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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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MY Genre Of Work Is Comedy: Danish Nawaz

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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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IPPA Announces Its Fifth Instalment

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IPPA (International Pakistan Prestige Awards) announced its fifth instalment to be held Dallas, Texas, USA, on July 23 at a press conference in Karachi.

The programme was kick-started with a red carpet where celebrities, particularly those who have been part of previous IPPAs shared their previous experiences.

The host of the evening, Shanaz Ramzi, who has been an integral part of IPPA since it started in 2017, welcomed the guests and expressed her delight that her company has been associated for more than five years with IPPA, the only independent Pakistani awards that has consistently been doing successful shows abroad.  A presentation was also shown that featured excerpts from the previous IPPAs.

Co-founder IPPA, Ali Malik, who could not attend the conference because of his engagement in another event in Manchester, sent his special message for the event.

The message read “It gives me the utmost pleasure to announce the fifth IPPA, after successfully holding it consistently in different parts of the world. Our vision was to project a positive image of Pakistan abroad and we have been successful in doing that by showcasing our talent in the field of drama, films, music and fashion. I am delighted to announce that the next IPPA will be in the US, and we are joining hands with a seasoned US-based company to execute the event. I am grateful to HUM TV, all our partners, sponsors and of course our highly talented artistes who have been supporting us from day one, and continue to do so to date. Let’s make the fifth IPPA rock!”

Another co-founder of IPPA, Mukhtar Ahmed while addressing the audience, expressed his pride and joy for the successful trail of IPPs, “It is a very ambitious move on our part, but we are confident that together, we will pull it off! Our objective of taking IPPA to different parts of the world is not just to project our marvellous talent but also to strengthen Pakistan’s ties with the country hosting us. We hope to increase trade and export our talent to these places once they are exposed to what we have to offer.”

IPPA has joined hands with Azhar Zaidi, aka AZ, who runs AZ Entertainment, a US-based company to host the fifth IPPA in Dallas, Texas.

Azhar Zaidi showed his excitement by saying, “I am delighted to be joining hands this time with IPPA to host the fifth IPPA in Dallas. We have a huge Pakistani diaspora there and as you have just seen, and we are very comfortable pulling of mammoth shows in Dallas. I am confident that with our combined efforts we will be able to make the next IPPA even more successful than the previous ones, Inshallah!”

Celebrities, who have been part of IPPA earlier, or hope to be this time round, then shared their experiences/emotions.

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Dewan Motors Launches Centre For BMW Motorrad In Lahore

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The world-renowned premium motorcycle brand BMW Motorrad marks a new era by joining hand with already well-known Dewan Motors in Pakistan. Dewan Motors has appointed famous rock musician, actor Mr. Umair Jaswal as the BMW Motorrad, brand Ambassador for Pakistan.

Having a heritage of cutting-edge German technology, the Motorrad Centre was inaugurated in Lahore last week by Nabiha Yousuf, CEO, Dewan Motors Private Limited along with Israr Ahmad, Area Manager, BMW Group Middle East and Umair Jaswal, BMW Motorrad Brand Ambassador in Pakistan.

“The BMW Group congratulates its partner Dewan Motors for launching Motorrad in Pakistan. It is great news for Pakistani motorbikes enthusiasts to get their hands on top quality BMW motorbikes. This is yet another BMW Group and Dewan Motors strategic initiative to enhance the BMW footprint in Pakistan and we look forward to welcoming our customers to try our fantastic motorbikes”, said Mr. Israr Ahmad, Area Manager, BMW Group Middle East.

“We are very excited to announce the opening of the first Motorrad Centre in Lahore. It is the only officially represented premium motorcycle franchise in the country. This state-of-the art facility will cater to all the needs of our esteemed BMW motorcyclist and will provide them an environment that is as hospitable as it is professionally focused”, said Ms. Nabiha Yousuf, CEO, Dewan Motors.

Yousuf showed her delight to have Mr. Umair Jaswal as the BMW Motorrad Brand Ambassador explaining that in addition to being the country’s biggest rockstar, Umair’s personal affinity for BMW motorcycles, made him the obvious choice.

“With him on board, one can anticipate that BMW Motorrad journey will be a lot more entertaining. We warmly welcome Umair to Dewan family and look forward to our fruitful association.”

An avid biker, Umair Jaswal was very enthusiastic to be the celebrity representing BMW Motorrad in Pakistan.

“I am very excited to be the face of Motorrad brand as well as emotional at the same time to have become a part of Dewan family”, said Umar Jaswal.

The singer added that riding motorcycles was his passion and no other brand than BMW Motorrad could satiate his desire to perfection.

The event was highlighted by the participation of hard-core enthusiasts, who came from far and wide, including the capital city, rendering the glittering event, even more memorable.

Motorrad is a premium motorcycle brand, building fascinating and dynamic motorcycles from long-distance enduros to racing bikes, exclusive luxury touring motorcycles to cool urban bikes whereas Dewan Motors has almost two decades of experience in representing premium automotive brand, BMW in Pakistan.

Earlier, in Karachi, Dewan Motors signed a MOU with Umair Jaswal, stating him as brand ambassador for Motorrad.    

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