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A quick & fun natter with the gorgeous Naimal Khawar

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What acting style would explain you the best? Is it just one? Or you are open to negative roles as well in future? 

I really don’t know which style would suit me the best because I have only done two characters so far. I am still exploring myself. But, as an actor, I will be open to all kind of roles which have substance in them.  

What would you like to be known for; being a painter or an actor? 

Painting is something that I worked hard on all my life. I have strived for it. Acting is something that just came my way. It was very unexpected. So, hands down, it’s painting. 

What drama (especially) from the past you would have loved doing?

One drama that I would really like to be in is Sheher-e-Zaat. I would love to play Mahira’s character there. I think it was a beautiful script and I loved it. 

We have seen Izza in Anna (a sensitive girl who loves her family who likes to keep things simple and who thinks money can make a person rude and proud) so, what Naimal is like in real life? 

Naimal is pretty much like Izza because we share same morals and values in life. Dignity and respect is very important for me. That’s how I have been brought up in my family as well. So, yes I am a very simple girl. I like my life not so complicated and I also feel money cant buy happiness. 

Your weirdest fan moment?

I don’t think I have a lot of fans but let me think… Yes, one time, I received this box and it had 10 sketches of me. I thought it would be random but they kept coming in every week. So, that was pretty creepy. 

What do you do when you are not working?  (other than painting) 

So, when i am not working, i love spending time with my family and nature. Most of my time is with my horses at the stable and you will see me there. 

What have you learned about yourself since you became a celebrity?

I really don’t think I can answer this question because I still feel I am not a celebrity as yet. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

One advice that I would like to give to my younger self is “ Don’t worry too much about things in life. Just be patient and hang in there.” 

What’s your take on feminism? 

To me, feminism is equality. 

Has your life changed after being an actor? 

Honestly, my life hasn’t really changed after being an actor. 

What do you enjoy the most? The limelight or the ordinary life you had before getting into this career? 

If I had to choose, I would definitely take the ordinary life. 

Would you like to comment on “Harassment at Workplace”? Have you ever encountered such a thing or has it made you uncomfortable at any point since you have started your career? 

So far, in the acting business, I have not experienced any case of harassment. It has been very professional and to the point. 

 In the season FRIENDS, who can you relate to the most?

A lot of people are going to hate me for this but I am one of those who have actually not seen FRIENDS. But my family and friends tell me that I remind them of Rachel and I am pretty much like her. So, it would be Rachel then.  

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ART Alert!

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Escape Through Art II curated by Mahaa Malik. Featuring the brilliant artists from all over Pakistan!

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Weekly roundup

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Here’s all the latest scoop you need on what’s been happening around town and across the globe. (June 8th – June 16th)

1 – It’s more than just a game – Fans around the world are tensely hoping the weather stays clear during the most anticipated World Cup 2019 clash between Pakistan and India 

2 – The newlyweds, Iman Ali and hubby Babar Bhatti are on their honeymoon in Istanbul 

3 – Photos of KP Minister of Information Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and his fellow officials sporting cat ears and whiskers went viral on Friday night after the social media team running the live broadcast on the official PTI KP Facebook page forgot to disable the cat filter

4 – Instagram accounts turn blue as people all around the world Standing in solidarity with the people of Sudan who are being forced to endure countless horrific atrocities

5 – North west turns 6!

6 – On Saturday, Notre Dame Cathedral held its first mass since the devastating fire that tore through the building two months ago on April 15.

7 – It has been seven years since the Ghazal King Mehdi Hassan passed away but his absence failed to fade away and his ghazals rule over many hearts even today

8 – Mawra Hocane met Rishi Kapoor in New York 

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GAME OF LAWNS Summer is Here

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On a cold February night while mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across a lawn advertisement. The next insta post showed socialites wearing sleeveless lawn suits at a launch event. Now I see these same women smiling into the camera almost every hour featured in different elitist magazines and posts. I could have sworn they were wearing jackets and carrying designer bags just yesterday at a polo match.

For those of you not familiar with lawn it’s a fabric to be worn in summers. It’s the finest form of cotton weave which has a soft almost luxurious feel to it. Its comfortable, airy and breathable to give women (never heard of men wearing it) much needed respite from the sweltering heat.

