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Current Year Is My Rebirth In The Industry

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Ali Rehman Khan has become an A-list name when it comes to Pakistani television, film and theatre. Born to a Pashtun family in Islamabad, Ali is a post-graduate from University of London. But the passion of acting and performing arts inside him took Ali to the theatre scene from where he got into the field of film and in 2010 appeared in an independent film Slackistan, which was played at a number of festivals around the world. After two years, he did a comedy role in film ‘Goal Chakkar’, and after four years, played the role of Daniyal in a hit Janaan (2016). Ali also started working in dramas in between and got critical acclaim for his work in super hit drama serial ‘Diyare Dil’ (2015).  

From last year, Ali has become a regular star of our industry by doing dramas and films simultaneously. His last year’s comedy film ‘Parchi’ and drama serial ‘Mein Khayal Hoon Kisi Aur Ka’ both opposite to Harrem Farooq, were much appreciated. Always in search of new heights, Ali has become the talk of the town for his role of Ammar in drama serial ‘Khaas’. Along with this, Ali is much eager and optimistic about his upcoming feature film, ‘Heer Man Ja’ releasing on eid ul Azha.

Here is the chat with this guy about his present and future ventures.  

From the trailer, Heer Maan Ja, give a glimpse of Parchi. So are they bit similar as the cast and director and producer of both are same?  

No. Heer Maan Ja is totally different from Parchi. Parchi was a situational comedy while HMJ is a romantic comedy. This is first time that Hareem and I are coming in a romantic setting in a film.  HMJ has got a lot of Pakistani masala and a perfect balance dish for audience on eid as it is an all-out family entertainer with romance, comedy, action and drama. I am sure people will come out from theatres with light heart and happy mood after watching it. I think it is a complete piasa wasool film which will get pace by its word of mouth. 

You are working with the same team again for special reason?

I think there is no harm in working with a team in which you have developed a good chemistry and understanding.  Moreover, I was offered this role just after Parchi. I liked the script and just signed it. As the film took a bit longer to get complete, and unfortunately I could not sign any other project in between because of my schedule (though I was offered many). So, it seems like that we always work together as a team.

So, what is after this film?

Now I have started taking jobs more seriously and efficiently. You can say that 2019 is my rebirth on the industry as this year I am consistently spending my time doing many projects. Current year is the heaviest of all in my entire career. I could not accept more work as I was more out of country. Now, I have settled here as a full time actor, so will be seemed in more projects with different people.    

There are two other films coming on eid. So what do you think, will it be a close competition or will they benefit from each other’s footfall?  

I think it is a good trend that three films are coming on eid. There was a time when not a single film got released on eid. Public go out to cinema on eid, so there should be more variety for them. Yes, footfall will benefit each film like if people don’t get the ticket of the movie they want to watch, they will go to see another film. So it is true that apart from credible word of mouth, each film will get the benefit of other’s footfall. 

What do you think that why the producers wait for eid to release their films, why don’t they go for other days when there is a chance of less competition?

In Pakistan, we have only two proper holidays in a year that is eid. So, I think that eid is the season, when people have more time to go out with friends and family and spend money. Cinema is the one of those places, where they love to visit. So, producers want their product to be known by as many as possible.

How much you have danced in Heer Maan Ja?

I have danced in two songs; Addi Maar and the track. Both dance number have difficult steps but I hope people will like them. I must tell you that the music of the film is a big pull. Our tunes are very catchy and I think like Parchi, HMJ’s songs will also become popular choice on mehndi functions.  

In last, it is about your drama Khaas in which you are doing a kind of negative role, a narcissist, which has a very strong impact on audience. Have you ever thought about doing these kinds of roles in films as well as obviously film is much bigger medium than television.

As an actor, I always believe in innovation. I don’t think that I should do typical hero roles in every film. I would love to act difficult roles and character if there is a potential of performance in them. I signed for the role of Ammar in Khaas because it has a great margin of acting in it. Ammar is an anti-hero but this character is very relatable, which we don’t want to talk about. I never want to be stereotyped as a comedy or romantic hero; instead, I love to explore different roles in different genres’ films. I think whenever we start making films on different subjects; actors will also be able to get onto find diversified work. Till then we keep our search on. Let’s see where it takes us.   

