna has previously shown her support for US President Barack Obama and Russian punk band Pussy Riot during performances of the MDNA tour.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

11 October 2012 :::: Showbiz news from Today's NewsPaper

Showbiz news from
Today's NewsPaper
11 October 2012