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Channo – The Real Star of Suno Chanda

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Nadia Afgan is known for her versatile acting skills and commendable work in the entertainment industry. From Shashlik to Sheher-e-Zaat to Suno Chanda, she never fails to steal our hearts. 

We all know that our after iftari break is just incomplete without an adequate dose of Suno Chanda.  For us, it was mandatory to have a chat with the most sensational character from the drama. So, we got a chance to have a fun conversation with our very own Shahana (Channo) and that’s what she had to say.  

1) What were your thoughts when the character Shahana was offered to you? Did you take the time to accept the role?

I was simply offered this role from HUM TV. They told me that it is a Ramadan special drama with a light hearted Punjabi character.  Later on, when I read the script, I found out about Shahana and I thought, yes, this is going to be fun. 

2) Was the expectation different from the real character when you actually performed it? 

No, when I read the character, I found Shahana’s lines to be very funny. Overall, I loved the script and I thought it was a crazy family story. I like such characters that are cute and silly. Shahana is basically very upfront and blunt. 

3) Since we all know that drama is always a combined effort, did you create your own character or somehow added your own dialogues to the character? 

I always do that. Whenever I do a character, I always add on my own traits. Though Shahana is very outspoken, I still add things to it. Whenever I feel the lines are harsh, I soften things up and match those lines to my character. 

Especially, when Farhan and I do any scene, we mould our character and add dialogues accordingly to make the scene funnier.

 4) If you could exchange your character with anyone, who would it be? 

I would do it with DJ. He is very cute. 

5) Does the character have any connection with Nadia in her real life? 

Yes, Shahana is very outspoken, very honest and she says whatever comes to her mind and I am just like Shahana. 

6) Does it happen that people now only like to remember you for your character in Suno chanda? For example, calling you Channo and expecting you to react in the same way including your fans? 

Yes, it has been a long time that after Shashlik, I got this kind of appreciation. Wherever I go, people come running and calling me Channo. But, no they don’t expect me to react in the same way. Except for one time, when a fan said, please “Nawa Katta khol dein”. 

7) If not you, who do you think can perform “Shahana”well?

 Bushra Aapa. She is amazing. Whatever comedy I have learned, I did that from these incredible ladies like Bushra Appa, Saba Hameed, and Samina Aapa. Bushra appa would have done it a million times better than me. 

8) Shashlik or Suno Chanda?

Shashlik FOREVER!!!. Mishi is me and there is nothing that compares to Shashlik. 

9) Suno Chanda 1 or 2; which one did you enjoy the most?

To be very honest, script-wise, I enjoyed Suno Chanda 1 more. The second season is also very good but there is a lot of branding in this one that the real essence of the story by our writer has been destroyed. So, story and performance wise, Suno Chanda was better. 

10) Any best memory you would like to share from Suno Chanda 1 & 2?

Well, since I live in Lahore, my best memory would always be going back home. 

11) Out of all your characters up till now, which one can you relate to the most? 

It’s Mishi from Shashlik. I would relate to Mishi. Mishi is me. 

12 ) Other than our favorite Channo, which is your favorite character out of all in Suno Chanda?

I love Farhan Saeed’s performance. He is a very subtle actor. Then, it’s DJ and Joji.  Even, Iqra is very good. But as characters, I find Farhan Saeed (Arsal), DJ and Joji to be the funniest.

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In conversation with Hamza Tanveer

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Setting the standards high with his impeccably charming looks

We had a short heart to heart conversation with this cutie Hamza Tanveer and we bet there is a lot you would love to read about him. Certainly, we are not afraid to say that he is already on the road of success to be the next sensation in town.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Hamza Tanveer. I’m a Vocalist and I’m one of the veterans of Nescafe Basement.

How did you get into Nescafé Basement?
Through LIVE auditions. Nescafe Basement held LIVE auditions for their Season 2 in my University (UCP) back in 2013. I was selected by Xulfi (Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan) as a Lead Vocalist. That was one lucky day of my life.

Before Nescafé Basement, how did you find out that there was a singer inside you?
I actually realized that when I got selected in Nescafe Basement LIVE auditions. Before that, I was just an introvert and more of a bathroom singer LOL. Also, I never took part in any College/University events as I was too shy to do so.

