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Getting to know the voices behind ‘The Donkey King’



by Kaukab Jahan

Animated Pakistani film The Donkey King released on Friday, generating a lot of hype among the masses, especially in the younger section of the society. The film opened to a positive response as people flocked to cinema halls to catch a genre which is less easily available in the country.

Directed by animated commercial filmmaker Aziz Jindani, with some scenes helmed by Ahsan Rahim, the film has an interesting star cast which includes the likes of Afzal Khan, Shabbir Jan, Sarmad Khoosat, Hina Dilpazeer, Jawed Sheikh, Ghulam Mohyuddin, Irfan Khoosat, Ismail Tara, Adeel Hashmi, Irfan Malik, Faisal Qureshi, Ahsan Rahim and Shafaat Ali.

In this conversation with Pakistan Today, the two leading characters of the film, Afzal Khan and Ghulam Mohyuddin, give us some hints about their roles in the film and how they feel about working in this genre.


Tell us about a little about your character in the film?

Well, I am the ‘Donkey King.’ My name is Mangu and my character is a donkey from the jungle who works as a cleaner or janitor but one day accidentally becomes the king. On what happens next, you will have to see in the cinema.

Where did you get your inspiration from for the character?

Actually from myself. ‘Mangu’ has been inspired from my debut role, ‘John Rambo’ in a PTV play Guest House which aired in early 1990s. The animated character of donkey is even wearing the same clothes (a black t-shirt and orange trousers) that John Rambo usually wore. And as one must have noted in the trailer, Mangu is calling himself ‘John Mangu’.

How difficult was it to act without seeing your character?

I’ve done almost 150 films and the practice of dubbing has helped me a lot in this film. In animated films, we dub the voice first by seeing some sketches or details of our characters. The scenes and actions are created later according to the voice over.

How long did it take for you to be the Donkey King?

It took about a year and a half to complete this film. In beginning, the director Aziz Jindani wanted to make a film for children as there was very little work being done in this sector in the country. But as we worked along, the film developed into something that could be enjoyed by adults as well. The Donkey King will attract every age group.


What character are you playing in the film?

I am the king (lion) of jungle. Which is an important character after the donkey king. Actually, I am the one against who the donkey becomes a king. The script is very interesting has many surprises in store for the audiences.

How was your experience of doing an animated role?

As per the procedure of animated films, you first record the voice and then create images. My experience of working in the radio helped me a lot in the film, where the character is only written on paper and you have to play it with your voice. Moreso, this is my second animated film.

Watch the trailer below:

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Laal Kabootar Wins At Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival



The highly critically acclaimed Pakistani feature film, LAAL KABOOTAR won the Best Feature Film Award at the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival 2019. Director Kamal Khan received the award on the Closing Night & Awards Ceremony held at Surrey City Hall in Surrey, British Columbia on 17th November 2019. Laal Kabootar is Nehr Ghar Films’ debut production.

The film, which is also the official submission of Pakistan for the 92nd Academy Awards in the ‘International Feature Film Award’ category, have also grabbed the Archana Soy Audience Award for ‘Best Feature Film’ at the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival 2019 in Seattle earlier this year.

Previously, Laal Kabootar was an official selection at the Singapore South Asian International Film Festival 2019 and also at the Washington DC South Asian Film Festival 2019. In Washington DC the  lead actor of Laal Kabootar Ahmed Ali Akbar, won the ‘Best Actor Male’ Award for his performance.

Laal Kabootar was released in March 2019 in Pakistan and so far, critiques have credited it as the best Pakistani movie of this year.

The film is a rollercoaster ride featuring Ahmed Ali Akbar as Adeel Nawaz – a hustling taxi-driver, looking for a way out of Karachi. But with his back against the wall, Adeel has some hard choices to make. Aliya Malik, played by the alluring Mansha Pasha, is strong-headed to the point of being stubborn, however when her world turns upside down in a series of incidents, she chooses to put up a fight even though her life is on the line.

With its action-packed sequences and blinding pace, the flick also stars multi-talent actors such as Rashid Farooqui, Saleem Meraj, Ali Kazmi, Shamim Hilali, Akbar Islam, Syed Arsalan, Saad Fareedi, Hammad Siddiq, Ishtiaq Omar, Meesum Naqvi, Faiza Gillani, Mohammed Ahmed and Kaleem Ghour to name a few.