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‘Parey Hut Love’ is a beautiful romantic saga

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Star Rating 4.0 /5.0

Just like its trailer, ‘Parey Hut Love’ is a pure romantic film which is a complete cinematic experience garnished with powerful performances and extremely beautiful music.

‘Parey Hut Love’ is Asim Raza’s second feature film after ‘Ho Mann Jahan’ and what surprises me is the giant leap he has taken from there. Everything is so beautiful about PHL, extravagant and gigantic sets, melodious tunes, stars, superstars and mega stars all of which is packaged beautifully to create a great cinematic experience.

Although, it is just another boy meets girl kind of a story, which is inspired from Hollywood classic, ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, however, what makes it a must watch on this festive season of Eid is the beautifully shot songs, a catchy background score, with a strong supporting cast and several superstars appearing as cameos, including Fawad Khan.

‘Parey Hut Love’ is a story of Sheheryar (Sheheryar Munawar), an aspiring actor, young and restless, who is afraid of any serious commitments, meets Saniya (Maya Ali) at her cousin Natasha’s (Parisheh James) wedding. They both developed infatuation for each other, however later Sheheryar failing to keep his commitment loses her and then tries to win her back.

As an actor, PHL is Sheheryar Munawar’s coming of an age film. He has come a long way from disaster of ‘Project Ghazi’ and not so well doing ‘7 Din Mohabbat In’. He acted well most importantly according to the script. He showed emotions in every frame, from being in love to a helpless and frustrated lover. He clearly demonstrates that he is certainly here to stay and he is in for a very long time.

Maya Ali as Saniya, appeared to play traditional girl of any subcontinent film, beautiful, dances very well, sweet, calm and content. Her character is that of an independent and confident girl who takes her own decisions. As Saniya, Maya Ali adds glamour to the film from the very beginning when she introduced to us in the start wearing a traditional lehenga choli for a cousin’s Mendi dance. She carried on her persona right till the end with utmost grace. She has proven that she is a complete package for our desi cinema. She acts well, dances her heart out and is ready to break barriers without hesitation. Most importantly, her onscreen chemistry worked well with Sheheryar, giving us a new sensational onscreen couple for years to come.

Mahira Khan as Zeena, brings the oomph factor towards the end. Although Mahira Khan herself called this role a cameo, after watching this film I would describe it as a supporting role with one complete Khathak dance number that she did with grace and style.

PHL is Zara Noor Abbas debut film, although her second film Chhalawa released earlier. She plays Shabbo, Sheheryar’s colleague, neighbour and a close friend, she brings joy, happiness and an emotional support to Sheheryar on many occasions. She has demonstrated her marvellous acting skills, she is a very good dancer and reacts in every situation.

Sheheryar’s friend and also an inspiring director, Arshad (Ahmed Ali Butt) creates laughter, brings joy and sometimes sadness to the screen. Yes, he has done this several times before but Mr. Butt really doesn’t make you feel that his presence is just a filler.

There are several cameos in the film. Rachel Viccaji, Jimmy Khan, Shahbaz Shigri, Frieha Altaf, Meera Jee and none other than Fawad Afzal Khan.
They all had limited screen time still they added value to the star studded romantic saga.

Frieha Altaf daughter, Parisheh James, debuts with this film. She plays a millennial girl who easily gets excited, she is bold, carefree and overconfident. The only thing she needs to take care of is her accent, if she really wants to pursue her career as an actor.

Hina Dilpazeer is hilarious but her character is one dimensional. Nadeem Baig in his role as Saniya’s father brought calm and greatness.

The music is a real treat composed by Azaan Sami Khan, all six songs deserve to be in your playlist. IkPal is a perfect wedding song that will compel to move your feet, Behkana is a melodious romantic number, that can be enjoyed on a long drive, Haye Dil is an upbeat song, Balma Bhagora, can be termed as party anthem of the year. Morey Saiyan is a soothing and calming song sung by Zeb Bangash. And not to be missed the Qawwali Zehal e Miskeen by music maetro Ustaad Rahet Fateh Ali Khan which is a heaven for your ears.

Parey Hut Love is summed up in a one liner, which Fawad Khan said also in a trailer, Zindagi Ka Usool Hai, logon ko maza karao, jeena mat sikhao (The rule of life, let people enjoy, don’t teach them how to live). So Asim Raza played safe and wins it absolutely. He tries to give a subtle message, love will always come back to you if you can give it some time.

