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Fruit Chaat Reinforces The Notion Of Women Empowerment

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ZEE5 Global, the largest OTT platform for South Asian Content, recently announced the winners of its 2021 Global Content Festival. The contest announced 15 winners and among them a Pakistani short film ‘Fruit Chaat’ secured the third place.

Singapore-based independent filmmaker Shilpa K Shukla has emerged as the Global Content Festival Winner with 3 entries in the Drama films category ([email protected], Tashi and Dots) while Love Beyond Boundaries, a collection of incredible love stories by Filmmakers Ruchi Undevia and Aarti Trikannad (Dubai) got runner up position.

Fruit Chaat t is written and produced by Tanzila Khan, who has also played the lead role of Shabana while Moiz Abbas has directed it. The film highlights the hopes of Shabana, a newly-minted yet disabled graduate girl in Pakistan looking for opportunities, and all the limitations that society imposes on her encapsulated in a funny, heart-warming story.

The Daily Paperazzi reached to this young and talented duo and asked them about their project and winning it contest.

Q Why did you name it Fruit Chaat?

Tanzila- Fruit Chaat happens to be a very cultural thing in Pakistan. It has a typical flavour and colour. That is exactly what the character of Shabana is implying, ‘I am much more than what the world perceives me as. As a disabled person or a woman, I can create something so beautiful like Fruit Chaat and can take care of every relationship.” 

Moiz – Just like a plate of Fruit Chaat, this film has many underlying flavours. When we make this into a series or a sequel, the audience will see the relevance of the name.

Q What was the inspiration behind the character of Shabana?

Tanzila – Shabana represents a very important segment of the society that is women, and a woman born with disabilities. It was very important to highlight what a woman with such disabilities can go through the life in Pakistan and in South Asian countries to be precise. She has the same desires and wishes as any normal girl and her disabilities amplify her experience but do not make her an odd one out.

Moiz – The Inspiration behind the character of Shabana is Tanzila Khan herself because Shabana is Tanzila Khan and Tanzila Khan is Shabana in Fruit Chaat. It’s a story of Tanzila Khan in reality, just like the character she managed to complete her graduation sitting in a wheelchair and was treated the same way as the HR treated Shabana, when she was looking out for a job. Ultimately, Tanzila opened her start-up named Girly Things which is operated throughout the country.

Q Do you think that your short film encompasses the message of women empowerment?

Tanzila –I think the first thing that we need to do, is to humanize women, give them the due credit for the contributions they have made and then the empowerment will sprout out in its own way. A woman has same ambitions, dreams that a man would have, and she should seek the same respect for whatever work she does. It could be housework, or being a great mother at home or a good boss in the office. Just allow women to be themselves and that what I think is empowerment.

Moiz – Yes, definitely. Our movie gives out a very clear message of women empowerment and states that no matter whatever the situation is, you can always conquer, and it has nothing to do with your gender. It is about women empowerment, her education, entrepreneurship and other choices in life. What you see Shabana, a hijabi girl completing her graduation on a wheelchair and also appearing for an interview where the panel tries to dominate and neglect her, simply because of her disabilities and gender but she paves her way to victory in the university and the interview as well. This is where she gets the Idea of entrepreneurship and decides to open her fruit stall where she sells fruit Chaat. It is all about how we want to see our women progress in society.

Q Why did you prefer the genre of comedy and satire for your film?

Tanzila- As a woman with a disability, I have been through a lot of ups and downs but keep myself sane because of my sense of humour with myself. I think comedy is a tool for improvement and getting through the challenges in life. Comedy is my way of life; it is my choice. I like people to understand the humor that I have and also simultaneously understand my experiences through that.

Moiz- Whenever we have talked about disabled people, we have portrayed them in the way that their lives are miserable and they are depressed all the time, which is not right. We have an example of Tanzila Khan, and Ms Mizaari, though are on a wheelchair, they seem happy. However, ups and downs are an inevitable part of everybody’s life regardless of the fact if they are physically disabled or not. We have drawn the character of Shabana from the life of Tanzila, and you will witness how happy and empowered that character is. We wanted to give out the message that Shabana can not only sell fruits but can also make good Fruit Chaat and do several other tasks just like a normal person. She made sure that her disability does not come in between her dreams.

Q How long did it take to shoot your short film and where was it shot?

Tanzila- It took us a day to shoot the entire film. We did the auditions a day before and had some training sessions the same day. The shoot was divided in three locations; one was in office, other was Al-Humara Community Center for Arts in Lahore, and the third location was just a roadside Fruit Chaat stall.

Moiz- Being an independent filmmaker in Pakistan, it was really very difficult. When we approached big production houses for help, they all neglected us by saying there is no point in this script or the film to be made. We had a firm belief in the story since the beginning so decided to make it ourselves. Tanzila started to collect funds for the movie and after a yearlong planning we were in a situation, where we could take it to the floors. We shot this 11 minutes long film in just 15 hours at different locations of Lahore.

