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.
Gama Will Set New Standards: Nasir Adeeb
The writer of Pakistani feature film Gama, Nasir Adeeb spills beans on what his new venture would probably have for the audience, who have high hopes from him after witnessing amazing work from the playwright, the feature film The Legend Of Maula Jatt.
Based on the life of the Sub-continent’s undefeated wrestling champion of 20th century, The Great Gama or Rustem-e-Hind, Gama, produced by Shayan Khan of ZASHKO Films, would purely be a commercial film, in which the important incidents of Gama’s life would be portrayed in possible real manner, according to Adeeb.
The real name of Gama was Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt, who was born in a village of Amritsar District of Punjab, the then British India in 1878. He is considered one of the greatest Indian wrestlers (pehelwan) of all time and remained an undefeated wrestling champion, throughout his career, spanning more than 52 years. The legendary wrestler migrated to Pakistan, after the partition and died in the city of Lahore in 1960.
Here are some interesting aspects of the Gama, right from the mouth of the writer, which might be if interest of cine-lovers.
Talking more about the film, the writer said, “The Gama would be biographical account on the life of of The Great Gama but it will be written within the format of a feature film. The main highlight of the story is the portraying an undefeated wrestler in the entire world. Moreover, we put commercial elements like romance and interesting aspects of the personal life as well to fulfil the requirements of a commercial film”.
The language of the film is Punjabi but according to Adeeb it will be entirely different from his last films especially the recent one TLOMJ. In most of his Punjabi films, the characters keep challenging the system, but Gama is set in a different environment, which depicts the life of the wrestler spanning over the eras i.e. pre-partition and post-partition of Sub-Continent.
He said that though so much happened before and during the life Gama, on local and international fronts but the film would not be a political or social drama.
He added that when writing a biopic, it is necessary to keep in mind the specific era and its incidents happened around the life of that specific personality and Gama’s life witnessed a lot of big incidents like Indian Rebellion of 1857, 20 years before the birth of Gama, WWI and WWII, and the establishment of Pakistan, so the film would need a hefty budget to not only create the aura of 19th and 20th century but also to show those historical events to supporting the story of the film.
How much outrage, the trademark of Adeeb’s films, would Gama have
Talking about the violence in the film, as most of his movies have, The Wehshi Jatt writer said, “Most of my Punjabi films has a kind of violence in them, as they are against the corrupt system, but Gama lived in an entire different era, and moreover, the film is more focussed on Gama’s professional life as a wrestler, it is obvious there would be a lot of action in the film instead of violence.
The Romance In Gama
Adeeb also assure about the presence of romance in the movie, as that era was a quite peaceful period overall.
Whatever account was available on the life of Gama; the writer has gone through all of it and extracted what he needed for his story. He has only chosen the wrestler’s three to four highlighted fights, on which the entire film would be based.
He also specified that no one from the family of the wrestler has contacted him nor he had called them for any information but added that whenever in future, they contact the production tem, they will definitely meet them.
Adeeb believes as Gama is a universal personality so any one can make anything on him and assured that his film would promote the image of legendary athlete in a positive manner and nothing in the story is going to put the wrestler in any negative light.
What are his expectations from the film, once the script is completed, the writer said, very high.
“Why I agreed to write it when Shayan told me about making of film Gama because I believed what standard and fantastical world Bilal Lashari has presented in TLOMJ, other film makers would follow that.”
But yes, it needs an ample amount of budget as it this film is a film, depicting the period in which many important and crucial incidents took place, he added.
Adeeb’s first choice to direct this film is Bilal Lashari while the second option is legendary Hasan Askari. He has no third option in his mind for the director of this film. He believes in the skills of Lashari and also trusts Askari, who till this age, has a potential and vision to make a larger than life, but leaves final decision on producers of the film.
Who Would Play Gama?
Replying to, who did he think would be the most suitable actor for the role of Gama? Nasir said he was sure that whoever would do this character; have to keep him under observation for at least four to six months in order to make a muscular and bulky body and gain a lot of weight to look more like Gama.