Because the canvas is lightened up, the audience will not notice any dips in the story, as you will feel a great cinematic experience.

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Heer Is Very Close To Hareem

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Hareem Farooq is among the A list stars of our entertainment industry. She is a successful actor of theatre, television and film with venturing her luck into production as well. Born in the capital city of Islamabad, Hareem did her bachelors in Social Sciences from Quaid-e-Azam University. In 2012, she started her career with the theatre play ‘Pawnay Chauda August’ by veteran Anwer Maqsood. Next year, Hareem entered into television and since then, has played pivotal roles in 11 drama serials. At just the start of her career, she put her feet into the difficult field of film production, for which she was discourage in the beginning but the determine lady did it and produced her first film Janaan in 2014, which was rated as a successful film of that year. Being an actor as her first choicd, she appeared as successful main lead in fims; Dobara Phir Se (2016) and Parchi (2018). Her recent flick ‘Heer Maan Ja’, in which she playing the title role of Heer, is releasing this eid. HMJ is also Hareem’s third film as co-producer. Here is she in special conversation with Pakistan Today.

What ate the hopes about Heer Maan Ja?

Many hopes! We have put our hearts in this project and worked very hard with utmost sincerity. I must say this that main reason of making this film is to bring enjoyment to viewers. It is their film. We hope that when they get out after watching this film, there must be a smile on their faces and a lot of love and positivity in their hearts.  

HMJ has a glimpse of your last film Parchi. Is it true? 

I have never come across with such comment. By the way it is entirely different from Parchi.

Then what is the uniqueness of HMJ?

A complete family entertainer, though with some masala in it, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot watch it with your families. Usually, people have a perception about a comedy films that it would have some adult jokes that cannot be watched with families. This is not the case with HMJ. It has a lot of ingredients and many funny moments with which you can also relate with.

Billo created too much buzz last year. What Heer is giving this year?

You have seen our title song Heer Maan Ja. Hope it will create that buzz.

After Parchi you have done another film with the same team. Any special reason?

First of all, I think it is all is on merit. Secondly we have formed a good team which is very important for the success of anything. Third reason of doing it again is that people wanted to see Hareem and Ali in an interesting romantic story.

Your chemistry with Ali Rehman Khan is getting stronger with time as you have worked with on three consecutive projects. So, will you miss that chemistry if working with someone else?

Obviously, I will miss working with him as we are so much comfortable with each other when it comes to acting. But the beauty of this profession is that you should work with so many people and get to learn. So, as far as I miss working with him, I will also acquire a lot professionally while working with others. 

There are two more films releasing on eid. So do you feel any strong competition? 

I look at very positively when audience are getting three different types of films on a single eid. Every film have its own flavour and genre which is quite interesting for the audience and the business overall.  I consider it as a success and achievement of our industry. So, I think it is more of complementing each other instead of competing.

You are the producer of this film and many others in the past as well. Being a female producer did you face any problem in the field?

I think problems arise in the beginning whatever you start but you have to tackle them. I started production with start of my acting career. At that time people advised me not to come into production so soon as it can lessen my glamour and damage my acting career. But I don’t believe in such things. I think we should start whatever we want to when we are sure and confident that we can be honest and do justice with it. Otherwise, people would always come with excuses and comments. It ok.

What is more challenging? Acting or production.

Both are challenging in their own capacity specially when being done together.

What is next? Or which type of role you want to do in future?

Many things are in pipeline. We will disclose it on time. As far as any specific type of character is concerned, my all-time favoutire is Nicole Kidman’s character in Moulan Rouge. It is one of my desired roles to get.   

What do you prefer most? Television or film.

Film! Why because I believe that it is an ultimate dream of every actor. Film is larger than life, a fantasy world, where everybody wants to go in.

In these times, when it is almost impossible to get a Bollywood film released in Pakistan, do you think that it is affecting our cinema too?

It is true that we need their films for time being to sustain our cinema, but at the same time we also need to work more on our films and should make good and enough films that we must not have to rely on other industries.  

Do you think that there should be a good exchange of content between both the countries?

Yes of course as both countries share the same language so it will be viable for their audience and film makers as well. It must be on the business point of view not that we should rely on their content. But in current political situation between the countries, it seems almost impossible.

