Qatar Tourism Authority is thinking ‘export’ for Qatari fashion but there is a long road ahead yet. So what better way to promote the fashion savvy than with an eight-day long fashion festival, with the country’s razzmatazz gliding along the runway, international designers standing side besides to the local fashion creators and a space to explore what Qatari fashion and its heritage have to offer. Two skilled, exciting and international designers meshed in with a motley crew of local fashion labels made for a resounding start to eight days of ‘fashion forward’ activities of Shop Qatar’s Design District, it was a day of few lows and many highs. Bridal wear is desi fashion’s high point; it is to the sub-continent what couture is to the West – the most elaborate fantasy inspiring designers to go all out and it’s glorious to see them do just that. Traditional or modern? Long or short? Baroque embellishment or chic minimalism? Lace, jacquard or chiffon? The wed-worthy options can be as dazzling as they are overwhelming, but they are also romantic and exciting and on a whole new level of exquisite attention akin to that of couture. Where Abed Mahfouz featured his couture wedding gowns – flowing like a fluid with volume that could take over the world, Tarun Tahiliani was all about desi bridal wears with traditional cuts and silhouettes taking the centre stage. Abed Mahfouz Abed offered a plentitude of options for brides-to-be in a tightly edited and pretty sublime collection made in all subtle tones – mostly white and nude pink that made a wonderful transition into black couture pieces. Although the structure and tailoring for the black silhouettes was all over the place but the white strapless, backless gowns were the right balance between sleek and dramatic with veils, and metallic threads for subtle shimmer. White net veils with subtle glitterati embellishments right on the borders were elegant, even if paired with any other tone of gown. Nothing too extravagant – except few pieces that were too gold, even for a party! Two of the most striking looks from Abed’s showcase were the most minimal: one a rich olive green number with a dramatic neckline and pants – more of a jump suit, the other a beige net silhouette, tailored to perfection with magnificent fullness and traditional embroidering making flower patterns. Well he did it right – he opened the show with this piece. Each line had its own high points: Abed Mahfouz’s crepe gowns with lace were unquestionably pretty, as were the taffeta ball gowns with bodices covered in flowers. The only thing that concerned everybody was every model tripping in all those voluminous couture pieces. Imagine opening the show and the model trips – and then trips every other model before here. Ridiculous right? Either the trails were too long or the dresses were too heavy! But you can’t blame the designer really, if it’s wedding couture wear it is supposed to be this grand. Tarun Tahiliani Traditional cuts, heavily embellished dupattas, saris, pant saris and lehnga cholli - you name it and Tarun showcased. Apart from exquisitely crafted bridal womenswear pieces, Tarun also featured some menswear creations that caterwauled Maharaja and royal feels to it. Tarun brought traditional styles and contemporary cuts to his collection based on the regality of the Mughal era; worked in kora, dapka and lace work like a peek-a-boo for finishing – the bridal wear displayed a representation of the current bridal trend in terms of embellishment but in keeping with the needs of a more traditional bride. All those jasmine and crossandra garlands adorned with the tight hair buns was a vision, taking us back to the South Asian routes. The semi-formal clothes that came in was a more unique display and use of thread work with big, black motifs placed down the front of the kameezez provided linearity to the silhouettes. The ensemble was rich in culture Tarun was displaying as he offered modernity with sexy backless blouses, strapless heavily embellished gowns and sultry necklines. If you see Tarun’s pieces on a runway you’ll think how heavy they’ll be – in terms of weight - but they’re not. They are very light with fluid flowing silhoettes. Well that’s true for most of his pieces, except the last two – that featured traditional embroidery techniques with real craftsmanship, net dupattas and an inspiration drawing out from the Victorian era. Oh that royal pageantry. Verdict: Both Abed and Tarun have a winning formula for perfect couture, silhouettes, simple, stylish, high end concept, easy to buy and gorgeous to wear. Never expect something minimalism or simple – when these two designers are the lineup.
New Year’s Resolutions are tricky. They’re easy to make, but a lot harder to keep. At the start of every year, we are bombarded with articles and adverts that extol the ‘New Year, New You’ mantra, whether this involves becoming vegan, using less plastic, giving up fur or investing in your beauty regimen and a gym membership. The global appetite for self-improvement doesn’t appear to be crumbling anytime soon. Call it the triumph of hope over experience: It’s a new year, full of promise and anticipation, and though your brain knows that the resolutions you make might get broken along the way, your heart impels you to list those promises anyway. Because being positive is all that matters and it is one of the only things you’re going to have besides you when everything else seems bleak at some point of time. Which we wish never happens. You outshine always! My New Year resolution is to have a fashionista year – full of surprises, glitter, paparazzi and pizzazz runways. Is it the same for celebrities who actually live such life anyways. We find out! It clearly shows that all of them are very skeptical about making drastic resolutions, often seeing them as ‘a load of nonsense that is recycled year after year and quickly left forgotten.’ Instead, they prefer to approach the New Year as a time to realign one’s priorities, starting with the very basics and sometimes just about facing what the year throws at their face and deal with it with an uncanny strength and belief. Sanam Baloch “My resolution is to continue to have the grace to be thankful for everything including the places, things and people you’d sometimes rather just forget. Every single thing happens for a reason. Keeping up with my acting career and connecting with my fans and audiences as they want to see me more in drama serials – following my passion you know. Also it’s always the same for me - to be happier and healthier than the year before. Be kind to myself, be happy in my own skin and take more ‘me time’, just find time to do enjoyable things for myself.” Ayesha Omar “I want to make fitness a priority. I want to start exercising more and focus on strengthening my body.” Farhan Saeed “This year I have given myself the goal to make a positive difference in the lives of upcoming music artistes who are going through a definitive phase of their journey. I have been there myself and where I am now, I feel it is my responsibility to tap into my immensely talented Pakistan.” Sana Javed “My New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to make sure I create a more positive social circle for myself and eliminate all the negative things and vibes”. Sadaf Kanwal “I always end up breaking my New Year resolution. So this time I’ll try hard to keep it. I want to look after my fitness even more than this year, skip junk food and spend some more time with my family and friends.” Ramsha Khan “Nowadays everyone is so hooked to their phones that they are almost addicted to it and often happen to miss out on life’s precious little things happening around them. Since I prefer living in the moment, my resolution for the coming year is to focus less on the digital screen and more on the world and the beauty it beholds in every moment.” Junaid Khan “To be a better version of myself. Contribute in anyway possible towards giving awareness about how important human life is.” Wahaj Ali “New year is the time to make some new changes and setting some goals, my resolution for this year is to accept yourself as you are, as you see self-acceptance is really important. Just live your life, have as much faith as you can and it’s okay to be afraid, to be depress but talking to someone, taking help and don’t let fear prevent you from moving forward. Letting go and being there for someone.” Hareem Farooq “Nothing very extravagant but spending more time with my family. Something that is extremely close to my heart.” Ali Rehman Khan “Instead of making a resolution, I just plan to get into 2019 full throttle and see what the year throws my way!”
When it was announced that Bilal Lashari would be rebooting Maula Jatt, a 1979 Pakistani Punjabi language action and musical film, as a tribute to Pakistani cinema, fans of the original film could not wait to see how he would reinterpret the classic—and now they have an official teaser trailer to take in. Released early this week, the short clip of The Legend of Maula Jatt delivers some of the movie’s most iconic moments. Starring Mahira Khan, Humaima Malick, Fawad Khan and Hamza Ali Abbasi in the lead roles, the cast also includes Gohar Rasheed, Faris Shafi, Shafqat Cheema, Nayyer Ejaz and Saima Baloch, among others. The two-minute clip kicks off with the folklore of Maula Jatt and introduces the protagonist Fawad Khan as the Maula Jatt. It’s a sharp tangent from Fawad’s previous roles and seeing him in the teaser one understands why he couldn’t do much screen presence when he was shooting for Maula. All that added weight and muscle gain is evident. Although there’s literally no dialogue in the trailer, but I can easily recall when at a recent event Fawad said, “Maulay nu Maula na marray tay maula ni marda (Maula can only be exterminated on God’s command)” and that was enough to make us discern that nobody could’ve played Maula Jatt and done justice to Sultan Rahi, the Pakistani actor who played Maula Jatt in the original film, in today’s time but Fawad. Hamza Ali Abbasi is the cunning Noori Nath, Jatt’s arch nemeses and as the narrator explains, he and Maula will indulge in the biggest rivalry ever seen in Pakistani cinema. Mahira Khan also makes an appearance. Sporting long hair with multiple braids, proving how effortlessly with minimalism taking the centre stage she can own the screen. She plays Maula’s love interest in the film, Mukkho Jatti. Although we don’t get to see her speaking Punjabi in the trailer, but her eyes have all the expressions you need. The trailer has no dialogue except for one chilling holler, ‘Maula!’. The trailer follows the narration of Kamran Lashari who introduces us to the characters of the epic saga. The most charismatic actors of Pakistan entertainment industry, Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan, will fall in love and save the day again in The Legend of Maula Jatt, after being paired together in drama serial Humsafar (2011), on premier entertainment channel HUM TV. Although their good looks and nuanced understanding of the acting paved their way in the industry, but it was Humsafar that burst them into the limelight, not just in Pakistan but across the border as well. Ever since, both the actors have only strengthened their position, churning out one commendable performance after another. But, this reunion seems like the moment fans have been waiting for. “This will be less of a girl-boy sort of love and more of a man-woman chemistry,” Mahira said in a statement. “I’m scared because I know there is a big chunk of people waiting for the film to see that it’s Fawad and Mahira but it’s not. I hope I’m also good in it, just the way Hamza and Humaima are, but Maula Jatt is about Maula Jatt and it’s Fawad’s,” she added. Although the cinematography and production design speak volumes about the perfectionist Bilal Lashari and no wonder it took him so much time to give us a sneak peek into the star-studded film, but the trailer only features crepuscular shots that reminds us awfully too much about Games of Thrones, Troy or any Bhansali production. People have taken over twitter saying that film seems like a cross between Padmavaat and Games of Thrones with the concept of Maula Jatt dystopia. Well it seems like it only because Brian Adler, also responsible for the visual effects in The Hunger Games, have worked on The Legend of Maula Jatt as the Visual Producer. It’s not just Pakistani audience and notable media personalities that are in awe of the recently released trailer, but some Bollywood biggies also took over twitter to appreciate the work. “Fawad this looks amazing! Congratulations and I’m sure it will be a massive success!” tweeted Karan Johar, Bollywood director. “What a beautiful teaser and cast. Always an ardent admirer of Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan and now with Humaima Malick and Hamza Ali Abbasi, it’s a double whammy! Can’t wait to watch this one,” said Sidharth Malhotra. Alia Bhatt who played the leading role with Fawad and Sidarth Malhotra in Kapoor & Sons also praised the film’s trailer. “What a brilliant brilliant trailer,” said Alia. From sound effects to the stunts to the wardrobe, this film can be a game changer for Pakistani cinema. The film premieres on Eid ul Fitr 2019.
