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Life & Style: Game changers of 2012

How dramas, music videos and other events changed the ball game. DESIGN: KIRAN SHAHID
KARACHI: The year 2012 was filled with joy, entertainment and some unfortunate events, but luckily we dodged a bullet as it didn’t come to an end as per the Mayan calendar. It was jam-packed with ups and downs, and here’s a list of happenings we thought changed the game entirely.
1. Urdu 1
This channel shook things up for local television channels. No one could have predicted that anew channel, with landing rights to foreign content, would become an instant sensation despite airing no original local content. Urdu1’s Turkish soap Ishq-e-Mamnoo entrapped not only young girls but older housewives as well. It became so popular that it eventually created a major debate in the entertainment industry with regard to channels’ preference to foreign content over local entertainment. There is also some talk that Ishq-e-Mamnoo bagged higher ratings than the widely popular Humsafar, coming close to 11.5 on the rating metre.
2. Ali Gul Pir
Songs that have been a raging success in Pakistan can be easily recalled, such as Billo De Ghar and Purani Jeans; even Jal’s Aadat, which was a super hit, didn’t have the same impact. But Ali Gul Pir’s Waderai Ka Beta came and conquered the music scene. Not only was Pir able to introduce the phrase “saeen tau saeen” in our pop culture, but he also changed the dynamics of the pro-record label industry by using YouTube as his medium. Several tracks followed in Pir’s footsteps, such as Quettay Ka Pathan and Awaam.
3. Burning of cinemas
An unfortunate episode took place this year on September 21, where Pakistani lost a huge part of its history. Violent mobs burnt down cinemas all over Pakistan during a full day’s protest against anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims. Cinemas Nishat, Prince, Capri and Bambino in Karachi and cinemas Firdous, Shama, Naz and Capital in Peshawar were all burnt to ashes in retaliation to the controversial film, resulting in huge losses. Only Bambino, Capri and Shama have been reconstructed and are now back in business.
4. Equus
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Many weren’t aware of this play that took place in a theatre hall which was under construction at the National Academy of Performing Arts, as its advertising was rather limited. Equus, written by Peter Shaffer, directed by Sunil Shankar and translated in Urdu by Shankar and Nazarul Hassan is one of the best plays produced in Pakistan in terms of presentation and execution.
The three-hour-long play is a clear demonstration of talent and skills of young Pakistani thespians. The story is about a 17-year-old boy who ends up blinding six horses in a stable where he used to work.
5. UPA
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The United Producers Association (UPA) has been around for quite a while but made its presence felt for the first time to raise the issue of foreign content being aired on local channels’ during prime time hours. Under the leadership of Rashid Khwaja (president) and Asif Raza Mir, UPA is the only functioning guild of artists. Its purpose is to unite under one banner to raise common pleas before the authorities.
6. Aamina Sheikh
Aamina Sheikh started off her career on the small screen with a talk show that featured short films. But in no time, this beautiful lady has earned herself a colossal fan base; she has also slowly become the prime face of Pakistan’s indie cinema. Aamina has proven herself on the ramp as well as on television, with dramas such as Mera Saeen. But it doesn’t end there; she grabbed the award for Best Actress in a Lead Role in her film Lamha (Seedlings) which has now entered numerous film festivals. Her latest project Josh, which has yet to be released here, will hopefully add to her huge list of accomplishments.
7. Sajid & Zeeshan’s Sanity
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The duo of seasoned musicians from Peshawar, Sajid Ghafoor and Zeeshan Parwez impressed the audience with their unique sound and original album, The Harvest. However, in the second half of 2012, they came into the limelight with their single called Sanity, whose video left a hypnotic effect; it’s a typography-based video directed by Shahab Qamar, a Brisbane-based Pakistani. This video has become one of the most trend-setting works as far as music videos in our industry are concerned due to the way it was executed.
8. Ban on YouTube
In order to control the frenzy created by Innocence of Muslims, YouTube was banned in September throughout Pakistan. Whether or not it served the intended purpose of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is a different story but clearly, its consequences were not carefully scrutinised. As Pakistani musicians were slowly becoming heavily reliant on public forums such as YouTube, this avenue was taken away from them. With the lack of record labels in the country and Indian content dominating local channels, this seems to be the last nail in the coffin for Pakistani musicians.
9. Usman Riaz
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With his second video Ruckus (which he directed himself) and various international ventures, Usman Riaz shined throughout 2012. The 21-year-old music genius also composed the score for the film, Lamha (Seedlings) and even had the chance of speaking at Ted Global, which featured numerous inspirational speakers from around the globe. At such a young age, Riaz has achieved a lot in terms of quality in music and international exposure. All we can say is that we need more like him!
10. Coke Studio @ MTV
This tenth inclusion in our list might surprise a few but the second season of Indian show Coke Studio @ MTV clearly mastered the art which Pakistan founded! With audio visual technology on a grand level, the show introduced a different format this season by bringing together six different producers to create magic on one stage. The format did wonders as popular singles such as Madari and Husna were its end product. However, after a disappointed season 5 of Coke Studio Pakistan, let’s hope we find some inspiration from our neighbours and own the stage we created.