Some of the top brands which are magically sold out at Cinderalla time on their prebooking dates are Elan, Sana Safinaz, Faraz Manan and Sobia Nazir.

 “Please take care of yourselves, don’t put yourselves or others in harm’s way, be happy and stay safe.” Khadija Shah, designer of Elan addressed her customers on Instagram, preparing them for the battle ahead.

Lines are formed outside flagship stores the day of the pre-booking only to be broken as soon as doors open. Social media gets flooded with videos of violent women destroying anything and everything that comes in their way. Salesmen scarred both emotionally and physically.

 “A furious customer smashed a salesman’s head,” said Tahir who works as a driver and was an eyewitness to the incident.

 The disgruntled man had queued up for Elan 3A since 6am. When he finally reached the salesman, he was told they had run out of stock.

Now why do a certain class of people, mostly educated, behave like this is beyond human comprehension. Pushing and shoving are considered milder forms of aggression when it comes to buying their chosen design.

There is method to this madness. First the social media campaigns start. Then you see pictures and videos of unbelievably tall and beautiful women with fair skin and European features wearing long shirts, flared trousers and flowing silk dupattas (long scarves worn traditionally in Pakistan). Some are basking in the sun on a cruise in Italy with their fluttering dupattas following them everywhere. Others lying on a sofa in a French palace and some staring blankly while walking in a forest. The designs and campaigns of different designer brands each year have started looking eerily like each other.

Then the catalogues come out. Hype is created and countdown to online pre-booking starts. Women look through endless pictures while holding their breath and write the codes to their favorite designs for pre-booking. Its status symbol and the race to wear it first rather than the love for lawn that drives sales. There is frenzy around this time. Girls try to ask their friends which one they will buy while casually mentioning they will not buy any designer lawn this season as not to disclose the codes of the suits they are trying to get.

I vowed not to get into the designer lawn trap but unfortunately succumbed to buying just one suit. When I went to collect it, I was approached by a middle-aged woman who took me to the side and started whispering that she had the ‘out of stock’ lawn joras. She handed out her number on a piece of paper and disappeared as swiftly as she had appeared.

Out of curiosity and partly because the design my mother liked was also the first to run out, I called that number to ask about availability. To my horror, the woman quoted almost double the price for the same suit! Talk about creating a business opportunity out of women’s desperation to wear their favorite design before their friends do.

Now I know, designer lawns are nowhere in the affordable range. Most are around Rs 7,000 for a three-piece suit which include unstitched fabric for a shirt and trouser, a dupatta and some random patches (with little to no information given where each patch belongs). But paying double of that seemed unreasonable and wrong.

If you thought the ordeal ends here, wait till you take this lawn suit for stitching. The otherwise friendly tailors during winter months start showing attitude during this season. The prized packet comes with a paper indicating contents in English (I wonder why not in Urdu) and a picture of a model wearing it. When you open it, random cloth pieces much like a jigsaw puzzle keep coming out. Surprisingly this baffles the customers, but the tailors exactly know what fits where. For their services, they charge exorbitantly. Appliques, patches, hem, trimmings, home delivery, stitching early are some of the add-ons included in the final stitching bill which is not meant for the light-hearted. Stitching costs can go up to Rs 3000 or more for a suit.

The Pakistani rupee hit an all-time low of around 146 against the dollar and further devaluation is expected. People are complaining about inflation and rising food prices but there is silence on the topic of exorbitant designer lawn prices. How can so many people afford something so expensive?

More and more textile mills are collaborating with designers to come up with their lawn collection each year. This year low-priced alternatives by coveted designer brands like Muzlin by Sana Safinaz and Zaha by Elan were seen in the market but not met with that much enthusiasm by the seasoned lawn buyers. The whole concept of designer lawn works on looking expensive and showing off otherwise the veterans of lawn like Al Karam, Gul Ahmed and Nishat Linen still have the softest and purest form of the fabric.

Lawn mania doesn’t end here. Now that Eid is around the corner, all the brands are coming out with their formal collection. Did I mention Volume II and III will follow?

The saga never ends…   Maha Shah is a freelance writer, journalist and HR professional who has worked for Google and Bloomberg and has lived in Jordan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar and now Pakistan

By Maha Shah

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