It’s hard to give a good performance in a drama serial; especially when it involves some location without any modern facilities and the long scheduled shoot hours, but it may be even harder to get all this hard work noticed on the television screens. Much great acting takes place in drama serials that actually aren’t all that good, in terms of budget I mean. Over the period of time Pakistan entertainment industry has realised that it’s not the star power that brings the good rating and fame to any serial but the substantial content and characters. This year, some relatively new faces swayed us, along with established names. Unfortunately, some of the roles were either dark or disturbing but nevertheless it’s about showing some love for the scads of performances that you’ll be sorry to have had missed, if you have. Here’s a selection of the very best. Iqra Aziz in Suno Chanda The 20-year-old had a very successful year with hit television dramas, including Khaamoshi (2018), Tabeer (2018) and the massively popular Suno Chanda (2018), all on HUM TV. She already has six years of experience and 15 television dramas under her belt. But, Iqra Aziz became a household name in 2018 after her performance as a chirpy and happy-go-lucky Jiya in Suno Chanda. Designers are making a beeline for featuring her in their fashion shoots and it’s easy to see why! No? Feroze Khan in Khaani Sometimes you’re stereotyped with certain sort of characters. Many actors are heedful to the concept and try in every real sense to defy such titles. But, Feroze Khan understands his charm way too well, that all those fierce eyes and expressions are ‘it’ and they sell big time. Although he has played such intense characters before, like in Gul-e-Rana (2015), on premier entertainment channel HUM TV, but his spell as Mir Hadi in Khaani (2018), on entertainment channel Geo, has to be the best till date. So before the year ends, watch Khaani. Imran Ashraf in Alif Allah Aur Insaan 2018 has been a year of new talent taking over the television screens, and Imran Ashraf is one such individual who made us realise his acting prowess with the character of Shabbo in Alif Allah Aur Insaan (2018), on HUM TV, where he played the role of a transgender. Where many actors, even established actors, would not have taken the risk with such a challenging role, Imran outdid it with perfection. From body language, to expressions and intonations in the voice – non parallel detailing and observation! Sajal Aly in Yaqeen Ka Safar This year has proved to be quite a memorable one for Sajal Aly; She appeared in two much-discussed drama serials: Yaqeen Ka Safar and O Rangreza, both on premier entertainment channel HUM TV, and won two nominations at the prestigious Lux Style Awards 2018 for Best Actress category and bagged three Best Female Actress Awards at HUM Awards. Her role in Yaqeen Ka Safar although was a simple character of a girl that ends up finding peace with nursing profession at a hospital in the suburbs of northern areas of Pakistan, but the transformation of the rebellious and a minx girl caught up the attention of the viewers and critiques alike. Ahad Raza Mir in Yaqeen Ka Safar Ahad is a very fine addition to the entertainment fraternity. We’ve seen him put his acting skills well to use and make audiences sway with him as he performed the emotional father-son duo scenes in Yaqeen Ka Safar. His good look gushed the viewers to fall in love with the serial and the on-screen couple: Sajal and Ahad. When you’re acting opposite to an experienced actor like Sajal, you might get a little intimidated. Was Ahad intimidated? Doesn’t seem like it! Affan Waheed in Beydardi Although he has been in the industry and on television screens since a decade now, but, 2018 was a lucky year for him. You know how? He recently starred opposite to Aiman Khan and Iqra Aziz in Beydardi (2018), on entertainment channel ARY Digital, and premier entertainment channel HUM TV’s Khamoshi (2018), respectively. And the serials released just simultaneously, one after another. Beydardi was a tragic love story, hit by the Aids, but the portrayal of the characters was raw. The aim of the serial was to create awareness against the disease and with all those high-rise ratings, it definitely did.
Diversity and pushing boundaries have never been hotter in the fashion industry and this isn’t just a trend, it’s a reality. Seeing some British models sashaying down the runway in London in the fluid silhouettes, signature drapes and haute couture pieces of Pakistani fashion designers – is pure joy. This December, 14th edition of Pakistan Fashion Week London, PR by Aamir Mazhar, took everyone in London on a whirlwind—and impossibly stylish — tour to intricate details of Pakistani couture lines and bridal wears. This odyssey is all thanks to the globally minded designers who simply refuse to see the borders. PFW London has undoubtedly conceived to allow Pakistani fashion to gain a foothold in the global fashion scene – an affair to display the Pakistan fashion trends to an international audience. If one were to chalk up the most defining qualities of the millennial Pakistani bride, attributes like individualistic, risk-taker, bold and unconventional would play the game to the most. And PFW London was a clear retort that caterwauled, that today’s bride wants her sartorial repertoire to be a narrative of her personality and sensibility; she wants her ensembles to be as high on comfort as they are on style. Lehengas, saris, kurtas – bright pink, sea of ivories or darker hues; which designer actually meshed the right traditional silhouette with modernity for millennial bride? Here’s a run-down to the top designer showcases. Aneesa Kiyani Effortless elegance combines with strong detailing and experimental styles. Classics with a twist and dash of colours where flowers met embroideries – a rich shade of green and interesting panels of sequins work, predictable yet sparkling collection by Aneesa. With beautiful colour combinations the silhouettes were mostly modern, running the gamut from harem shalwars to anarkali, angrakhas, off shoulder blouses, full length trailing gowns and the inevitable lehngas. The rich layering to raise motifs, dabka and gota-work particularly stood out. Attire by Bushra Wahid Making a strong case for pastel, Bushra’s collection featured festive wears – everything one can effortlessly pull off for an evening. It featured nothing too extra or bling – subtle line of work, with traditional cuts and lines – staying true to Pakistani fashion with all the lace work, fabric and gotta work. Sexy cigarette pants were tailored to perfection! There was no innovation in silhouette, craft and palette, but hey this was a retail collection – that could easily be sold out for contemporary wearers. Safe collection to play with Bushra! Aisha Ibrahim Maroon, nudes and corals; Dabbka, gotta and zarri work making a heavy case for Bridals in Aisha’s case. Glittering with sequins, blending colours, merging the embellished shirt with the embellished lehnga and layering it up with the embellished dupatta; If you haven’t realised it already, embellishment was the most noticeable feature in this collection. Too much banarsi wear but its traditional and if you can pull it off – why not! The designs followed ethnic silhouettes and embellishment techniques, playing with plenty of silk, chiffon dupattas and embroideries running in a mish-mash of colour that merged well, well sometimes. Purple with maroon was block yet pleasing for some, at least for us. Aisha Imran On a predominantly shimmery palette of maroons and tangerine with occasional pops of colour, Aisha’s collection featured traditional bridal silhouettes: ghararas, lehnga cholis and knee light heavily embroidered shirts. Silhouettes stayed safe, though, not really bothering to set new trends. One model was on the ramp wearing black stocking under a lehnga that popped out of her heels. Wait? What? Invest your time in every detail, such things ruin the entire look. Shirin Hassan Popping with colours, the entire collection was a visual treat to contemporary silhouettes. Some sexy backlines, prints and minimalism took over the runway. The colour range ran wide, from ivory to pastels, fuschia and bright pink, this collection marked Shirin’s definitive run for the limelight. Designs were well-constructed and neat, embellished with a pleasing mix of shimmer and embroidery. The collection was very put out featuring ensembles for every wedding festive one requires – from yellow opulence to black and maroon elegance. Setting up the beat for Pakistani fashion in London.