“At the moment all our male actors are slim. They go to gym to have a muscular body but they look healthy not bulky like a pehlwaan. There is a difference between a muscular body and a wrestler body. Like Amir Khan put a lot of weight for his role in Dangal, so let’s see who would be ready to do this for Gama.”
The writer further added that in his opinion, if Shayan Khan himself takes the risk of gaining weight, he could also be a good choice do the character of Gama.
IMGC Announced Upcoming Film Under Its Banner
The renowned film distribution company of Pakistan, IMGC has recently announced the films going to be distributed in the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year under its banner.
Now when the cinemas all over the world are functioning fully after the closure of almost of 20 month after the closure of almost 20 month Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, Pakistani film industry is currently relying on the backlogs of films which were supposed to be released in last two years.
The films which would be distributed by IMGC are films form the backlog have been made under the big banners and are waiting in line to be released at right time.
Here are the list of films that has been and announced to distributed by DC after the reopening of cinemas.
Kamli (3rd June 2022)
Kamli was released on 3rd June 2022, stars Saba Qamar, Sania Saeed and Nimra Bucha as leads. Directed by Sarmad Khoosat, the film is a story of the emotion and desires of a woman which she mostly keeps secrete in our society. The film did decent business in the genre of an art film when the flow in cinemas was low firstly because of its off season release and secondly the reluctance of people to come habitually to cinemas after lockdowns.
Intezaar (19th August 2022)
Intezaar was thefilm, which actually cancelled its already announced plan of release because of lockdown in March 2020. It was finally released on 19th August 2022. Intezaar stars Samina Ahmad, Khalid Ahmad and Kaif Ghaznavi in major roles. Intezaar is directorial debut of veteran actress of Pakistan Sakina Samo. The film as the name suggest is tale of wait for something good and happy in the life of every character in the film.
Zarrar (25th November 2022)
The first date of the release of the film was announced 23 September 2022 but due to the emergency situations all over the country after recent floods, Shaan Shahid the lead cast and the writer and director of the film delay the release for one week. Now it will be in cinemas on 25th of November 2022.
The film is produced by Ejaz Shahid and Adnan Butt under the banner of Jehan Films. Zarrar is an action thriller about the patriotism and love of mother land. Shaan in the titular role of Zarrar is a secret agent, who is on a mission to solve the seemingly endless cycle of threats against his homeland of Pakistan.
Other cast of the film includes Kiran Malik, Nadeem Baig, Natyyar Ejaz and Shafqat Cheema in supporting characters.
Development of Zarrar started in 2016 when behind the scene shots of the film were shared by Shaan himself.
Neelofar (23 December 2022)
Neelofar would be the second film of Fawad Khan and third film of Mahira Khan this year. Both would have The Legend Of Maula Jatt releasing on 13 October on their credits, while Mahira who starred in Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad opposite Fahad Mustafa on eid-ul-fitr would celebrate Neelofar as her third film released in 2022.
The film is written and directed by debutant Ammar Rasool and a co-produced by Fawad Khan and IMGC.
The film lovers would also witness pair of Mahira and Fawad Khan on screen together third time after Hamsafar (2011) and The Legend Of Maula Jatt (October 2022), though this pair often appears together in many television commercials and fashion shoots.
Mahira Khan is playing a role of a blind girl in the movie. The principal shooting for Neelofar was completed in December 2020.
Aasman Bolay Ga (January 2023)
The final release date of the film has not yet been confirmed, but according to IMGC, it would most likely to be released in the first month of the next year.
ABG is written, directed and produced by veteran Shoaib Mansoor, under his company Shoman Films. Mansoor has given us block buster like Khuda Ke Liye (2007), Bol (2011), and Verna (2017). The film also seems to be the last instalment of his series which started in 2007 with KKL. According to Amjad Rasheed, all four instalments link each other as far as their names are concerned i.e. Khuda Ke Liye, Bol, Verna, Aasman Bolay Ga. All films highlighted the political and social issues of our society.
