India’s growing #MeToo storm has hit hard as many prominent and notable personalities in the industry including Nana Patekar, Alok Nath, Subhash Ghai, Sajid Khan and Rajat Kapoor have been called out for their callous and careless actions by multiple women.
Following these allegations, Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar have halted production of two upcoming Bollywood blockbusters, Mogul and Housefull 4, calling for harassment claims to be stringently investigated.
— Aamir Khan (@aamir_khan) October 10, 2018
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) October 12, 2018
Like Khan and Kumar, Hrithik Roshan whose upcoming film, Super 30′s, director Vikas Bahl has been accused of sexual harassment said that he too has requested the producers of the film to look into the matter and take the necessary action. He called for “all proven offenders to be punished and all exploited people must be empowered and given the strength to speak up.”
— Hrithik Roshan (@iHrithik) October 8, 2018
As the movement gains pace and more women come forward with their #MeToo stories, several Bollywood personalities have come forward and extended their support to the movement and victims.
Farhan Akhtar, who has been supporting the movement, ever since Tanushree Dutta came forward with her account, spoke about the allegations on Sajid Khan writing, “I cannot adequately stress how shocked, disappointed and heartbroken I am to read the stories about Sajid’s behaviour. I don’t know how but he will have to find a way to atone for his alleged actions.”
He added, “Let there be no confusion about whether I stand in solidarity with the women who have spoken up. I absolutely do.”
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) October 12, 2018
Kriti Sanon and Riteish Deshmukh, who are also part of Housefull 4 extended their support to the accusers and supported Kumar’s decision to halt shooting under investigations are completed.
Kriti wrote: “As a woman and as an actor, I fully support the #MeToo movement and I’m so glad that women are speaking up! It’s high time that we as an industry introspect a bit and make this industry a safer place for everyone!”
As a woman and as an actor i fully support the #MeToo movement and i’m so glad that women are speaking up! It’s high time that we as an industry introspect a bit and make this industry a safer place for everyone!
— Kriti Sanon (@kritisanon) October 12, 2018
Deshmukh shared similar views and applauded all those women who shared their stories.
“I stand with them today,” he said.
— Riteish Deshmukh (@Riteishd) October 12, 2018
Kumar’s wife, Twinkle Khanna, shared similar views as her husband writing, “Appalled hearing multiple incidents of harassment and it is truly horrific to hear what these women have been through. Everyone involved in Housefull needs to take a firm stance on this issue. This cannot go on.”
Appalled hearing multiple incidents of harassment and it is truly horrific to hear what these women have been through. Everyone involved in Housefull needs to take a firm stance on this issue. This cannot go on.
— Twinkle Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) October 12, 2018
Dia Mirza stood in solidarity with the journalist who accused Sajid of harassing her, writing, “I am so sorry you had to go through this. With you in support.”
— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) October 12, 2018
Emraan Hashmi said that sexual harassment cannot be tolerated anymore and guidelines need to be in place to combat the issue.
— emraan hashmi (@emraanhashmi) October 11, 2018
Ajay Devgn wrote, “I’m disturbed by all the happenings with regards to #MeToo. My company and I believe in providing women with utmost respect and safety. If anyone has wronged even a single woman, neither ADF [Ajay Devgn Films] nor I will stand for it.
I’m disturbed by all the happenings with regards to #MeToo. My company and I believe in providing women with utmost respect and safety. If anyone has wronged even a single woman, neither ADF nor I will stand for it.
— Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) October 12, 2018
The allegations also prompted member of Parliament and President of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi to comment on the matter.
“It’s about time everyone learns to treat women with respect and dignity. I’m glad the space for those who don’t, is closing. The truth needs to be told loud and clear in order to bring about change,” he wrote on Twitter.
It’s about time everyone learns to treat women with respect and dignity.
I’m glad the space for those who don’t, is closing. The truth needs to be told loud and clear in order to bring about change. #MeToo
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 12, 2018
Earlier, when Tanushree came out with her story of harassment by Nana Patekar, Sonam Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra spoke out against harassment and stood in solidarity with the victims.