Making a film or drama serial that has substantial content rather than designer costumes or shooting in exotic locations abroad has far been realised by Pakistani entertainment industry. Established production houses are ready to back you if you have an intelligent script, even if the budget isn’t sky-high. Not just in Pakistan, but worldwide such short budget films have been launching careers with extremely limited resources. Can someone recall Pakistani feature film Siyaah (2013) that proved to be a launching pad for Hareem Farooq? Well now we have all our eyes on upcoming film Pinky Memsaab (Memsaab is a title for a woman in a position of authority) as it introduces Pakistan’s very own super model Kiran Malik as the protagonist in the film. With former Pakistani models-turned-actresses like Nadia Hussain, Zyalay Sirhadi, Jiya Ali and the likes of Sadaf Kanwal most recently as a proof, the leap from the runway to the big screen isn’t anything new. And in fact, it’s getting easier for runway charmers every year. And while nowadays the concept of models trying for longevity (or at least longer careers) through turns on the silver screen is in place, it seems that the path from the runway to the big screen is shorter than ever. The career opportunities begin to dwindle once the model reaches a certain age. Perhaps, this is why those who wish to continue working, jump ship to related fields. If you have what it takes, no one can take it from you – and if you unfortunately don’t, no one can put it on you. It’s the talent that matters. Another such name from Pakistan fashion industry that is all set to make her mark on the silver screen is Kiran Malik. Kiran is all overwrought as her upcoming film, Pinky Memsaab releases on December 7 in Pakistan. Pinky Memsaab highlights the hustle and bustle of life in the modern age and how people struggle to achieve big and lead a peaceful life, as an expatriate, at the same time. It is an international hybrid, directed by a Pakistani filmmaker, Shazia Ali Khan, with a Middle Eastern, Pakistani and Indian crew, starring both Pakistani and Indian actors. Kiran Malik stars as Mehr in the film as she essays the role of a writer, based in Middle East. Married to Adnan Jaffar, who plays the role of a banker; however, Mehr have her own insecurities and weaknesses. “Mehr is a socialite who is struggling with her life because she used to be a writer and now she’s married to a banker and her life has totally changed. She is not writer anymore but she wants to write. How she struggles and finds her way into being what she used to be is what it’s all about,” tells Kiran. It has been fourteen years since Kiran has been setting the runway on fire with her fierce eyes and a 100 watt smile. What’s changed in the Pakistan modelling industry? “When we used to model we never used to get big cheques but now models are lucky. Other than that, when we started modelling it was very difficult to convince our parents that it’s not a bad profession. So it’s so nice to see now that things have changed and tables have turned.” says Malik. There are many models, not just in Pakistan, but worldwide who have made a successful transition from modelling to acting, including Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lawrence to name a few. However, for Kiran it was just something that came along the way. She says, “I never thought I’ll be acting. But, when I started acting, I loved every bit of it. I was never camera shy but acting and modelling are two totally different things.” Not just one but two films under her belt – awaiting release. Kiran will also be seen alongside Pakistani actor Shaan Shahid in upcoming film Zarrar (2019). On talking about her experience of working with commercial and theatre actors, she says, “Zarrar and Pinky Memsaab, both are very strong projects. Zarrar is one big budget film and stars Shaan Shahid and then there’s Pinky Memsaab, low budget film but with a very strong storyline. Shaan is a commercial actor, so working with him was a different kind of responsibility. On the other side, I was same nervous for working with Adnan even. He’s a theatre actor and he is a very raw core acting kind of a guy. Shaan taught me how to act along with the technical aspects, and Adnan gave me that comfort zone and helped me through the whole journey.” Along with Kiran Malik, the film stars Adnan Jaffar and Hajra Yamin in the lead roles.
This year has proved to be quite a memorable one for Sajal Aly; She appeared in two much-discussed drama serials: Yaqeen Ka Safar and O Rangreza, both on premier entertainment channel HUM TV. Sajal has been working steadily since her breakout in Mehmoodabad Ki Malkain (a family drama on the private TV channel ARY Digital in 2011) and she’s racked up a long list of accolades along the way, including winning two nominations at the prestigious Lux Style Awards 2018 for Best Actress category and bagging Best Female Actress Award at HUM Awards, not just once but thrice. It is strange to see her on the television screen in difficult roles, that defines her intense small screen prowess, where in real life she is indissolubly refined, kind, polite and real. Well a lot of actors are in some sort of character in interviews, but the Sajal I meet is, I think, the Sajal you would meet at home. She is simply relaxed and very, very cool as she passes on a soda can and asks me to catch it instantly. The 24-year-old’s eyes caterwauls as she moves from one project to another; completing her shoot for Aangan (Courtyard in English), an upcoming period drama serial on HUM TV starring alongside Ahad Raza Mir, Mawra Hocane, Ahsan Khan and Sonya Hussayn among others. As the first teaser of Aangan was released, there was deluge of love and appreciation from the fans of the young actress, sharing their videos dubbed with Sajal’s Aagan’s dialogues. She laughs with gracefulness, even though her eyes are full of mischievous shine, that she then tempers with a deeper reflection or two.“Chammi is a larger than life character. She is the representation of the perseverance, heart and heart-breaking positivity. Every character in the play is equally important. Usually it happens that in a drama its one lead and the story revolves around that particular character, but in Aangan every character has its own journey. It’s about everyone involved and follows multiple beautiful characters. What makes it interesting is that it focuses on the partition of a family. The real ‘drama’ is seeing the physical and emotional divide of a country,” says Sajal Written by Mustafa Afridi, Aangan is set in 1940s touching the base of pre-partition era. Where viewers have already set a benchmark of a period drama with Daastan that was aired on HUM TV, in 2010, and featured Sanam Baloch and Fawad Khan as the protagonists. Is there any similarity between Aangan and Daastan? “Well except the timeline, there’s no similarity between the two,” says Sajal. “Why would we want to repeat the same thing? Even the shots we’ve taken are very different. You can sense that from the teasers,” she added. The first teaser showed some intense chemistry between Sajal Aly and Ahad Raza Mir’s characters as Chammi and Jamil to which Sajal responds, “We’ve shot teasers for each character, not just me and Ahad. There are about eight teasers in total. I never wanted my teaser to come out first. But then the team decided to roll out the play with me and Ahad’s character. So here it is. You see we still have individual teasers to come out yet.” Almost a decade now since we’ve been seeing Sajal brightening up our television screens and portraying characters we can relate to in our everyday life. “For the past couple of years, I have been stressing more about me being relatable to the characters I play on screen. As an independent individual I have a certain set of principles that I follow in my life, taught to me by my beloved mother and the environment we live in; I tend to look for those principles in a script.” says Sajal Aly. Sajal Aly did Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay, a Pakistani film in 2016, and then a Bollywood film, Mom (2017) alongside Siri Devi. So can we look forward to Sajal taking over the cinema screens yet again? “Yes. There are few things in the pipeline. But for me script is the most important thing. I’ll only go for it only if the script I’m offered is as strong as the characters I portray in my serials. I wouldn’t like to do something conventional – a deep rooted, strong character is all I’m looking forward to,” says Sajal Sajal is currently shooting for her upcoming drama serial Alif alongside Hamza Ali Abbasi, Kubra Khan and Ahsan Khan.
Fashion week, movie premier and glitz glam happening months are long gone which accredits to the snow fall or the chilly winds that have taken over, not just South Asia, but worldwide. But don’t worry: Instagram is still a never-ending runway of stellar outfits, intense conversations, gloomy layers and a place to let out some inner thoughts. High-impact eye moments kicked off this week’s best beauty Instagrams, a series of saturated pigments contrasting with nearly-naked lids that somehow packed a similar punch. From where our favourite celebrities travelled this week to what they wore and which new projects they’ve signed, Instagram gives an exclusive – on-spot-insight. It was a complete colour explosion on Instagram this week. From Mahira Khan’s look from recent advertisement, swaying Ali Xeeshan’s bridal piece, to Kubra Khan’s woolly winter look during the shoot – it’s all casual with hits! So what exactly caught our attention this week? We have the lowdown. The regal beauty Mahira Khan Mahira Khan recently posted a video and BTS images of her upcoming advertisement. And when I say this, believe it – she looked stunning in traditional bridal wear by Ali Xeeshan featuring intricate convoluted embroideries, fierce and distinctive rather than forgettably pretty – a neutral-toned long-gown with plenty of sequined and feathered drama. Mahira’s minimalism in terms of makeup, hair do and jewellery adorned is a win win! Ahsan Khan and his new teaser of Aangan Ahsan Khan unveiled the third teaser of the much-anticipated drama, Aangan, featuring Sonya Hussyn and himself. Written by Mustafa Afridi, Aangan is set in 1940s touching the base of pre-partition era. While we have seen Ahsan in a pre-partition setting before in drama serial Daastan on premier entertainment channel HUM TV, Sonya has never been seen before in such a role. The mammas boy – Feroze Khan Actor Feroze Khan shared an adorable picture with his mother in honour of her birthday with a promise to take care of her forever. What a sweet, sweet message. The guy has our heart now! The heartthrob can be seen playing Romeo in the currently airing drama, Romeo Weds Heer on Entertainment Channel Geo. Have you been following it? Ali Zafar sharing his poetry piece As for the social media-savvy music titans, Ali Zafar stood out in our feed as he shared his latest piece of poetry with his fans, taking over the social media, however, some were unable to read it, since it was in Urdu, but hey he then posted a beautiful translated recitation of the same. Hamza Ali Abbasi’s scenic moments High up in the mountains in his winter woolly, Hamza Ali Abbasi shared a photograph right from the shoot of his upcoming drama serial Alif, to remind everyone how picturesque landscapes Pakistan has. Spotted in Kalabagh, northern hilly area of Pakistan. Fahad Hussayn: High with fashion, going online Fashion designer, Fahad Hussayn, announced Pakistan’s first ever online fashion show. We’re rooting for Fahad who makes a stellar statement every time. Be it on ramp, or photoshoots. Who needs a catwalk when you’ve got the World Wide Web. And knowing Fahad we’re counting on some drama. Kubra Khan, a sad penguin? While she called herself a sad penguin, we cannot help but obsess for how beautiful and flawless she looked, wrapped up for warmth while at a chilly hill station.There’s just something about fall weather that has people turning to the more subdued hues in their wardrobe. Kubra will be seen playing the role of Husn e Jahan in upcoming drama serial Alif alongside Hamza Ali Abbasi, Sajal Aly, Ahsan Khan, Osman Khalid Butt, Manzar Sehbai and others. Breezy Saba Qamar As actress Saba Qamar shared the photo of herself, hair flying in the air like shaking off all the troubles in life, her effortless yet smiling face has won our hearts. How she paired a simple denim shirt is evidence that she can wear a simple garment and make it look like million dollars.