Pakistan's Next Mega Star (Ep # 1) Promo - ARY Digital (Coming Soon)

PNMS (Ep # 1) Promo - ARY Digital (Coming Soon)

Top ten: Our favourites from television


VJ and model Syra Yousuf, ventured into acting with her drama serial Mera Naseeb.
Despite the increasing trend of foreign soap operas and movies, our local productions continue to survive and thrive. The credit surely goes to strong storylines, direction and good production but saying that actors are not an integral part of this success will be wrong. Therefore, we bring you a list of top 10 male and female TV actors of Pakistan that made us laugh and cry throughout the year.
Fawad Khan
Fawad Khan
The hunk of the Pakistani television industry, Fawad Khan became an instant heartthrob with his killer smile and intense eyes since he made his appearance as the band member of Entity Pardigm (EP). But what took him to new heights was Humsafar, in which he played a romantic husband who ends up hating his wife. Since then, Fawad has worked in many serials, with Zindagi Gulzar Hai being his latest venture. Let’s see how well he fares in this one.
Fahad Mustafa
Fahad Mustafa
The renowned Fahad Mustafa came into the limelight for his silent role in Sheeshay Ka Mahalin 2002. However, his lead role in 2011 Main Abdul Qadir Hoon proved to be a milestone for his career. Since then, Fahad is a well-recognised face of TV industry. However, it’s his portrayal of a rich, spoilt politician in Mera Saeen 2 that became a hit.
Adeel Hussain
Adeel Hussain
The ‘John Abraham’ of Pakistan is famously remembered as Ibad of Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu. Adeel Hussain received rave reviews for his acting in the serial, which followed the fame ofHumsafar. Although Adeel had appeared in many drama serials before this one, his character as a son of a business tycoon who marries a girl without his parents’ consent, earned him a well-deserved spotlight.
Faizan Khawaja
Faizan Khawaja
The Pakistani actor, who has appeared in some minor Bollywood films, is famous for his work in several Pakistani TV serials. His recent venture is Aik Nayee Cinderella, where he plays a poor boy who befriends an orphan girl and helps her win the love of a rich cousin. Faizan, working alongside some big names of the industry, has managed to get himself noticed with his strong performance.
Syra Yousuf
Syra Yousuf
VJ and model Syra Yousuf, ventured into acting with her drama serial Mera Naseeb. Her character Nazia — a young, pretty girl who sacrifices her love for her family and marries a man of her mother’s choice — received widespread appreciation from viewers. Her recent drama Tanhaiyan Naye Silsilay, sees Syra in a bubbly character Serena along with her husband Shehroz Sabzwari. She can also be seen in another TV show, Coke Kahani.
Samina Peerzada
Samina Peerzada
The veteran TV actor Samina Peerzada, who has become the celebrated ‘TV mom’ of the industry, executes every performance with perfection. The famous actor has big projects to her name, be it small screen projects or silver screen ones. Her recent drama Zindagi Gulzar Hai, sees her in a role of a middle-class, struggling mother who wants to give her daughters the best education. Two thumbs up for this one, but none for her role of a nagging nani inShehr-e-Zaat.
Sheheryar Munawar Siddiqui
Sheheryar
The young actor-model has made a name for himself in a short period. His performance inMeray Dard Ko Jo Zuban Miley, as a deaf-mute young man, marked his breakthrough. Currently, he is seen romancing Alishba Yousuf in Tanhaiyan Naye Silsilay and is also seen in a supporting role in Zindagi Gulzar Hai.
Hina Dilpazeer
Hina Dilpazeer
The versatile actor, who is famously known as Momo from Bulbulay, got rave reviews for her role in comedy drama Quddusi Sahab Ki Bewah. She plays a variety of roles in the serial, with each one being entirely different from the other in appearance, accent and performance. The drama series became heavily popular soon after its telecast and surpassed the record of many blockbuster Pakistani dramas.
Sarwat Gilani
Sarwat Gilani
The young actor has become a familiar face of the industry with her plays like Meri Zaat Zarrae Benishan, Saiqa, Azar Ki Ayegi Baraat etc. However her role in Mata-e-Jaan as a grieving widow, who endeavours to win the love of her dead husband’s parents, took her to new heights. Her pair with Adeel Hussain was widely appreciated by the audience.
Sanam Baloch
Sanam Baloch
The young, versatile and bubbly actor Sanam Baloch has all that makes her the first choice for every big project. With her performance in dramas like Noor Pur Ki Rani, Mannchalay, Daam, Dastaan etc, she proved her significance in the industry. However, her girl-next-door persona in Durr-e-Shahwar won everyone’s heart. She made people cry with every tear she shed, and convinced directors that she is a true star.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Versatility, thy name is Hina Dilpazir