How did you all get together to produce music? Where did it start?
All the artists were selected from all over Pakistan through LIVE auditions. After that, we were called by Xulfi Bhai for our initial orientation at Nescafe Basement. There, we had our first musical jam and on our first attempt, we knew that we all were at the right place. Thanks to Xulfi bhai for mentoring us all these years. He unearthed and discovered the talent in me and motivated me to get what I could ever dream of.

Was it like you always wanted to be a singer?
No! My parents always wanted me to become an engineer. So, my focus was on my studies initially till Nescafe Basement happened. But music was within me. I used to sing it with my only friend who had a guitar. Music was always something I loved doing in my spare time and the passion grew stronger by time.

Has it become your full-time profession?
No! I tried to convince myself and my family…but considering financial issues, and other social problems, I couldn’t cope up with that! Now I do a job and also do the music side by side! Although I do hope that there may come a time in Pakistan when artists like me would be able to opt music as their full-time job.

How is your experience working as a group?
It has taught me a lot! I had no musical education/background before NB. So, for me, it was a great learning experience working with such a talented lot. We’ve not just made good music altogether but we’ve made long-lasting friendships also. For now, it’s everything I could ever ask for.

Are you intending to move towards Coke Studio?
Definitely, if I am ever given a chance and anything I can contribute to music with what I acquire, I’m up for it!

Who is your favorite Pakistani Singer/ your inspiration?
Considering genres that I sing or like, I can take all the names of legendary artists of Pakistan. Everyone’s been my inspiration as I grew up watching/listening to them on TV and wanted to be like them. 🙂
If you still insist, I’d say Mekaal Hassan Band, Shafqat Amanat Ali and Sajjad Ali are my favorites. 🙂

Considering your good looks, would you like to get into modeling or acting?
Acting, NO! Modeling can be done!

Other than music, what do you like to do the most?
Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat!

What’s your comfort blanket?
I enjoy spending time alone.

What is your relationship status?
Single for now!

If you could sing with one singer that is not alive, who would it be?
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Tell us about your future projects?
I’m working on my two new songs. I would share updates as I get done with everything.

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In conversation with Emen Iftikhar

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JEWELL(ERY FOR)EVER – JEWELLEVER

Jewellever is the first of its kind jewellery and customised accessories company in Pakistan that converts children’s drawings, fingers prints and, a whole lot of other things into finely crafted gold, silver and metal jewellery. This project aims to show the children that their art is precious and unique by turning the children’s drawings into timeless memories, wearable art objects.”It’s like a single moment of someone’s childhood becomes timeless.”

Please tell us about your background, family and education.
I’m a 29 year old social sciences major, advertiser by profession. Mother to a 6 year old, living in Lahore.

Tell us about your responsibilities as the business owner?
Apart from representing the brand wherever I go or interact with, I try to personally answer most queries and take our clients through the process of decision making and deliberating on the article and design etc. Simultaneously I’m constantly in touch with the artisans on a daily basis, with each order there are strict quality checks in place.

You run your own company and a brand; generally, what do you think are the main challenges when a woman wants to set up and run a company?
I think with the rise of entrepreneurs in Pakistan in the past 5 years, it has become a more accepting and open market per se. However, even now there are people who don’t take a woman seriously when she talks money. They trust a woman’s aesthetic but not her business sense. But we are constantly evolving and I see the change

Being a boss, what do you think makes a great employee stand out?
The moment you place your trust in an employee and empower them to take decisions without undue pressure, there is a sense of ownership you transfer onto them. Nothing in my opinion comes close to the productivity level following that point.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Social media marketing is primarily our means to communicate. But a positive review from any client has done wonders for us more than any other marketing technique or by the book method.

What is your vision for women in Pakistan when it comes to becoming their own bosses, or higher level administrators?
Women are excellent at multi tasking and any leadership position requires that along with the usual hardwork, attitude shebang. I see more and more of them coming into their own because it’s high time we realize that we can do this without the crutches.

To what do you attribute your success?
Finding the right people to work with as well as an intrinsic motivation to follow your heart against all odds

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
One thing that had me going was “What if I fall? But my darling what if you fly?” . So take that leap, go after your dream with all you have and always believe the you can.