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Mahira silenced her critics with a power pack performance in Superstar

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Star Rating 4.0 / 5.0

Superstar is a very simple love story, what makes it grand is the star cast that turned this boy meets girl story into something special and magical.
Director Ehtehshamuddin crafts this Pakistani love story with some non-traditional twists and turns which makes this film a pure treat for cinemagoers this Eidul Azha.

Superstar story about Noori (Mahira Khan) and Sameer (Bilal Ashraf), Noori works in a theatre which is run by her grandfather Sameer Malik aka Agha Jaan (Nadeem Baig) and occasionally she also works in small budget TV commercials. Whereas, Sameer is a Pakistani film industry’s superstar, he is a son of business tycoon Zulfiqar Khan (Javed Sheikh) and his mother Laila Khan (Marina Khan) was once a famous actress of her era. As usual Sameer’s father wants him to leave the film industry and help him run his business, while Sameer is passionate about his acting career, thus it makes father son relationship a sour one.

Agha Jaan was once a famous film director who has now limit himself to a theatre in Lahore’s old city area.

Somehow Noori and Sameer meet on a commercial set and soon Sameer developed soft corner for Noori and his feelings are not one sided. They started falling in love together. One day Sameer went to watch her theatrical performance with his commercial director friend Shaan (Ali Kazmi) who immediately decides to cast Noori in his debut film after watching her power packed performance with Sameer.

This is the point when we have an important twist in the story and unpredictably Sameer’s self-centeredness pulls him cross the border and it changes everything completely for Noori and of course for Shaan.

Here come some real-life inspirations from the Pakistani film industry and the sequence is exquisitely filmed thanks to strong screen play by Azaan Sami Khan and skillful presentation on screen by Ehtehshaamuddin.

Superstar has a bag full of stars like Mahira Khan, Bilal Ashraf and Nadeem Baig, which helps it create an onscreen charm that never fades away.

If we talk about the performances Mahira Khan has certainly exceeded all her previous works till date. In superstar, you will find Mahira Khan at her best. She has proven herself to be director’s actor, and Ehteshamuddin has undoubtedly brought her character to life as the dreamer Noori.

With an exceptional performance as Noori, Mahira Khan has successfully silenced her critiques and all those who were trying hard to bring her down sending a solid message that she is here to stay. In this movie, as a theatre actor Mahira Khan has performed some remarkable skits with utmost brilliance.

Superstar is Mahira Khan’s first film where she choses to reveal her glamourous side as she dances in a traditional Lehenga Choli in a dance number ‘Noori’ and also wears some exquisite Ball Gowns, western attires and of course Sarees. Superstar is surely a joy to watch for all of her fans across the planet.

Coming from behind, Bilal Ashraf as a superstar brings the best of himself especially with the body transformation he has gone through, he managed to portray a superstar persona that brings joy, happiness, and charisma to the silver screen. In Superstar he actually impresses his audience with his acting skills and his romance with Mahira Khan. Bilal Ashraf somehow shred all the stiffness that we have witnessed is his previous work.

His chemistry with Mahira Khan is phenomenal, the one we had only witnessed with Fawwad Khan before Superstar.

Ali Kazmi as Shaan as always delivers his best in each and every frame we saw him. He demonstrates that he is a class actor that delivers whenever he is asked for.

Although Javed Sheikh has a very limited screen time as Sameer’s father, but he did very well, especially the scene with Nadeem Baig which complete the story arc of that generation was quite nostalgic to watch on a giant screen it reminds me of golden age of Pakistani cinema.

Nadeem Baig as Agha Jaan has a major role to play rather than a usual cameo presence. Ehtedhamuddin unlike many directors did well not to use him as a prop, but a real character and he prove why he is still a superstar. After over a decade we have seen Nadeem Baig lip sync a song which definitely makes you feel nostalgic.

The man behind the outstanding music and screen play of Superstar is none other than Azaan Sami Khan. Having music in his DNA, Azaan gives us some best melodious songs of recent era. The beauty is that every track pushes the story forward, it focuses on telling you the story and never makes you feel unfit for the situation. Tracks like ‘Bekaraan’ and ‘In Dinon’ makes you feel loved while ‘Dharak Bharak’ and forces you to wear your dancing shoes.

In the end I would say that Superstar is a pure romantic saga, it has some of the best acting performances, brilliant music, good storyline and remarkably well execution. Director Mohammed Ehtehshaamuddin deserves every bit of praise for this wonderful jewel being presented on Eid ul Adha.

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