While she is a raging success on TV, the actor says theatre is her first love. PHOTO: FAIZAN ISLAM/PUBLICITY
From her debut performance in Burns Road ki Nilofer to her most recent one as Momo inBulbulay, Hina Dilpazir has gained unprecedented success and has left her imprints on the small screen.
Her work, however, knows no bounds as she has done some theatre in her career as well, with one being National Academy of Performing Arts’ (Napa) Dil Ka Kya Rang Karoon. But her current performance in ARY Digital’s Qudusi Sahab Ki Bewa, in which she is juggling the roles of 12 different characters, is by far her most impressive. In a telephonic interview with The Express Tribune, Dilpazir explains that she doesn’t work as much as people think she does and is not a workaholic — she just has too many roles assigned to her.
“It’s such a well-written script,” she says, when asked how she pulls off each character to the best of her capability. If you have watched her playing Rooh Afza, Badarqa and Shakuran, you at once be convinced of how incredibly versatile the actor is. From distinctive accents to drastically different looks, Dilpazir has mastered the art. “Before I hop onto the journey of playing a character, I sit down and sketch it. That is how I understand the role better,” she says. She adds that it’s imperative to know the role you will play in and out, before making the dive and doing justice to it.
Hina Dilpazir02-Photo-Faizan Islam-Publicity
She also talks about the difference between theatre and television. “Theatre has a limited audience and is certainly a little more difficult because emotions need to be expressed out loud and you need to know the script, word by word,” says Dilpazir. “Whereas, TV on the other hand, is a medium where even the smallest of gestures is captured by the camera.” Even after the widespread recognition she has received for her work on television, Dilpazir’s first love remains stage performance. “I prefer theatre. I simply love it,” she says.
Speaking about the Turkish drama issue which has sparked controversy lately, Dilpazir feels it can easily be warded off. “My main agenda supports the fact that only Pakistani dramas should be aired on any channel’s prime time and foreign content should co-exist but not at the prime hours,” she says in patriotic spirit, adding that our dramas will otherwise fall victim to these overpowering foreign shows and lose their purpose.
“It’s not insecurity which is making me say this; I think that thousands of people associated with these channels are affected as a result,” she says. However, she concurs with many others from the industry and feels this should be regarded as healthy competition and should in turn, encourage producers and actors to increase the quality of local dramas.
Within a short period of time, Dilpazir has won the hearts of many with her versatility, specifically her comic persona, and feels blessed to have worked with an actor such as Bushra Ansari in Annie Ki Ayegi Baraat. She regrets, however, not receiving the chance of working with the late Moin Akhtar. “I hope the drama industry will be better in 2013; today, there is a genuine desire for an artist to prove his worth on screen,” she says.
Hina Dilpazir03-Photo-Faizan Islam-Publicity
“Channels are involved in the rat race of achieving the highest ratings these days,” she adds. However, she also feels TV is a medium which should highlight moralistic stories.
Besides being involved in television and theatre, Dilpazir says there are two things she cannot live without: poetry and music. “I am a big fan of classical music and thumri,” she says, adding that she adores Roshan Ara Begum, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Master Madan and Begum Akhtar.