With November 2018 finally here, we have myriad things to look forward to for 2019, and all the brand-new Pakistani drama serials coming to the screen is undoubtedly one of the things we’re most hyped for. Surely, this year was full of favourites — from Pakistani entertainment channel HUM TV’s Yaqeen Ka Safar (2018), starring Sajal Aly and Ahad Raza Mir, to Khaani (2018), starring Sana Javed and Feroze Khan, on entertainment channel Geo, but if the trailers and teasers for next year’s potential hits are any indication, we’re bound to have even more memorable drama serials to add to our ever-running list. Aangan (Courtyard in English), is an upcoming period drama on HUM TV that has been making rounds on the Internet from quite some time now due its star studded cast, including Sajal Aly, Ahad Raza Mir, Mawra Hocane, Ahsan Khan and Sonya Hussayn among others. Written by Mustafa Afridi, Aangan is set in 1940s touching the base of pre-partition era. “Aangan follows the story of multiple beautiful characters; it is about everybody involved and not just one person. Partition is kind of a theme but it’s about partition at home and how families are affected by partition; the partition between father and son, partition between lovers and so on,” said Ahad Raza Mir in a statement. Starring the much loved on-screen couple, Ahad and Sajal, the first teaser of Aangan revealed the exciting chemistry between the two. “Just thought of a poetic verse, but there’s a slight difference in its hyper-metre,” says Sajal to Ahad in a shot, and he replies, “Go on! Say it!” Sajal recites, “I’m mad in your love, you’re a burning candle and I’m a moth fearlessly ready to get burnt by you.” Ahad as Jameel seems like a shy guy who is in love with Chammi, played by Sajal, a lively girl who is a poetry enthusiast and loves to tease Jameel. What makes Aangan so interesting and what made Sajal sign the project? Sajal says, “What makes it interesting is that it focuses on the partition of a family. The real ‘drama’ is seeing the physical and emotional divide of a country. For me it has never been about a star studded cast although it’s always great to work with a good team but the story is what draws me towards a project.” she adds, “It’s a period play and I haven’t done a period play so far. So, this is my first one and I always wanted to do one. The other best thing about this play is my character ‘Chammi’. It’s a very different character and I can’t explain in words how variant it is so you all have to watch and find out.” If you think Aangan is only about Ahad and Sajal there’s much more to this period drama. A love triangle? Maybe. “The experience of playing Aaliya has been one of a kind and Director Ehtesham has been amazing. I’m excited that I’m romancing Ahad, Ahsan Khan and another actor whose name I can’t reveal yet. But I’ll be romancing three boys and my character happens to be the narrator of the story. She is, in a way, the protagonist of the drama,” said Mawra Hocane in a statement. “It’s nice that the entire story revolves around Aaliya. Whatever you see in the drama, you see through her eyes,” she added. “The script is so beautiful, the way it splits up into multiple tracks and the story changes in every episode. Every time, you’ll have something new to see. It’s stretched over a several decades, a long timespan,” says Mawra.
With his good looks and command over the small screen, Ahad Raza Mir, Pakistani actor, quickly garnered a whole lot of love and appreciation from fans, especially females, and critics alike. He proved his acting prowess in Hum TV’s Yaqeen Ka Safar (2017) that earned him New Sensation Male and Best Actor trophy at recent HUM Awards 2018. Ahad Raza Mir fans have been waiting for his Coke Studio debut ever since Season 11 kicked off. We heard that he would be making a debut with singing sensation Momina Mustehsan, which would hopefully propel his singing career the same way Afreen Afreen catapulted hers. Momina Mustehsan, in just a span of two years, has successfully placed herself on the map of Pakistan music industry. Her short but accelerating career has been a roller coaster that only went up, until now. Momina Mustehsan alongside Ahad Raza Mir recently performed a cover of the super popular evergreen Ahmed Rushdi’s track, Ko Ko Korina, picturised on Waheed Murad, known as Pakistan’s chocolate hero, in Coke Studio Season 11. Hours of release and the track was deluged with public scrutiny. The cover version has elicited the red, hot rage of Pakistan’s audience. In the long history of Coke Studio, it is for the very first time that any track has received more dislikes than likes on YouTube channel: 56k likes and whooping 166k dislikes with 3.1million views in total. Amidst all heated tweets, Instagram posts and memes taking over the social media, Momina Mustehsan said, “I’m okay with people not liking it. I did my part and so did Ahad. It’s just a song. Dislike it, but there’s no need to be unnecessarily rude and crude. Dislike this, sure, but don’t discourage or jump on bashing wagons. People need to know where to draw the line.” Concerning social media trolling many Pakistani celebrities also came out in support of the duo. Sajal Aly, Pakistani actor, recently posted on Instagram, that said, “Instead of picking each other up we don’t lose an opportunity to put others down. Why not bring a #nayeesoch (new thinking) to #nayaPakistan (new Pakistan). Spread love not hate” Similarly Mawra Hocane, Pakistani actor, said, “We’ve all become so insensitive while we express ourselves, mock people, define careers and characters – all in the garb of giving opinions and stating facts. I urge all publications, fans and followers to be kind. It’s not okay to scar other with your words. Let there be kindness.” Ahad Raza Mir also politely responded to the backlash. He tweeted, “I loved the way everyone got together to talk about the song. I’ve seen all the memes and I have to say they’re hilarious. Just shows the fantastic sense of humour of this nation. Trust me I take it all very positively.” He added, “I am honoured that I got to cover Ko Ko Korina. Some people enjoyed it and some not so much, which is fair. Look at how we love to appreciate and criticise. It shows our nation is alive, even after hearing the song.” Adding to the long list of people who hated the song, Adil Murad, Waheed Murad’s son, publicly apologised for letting Coke Studio cover the song. “I profusely apologise to all Waheed Murad fans for allowing Coke Studio to remake or should I say ‘ruin’ the classic ko ko korina. I trusted the Coke Studio brand but I guess it is now completely run by idiots!” he said. The latest Coke Studio offering by Momina Mustehsan and Ahad Raza Mir although did fail to leave a mark on the listeners, disappointing many, But one cannot simply judge the credence of any performer by one performance merely. My take? Another, comparatively easy track to make a singing debut with, would’ve been better. Ko Ko Korina, a widely celebrated song, holds the stature of being Pakistan’s first pop song and to perform such a track is an uncanny responsibility. Also, people always prefer original tracks when it comes to the old classics. When an original is so well done, why to remake in the first place?
