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Friday, December 7, 2012

Bahar Begum — Lollywood’s favourite mommy

In September, the expatriate Pakistani community in Norway honoured 70-year-old actor Bahar Begum with a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to the Pakistani film industry. Today, she is just as committed to acting as she was when she started her acting career in 1956, as a 14-year-old star in Chan Mahi.
Bahar’s name is tied to over 600 Pakistani films, but she gained widespread recognition for the roles in which she played legendary actor Sultan Rahi’s mother. Her film career is divided into two phases; her roles as a lead heroine and those as an emotionally strong mother. Her performances during the ‘70s, where Bahar played the matriarch, are culturally an important development for the trajectory of mainstream Punjabi cinema. Her most recent role was in Syed Noor’s family drama Shareeka, in which she played an urban mother. An eloquent speaker who speaks fluent English, Urdu and Punjabi, Bahar tells The Express Tribune that she’s still very much in the game.
While she grew up in Lahore, studying at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, she was given many roles in which she played a loud, unsophisticated rural woman. “Work, work, and more work made me a Chaudhrani,” says Bahar, referring to the characters she played.
“Sultan was around the same height as me and we could look into each other’s eyes,” says Bahar, as she recalls some of her films such as Sher KhanKaley Chor, and Maula Bakhsh. “Sultan Rahi and screenwriter-director Nasir Adeeb played a huge role in making my dialogues work,” she adds.
Bahar appreciates the feedback of her audience. She recalls that while she was shooting in remote villages in the 1980s, people would call her “Maa ji”, “Khala ji”, or “Chaudhrani”. It was just one example of how much she was adored by the audience.
She admits with pride that her personality has developed in a certain way because of the years she has spent in Lollywood, which she considers to be a part of her.  “Whenever I am asked if I have left the film industry, I reply by saying that I could never leave; it’s in my blood,” says Bahar.
Bahar left a lasting impression on her audience with her presence on screen, even in supporting roles. She attributes this quality to the studio system that was in place at the time which helped her build her career. She lauds the professionalism and quality of the films made and produced.
“Earning Rs10,000 to Rs12,000 was a big deal for a heroine when I started,” she says, talking with pride about how business went about in her prime. “My contract with director-producer Anwar Kamal Pasha was for three films. At that time, we did not get involved with money or contracts directly. Our families handled these things.” Lamenting the non-professional attitude of people in the film industry today, she adds: “Speaking about these things today is considered bad; these are the wrongs we made right, and everything went to the dogs.”
“During the second phase of my acting career, I developed a love for acting. Without that interest, one cannot improve,” says Bahar.
When you eat, breathe, and sleep Punjabi films for 56 years, it becomes a part of your anatomy. “I have absorbed the role to such a degree that when I walk into a house, I speak loud just like my character!” she laughs. “The industry temperament had become loud; it came to represent the culture of Punjab. When I would go to villages for shoots, I noticed women in those areas really did speak that loud, it was a part of that village atmosphere.”
When she returned to the film industry in the 1970s, Bahar said the scene had changed into a one that was ‘louder’, which then translated on screen in Punjabi films. She played the role of a strong and boisterous Punjabi mother, traits that other eras had failed to touch upon.
Bahar explains that old directors such as Aslam Dar had worked on stories in which the mother’s role was powerful. “Directors such as Aslam made it possible because of their emphasis on details,” says Bahar.
Sultan and Bahar had developed a unique rapport which was favourable for both. “The big skill for an actor is to look into a fellow actor’s eyes and then deliver a dialogue,” says Bahar. “It’s the difference between making something realistic or not.”

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pakistan's Next Mega Star (Auditions)

Pakistan's Next Mega Star is a talent-hunt tv show on ARY Digital with celebrity judges like Faysal Qureshi, Savera Nadeem, Ahmed Ali Butt and Asif Raza Mir. The show explores people with talent, who have all the qualities of being the Mega Star! who can do Acting, Singing, Dancing, Comedy and have great looks.