Pop star Annie alleges husband tried to kill her


LONDON: Singer Noor ul Ain Khalid, popularly known as Annie or Annie Khalid, has alleged that her rich Pakistani husband subjected her to the worst kind of domestic and physical abuse throughout their marriage - starting allegedly much before their wedding on 16 July 2012 but two weeks after their nikkah earlier in the year.



The 'Britney Spears of Pakistan', who rose to fame in 2006 with her album 'Princess', got married to MMA Group of Companies' Chairman Malik Noreed Awan in Dubai. Annie shot to fame through her pop single "Mahiya" which gave her huge popularity and won her tens of thousands of fans. Since then she has released Urdu and English songs.
Sources close to Noureed Awan have alleged that the pop star has fled to London 3 weeks ago after taking Rs 10 million in cash and Rs 30 million worth jewellery from the couple's home in Dubai but the singer insists that she fled "to save my life only".
Speaking to Geo TV/Jang Newspapers in London at her family home, Annie shared her heartache and said that she left her husband because she feared being physically hurt - even killed.
"I have not stolen anything, no cash, nothing in kind. When I am fleeing to save my life, will I go to the bank when I didn't have a bank account in Dubai? I fled to London with a bag weighing less than 15KG. I only took with me my clothes, laptop, phone and my personal belongings. I couldn't have come out of Heathrow airport with that much cash. They are fabricating stories."
In an unfortunate twist of events, not only the arranged marriage of the pop singer has collapsed completely but the singer fears that her husband will unleash "dirty campaign" about her. "Noureed has threatened that he will release my pictures and other material that he thinks will discredit me. He is enraged about the fact I have walked out of our abusive marriage and he will go to any extent to tarnish my image. He will try to humiliate me with his misinformation campaign."
Annie alleges that she had been beaten on several occasions but on three occasions it was extremely violent and her in-laws turned a blind eye to the violence she was being subjected to. "I cannot forget when I was beaten in Abbotabad on chaand raat. Naureed beat, slapped, punched and kicked me. It was very painful. The beating lasted for about 25 minutes, my left shoulder bled after he smacked with a chair on my back and I had bruises all over my body. He was angry that why I went upstairs to talk to my sister and that by leaving the family meeting I had disrespected his family. The emotional pain is just too much. I didn't report it at that time because I didn't want to make a joke of my marriage. When I showed bruises to my father-in-law, he told me to go away and not spoil their Eid day."
Annie surprised everyone when she attended her own wedding only for ten minutes and was hospitalised on the same day too. She revealed to this correspondent that it was "stress and the trauma that was behind her ill health".
"On what should have been the most memorable day of my life (the Rukhsati day), I was suffering from Hepatitis C but my body was reacting to the stress about the beating I had received from my husband soon after the nikkah and I was thinking what have I got myself into. It was emotional stress and pressure. Even when I was ill, he suffocated me through a pillow. I was so weak that I couldn't lift my hand. I cannot begin to explain how bad it was. He categorically told me he suffocated me not to hurt but to kill me."
She choked stating that her marriage is over and that she has filed for divorce. "I regret that I went back to him but I wanted to save my marriage and I gave him a chance believing that my love will change him. I know love can do wonders and I thought I could help him. I loved him a lot and it was out of respect and love that I went back. Never again."
Annie says that she lived in a terrified state of mind with Naureed and anticipated being attacked violently all the time. "I used to carry a small bottle of perfume by my bedside. I thought I will spray his eyes if he attacked in the middle of the night. I was so scared of him."
Annie claims that she filed the report to the police in Dubai after the third beating but then didn't press charges. "The Dubai police wanted to arrest my husband on the basis of the medical evidence but I was confused and didn't want to go ahead and arrest my husband. But then the violence escalated every time. He said I deserved it when he hit me and he held me responsible every time. He wanted to show to me that I was not worthy of him, that I should be thankful to him that he got married to me. It was as if I was dying on the street and he picked me up and married me."
Despite several phone calls and text messages, Malik Naureed didn't respond to request for a comment.