Bilal Abbass Khan’s big eyes widen as he looks up to Sajal Aly in drama serial O Rangreza (2018), on premier entertainment channel HUM TV, as she flings multi coloured dye powders on him. A large camera zooms in on his face, coated in a thin layer of pink colour, as he positions his hand to avoid the contact of colours with his eyes. It’s a two shot, that just stays on them and you stay with them. The scene was done so naturally and the chemistry between Sajal and Bilal was so strong that it earned them Best on Screen Couple trophy at recent Hum Awards 2018. No, the actor known for his role in O Rangreza isn’t some sort of celebrity hacker or inveterate snoop. Bilal is absurdly good-looking, and has the kind of movie-star looks and these looks-coupled with an easy-going charisma-have served Bilal well in his short but rapidly accelerating career. His career is a ‘roller coaster that only goes up,’ to borrow from Rafay Rashidi, that brought us Bilal Abbas Khan’s breakout role of Party Khan, a taboo-ridden drug addict, in Pakistani film Thora Jee Le (2017) that was not-so-appreciated flick and earned significant wrath from critics. Having picked up positive reviews for his particular role in the film, Bilal is perhaps the best thing to have come out of Thora Jee Le. Before Bilal played a significant part in drama serial Dumpukht (2016), alongside Noman Ijaz, on entertainment channel A-Plus, and Jamal in critically acclaimed Qurban (2018), opposite to Iqra Aziz, on entertainment channel ARY Digital, he was just a young business graduate with formal training in acting, hoping to make it big in Pakistan entertainment industry. And as it turns out, initial setbacks paved the way for his major success later on. “My first – and only – feature film, Thora Jee Le, did not do well at the box office, and neither was it critically well received. Its failure disheartened me, but I chose to bounce back, fairly in a matter of no time. I don’t think that a flop project can hold me down for a long time. It’s a project by project industry, so one has to learn and tune themselves and take it as it comes,” says Bilal. Being his college mate, I still see him as a composed, shy and silent senior, which he certainly was, back then. Didn’t see him performing on stage during that time. I ask Bilal if acting was something he always wanted to do or did it just happen along the way, as a matter of fair luck. He says, “Ever since I was a kid I knew this is what I wanted to do, of course I did face a lot of hindrances, but it was my dad who supported me through all of it. Even now he’s still my biggest support system.” Describing the aftermath of his first television gig, Bilal says, “My first project was Khush Haal Sasural, on entertainment channel ARY Zindagi. It was a soap. But, later Dumpukht with Kashif Nisar got me noticed and garnered a lot of appreciation. That’s when I thought I’ve done it.” The 26-year-old who’s having a very successful year with television dramas, have always shared the screen space with relatively established actors, from Sajal Aly to Iqra Aziz and Samina Pirzada. On talking about his experience of working with experienced talent, Bilal says, “I feel really privileged to have worked with such great actors especially a legend like Samina Pirzada. When you work with such accomplished actors, you get to see a lot of new horizons that you can explore. Also, the inspirations you get from them makes you bring the best out of you,” He adds, “I personally feel that we learn from every person we share the screen with. Working with such talented artistes of course adds to a challenge for me, to prove my acting prowess and not let the team down.” On talking about the Pakistani film industry that has seen a bit of a revival lately, Bilal believes it still has to go a long way to make its mark with international appeal. “I believe Pakistani cinema has a lot of potential and I see our films screened across the borders, slowly building a market for itself. But right now we a have a long way to go. It’s still fairly a new industry,” says Khan. Bilal is currently shooting for a thriller mystery drama Cheekh. The star cast includes Saba Qamar, Aijaaz Aslam, Maira Khan and Azekah Daniel. So, amidst all this action in life. How does he find inner peace? “I think my family and friends are my biggest strength. My family has been incredibly supportive and none of my friendships have changed over the course of all my high and lows, I feel that’s where my real power lies. And when you have such gems around you, you have peace within you,” says Bilal Abbas Khan, as he returns back to shooting his scenes on set.
The reason Karachi is Karachi is that it’s a town where someone can go from just behind the scenes spectator to seeing his or her face on a billboard. This is pretty much what happened to Sanam Baloch. Being casted opoosite to Humayun Saeed is a sort of timeless dream that lifts every showbiz striver in Pakistan entertainment industry and serves as the engine for an intense journey. So it happened with Sanam; starring in drama serial Doraha (2018) on entertainment channel Geo, directed by Mehreen Jabbar. Having made her debut as a talk show host on KTN, a Sindhi channel, followed by a shot in Doraha (2008) and later, spectacular work in Daastan (2010), Durr-e-Shehwar (2012), Kankar (2013), all on premier entertainment channel HUM TV, and telefilm Ek Thi Marium (2016), one can clearly see how she has evolved. Sanam was last seen in entertainment channel ARY Digital’s Teri Raza (2017), which was swamped with gallimaufry of positive and negative reviews. From the outside, Sanam can be seen to have the perfect life; A-list career woman at the top of her game with morning show and acting prowess, an enviable vacation diary, and relationship with her siblings. The actress recently revealed in an online interview Speak your Heart with Samina Pirzada, however, that when it comes to how she is portrayed in the media, not all is as it seems. Sanam was rumoured to play Husn-e-Jahan in upcoming drama serial Alif alongside Sajal Aly, Hamza Ali Abbasi and Ahsan Khan, but it seems the schedule didn’t work out between the makers and the actor due to Sanam’s strenuous morning show routine. As fans worldwide awaits Sanam to make a come back on screen after Teri Raza, Sanam feels a certain break is always important in one’s career, to keep the charm alive. “Isn’t it good if people are waiting eagerly to see you? They get bored sometimes seeing the same faces, on every channel — in every drama serial,” she revealed. “I think break is pretty important. I always used to take a three-month break after every serial even back then. I am reading scripts these days again but I’m still looking for something just right. Let’s see how things work out.” On talking about how different it is being live on television every day with a morning show, schlepping hoopla of energy, and juggling on sets as a demurred actor, Sanam says, “In acting I’m somebody else. Either I’m Bano from Daastan, Shahla from Doraha or Suhana from Teri Raza. On sets, I’m playing a character and I’m trying to understand their emotions for how those characters would respond in a particular situation. However, in the morning show, I’m me! For morning show, I don’t need to make any effort, that’s why I like it.” Sanam also discussed how she only has hazy childhood memories due to her parent’s separation when she was very young, writhing between her paternal and maternal family. “I don’t have many childhood memories,” she adds, “I consider myself lucky that when the whole episode was going on, I was very young to remember any of it. My mother took a stand against the so-called feudal system of our country. She is a very strong woman and continues to inspire us.” The actress also cleared the air about her sister Sabreen Hesbani, who sometimes is mistakenly regarded as her step sister because of their different surnames, which in fact is just a fortuitous. “Our names were registered officially in this way since childhood. Sabreen had Hesbani as her surname and she carried that and I had Baloch in official documentation so I went ahead with that. Actually we are Hesbani Baloch by cast,” Sanam explained. On talking about her marriage, Sanam said, “Me and Abdullah never planned our marriage but it just happened. We became really good friends and we thought that that’s how we would spend our life forever,” she said adding, “He is a very nice guy and we share good intentions and will always be there for each other. However, we are not friends anymore.”
Bollywood has all stepped into the fashion game as designers have learnt how to embrace the leading lights of the country, that are definitely their film stars and film stars in turn have embraced designers. Bollywood is more than just Manish Malhotra now; however he remains the designer closest to Bollywood’s heart. High fashion moments, big business and glitterati in the real sense of the world. This is how the business of fashion is unfolding in India, and we witnessed it as Manish Malhotra sent down his models on the runway alongside Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as his muse in Doha recently for an exclusive showcase. Makeup by Nabila, sponsored by Alfardan Group, Salam, Qatar Airways and QTA, PR by Qanect, the event was organised by Fab Entertainment. Everything sorted to detail. Or was it? “We thank Manish Malhotra, Nabila, Karan Tacker and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in making FWI’18 a spectacular success. FAB’s strategy to bring in big international media names especially from India for this event to Qatar, which is another first, is in line with Qatar’s vision to embed its tourism footprint in India. There is a huge media buzz in India and internationally about Qatar’s tourism, potential promoted by FWI’18 and hosted by FAB. We are indeed very pleased with the outcome of FWI’18 Destination Doha.” said Fauzia Vohra, CEO Fab Entertainment, in a statement. Well, Manish remains everyone’s best friend and they are there for him. The most well attended fashion show remains Manish Malhotra’s, even though he may not be the only designer for whom Bollywood celebs take to the runway. Intricate inlay craftsmanship is used to create his striking aesthetics. It’s just there, in his choice of fabric and textures, a myriad influences and how he mixes them all up to bring to the runway, an aesthetic rooted in India but still paying a nod or two or twenty to what’s happening everywhere else. His bridals weaved their usual magic spell, not because the choreography was so sharp or the models were walking fine, both being true though, but because the clothes on display were breathtakingly beautiful. His biggest triumph is his complete authority over luxe and excellent use of fabric – chiffon, taffetas, silk, net and lace. His trademark white sarees and red lehngas are now officially famous with that painstakingly intricate detailing in crystals, pearls, jaali work, resham, sequins and jewel tones. Typical, pretty yet well done. Manish brought traditional styles and contemporary cuts to his collection; worked in patterns, kora, dabka and mirror work. The lavish use of feathers and ruffles binging translated his take on couture lines. Manish Malhotra’s is the design aesthetic most people go for in India. Commercially viable pieces he creates? Hugely. This guy understands the market and definitely knew how many South Asian’s in Doha are going to attend his show – he just served right. Nothing too extravagant or nothing out of inch or lines. However, he did adapt to Middle Eastern culture featuring Kaftans with intricate embroideries in delicate tones. Manish’s volume was just right – nothing extra, just the perfect cuts. He knows where to stop and make a statement. The palette was warm that had a massive transition from gold and off-white to ice blue, mint green, fiery red and ombre ash. The bold embellishments, the over the top look, the ruffles, spiraled concoctions, sexy backless blouses and plunging necklines, all spoke of a decadent majestic era with romanticism taking the centre stage. His collection shifted from volumes and whites to linear silhouettes. The showcase concluded with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in an ombre pink gown with magnificent feel of couture that ended with dramatic ruffles. Bling bling and rhinestones. It was great to see celebrities like Sophie Chaudhry, Bollywood actor, and Hamza Ali Abbasi and Azaan Sami, both Pakistani actors, in the front row together for Manish Malhotra. The fashion weekend was evidence that there is a potential of collaborative projects between both the countries, Pakistan and India, but is somebody going to take notice closely after Fauzia is the question. Please do! Because we want to see more wonder projects happening. It’s time people! Gorgeously constructed with cinched waists, voluminous skirts and plethora of tassels, feather couture and perfect rucking - a reminder of what a veteran and experienced fashion designer can do and how exciting bridals is. NOTE: Fashion weeks happen worldwide and there are always huge sponsors and celebrity appearances involved. If PR worldwide can manage front row seats for actual fashion people and media who need to review the clothes that are being showcased, so can you. Just try! It should never translate into doling out tickets to sundry for a ‘shashka’ and placing media seats in the last rows. It’s excruciating to review the intricate pieces showcased, from such a distance. Fashion is a serious business people. That needs to be controlled. Another thing, it’s ridiculous to roll out emails to media people to pick out their media badges at 2pm in the afternoon from the hotel that’s on one side of the city and then come back for the actual show. Whoops! Worldwide there’s always a desk outside the event that you get the badges from, or if you don’t want any hassle and keep it exclusive – drop of the invites and badges at the respective media outlets. Ebullient! Till next time.