Laal Kabootar has been directed by the award-winning Kamal Khan with Harvard graduates Hania Chima and Kamil Chima as the Executive Producers.

So far no Pakistani film has ever made it to final nominations at Oscars, however with Laal Kabootar, Pakistani Cinema lovers are keeping their fingers crossed.

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The third instalment of Solis Music and Arts Festival 2019 took place in Karachi at the Moin Khan Stadium on Saturday November 16th, truly a day to remember in the history of city! The festival featured a stellar line-up of local and international artists as well as immersive brand activations. The PR of the event was managed by Catalyst PR. The hosts Anoushey Ashraf and Khalid Malik kept energy high all through the night.

The day started  with 42 Day Challenge founder Nusrat Hidayatullah with the help of Ayesha Omer who warmed up festival attendees  with an animal flow yoga session on the sounds of Soul Potion (one half of the FDVM duo).

As day turned to dusk, a listing of local talent took over the stage to ease into the night. Neha Khan brought in some chilled lounge vibes while DJ Maleo warmed up the crowd for Turhan James, who already have played at Solis Islamabad and Lahore this year. He brought in an epic big room EDM set featuring his new song “Feel Alive” to which the crowd went wild!

For this edition of Solis, the festival explored an eclectic mix of international sounds. Hailing from Turkey, Oceanvs Orientalis brought in an interesting mix of electro – oriental sounds, some of which were inspired from Pakistan electronic.

The dynamic FVDM duo known for their groovy contagious vibe and uplifting house music did just that! The crowd was absolutely besotted with their set especially when they added in their remix of Pakistani iconic hits such as Disco Deewane by Nazia Hassan and Bibi Sherene.  The surprises didn’t stop there as they introduced Ayesha Omer on stage to showcase their first ever collaboration “Flying so High”.

Kill the Buzz delivered dance floor shakers to get the crowd warmed up for the main act of the night- Clean Bandit live in action with a DJ set led by Luke Patterson and vocals with Yasmin Green and Kirsten Joy. Dressed in an all neon ensemble, the group was truly the centre of attention enchanting the crowd with their top hits and a surprise sneak peak at their VIP remix of Rockabye, the classic which is still on youtubes top 30 most watched videos.

The evening was a star studded night with celebrities such as Mehwish Hayat, Saqib Malik, Deepak Perwani, Mansha Pasha, Nadia Hussain, Zhalay Saradi, Tara Mehmood, Shahzad Noor, Asim raza and many more. The mayor of Karachi Waseem Akhter and his wife also present the occasion.

The Solis team can’t wait to share some exciting news for 2020! Stay tuned.

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Finding Solace at a Roadside Eatery



We have become addicted to fine dines so much that we cannot digest the calories that we may eat on roadside cafes, golgappa cart or an average looking restaurant. Lahore, that was once, known for great food has now limited its glory to a good ambiance and expensive rates. We immediately start doubting the food that we get at a comparatively low price. This custom was broken by Jay Bee’s when they started selling the most delicious ice cream with a price starting from 100.
Such places give us hope that you can find good food at a cheap price as well. This does not have to have a tag of being so costly. The restaurants have stopped putting extra effort while still keeping the rates low for the general public. Instead of improving their qualities, they have started using techniques to put them in limelight. Instead of providing good food, the only purpose is to make double money. They have started relying on activities like “live music”, a food challenge or a stand-up comedy. No doubt, these activities put an extra oomph to the overall experience of a restaurant, nevertheless, they cannot compensate for bad food.

All my assumptions were smashed when I tried this delicious Sajji by a roadside restaurant with the name “Akram Tikka Shop”. To my surprise, they were serving hot food with exceptionally great customer service. The way they were greeting their customers broke the record of any good high priced restaurant. Not just this, their freshly made tikka was so appetizing that we couldn’t stop ourselves from overeating. If you want to check how involved the restaurant is to provide you with fresh and hygienic food, you should check their salads. Raw food is the best way to check the common practices of a restaurant. This eatery did not disappoint us even with the salad and raita.

The warm breast piece tucked away in a heap of scrumptiously made rice only under Rs. 200 is not less than a heavenly experience. Their customer-focused service makes the whole experience a treat to the buds.
If you ever go to Mehmood Kasuri road, do not forget to stop by at Akram Tikka Shop for great and hygienic food service.

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