Did you know?: One Pound Fish is the Gangnam Style of 2013

The world now knows Muhammad Shahid Nazir as the One Pound Fish man from London. In order to attract people to buy his product, this fishmonger came up with a catchy tune: Come on ladies, come on ladies, one pound fish… Have a, have a look, one pound fish! Will this song be the music phenomenon for 2013?
After hearing him sing, people started recording the tune on their phones and later uploaded it on YouTube; it has earned five million hits till date. The fish man has already snapped up a record deal with Warner Music, according to thehothits.com. It’s also currently the second most Googled video.

“It’s a dream for me. What else can I say? I now have all this fame and popularity,” he shares with What’s Trending, according to the Huffington Post. “I think I am living a dream — my whole life has changed. I can forget everything but I can’t forget the one pound fish.”

Monday, December 24, 2012

With Coke Kahani, Mehreen Jabbar highlights the lives of Pakistanis

KARACHI: 
When it comes to creating magic on the small and big screen, Mehreen Jabbar is no amateur. Having directed heartfelt dramas such as DorahaDaam and Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tuand the award-winning lyrical film Ramchand Pakistani, the daughter of renowned writer Javed Jabbar loves to tell stories about Pakistan. With her latest project Coke Kahanicurrently airing on TV, this talented director shares details via an email interview.
“I have always loved telling stories about Pakistan — I grew up there and even went to school and college there,” says Jabbar, who currently resides in New York. “I am very invested in that culture and feel there are so many untold stories and so much potential for innovative and exciting projects.” Despite living abroad, this director has a special bond with her country as her love for it gleams in almost all of her work.
A story of family values
Jabbar feels the world is changing fast and family traditions have disintegrated; throughCoke Kahani, the team has made an attempt to show these developments on screen. “Our attention spans have reduced dramatically. We just send text messages and don’t really have the time to sit down and talk to each other whether its family or friends,” she says. “Nothing can replace face-to-face interactions because they allow new ideas to be shaped and feelings to be shared.”
“When I was approached to direct Coke Kahani, I was instinctively drawn to it because of the team behind it and the content it had,” she says, in regard to how the project was instigated. “It didn’t seem like a run-of-the-mill TV show with a hackneyed storyline.” She saw commitment from both the production team and the brand, to come up with something substantial, different and experimental.
There are several themes and messages Coke Kahani attempts to highlight without being too preachy or sanctimonious. One targets youth — internal frustrations and anger, how young people deal with their parents’ divorce and their desire to bring a change to society when they aren’t able to. The other targets the older generation and their issues of finding meaning in their existence.
“These are very real and current issues which most dramas don’t tackle as much as they need to,” she adds.
Coke Kahani was challenging, fun and sometimes quite difficult to shoot,” Jabbar says, speaking about the experience of shooting the show. “It was shot almost like a film — we had a large crew, a major set [a cafĂ©] which underwent a lot of changes as the story progressed, numerous characters and locations.”
Jabbar is content with the response the drama has received so far and is patiently waiting to see how the audience reacts in the future. “We knew we were onto something as this script contains issues which hadn’t been shown on Pakistani television before,” she says. “I think the script is fantastic. It’s difficult to keep a story fast-moving and fun yet having loads to say in just 17 to 18 minutes [duration of an episode].”
All in all, she feels the drama industry has come a long way. “We’ve made a lot of improvements in the technical and infrastructural areas,” she admits. However, we have to protect our industry from the ‘ratings’ game and not only invest our resources in producing what sells. “Naturally, one wants to create projects which will be watched by as many people as possible, but that doesn’t mean we create a 100 more dramas based on similar storylines,” she adds.
“If experimentation and innovation dies, then our dramas will become stale and repetitive; the audience is always looking for something fresh,” she says. “Even if it [a different story] doesn’t blow the ratings out of the park, it will be a milestone and a contribution to the future of this industry.” Thus, while there is always a desire to create sensational, over-the-top and melodramatic scripts, there is still an audience who wants to view thoughtful, insightful and equally powerful stories.