It is very interesting to see Pakistani fashion industry seething with a fresh kind of energy – younger, restless, rebellious, and embracing its veterans and grittiness. Even if you are unfamiliar with her name, chances are that you have seen her work if you follow Pakistani entertainment industry or Bollywood. Nabila Maqsood is a Pakistani makeup-artist and stylist, who is mastermind behind celebrities’ iconic looks in editorials, red carpets, ramps or on-screen. She has been a pillar of the beauty industry for over three decades. In fashion, make-up artists and stylists primarily fall into two categories; personal stylists, who keep celebrities and clients develop a signature look and editorial stylists, who create aesthetics for magazine photo shoots and advertisements. You cannot contain Nabila in one category. Wearing a Valentino or Dolce and Gabbana’s ethereal silhouettes is of no use, if your hair and make-up does not compliment your look as a package. And that is Nabila’s expertise. Nabila’s career in make-up began in 8x8 make shift salon in the servant quarter at her house, charging customers only PKR30 for haircuts in 1980s. Fast forward to today and she is the most sought-after make-up artist, stylist and an international icon. Once relegated to the backstage areas of fashion shows and award ceremonies, in recent years make-up artists and stylists have stepped out from behind the curtain and into the limelight. Her sprints involve a dozen shows a season, every editorial shoot happening in Pakistan, a team that swells to 50 at the height of a fashion week, backstage dolling up the models and her irresistible international product line ‘Zero Makeup’, which has achieved a brilliant and dernier cri status since the drop of her first minimalistic powder in 2017. ‘Zero Makeup’ showcases both her extraordinary ability to make ‘extreme makeup’ universal in its appeal, wearability and her ceaseless eye for what and who is new. She has been the make-up artist and stylist to everyone from original supermodels like Vaneeza Ahmed and Nadia Hussain, both known Pakistani models, to Shraddha Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Anil Kapoor and Radhika Apte, all Bollywood actors. Further, she has worked for Manish Malhotra, well-known fashion designer from India, who recently had a show in Doha, and IIFA (International Indian Film Academy Awards) Awards 2018. Nabila’s visions for beauty in the future are colourful in a different sense. Community recently sat down with her to run the gamut of the rich and beautiful journey in the industry. Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in fashion? I didn’t know that. But, all the things I was doing as a child definitely dictated that. Now I realise that they were such big signs. If I were my mother, I would’ve known at the age of seven that this child is different. I used to be very much involved in images, presenting, and style. I also used to be cautious of how people around me and I looked. Were you supported by your family? I don’t think my family really discovered my talent. But, when I discovered it and had thought of pursuing it professionally, there was no opposition, if that’s what you mean by support. What and when was your first big break? I used to do haircut for friends and family, when I was only 11. I never worked for anyone. I started it with just an 8x8 room with one mirror and one chair at my house in servant quarters. When clients started to book and started to pay, I realised, oh really! you want to pay me for this, I must be really good. That was the biggest break, when I recognised that I’m onto something good. But then, within seven years a multinational company signed me up for the next 10 years for endorsing and consulting one of the brands. That I think gave me a lot of public exposure. What is your styling philosophy? It is simple, effective, suitable and versatile. Whatever is required at some point. I mean less is more, but that doesn’t mean boring. What is one trend that you love right now? And one you can’t stand? The one I can’t stand is over the top. I can’t stand big hair, fake nails and stuff like that. Everyone’s now looking for fake and constructed noses and end up looking the same. Can’t really stand that! I like diversity and people looking natural. Does this mean that you will not recommend for a cosmetic surgery? I definitely would. I’m an image consultant and I recommend people who require such things [Not for make-up only]. But, that would be more corrective or to fix something that really bothers you. To know where to stop is the key. Even with plastic surgeons, I would work with them closely to get the results that would be absolutely natural and believable. Is there someone in particular who inspires your work? Vidal Sassoon was the [British-American] hairstylist, who touched the lives of many successful people in the industry. And I’m one of them. I admire his philosophy and work a lot. Otherwise, not much. I’ve paved my own way. Can you tell us about the creative process for looks that goes behind a fashion or award show? From a fashion to an award show or client, conservative or a girl next door. You have to give what’s required for the occasion. For the person it should be suitable and something they can own it. And then you still push the bar a little bit. You guide them in a direction and stop where you think it’s getting uncomfortable for them. That’s what we do really well. For fashion weeks, we work with so many designers, who have their own inspirations for their collections. We have very quick changes. We sometimes even just have eight minutes to change 32 girls and we try and accommodate all of that. We try to make a statement and we try and do something which is a current trend and then adapt it into our own sensibility. Can you tell us about an experience with a star that you would rather forget? Sometimes, some stars are very unprofessional. The fame gets to their head and they think that they can behave in a certain manner. But, I feel to be a good human is more important. Since we are very professional, we don’t really have bad experiences! What is a big no-no when it comes to dressing celebrities for the red carpet? Being effortless is very important. Being stiff and not taking yourself lightly is a big no-no. While I understand that stars need to be glamorous and need to make a statement so that their image is maintained but effortlessness is very important and – missing that – is a big no-no. How do you approach a new client? What questions do you ask them? I like to know their fashion personality. When they walk in, I notice their height, weight, stature, posture, the way they walk, their skin, look at the hair and then I ask them their lifestyle questions including how much time do they spend on themselves, what’s their profession, which products they’re already using and if they’re open to this and that. Further I look into for what comes naturally to them and how much I can push them. Open mindedness is something that I gauge upon and give them something suitable, keeping in mind all that I observed. How was your experience with Bollywood stars at IIFA? Do you think there’s a room for greater collaboration between the two countries? It was my first experience at IIFA and they were so loving and welcoming. They’re just like us, they speak the same language, same skin tone, same hair and same sensibility. It’s sad to see why there’s a divide. If people are so close, why keeping them apart still. Who or what does you think hold the movers and shakers behind for collaborations? I think it is just what it is. But people to people, it’s wonderful especially in this industry I was warmly welcomed. Even now, Manish was amazing and Aishwarya was warm and humble. You’ve styled almost every celebrity of Pakistan fashion and entertainment fraternity. How do you stand your ground? I’ve been working for 33 years now. I’ve seen a generation grow up and change. I’ve seen people who used to come for modeling auditions become big stars. I’ve seen DJ’s become superstars. I’ve seen people who have grown up, gotten married, have kids, have children getting married. I think what I’ve learnt over the period of time is that you’re responsible of the consequences for the choices you make. From films, sports, political personality, models – yes! I’ve styled a lot of people and I take pride in that. It has been amazing and inspiring for others to see for how I managed and balanced everything and yet had a voice. I had a drive and a vision and none of it was compromised along the way. I’m happy I can balance my family and work. How do you really manage your busy schedule and family at the same time? Intelligence. You prioritise. I think it takes emotional intelligence to do all of that. Can we look forward to Nabila introducing ‘Zero Makeup’ to Doha? Why not! Before this interview, I met a distributor here. I have a lot of women already loving the product and asking where to buy and hopefully soon it’ll be available here. Because the tones I’ve given are very neutral and it’s a very go-to palette. I was late for the meeting and I was at the seventh floor. So, I just got ready in the elevator. It’s for women who doesn’t want to look all made up and still want to look enhanced. Its portable, convenient and quick! Do you think women should stop relying on cosmetics and instead focus on grooming their hair and skin naturally first? Absolutely. I think when you come out of the shower, that’s when you need to look your best. And you need to plan your life for that. Which means good skin, good nails, manicured nails, pedicured feet, not over weight and well toned. So ideally you should look the best when you get out of the shower and then everything else is a bonus. You work on yourself which means you look fantastic without anything and just enhance yourself a little bit. Three Pakistani celebrities you love working with? They are Babra Sharif, Sadaf Kanwal and Ali Zafar. Ali and Babra do a lot of homework on their looks, gets involved with the shooting process and are always open to experimentation. Sadaf is very adaptable. She looks good in western and eastern both. Three Bollywood celebrities you loved working with at IIFA? I can’t name just three. All of them were amazing to work with. Saying it with all my heart and soul. What’s next for Nabila? My next decade is completely dedicated to retail. While my salons are doing really well, my focus is on building the Zero brand. Any message for the readers? Discover your own individual style. Be unique, beautiful and confident – today and always!