However, later Sonam said that she is going of Twitter for a while after she faced immense backlash.
Many of my co-workers,female and male have been harassed and bullied, but it’s their story to tell. If we don’t encourage their voices and instead vilify and question them, how will victims ever become survivors? Let them speak up! Stand up with them!
— Sonam K Ahuja (@sonamakapoor) September 28, 2018
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) September 28, 2018
REHBRA: Tale Of Two Soulmates
REHBRA, the Pakistani rom-com action packed film, directed by Amin Iqbal and produced by Saira Afzal has been released in cinemas on June 24 across Pakistan.
The film stars Ayesha Omar, Ahsan Khan as lead and Saba Faisal, Sohail Sameer, Sarish Khan, Adnan Hyder and Ghulam Mohiuddin in pivotal roles. It also includes a special dance number by Rimmal. The trailer of Rehbara promises romance, action, drama, and comedy, in one pack.
The title song of the film is sung by Asim Azhar, and composed by Simab Sen, was picturised across select locales of Pakistan.
Rehbara’s director, the veteran Amin Iqbal terms his film a rom-com action flick with a social message that is bound to be appreciated by audiences. He said that Rehbra had been a labour of love and as much a journey of self-discovery for the protagonists.
Iqbal further explained his film, a story that revolves around a journey of love, hatred, adventure and discovery of a soul mate where least expected, “Rehbra highlights that love is not a destination but a journey.”
Talking about the social message in the film, he elaborated, “In the film we see how when situations change in life, so does our thinking, but when we act on our thoughts and perceptions, life does not change accordingly. Like the antagonist in the film says, ‘When a situation is as bad as this, one wishes more for death than life!’.”
The film is film is backed by the debutant US-based Pakistani producer, Saira Afzal, who has done courses in production management from NYC. She has also worked with various theatres including Lambs, WPA and American Theatre. She is hopeful about the project as her team have invested a lot of time, money and hard work in the movie, “My passion for film-making led me to this unique journey, a first for any Pakistani woman settled abroad with no prior connection to the film industry. It is a gamble that I am hopeful will bear fruits for us all.”
Afzal believes that her experience will also be enjoyed by the audience when it would come on silver screens.
The leads of Rehbara, Ahsan Khan and Ayesha Omar, are acting together for the first time in this film. They have hosted shows earlier.
Khan was excited yet hopeful about his pairing up with Ayesha Omar and admitted that he enjoyed the whole experience if working with her and regarded her as a great friend.
He also recalls the experience, he and Omar had while shooting the film but specially the title song which was shot in some beautiful lands but difficult weather conditions.
Ayesha Omar shared the poster of the film on her social media and called Ahsan Khan her “Rehbra”. Omar stated, “This baby of ours is a labour of extreme hard work, patience, perseverance and love.”
Ahsan Khan also expressed his emotions via social media where he shared the trailer of the film stating: “Expect the unexpected; life is full of wonderful things just waiting to surprise you!”
An SA Entertainment film, Rehbara has been distributed by Mandviwalla Entertainment.
Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad Brings A New Hope For Cinema
After a hiatus of two and half years, Pakistani cinemas are now screening the Pakistani content, which remained pending in those years due to the pandemic of COViD 19. We saw the big banners release of four Pakistani feature films on eif-ul-fitr which made quite a stir among cinema goers. The Eid-ul-Azha this year will also be filled with two heavy duty films with big makers and giant stars. They are London Nahin Jaonga and Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad, Both films started before a year when the COVID took over the world and closed it. Now they are ready to hit the screens on coming eid in July.
Here we are talking about the most anticipated movie of the year Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad starring Mahira Khan and Fahad Mustafa as lead and produced under the banner of Filmwala Pictures owned by the creative duo Fizza Ali Meerza and Nabeel Qureshi as Producer and director respectively. The story is also conceptualized by the duo. This is first time that Fahad Mustafa and Mahira would be seen on screen together for the first time. This Khan’s first project with Meerza and Qureshi and this is Mustafa’s first film in which he shows some action.