The auditions are now completed that started on 3rd november through 11th in Multan, Faisalabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Karachi.

Auditions Schedule

Auditions Promo

Pakistan's Next Mega Star (Reality Show)

Pakistan's Next Mega Star is a talent-hunt tv show on ARY Digital with celebrity judges like Faysal Qureshi, Savera Nadeem, Ahmed Ali Butt and Asif Raza Mir. The show explores people with talent, who have all the qualities of being the Mega Star! who can do Acting, Singing, Dancing, Comedy and have great looks.

The auditions are now completed that started on 3rd november through 11th in Multan, Faisalabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Karachi.

Promo 1

Promo 2

Promo 3

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Comedian Sikandar Sanam passes away

KARACHI: Famous comedian Sikandar Sanam, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer, passed away on Monday.
The Express Tribune learnt about Sanam’s death from a close associate of his. The news was further confirmed by someone close to Furqan Haider – current owner of City Auditorium.
“He [Sanam] passed away this afternoon. The body will arrive in Karachi from Nawabshah within four hours,” Haider’s close associate said.
The actor was admitted to Aga Khan University Hospital in September. He was later discharged from the facility.
Haider, the man who claims to have introduced Sanam to the world of theatre had earlier informed The Express Tribune that ARY Digital was trying to arrange for him to be treated at one of the best hospitals in Mumbai, which is known for curing a large number of patients suffering from cancer.
Sanam was known for his parodies of famous Bollywood movies.
Life as an artist 
Belonging to a family of artists, Sanam – whose real name was Muhammad Sikander – found inspiration in his father, Late Syed Abdul Sattar Shoqeen Jetpuri who was a well known Gujrati poet. He always wanted to become a singer and was known for his voice during his school days. However, he soon realised his real strength was comedy as he formally joined the Karachi theatre.
Sanam started off his career with theatre giants like Moin Akhtar and later on with Umer Sharif. After working as a junior artist in a number of theatre plays, he slowly started getting noticed for his stage performances. This was when he changed his name to “Sikander Sanam” to reflect the love bestowed on him by his admirers.
Be it the character of a 60-year-old widow, an eager bachelor, a college-going boy or a thug from Laloo Kheth (an area in Karachi), Sanam really knew how to tickle the funny bone and rightly changed his name.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Veena Malik beats lot of Hollywood & Bollywood celebrities in her Weight Gain

We should be aware of the fact that the famous film star Veena Malik, who gained fame as a reality show contestant and hit headlines as Ashmit Patel’s girlfriend, has signed a Telugu film. And, apparently, the actress has put on ten kilos to befit the role. And she also left behind Hollywood celebrities in world’s most racy women list and beat Hollywood celebrities by flaunting her assets like Kim Kardashian, Angelina Jolie, Camaron Diaz, Paris Hilton, Megan Fox as well as her Bollywood con-temporizes like Sonam Kapoor, Poonam Pandey and Shilpa Shetty in the list of World’s Sexiest Women, has gained weight.
Our sources reveled; the beauty queen has gained weight up to ten kilos to befit the role in her upcoming new Telugu film. Her weight was 47 kilos before signing the Telugu film—but after few months her weight is 57 kilos.
The sources said, “The makers are very happy with the hard work she has put in to get into the skin of the character. Veena Malik consumed all possible food that she would not have touched otherwise. Also, the role is challenging and she hopes that it will open more avenues for her.”
However, on the other words, Veena Malik, who is going to make a world record attempt for the most number of kisses in this film, has achieved a huge goal of her life after faced a huge disaster of her criticism in the past.
Notably, the famous film star Veena Malik expressed her feelings after win the title by beating the highest profile celebrities of Hollywood and Bollywood. The beauty queen said “I am really excited with the news since it means people are not voting for me only based on my physical looks. They are looking at me in entirety.”