Ahad Raza Mir has gone through many roles since his premier entertainment channel HUM TV’s Sammi (2017) days. From proving ones acting prowess in Hum TV’s Yaqeen Ka Safar(2017) that earned him New Sensation Male and Best Actor trophy at recent HUM Awards 2018 to swinging and flying in a fighter jet at over 50,000 feet in his silver screen debut, Parwaaz Hai Junoon (2018) We’ve also seen him put his acting skills well to use and make audiences sway with him as he performed the emotional father-son duo scenes in Yaqeen Ka Safar. Nothing seems to faze the young actor. His on-screen attitude does not translate into his real life. He has not let success get to his head. The debonair presence and multifaceted characters he plays on screen is surprisingly displayed in his personality too – by nature he is diffident, meek and a hospitable person; virtues that make him the towering personality that he is. Ahad is veteran actor Asif Raza Mir’s son but that is not what Ahad relies on to become a successful actor or what he wants to be his claim to fame. With his good looks and command over the small screen, the actor quickly garnered a whole lot of love and appreciation from fans, especially females, and critics alike. Heavy is the head that wears the crown – or, in this case, a pair of sunglasses, black T shirt and a trucker cap. For Ahad, though, the weight that comes with a high profile life in Pakistan entertainment industry is just the start of it. Despite this, recognition remains a life-limiting problem for him, outside, in the real world. In terms of logistics, getting from A to B isn’t simple. From Waar(2013) to Maalik (2016) and Yalghaar(2017), there have been many Pakistani films to come out as an ode to Pakistan army specifically, but recently released Parwaaz Hai Junoon is the first film to come out and cater the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) crowd. The film painted the picture of the PAF life – from the rugged training to glorious flying life of fighter pilots. Talking about how the film inspired Pakistani youth, Ahad says, “Not only it is the first film about the air-force, it is also the first film about the armed forces that took a step back from all the action and kind of looked at the real human side of our armed forces. And it kind of shows that our soldiers and pilots – as much as we try to make them seem like superheroes, they’re humans. And we touched upon that human factor, which was the best thing about the film. Hopefully it did inspire youth and make them feel that they want to join the air-force and be a part of armed forces in Pakistan.” The film featured scenes shot in extreme cold weather, Ahad Raza Mir sitting in an igloo with just enough layering to give a hint of warmth, lost in the snow-capped mountains. When I ask him how difficult shooting those scenes were, he says, “Physically, it was a challenge. When we were shooting, it was either very cold or very hot. It was never mild or in between. But I think the toughest part of the shoot was staying true to the characters.” First we watched him on the television and then the big screen - reaching mega-star success in nearly no time. But that wasn’t enough. No, this movie star is turning musician now, wanting to express himself with a mic and a guitar. Ahad Raza Mir is all stipulated for his debut at Coke Studio Season 11. “It’s an honour to be a part of Coke Studi. Music is something I might look into soon. I can do something myself or maybe collaborate with other people. But for now I like films but I also love dramas,” says Ahad Drawing a parallel between Bollywood and fledgling Pakistani film industry, Mir says, “I don’t think it’s even fair to compare Bollywood to Pakistani cinema right now. But I think after almost thirty years break, I won’t say revival but yes we’re finally in the revolutionary phase. At the point where we are right now, I think yes in few years we’ll be at par with them. I hope we can learn from them and they can learn from us.” He adds, “Something we’re doing better here is that we are a fraction of the budget that Indian cinema has and we’re still making good films. We’re good at figuring it out. Imagine if we get our hands on big budgets.” Furthermore, Ahad Raza Mir is all set to fly back to Canada earlier next year to get back to theatre, with Shakespeare’s Hamlet no less. “I am returning to Canada. The show will be featured at various places in Canada. I’m going back to play Hamlet for The Shakespeare Company, one of the most reputable Shakespeare companies in North America. A place where I started my career from, professionally on stage. Pretty nervous but happy,” says Ahad.
Comfortable and smart T-shirts/ polo dresses, high necklines and cargos for the bold, the beautiful and young happening to wear is no longer tedious; minimal and futuristic is what London Fashion Week SS19 caterwauled This London Fashion Week was the trailer of what’s coming next – the retail and couture revolution that will propel the business of fashion forward. A lot of designers changed tack and followed suit, the savvy upping their game. London Fashion Week always sets a more feminine and glamourous mood than any other fashion week happening – but sometimes one can accredit that to the jousted and loved weather of the city as well. It’s never sunny but the glamour is always tinged with punky sensibility, ruffles and sequins, supersized loud and proud. Colours were rich and decadent; with peroxide, black, navy, maroon, burgundy all making an impact - and rich textures; from shearling and cable knit, to woven fabrics, jacquard flowers, edgy cuts and embellishments on flowing silhouettes also evident. Comfortable and smart T-shirts/ polo dresses, high necklines and cargos for the bold, the beautiful and young happening to wear is no longer tedious; minimal and futuristic is what LFW SS19 caterwauled. Fashion Desk lists down top seven collections that went on the ramp this season. Victoria Beckham Whatever Beckham wears, women race to buy. She knows that and she translates it well with her collections. With her 10th anniversary show, held in a gallery right next door to her Dover Street store London, she focused on the hoopla of relatability asserting the age-inclusivity of her brand. She pushed the slouchy elegance trend with its easy, structured designs with sharp cuts that leave enough room to breathe easy – sharp being the key word. From black, white, shades of tangerine to camel brown and grey, Victoria transformed loose straight-cut dresses, giving it more form, clinching it at the waist with a same toned belt – a structuring technique common yet involving aesthetics of a great deal. Her collection was smart and appealing with every reason to sport just at any occasion. For red carpet minimalism with black floor length gown to the chilly streets of London for a shopping spree, the sophistication redefined with cuts. Burberry One can always predict earthly hues of beige taking over the centre stage for Burberry, well it always has been, but what one cannot pre-empt is their vivacious play with edgy cuts and well-tailored silhouettes. The collection featured trench-coats, one knee-length smart fitted coats, buttoned up polo shirts, piped blazers, and cinched with a broad elasticated belt – the chic appealing looks all perfectly crafted and nonchalant way more than too constructed to thread-bared. It was a cohesive and very winter specific collection. The smart close-to-the-torso suits and smart parkas were perfectly aligned with the British taste. Julien Macdonald From head designer of knitwear at Chanel to paving his way as a Creative Director of Givenchy, designing both Haute couture and ready-to-wear collections, this guy has experience that speaks volume of his aesthetics and while being playful and relaxed yet daring and sporty he took over the runway. It seemed as if it was too easy for him to design for a finale show – too smooth with body fitted gowns, sequins breaking off the runway glamour, sexy in the stereotypical sense of the word. Sharp-shouldered, clingy, barely there, butt-baring, diaphanous; the illusion/nude/shock-value – dresses that radiated spark for party. The dresses were more party-focused than professionally oriented, but Julien knows his work well and has huge clientele worldwide. Luxe was there with unimaginable objectifying glamour. Simone Rocha When Rihaana was spotted wearing Simone’s white brocade jacket and matching pencil skirt, the designer was in headlines for weeks. And why not! When your work speaks volume of your craftsmanship, that’s exactly what you deserve. Sequin-embroidered peplum and balloon dresses, expressive deep clouds taking over the clear sky, not so fitted pants, letting the fabric flow, feminine prints in abstract and floral patterns with neon rays, oversized tops and coats caped down with net, lace and chiffon trimmed veils and prints of antique paintings of Tang dynasty beauties on flowing cocktail dresses, all radiated Simone’s trademark cutting-edge design. She displayed her expert craftsmanship in the art. Christopher Kane High necklines, full-length sleeves, and ankle-grazing dresses is exactly what we spotted at Christopher Kane’s show and it was sexy! Christopher featured a loud and edgy collection. Blush pink mesh skirts were met with drop hem and cape-like shirting whilst mules were updated with crystals and cut outs. Double strapped sandals paired with oversized suiting and delicate silk split dominated the runway with the Midas touch accompanied by oversized lapel blazers with ruffles shirts, layering and sartorial details. Gotta love the brown self-check power suit in this monochromatic ensemble! Temperley London Temperley featured 28 looks in the palette of blush pink, faded black, mist of tangerine and pistachio– with crystals and delicate embroidery work; the chic appealing looks, all too perfectly detailed. Few slipped to the formal gowns but others were day wear and cocktail dresses and few kaaftans epitomised by modern bohemianism with a confident, feminine and effortless attitude. It’s sunny, pretty and feminine in a more austere vein than crazy, luxury and blingy, but hey you’ve got to love the versatility! Most of the pieces that came out on the runway were beach perfect, were going effortless yet fashionable is all you want! Couleurs parfaits honey! Mary Katrantzou Prints prints, psychedelic taffeta and extravagant touch of animalier; exotic prints, block colours, basic monochrome and perfectly aesthetic couture pieces in a hint of clash prints, Mary Katrantazou has definitely refined her signature aesthetic and has expanded the complexity of her textile beyond print, translating her visuals to knit, digital craftsmanship, lace, and a focus on form – which was evident on the runway. Her sometimes flowing and sometimes contained fabric and cuts were clean enough that she went for minimalism for her pieces with sequins or other flashy glitz to set the ramp on fire. Her pieces were well structured and most of them till knee length. Where it might be difficult to translate these to retail, but we might spot a celebrity or two sporting Mary at the red carpet galore. Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, and Victoria Beckham