The trailer of the film has been launched, where the star cast and the director/producer talked to the media about their hard work behind and expectations behind the film.
The Paperazzi got the opportunity to talk exclusively to the cast about the films and their roles.
Mahira Khan, while replying to what she has been missing in all those years when she had to refuse Fizza Ali Meerza films for any reason, she said great content.
“The content that Fizza and Nabeel produce is always different and comes with an interesting story. Whenever they put their script before me I was ‘wow what a play’.”
The reason why she excused those scripts from Filmwala Pictures was her adjustment of time, “I had just started doing films and found myself locked on so many projects one after another. Moreover, because of my lazy nature, I gave myself a break after one wrap up. So in between, I missed many offers. When I heard the storyline of QAZ, I just decided to do that. I wanted to be a part of it because of the story. Working with Fizza, Nabeel and Fahad Mustafa, was enough to say yes.”
Sharing the experience of working with Fahad Mustafa, Khan acknowledged that she was actually riding on his muscles throughout the film. “Fahad is going to carry me through this film,” she added.
Khan revealed when she entered QAZ, there was already a team of four; Fizza, Nabeel, Fahad Mustafa and Javed Sheikh. They had done many projects together before. Obviously I was nervous in the beginning yet tried to adjust but they were amazing and took care of me really well. Nabeel is one of the finest directors and Fizza is the best producer around. Fahad Mustafa was so amazing.
She summed up her team as; Fahad Mustafa, rock star, Nabeel Qureshi, disco dancer and Fizza Ali Meerza cool.
What are her hopes for QAZ, when it is going to be screened in cinemas exactly after three years on Eid-ul-Azha. “I believe if there is a good and entertaining movie in the cinema, people would come to watch it. There is no substitute for cinema as watching romance, dance and action on the big screen is an experience, one cannot acknowledge on any other medium. So I want people to come and watch QAZ, LNJ as well. I hope that these two films will help in awakening and reliving the cinema in Pakistan.”
She confessed that it was thrilled to be on screen again after three years and the excitement was really like the one which she felt on her first film.
Fahad Mustafa, whose doing his fifth film Fizza and Nabeel duo, said, “QAZ was made with our hearts and a lot of hard work. I won’t say it is a big budget but a big scale film. One will agree after watching the film that the budget is put wisely and with utmost care.”
Fahad assured that QAZ was a paisa vasool film, a complete entertainer with an interesting story and catchy music. “It is very relatable to every Pakistani, irrespective of which part of the world they are living in. I think this is the biggest USP of QAZ.”
About Khan as his pair in lead, Mustafa said that he was happy that finally they were working together as before they both kept on missing this opportunity for some and other reasons despite being offered many projects together. “I think QAZ I was the right time. I believe everything happens on its time.”
Mustafa admitted that he considered QAZ the biggest film of his career, “I consider it big yet different as I have done a lot of action in it. Moreover, my previous roles were very character driven, even in Actor In Law, there were a lot of other characters who played crucial parts in the film. In QAZ everything revolves around my character of Gulab. Every actor wants to do such a central role which makes movies iconic.”
He was hopeful that with an additional bonus of a big name of our industry like Mahira Khan and his central character, QAZ would do something substantial on screen.
About the business of film, Mustafa believes that cinema is not as same as it was four years back when his last film ‘Load Wedding’ was released in 2018. “At that time the business for three films collectively was about 125 hundred crores. It was a good growth for a relatively new industry. Then COVID came, which disturbed everything in our lives for which we were not prepared.”
MY Genre Of Work Is Comedy: Danish Nawaz
Danish Nawaz needs no introduction when it comes to acting and direction. Hailing from a family of artists, Nawaz entered into showbiz industry after completing his bachelors in mechanical engineering. Since then, he has established a career in Pakistani television and films mostly in comedy roles. His comic role on sitcom Nadaniya is still remembered by viewers. Another forte of Nawaz is his direction skills. He has many successful television plays on his credit as a director like Kashf, Chupke Chupke, Dobara and Hum Tum.