What best motivates you? How have your entrepreneurial motivations changed since you first started?
The thought of being responsible for something of your own and building a brand from the ground up, the thrill is unparalleled. Over the course of a month I have become far more responsible and perhaps a little empathetic to the plight of bosses that I have worked with.

What are your short cuts to successfully handle frustration and success?
Hahaha my friends and family calm me down. So frustrated, angry, upset calls for down time.
Success I think, the one formula is do not let it get to your head, its here today may be gone tomorrow. So stay focused but humble.

How do you maintain a perfect balance between your work and family life?
Hah Lord please don’t let my family read this, but I guess I’m still finding that elusive and mythical balance that only women in this society are asked to maintain. No man has ever been accused of being too ambitious.

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Interviews

Born To Be A Film Maker: Hisham Bin Munawar

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Hisham Bin Munawar, a promising young film director and script writer is among those new lot of film makers, who have got specialized degree in film making. Fond of watching movies from very young age, Hisham knew it from very first day that he would become a film maker. In quest of his passion, his family supported him a lot and provided every requisite that could be needed. He started to work on his idea of a rom com ‘Ready Steady No’ some years back and succeeded to achieve his dream against all odds. He is the writer, director and producer of the film and has even recorded a song for it. Ready Steady No is releasing on 19 July 2019.

How the idea of ‘Ready Steady No’ came into your mind or what inspires you to write this script?

It came into my mind as I saw my very close friend going through some trouble. I also added some personal experiences in the story. It is about the frustration due to which our society makes very simple things and problems so complicated. We have tried to portray these absurdities of our society in a comical way in Ready Steady No.

What is the uniqueness of Ready Steady No?

We have put too much focus on content with our own flavour in it. It is somewhere between an indie and a commercial film. We have all the elements of a commercial film but presented them with indie sensibilities. It is a spoof of a typical love story to show that how a screen romance is so different and fantastical than a real life romance. How harsh and difficult is to get your love in actuality in our society. Moreover, we also have many interesting surprises towards the end of film.

Tell us about your cast. What was in your mind when you assigned them?

Cast designing is my favourite job in film making. In Ready Steady No, my cast is my biggest strength. It is a dynamic combination of freshness and experience. They are very committed actors and I am satisfied with everyone’s performance. We had finalized most of the cast during script writing. I personally prefer it to know my cast when writing the story of my film, like I wrote the character of Salman Shahid keeping him in my mind. I took the first draft of his character to him and was so lucky that he loved it and agreed to do it straightaway (as it is said that he is very choosy about his characters). It helped me to focus on actors’ ability to portray that particular character and by ability I mean how natural and believable they would look. But actually, there are many more parameters of casting like sometimes you have to decide that if you want to trust on the acting skills of actors or prefer their market value. I must thank Amna Ilyas, who joined us at last moment and admit that she is real bonus for my film.

How did you come into the field of film making? It is your first independent venture. Where did you get this experience from?

It had to be happened. I was a movie buff since my childhood. I was 12 when I got my first handy cam and I think that was the start of my journey to be a film maker. I did my graduation in film making from Beaconhouse National University Lahore. During my studies, I got the chance to work with Shoaib Mansoor, who was making BOL in those days. That was the life changing experience for me. The response of BOL gave me immense confidence. But I think it was my passion that mainly made it to happen. I want to mention here that my family supported me a lot in this whole journey.

In future would you like to make rom com like RSN or have some other ideas as well to work on?

I have many ideas and stories in my mind but honestly, not a rom com again. The kind of films which I like to do in future would actually need some financer to put money in and I know that to find them is not an easy job. It also depends on the fate of RSN.

You are writer, director, and producer of the film. How difficult it was to wear all these three hats at the same time? What about acting in a film in future?

It was really difficult. But it was necessary to make this film to happen. I hope that after this film I would more be able to give more focus on my writing and direction. As far as acting is concerned, I did it in my university days but when I came into writing and direction, tou bhool hi gaya ke acting bhee koi cheez hoti hai (I forgot that what acting was about) but I would love to carry on my singing in the future as well.

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