Q Tell us about sending and winning this film to the Zee5 Global Content Contest Festival?

Tanzila- Initially, we had shared this film with ZEE5 Global to be aired on 3rd December which is the international day of disabled people. They saw some spark in the film and pushed it into their Global Content Festival which was happening around the same time. We provided them with all the necessary details and were not expecting further contact from them at all, but very soon received words of being shortlisted. The final excitement came when we were told about our inclusion in winner’s list. It became so much valuable for all of a sudden. The entire idea of being an international contest winner, and India recognizing talent from Pakistan was a great feeling. Last but not the least, the disability got the space that it deserved. One billion people in the world are having disabilities and it’s a huge number. So, having that artistic expression, presenting disability and winning, it’s a huge win for all those one billion people. We have also paved the way for independent filmmakers to work on more varied concepts.

Moiz- One of my friends tagged me in a post and on opening I realized it was about ZEE5 Global Content Festival. I then decided to send our film in this without any second thought. I had a belief that we will win as our dedication in the project was at 100%. Winning it was such a nice feeling. I feel that more such Global Content Festivals like the one with ZEE5 should be conducted, as they give a big platform to independent film makers like me to show case their work. I am grateful to the whole team of ZEE5. 

All the winning films are being streamed on ZEE5 and free to watch for viewers across the globe at http://bit.ly/ZEE5GCFWinners.

To watch these films, the ZEE5 app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store. The app is also available on Samsung Smart TV, Apple TV, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com.

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ENCOUNTER SCENTS LAUNCHED AT A VIRTUAL EVENT

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US-based brand Encounter Scents under the aegis of Dua Fragrances held its Virtual Launch event orchestrated by Catwalk Event Management & Productions last week with strict Covid SOPs in place.

Hosts Mahsam Raza, CEO of Dua Fragrances and Encounter Scents along with Partner/Board Director, actor, television host and Producer Faysal Quraishi invited guests to a cool ambience comply with socially distanced white benches.

The stage also followed the white theme with a hefty design of the Encounter Scents bottle. On its sides two large screens show-reeled a 90 second promo film and congratulatory shout outs from gift box recipients.

On a corner, an elegant flower-filled barrow fragrance counter held samples of the five existing Encounter Scents For Him and For Her fragrances including COMPLIMENT, CONFIDENCE, ROMANTIC, SEDUCTION & IN THE CLUB.

Guests included members from the entertainment industry including actors; Shahzad Nawaz, Aijaz Aslam, Nabeel Zafar, Naveed Raza, Haroon Shahid, Zain Afzal, Faizan Shaikh, Aadi Adeal Amjad and actress and model Dur-e-Fishan Saleem as well entrepreneur and designer Asim Jofa, and publicist Rasik Ismail. The media, comprising leading bloggers, Vloggers, digital broadcasters and contestants from the game show ‘Khush Raho Pakistan’ which Faisal Quraishi hosts were also present.

Dino Ali conducted the red carpet and stage event and queried from guests about their favourite Encounter fragrance. Some celebrity guests were tested during a blindfold game in which they were asked to try and guess any of the 10 existing scents.

On stage Faysal Quraishi reminisced about his struggling days during which he would still make saving up to buy fragrances a priority, highlighting his lifelong passion for scents.

“When you meet someone something that is indelibly remembered and lingers on after the encounter is the fragrance that the other person was wearing,” Faisal said, adding that he and partner Mahsam had a similar passion for perfume and that there was “a story behind each of the Encounter Scents fragrances.”

Mahsam Raza reiterated this fact when he explained the genesis of one of the fragrances, Confidence for Him.

“Each ingredient was cherry picked according to all the fragrance notes my father liked” adding that all the ingredients used in Encounter Scents are derived straight from the source without a middleman.”

Mahsam went on to speak and enthuse about the brand’s philosophy: “Encounter Scents is dedicated to providing its loyal customers with an assortment of high quality fragrances for all of life’s special moments according to different preferences.”

Mahsam and Faysal also spoke about their focus on establishing the fragrances in Pakistan and “working on many other plans and developing other products.”

Encounter Scents is currently developing another set of six additional fragrances to the line; three for men and three for women.

Encounter Scents fragrances will initially be available only online in Pakistan on the brand’s website with payment made through Shopify. The ordinarily PKR 13,500 fragrances will be offered at an introductory sale price of PKR 10,000 each, accessible through the company’s website www.encounterscents.pk.

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Spotify Premium Launches New Offers for Free

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Summertime, a holiday season, and people consume more music than usual that is why the world’s biggest music streaming service Spotify launches its summer plans for melody lovers.

This summer, Spotify Premium is offering three months free to the eligible and first time-users for its Individual Premium Plan. Moreover, those users, who have cancelled their Individual Premium plan for any reason, can also get them back in just 299 PKR for three months. Both offers are available for the Individual Premium Plan till June 22. To be eligible for the 299 PKR offer, subscribers must have cancelled their plan on or before April 26.