The Pakistani fashion industry is flourishing. Karachi’s youth game is unmatched in the competing capitals, but there is also a blazing tension between the experimental side of Pakistan fashion industry and the establishment of going classic. Going classic wins the game of sartorial fashion, well usually, but this season HUM Style Awards 2018 gives the hint of something otherwise, hurling the fashion forte with millennials. The electric tension between huge power houses and emerging designers makes for an unpredictable award show with winner list you can’t really pre-empt. The ceremony was an emotionally charged celebration as the fashion’s finest paid homage to industry veterans of the past and the bright young things of the future. Where the perceptive Shamoon Sultan of Khaadi (Best Retail) takes the brand to a whole new level with cutting edge, practical designs and his clothes that are even more ingenious when one begins to explore the garment construction – the zany style aesthetics, it is the unassailable layering of Sania Maskatiya (Best Bridal) that protrudes her in the ceaseless list of designers existing nationwide. Sania defines bridal with her painstakingly intricate details, embroideries and sheer cuts. Playing with bridals has been an idea that seemed unfathomable few years from now, but in no time we’re all calling Sania a change – maker, for the aesthetics and volume she brings to a traditional bridal wear. Hosted by Ainy Jaffri, Ahmed Ali Akbar, Asim Azhar and Syra Shahroze, the evening was a wonderful mesh of many elements. In the realm of artistes with an experience of hosting a show as big as this, Ainy is comparatively a new face. At times it seemed like she had forgotten she was on stage and spoke as if she was having a mundane conversation somewhere; however, others were much calmer and level headed. The spot-on script made one wonder why Faheem Azam had not taken the charge long before. I’ve seen him in theatre and stand up comedy shows he conducts, and I mean it, he deserves an ovation for all the witty humour he brings on the table effortlessly. Sometimes it comes from within and that’s exactly what defines Faheem. HUM Style Awards 2018 did not disappoint with the glamour and the sizzling power packed performances choreographed by Shazi Khan and Abdul Ghani. The four hosts of the show opened the night with a performance on an original Pakistani music track sung by Asim Azhar himself, well the only Pakistani track we got to hear the entire evening. Spooky for an award show celebrating Pakistani fashion, content and style. It was still a fantastic night of racy performances – some of them a lot of fun, like Sadaf Kanwal, Amna Ilyas and Mohsin Abbass Haider’s rise to dance and those thumkas on Tamma Tamma Loge, Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar, Yeh Mera Dil and Mehbooba Mehbooba. These super model girls can dance, so why, not dedicate the entire style platform to them only especially when their forte - fashion is being celebrated. But why wearing green net Tinker Bell dresses for the performance? A little glamour to the outfits would’ve sparked the performance to a whole new level though. Iqra Aziz and Farhan Saeed, the Suno Chanda duo, shaking a leg together for the first time on a very Punjabi beat, and then, Feroze Khan’s conquest of the dance floor was also a lot of fun; he always knows what he’s doing and does it well. New faces are taking over the fashion editorials, and why not. Call me biased, but it’s the dynamic diversity that makes fashion industry, the world’s best breeding ground for idea. If you’ve seen her in campaigns, you’ll agree that the new face Anam Malik brings the sexy appeal with her exotic features in the photoshoots and her earning Most Stylish Female Award was a cinch. Where Anam was game for the prize, jury had to hand the award for Most Stylish Model Male to Aimal Khan for the campaigns and appearances he has been giving lately. Is there any brand left Aimal? Despite the umpteen designers who’ve signed up with umpteen textile mills with vast resources at their disposal, the event of year remains Elan lawn. The loyalists keep coming back to their quality; Khadija Shah ensures pure silk and pure chiffon, not synthetic material and the lawn itself wears well and lasts. Where it was a triumph for Zara Shahjahan, who bagged the Best Pret Wear award this very season, the look of haute couture pieces of Zaheer Abbas are always touched with a sense of colour and play, glowing the sophisticated cuts, feathers, layers and silhouettes with a dash of heritage. And yes, Zaheer Abbas bagging the award for Best Demi Couture Designer is no surprise. Men’s fashion has seen a convivial and an off-centre take thanks to HSY and Jazib Qamar, while Deepak and Fahad are the go-to designers for everyday wears. Yet there’s no denying the sharp tailoring that comes from Republic by Omar Farooq, which brought international cuts to the fore in Pakistan. He has done tremendously well for men’s wear and him walking away with the trophy yet again was not a surprise at all. The most stylish film actor male and female awards were bagged by Ali Rehman Khan and Hania Amir, respectively. Well we totally agree with the narrative of Ali winning the award, after all his one hazel gaze is enough to give you heart palpitations but Hania wasn’t really the best choice. We would’ve bet on Sanam Saeed, especially considering how her dusky complexion compliments her diva stature.Ayesha Omer grabbed the statuette for the Most Stylish TV Host; Iqra Aziz for the Most Stylish TV Actor Female and Adnan Siddiqui for the Male category. Adnan’s win did raise the eyebrows, right? Especially when heartthrobs like Emad Irfani and Mikaal Zulfiqar were nominated in the same category. It might not have been a fair win or lose for everyone, but HUM has patently raised the bar for acknowledging the fashion and entertainment of Pakistani industry.
With Eid al-Adha finally here, we have myriad things to look forward to. In the plethora of designer Eid collections and Eid festivals happening around us, the new Pakistani films coming out to the silver screen is undoubtedly one of the things we’re most hyped for. Surely last year was full of favourites – from Balu Mahi to Punjab Nahin Jaungi and Verna – but if the trailers and teasers for this year’s potential hits are any indication, we’re bound to have even more memorable films to add to the list of our ever-running Pakistani films. We all loved the entice of Punjab Nahin Jaungi that even after a hard day at work brought smiles with Humayun’s a-typical dialogue “Help me Durtana”,and there’s no doubt that well-made romantic, comedy and never-ending drama films are always high on our list of must-watches. That said, we couldn’t be more ready to see the fledgling Pakistani film industry making a bit of a revival. Check out these two Pakistani movies that we won’t be missing, as they release this Eid al-Adha. Load Wedding Apart from taking roots from cultural heritage and Punjab picturesque giving film the aesthetic backdrop, there are plenty of things that are having us count down the days until Load Wedding comes out. From the trailer, the film seems to be as eccentric as the name suggests, offering tongue-in-cheek and chillingly calm humour with Fahad Mustafa and Mehwish Hayat in the lead roles. We’ve seen Fahad and Mehwish share on-screen chemistry before in Actor in Law as well, following the same comedy genre. They have bawdy chemistry, and a kind of hanging-out comedic naturalism that makes Load Wedding seem better than it is. The recently released music album of the film hints that the romance and drama takes the centre-stage as the film-makers Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza steps out of their comfort zone, touching the boundaries of a family drama, dealing with societal and family pressures with a pinch of humour. Load Wedding’s latest song release, Kooch na Karein might just be the one on everyone’s playlist lately. Sung by Azhar Abbas, the song offers the best combination of lyrics, music and vocals, capturing the feelings of love and emotions of Raja and Meeru way too perfectly. Plus, it’s suffused with a warm, summery light and is genuinely funny in places. If you intend spending some quality time with your family. This is your catch! Parwaaz Hai Junoon There’s no way that this big tribute to Pakistan airforce isn’t going to be awesome. Although there have been many Pakistani films to come out, related to Pakistan military, but PHJ obtrudes as the first film of the sort to cater the air force crowd. Hamza Ali Abbasi is in it. We could stop there, but we’ll add that other cast members include the young starlet who made her acting debut with Jaanan (2016) and later shot into prominence for being the part of Na Maloom Afraaad 2 (2017), Hania Amir, and the new boy in town who has taken over the show businesses industry with storm, Ahad Raza Mir. But wait, if you think this is a routine schmaltz and struggle about an airforce officer who wants to serve the country, then there’s more here to feast on, confirmed Ahad Raza Mir in a statement, “We’ve stepped back from all the action and have tried to look at the real emotional and human side of the airforce. It shows that our soldiers and our pilots seem like superheroes but they’re also human at the same time. And that’s the human factor we’ve touched upon. That’s the best part about the film and the aspect we’ve tried to explore.” The film overall seems to offer some good music soundtracks. The shaadi song, Naache Re and Thaam Lo gets one tap-tapping compulsively to the song lyrics. Where former is sung by Atif Aslam, empowering a beautiful, soft melody with stunning visuals, the later employs some husky vocals of Zeb Bangash with all the fun and colourful wardrobes taking over the silver screen.