ABG stars Maya Ali and Emmad Irfani in lead roles. The title teaser of the film was released a couple of months ago by Shoiab Mansoor on his social media. In an interview to Dutche Welle last year Maya Ali revealed that she would be playing the role of a journalist in ABG.
Money Back Gurantee (21st April 2023)
Money Back Guarantee is a multi-starrer heavy budget Pakistani film produced by Zain Farooqi. The film, which has already created lot of buzz around the film circles, is directed by versatile Faisal Qureshi, who has released the first poster of the film digitally on his social media. Teaser of film will be released on 9th September and movie will hit the screens on 21 April in 2023, which would fall on the days of eid-ul-fitr.
The film which is under post production at the moment claims to be based on a novel concept, which covers a theme full of humour and suspense. The star cast of the film includes the leading stars of current era including Fawad Khan, Ayesha Omar, Mikaal Zulfiqar, John Rambo, Javed Sheikh, Hina Dilpazer, Mirza Gohar Rashid, Shayan Khan, Mani, Kiran Malik, Ali Safina, Shafaat Ali in important roles. Another surprise of the movie is the presence Sultan of Swing legendary cricketer Wasim Akram and his wife Shaniera Akram as actors.
The film was scheduled to release on 22 May 2020 (eid-ul-fitr); however, due to Covid-19 pandemic, the release of the movie was postponed.
Started as Distribution Club (Pvt) limited in 1953 by late Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, the company, since then has cascaded numerous (about 450) Pakistani and international films in country. Rasheed also established Independent AR Films in 1964 extending the operations of company.
The legacy continued when his son Shiekh Amjad Rasheed took charge of the affairs as the chairman after his father and established the group of company IMGC in 1985 with increased functions and a turnover of approximately 200 million US dollar. For last four decades Amjad Rasheed has been in a thriving business of film production and distribution and has the privilege of heading the Film Producers Association as Chairman two times to date.
DC also has its esteemed clients and partners both locally and globally like EROS, Yashraj, YTV, FOX, Zee, Red Chillies, Madhu, Balaji, Grand Showbiz, T-Series, Disney, Reliance, Shree International, Mahesh Bhatt, Rhythm Boy and White Hill etc.
A Solo Bridal Show By Kashee’s in Karachi
After receiving overwhelming response for his debut bridal collection at the 18th edition of HUM Bridal Couture Week, makeup expert and bridal wear designer Kashif Aslam of Kashee’s presented his latest collection titled ‘Bridal Festive 2022’ in a grand solo showcase in Karachi.
Keeping in mind the wedding festivities of the subcontinent, the showcase was divided into four parts, featuring a wide range of designs for Mayoon, Mehndi, Baraat and Valima. The collection was an ode to our rich culture and traditions designed and embedded with floral motifs in Zari and Swaroaski crystals and traditional embroidery work. The pieces were a combination of traditional sensibility, cut and tailored with a modern edge. The colour palette shuffled between vibrant tones of wedding festivities and the classical red.
Kashee’s solo show had a fabolous line-up of celebrities swaying down the catwalk. Film star Sana Fakhar opened the show while TikTok star Rebecca, Madiha, Saba Faisal and Sarwat Gillani closed the Mayoon. Shagufta Ejaz, Benita David, Nadia Hussain and Sehar walked as show-stoppers in the Mehndi segment, whereas Saba Faisal, Rebecca and Neelam Muneer graced the ramp in the Baraat segment. The final segment of the show was Valima, opened by Dr Shaista Lodhi, whereas Suneeta Marshal, Sana Fakhar and Benita also graced the catwalk. The show came to an end as the ever gorgeous Reema Khan walked down the ramp in thunderous applause by the attendees.
The event was organized by HUM Special Projects & Events. The stage and catwalk for Kashee’s solo showcase were opulent and grand in scale like other big shows of Hum Network. The set theme was in sync with the collection of pieces showcased, which added and enhanced the overall catwalk experience.
Photography of the show was done by Ahsan Qureshy and Haris Usmani while all the bridal wear and hair and makeup was done by Kashee’s