Spotify Premium gives subscribers an audio streaming experience with ad-free music listening, and on-demand audio anytime. On Spotify, users get access to more than 70 million tracks and four billion playlists right at their fingertips. So whether one is away from home or sitting at the cosy home, Spotify covers it. The service makes it easier for its users to find their favourite music and check out their very own personalized playlists like Discover Weekly, Spotify Mixes, Time Capsule and more.

For details, head to Spotify.com/Premium to sign up.

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Our Society Has Not Accepted Music As A Profession: Muhammad Ali Shyhaki

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Mohammed Ali Shyhaki is a well-known name in Pakistan entertainment industry. He is among the ones who introduced the genre of pop and rock music in Pakistan. Started his music career in the 1970s, Shyhaki earned a name and fame as ace star in Pakistani pop music and as a playback singer.

His patriotic song ‘Main Bi Pakistan Hoon’ and folk song ‘Teray Ishq Mein Jo Bhi Doob Gaya’, with famous folk singer Allan Fakir are still popular among masses.

Shyhaki also acted in a few films. Some of his films achieved success at the box office but the industry was already on the decline, so he left films. His film Choron ka Badshah (1988) celebrated platinum jubilee.

His family name ‘Shyhaki’ comes from his Iranian father who used to work at the Iranian Consulate in Karachi. After graduating from NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Pakistan, he made a short-lived career in aviation but could not find him fit for the profession and got back to his passion, music.

The government of Pakistan recently awarded him the ‘Pride of Performance’ for his services to the music industry of Pakistan.

Daily Paperazzi reached to this legend and talked about his recent achievement and current activities.

Don’t you think that you must’ve have got this award a long time ago?

Yes. It seems true. But I leave things to God. He can better decide what is and when is something better for us. We can only work hard which I think I did to my best.

Your fans see you very seldom these days. Why?

There was a time when we (musicians of his generation) were everywhere and all the time on television. Then policies changed and channels started to give more priority to current affairs and politics on their screens. People were also enjoying them. Ratings got higher and ultimately these channels started to get more advertisements for political talk shows rather than entertainment. They might decide why to spend money on musicians (and their tantrums) and other entertainment programs with less profit in return. Instead they just set up studios, hired a host, and called two politicians, and then a hot debate started. It cost them much less but earned more.

What do you do to satisfy the artist inside you?

I do private shows. I always go and perform when someone calls me with respect.  Moreover, I have established a registered YouTube channel where I put up short durations programs and shows along with my radio show which I do every week on FM 100. The program also goes live on the channel’s Facebook page. I have a right to download it, edit it and upload on my official channel so anyone can watch and enjoy it.

You have studied civil engineering. So how did you come into the field of showbiz and music?

I thought I was not fit for the job of an engineer. I didn’t realise it when studying but when it came to be a professional I could not implement it.

In meantime, to my surprise, I met many who could not even write a single sentence but passed the exams and got the job. I also got the job but I could not sustain it for more than 6 months as my boss had a laid back attitude and was not ready to take any responsibility for his work. He also asked me to do the same. I thought it was not just to get earnings without taking any responsibility and doing things in a right way. Moreover, naturally, I was more comfortable in performing arts than engineering.

You are among the founders of pop music in Pakistan. How did you modify the pure pop rock from the west for your Eastern Listeners?

Music is like a bara masala ki chaat in which the more you put in the more it becomes interesting and appealing for the audience. We always do experiment to transform music, for instance, there was a time when bhangra was a hit thing with amalgamation of pop and rap.

You have worked in films as well. Tell us something about it?

It is an interesting story. Director Iqbal Yousuf approached me and offered a role in his film. I was shocked. I asked him to hire me as a playback singer but he was adamant for me to act, He said, “Tum film material ho.”  It was a time when I had returned from the USA. He cast me as lead in ‘Son Of Andata’. It was kind of a debut.  Then I was cast in a very challenging role in ‘Pyar Do a Maar Do’. It was a quite difficult topic and co-production between Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore and Malaysia. The film could not be run in Pakistani cinemas as the censor board said it was promoting Bengali and Hindu culture. The story demanded all the female characters wear Saris while male cast wore lungis. I did 10 movies altogether. Among them almost 4 were released while the rest are still in boxes or files

Do you think that what appreciation and promotion our artists and performing arts are getting on state level is enough for the betterment of this industry?

To be honest I feel general public has not accepted us as part of the society.  It not only includes the showbiz or performing arts but also the artists who paint, write or do any other creative trait. We are not considered as normal as we are not working 9 to 5.  They ask why he is charging so much money just from singing. What he is doing is so big. I ask them why they don’t do this. I know everybody can’t do everything. It means this is an extraordinary talent which God has given to some of his people. If they can’t or don’t want to do it, hen deny to accept it. This is not fair. I believe that it is only God to decide from which profession we would earn. 

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