* Hosted by Qatar Tourism and co-ordinated by Fab Entertainment Doha, Pakistani actors Aiman Muneeb and Minal Ahsan, along with their actor spouses Muneeb Butt and Ahsan Ikram, were out and about exploring what Qatar has to offer in terms of history, culture, fun and adventure

If you are prone to vacation-envy, you might be advised to stay off Instagram these days: it’s filled with beautiful and bronzed celebrities living their most fabulous lives and now since Qatar is on the cultural map of the world, there’s no way you won’t spot a celebrity exploring the town with that Jacquemus hat every time you refresh the feed.
Aiman Muneeb and Minal Ahsan are Pakistani show business’ most popular twins, and perhaps they know it. They’re both beautiful and energetic and when sitting across it takes you quite an effort to remember which one was sitting on which side. You can easily get confused if you’re meeting them for the first time. Completing a decade in the industry, Aiman and Minal’s struggle can be seen through their work. Since 2012, they both have had a busy roster, lined up with major dramas, before they got married and took a little step-back to enjoy the married life and time off with their spouses: Muneeb Butt and Ahsan Ikram, both who also happen to be a part of the industry, doing quite well in acting and giving hits one after another.


It won’t be erroneous to say that not much has changed for the twin sisters over the years. They’re still the lithe, jaunty girls with easy megawatt smiles and whose eyes grow big when excited. They were only 14 when they made their television debut but it’s the connection with the audience for all these years and, of course, the acting prowess, that kept them going. Practically anyone who is fond or is slightly even familiar with Pakistani dramas know about them and have seen them grow. Apart from that, both Aiman and Minal have figured out social media down to a science like nobody else in Pakistan's entertainment industry and perhaps this is what makes both girls the two most-followed celebrities in Pakistan on Instagram. What to post, how to post it and what works best — they know it.
When Gulf Times spotted the two celebrity couples sharing a photogenic family portrait from Qatar, we couldn’t help but catch up with them about their career, thought process and about exploring the country.
Hosted by Qatar Tourism and co-ordinated by Fab Entertainment Doha, the family was all about exploring what the country has to offer in terms of history, culture, fun and adventure.

The acting realm
Aiman was last seen in drama serial 'Baandi '(2018) before getting married to Muneeb and since then she didn’t return to the television screens. Why did she stop working? “I had my daughter and I thought that I would work after Amal’s birth but then, I just didn’t want to. Dramas used to be shot between 10am and 10pm earlier, but now there’s no schedule. I would miss out on Amal’s most special years if I got perpetually busy with work,” she says.
The Pakistani dramas are now going on a different tangent altogether, exploring subjects that matter. “You do commercial and acting projects locally, but when you shoot and do something abroad in another country with a storyline outside the typical mother and daughter-in-law kind of narrative, you get to explore yourself more as an actor. Similarly with negative characters — they sort of give you a wide canvas for how far you can go with your skills and abilities,” says Muneeb talking about what interests him as an actor now, while sitting in the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton, Doha waiting for the car to arrive for their private tour of 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum scheduled for the day.


Aiman and Minal might be basking in popularity, but this has never deterred them from taking on a variety of characters with layers to portray. Minal racked heavy ratings last time when she took on a very negative role in drama serial 'Jalan' (2020) on ARY Digital, one of the premier entertainment channels in Pakistan. Her character was a psychotic, husband-stealing, younger sister in the drama.
Minal says, “It wasn’t a story that had been told before and my character’s envy and psychotic behaviour was treated very logically. I was so excited to play a negative character with so many shades to it but it was also a story I knew some people would relate to.
“Whenever I used to visit any mall or something, people used to come out only to rebuke me very harshly for what I’m doing in the drama.”
How do the actors manage social media trolling and negative comments coming their way?
“Sometimes it very difficult for people to understand and separate us from a character we have been playing to who we happen to be in real life. You just let it be. You’ve got to be a little thick-skinned because everyone’s coming from a different mindset. There are positive and negative comments, both. And it is everywhere,” adds Ahsan.
We’ve seen Aiman and Muneeb together on screen in a couple of drama serials together. But Minal and Ahsan would be sharing the screen space for the first time after marriage for a web-series that is scheduled to be shot in London and Turkey.
Aiman and Minal are two sides of a coin. Did they ever replace one another during a shoot without anyone noticing, they both simultaneously say, “We did a couple of times some time back. But not anymore though. People can now recognise both of us separately.”

Exploring Doha
From inner-city discoveries and traditional meals to experiencing the vibrant Doha nightlife, the family has been having quite a time of their life. As we were still mid-way our conversation, the cars for 3-2-1 Museum had arrived and we were requested to join them for the rest of the day to finish our candid conversation.
The previous day, the family had visited Hilton Salwa Beach Resort and Villas, ending the day at Katara - the Cultural Village. Storming the shops and consuming the classics, their stories sizzled and fizzled.


“Qatar is so beautiful and mesmerising," says Aiman.
“Qatar has a lot to offer then it seems like on the outer layer. It has amazing restaurants and resorts. We were at Hilton Salwa Beach Resort to enjoy some beach and pool and later went on to the Desert Falls and we were quite astonished. The kind of service and warmth we’ve received was amazing. Even the slides at the water park are of international standards. You really do have fun and its thrilling. There’s no way your heart won’t sink for a second every time you’d slide down. Apart from the beauty, and water element — you get so much variety of options in terms of food here as well. We tried on some Syrian grill and some Lebanese starters — and everything was extremely well-done,” add Ahsan and Minal.
“Even in terms of cultural heritage, the way Katara exemplifies the Qatari heritage with its architecture and blends it together with modern outlook is beautiful. We could so relate to everything. I believe the basic cultural fabric of both Qatar and South Asia and Subcontinent sort of intertwines.”


“Vacation all I ever wanted. This is the thing about Qatar that has sold me out on: the inclusion and amalgamation of so many cultures like a melting pot,” says Aiman.
The director of the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Abdulla al-Mulla, warmly welcomed the actors in the newly opened museum speaking about the history of sports and what importance it holds for the country.
“It is very interesting to really visit this museum and to understand the history of sports. I’ve been to other museums in the world, but the way 3-2-1 has integrated AI is a very progressive approach. The holographic effects and large projections with multiple screens is quite one of a kind. There are different sorts of interactives and the real give-away is the activation zone where we could test our physical literacy by playing interactive challenges,” says Muneeb.
In terms of digital media, the museum has managed to deliver 189 exhibits, 45 interactives of all sizes, seven movement-tracking and sensor-based interactives, 18 mechanical interactives coupled with RFID wristbands and the dwelling time expands to eight hours of content if you watch everything.
The next stop on the itinerary for the actors: dinner at Mandarin Oriental, thrilling rides at Doha Quest and a hefty shopping spree.


“I loved my short but sweet trip to Qatar. I loved the people here and everyone should visit Qatar. I was with my daughter Amal and everyone was kind enough to accommodate me with someone to look after my daughter during the entire trip. It just gives you a helping hand sometimes. There are a lot of things to do and I practically cannot wait to be back here,” concluded Aiman, as everyone got in the cars to get on to their next destination.


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