The talented star took out some time to talk to The Daily Paparazzi from the sets of his recently aired Ramazan Special serial Hum Tum. Here it is.
What was special for the audience in your Ramzan Special drama serial Hum Tum?
It is just a family entertainment to make people happy and bring laughter to their faces. Our lives have already become very chaotic, vanishing every fun element from it. We have become intolerant as well and people get offended by little jokes. Therefore, I wanted to make a little change in every household in Pakistan through this light comedy television drama.
You had an ensemble cast in Hum Tum. How was the experience with them?
It was wonderful. All actors are experienced. Luckily they have worked under the banner of Hum TV, so know the style of production there. Everyone enjoyed the sets as they were already aware about the genre of the play. Moreover, yes! Most of them knew me as well
Did you face any problem during shoot like timings, availability of actors and locations as the cast was big, and time was very limited to record the play?
Not at all. Instead, it adds to my enjoyment and excitement when I have a big cast to work with. Beside the leading cast, I have seniors like Muhammad Ahmed, Arjumand Rahim, Adnan Jaffer and Farhan Ali Agha, Uzma Baig and Munazzah Arif, and two child stars Aina and Anoushay as well. I was lucky enough to work with this talented team. Everything was managed quite well. Moreover, we had a wonderful script of Hum Tum written by Saima Akram Chaudhry. She has an expertise of writing family stories.
What when gets a weak playwright, and has to put more effort as a director to make it ready to run with directions and choice of actors
It has not happened with me yet but yes whenever I am doubtful about anything in the story, I sit with the writer and try to solve the confusion. We have a special content department in MD Productions at Hum TV, where we discuss these things. I try my best to get the script up to mark before going on set. I believe that strong content is very necessary for any director. Without a proper plot, we can never erect a strong building.
Besides comedy and light stories, you have also directed plays on very serious issues, which have been very successful as well. What do you enjoy most?
I think the genre of comedy is quite difficult though I enjoy it a lot. Actually, everyone has his or her sense of humour when it comes to comedy and jokes but as far as serious stories are concerned, people somehow accept it especially when it is on a social issue. Yes, I am comfortable directing serious plays but there should be a message in that. In many plays, I try to convey the serious issue in a comic way.
Now come to your acting. You opt mostly in comedy roles. When are your fans going to see you in a serious role?
To be honest, it would be a bit difficult for me. I think comedy is my own style, and find it more comfortable and easy doing comic roles. You need to make an extra effort especially when putting glycerine for tears in crying scenes. I have an idea that even directors and producers would not suggest me for the serious role nor would people accept me in a crying scene. I have a trademark image of a comedy actor. Yes, I might work in a very tragic play or film but my role would be of comic relief in that.
Don’t you think doing the same kind of roles hinders actors’ versatility?
Honestly speaking it is not my genre of acting. I sometimes find serious roles very funny. Again yes, if I get something, which really attracts me, I would try but really not the public would accept it or not.
After a successful career as a drama director, when are you going to direct a film?
Oh, yes. It is in the pipeline. For film, I am looking for a good script, which is an integral part of the whole product. For dramas, I get too many scripts and always have options to select one. Films are expensive, need heavy investment. That is why one should work on ideas, which can appeal to the public so they are ready to spend on cinema tickets to watch them. Our budget is not very ample like Hollywood and Bollywood. We make films on any script of our choice.
Unfortunately, we are still confused about what our masses actually want to watch. When we make a film with a strong storyline, critics rate it a television drama and if we incorporate more action, it is called a copy of Tamil films. Therefore, it is very tricky to make a film in Pakistan. I hope I will soon get a clicking story soon and will definitely direct a film.
Do you have any idea or story in your mind on which you want to make a film?
No. Not at this moment.
In the end, any message for your fans
Keep watching and appreciating our dramas and films. We try our best to give you the best entertainment, which at the same time sends little messages, which can improve your current and future life and vanquish the regret of past life.
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