Revival of Pakistani film industry

‘Industry’ is an exaggerated word when spoken in reference to the current state of Pakistani films. With lack of technical crew and an absence of infrastructural support, output of Pakistani film industry stands frail – a stark contrast to the golden days of cinema that reigned supreme a few decades ago.
Dictatorial rules and lack of studious efforts to strengthen the film culture sent the industry down a spiral of gradual destruction as a result of which “Lollywood,” as it is popularly referred, stands in shambles. Gone are the days of romantic movies starring likes of Waheed Murad, Zeba and Muhammad Ali with chartbuster songs composed by Ahmad Rushdie.
That brand of cinema has reached its creative death and stands almost but over. But that’s not the end of it. While old cinema may have reached its threshold, the new age cinema has started spreading its wings thanks to young upcoming film-makers, whose love for the art of storytelling hasn’t diminished their passion despite the obstacles that come with pursuing a profession in film-making in Pakistan under current circumstances.
The list of problems start with funding issues and goes on to unavailability of technical crew, lack of equipment and absence of distributors or reliable distribution sources. While the idea of working for the big screen and being a part of the ‘film business’ sounds fancy in words, the truth is ‘film-making’ is an unprofitable business right now and one that requires tedious juggling. It is sheer passion, determination and perseverance that drive the film-makers of today.
Waar by Bilal Lashari, Lamhaa by Meher Jaffri, Josh by Iram Parveen Bilal, Gol Chakker by Aisha Lineaa and Shahbaz Shigri; the list of films due to be released in the coming year is a surprisingly long one and these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are several more in pre-production, scripting and production stages.
Usman Mukhtar
One commonality that these films share is the departure from typical Bollywood inspired films based on weak scripts, lackluster performances and complete absence of any substantial content. These films are giving rise to a newer, modern mode of cinema that is high on critical content which is more realistic and tackles current issues. One could argue that four or five films a year, don’t make a film industry but the truth is, we are at a juncture where we have to develop an industry from scratch. With minute individual efforts, a film here and there and unflinching support from press and film buffs, we have to kick start the momentum, cultivate the film culture and channel ideas. It will be a slow and tedious process but one that will take a massive movement with inputs by makers and audience alike.
“Ours is not a proper industry right now, but it is the beginning of an industry,” says Usman Mukhtar, an Islamabad based film-maker and actor, who also stars in Gol Chakkar.
But one could argue that all these films, under production right now, are composed of content very non-commercial in essence. Can we revive an industry when most of the work is unappealing to common lay men? Shouldn’t the focus be on making commercial films that appeal to the masses? Usman dismisses the notion by saying, “Every country has an audience of all intellect levels. Your audience will mature with time. If you start off at a low level then your standard will never improve. I am very pleased by the fact that our young film-makers are not being overly commercial. We don’t have an industry yet so we can mould it any way we want.”
Releasing films at foreign film festivals may rake in critical appreciation but the activity is pointless if the local audience doesn’t get to experience and appreciate cinematic endeavors of these film-makers. Most potent problems that these film-makers face are the funding and distribution issues — in a cash-stricken economy it is an uphill task to pull in an investor and the few distributors that do exist, are least interested in developing a film industry and more in making money. This is where multinational corporations and sponsors could come in. Instead of spending millions on mindless, trivial TV advertisements, they could help the film industry and these film-makers by sponsoring them. Take for instance the example of how alliance of “Coke Studio” and Coca Cola benefited both the brand and the music industry. It is the best thing that happened to Pakistan’s music industry in ages and Coca Cola, as a brand is more successful than it ever was and holds a sizeable market share in the cola industry.
Films are cultural archives of a nation. They document, project and channel cultural, social and political ideologies of a country and are resonates of an alive and active nation. Cohort endorsement is what our wrecked film industry needs right now along with sustenance, faith and backing on a national level. This is what it will take to pull it out of this state.