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.
The Man Behind The Maestro
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan produces magical music and without a doubt he’s amongst the most sought-after world artists
Famed Pakistani music maestros Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s producer and global manager Salman Ahmed has said that the 3 UK concerts had sold out completely showing the popularity of Pakistani artist across the South Asian communities.
Speaking to media, the veteran talent promoter and producer said that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan produces magical music and without a doubt he’s amongst the most sought-after world artists.
Salman Ahmed has been managing Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for about 10 years. The music maestro was well known in Pakistan because of his strong vocal skills but Ahmed turned around everything for the artist and had made him a household name in millions of homes in South Asia and beyond. Three months ago, the University of Oxford awarded the music doctorate degree to Khan – a huge personal honour for the musician and for his country of origin.
“When I look back to nearly a decade long association with the maestro, I must admit that what a journey it has been on a global platform, cities across Vancouver all the way to Auckland. Achievements like the Noble Peace Prize Performance conceptualisation, United Nations, Music Room at the Oxford University, Honorary Doctorate for the maestro and hundreds of concerts all over the world. Thank you to all our associates, promoters and most importantly to my PME family who has made this happened with their devotion. I especially thank to our families, who have sacrificed the most perhaps and to all the audiences who have attended our concerts in huge numbers.”
Salman Ahmed said that credit for the success of Khan goes to his entire team who worked hard throughout the year on the shows and on the brand of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
“Behind every show, there’s sweat, blood and toll. We work hard all the time to maintain the highest of standards in what we promise and produce. Ustad Rahat performs for a few hours on the stage but thousands of hours of hard work are invested in the production of his shows and that hard work has worked to make him a mega hit. As a way of example, for our concerts starting this weekend at Wembley Arena more than 35 band members will be touring with the singer. There is a team separately working in an international office here in London on logistics, concepts, arrangements, production and marketing. Once these shows are over, we will start working on the next round of events. There is no break.”
In North America, due to India and Pakistan tensions at the government level, Salman Ahmed accepted that attendance at Rahat’s shows was slightly less, however he clarified that all the UK concerts were sold out. “You cannot deny that Rahat is loved by Indians, Pakistanis and other ‘Urdu-understanding’ communities. There is no alternative to him.”
Salaman Ahmed is one of the most experienced Asian art promoters, who has been in the field of entertainment from the age of 16 and started his business in London in 1987. By playing a big role in music maestro Rahat’s international success, he has now known as a global promoter and music producer. His alliance with the showbiz commenced some 32 years ago when he started organizing Bhangra nights and small British Asian concerts when British Asian singers had started making their mark. There was no social media and no Asian channels around. The BBC covered one of Salman’s first concerts at that time with a report to showcase how the second generation of British Asians was growing with a fusion of British and Asian culture. Salman was then just a teenager.
So far Salman Ahmed has worked with some of the top Indian artists including, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigham, Mika Singh as well.
“You should only do what you are good at. You can do excellence only in your job if you are devoted to it with full passion and commitment. I believe in total commitment and nothing else.”
Unlike the maverick ways of some, Ahmed believes in treating his clients as a product. “My clients are my products. I promote products in the market. We invest in our products. We take risks and we inject our life into our products to make them a phenomenal success,” said Salman Ahmed acknowledging that Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has been the biggest hit for him as a producer.
He says he believes in promoting Pakistani talent before the world and for Rahat’s London shows he is introducing around a dozen Pakistani musicians for the first time. “These are young, educated and dynamic musicians who have been playing at the Basement Café and in the underground scene in Karachi and Lahore. They are doing an outstanding job. For the fusion part of Khan Saheb’s shows these musicians will be used. They will be performing in front of the international audience numbering in the thousands and this will bring a unique kind of confidence in them.”
Salman Ahmed said he was very excited about the latest round of shows because Ustad Rahat Ali Khan will be doing fusion, using instruments and sounds not tried before.
Lightingale Records: Ali Zafar Launches Record Label for Youngsters
Ali Zafar needs no introduction when it comes to performing arts in sub continent. Started his career as sketch artist in late 90s and then came as an actor and finally a vocalist with outstanding skills, releasing numerous hit singles and albums Ali has always managed to keep his job stable and thriving even during the most difficult times of his life.
Considering music is his first love, Ali Zafar has recently announced his record label, Lightingale Records, under which he aims to promote new musicians and artists.
In his recent instagram post, Ali explaining the reason of starting this label, said, “Our land is ripe with talent waiting for the slightest of opportunity to flourish. However, due to lack of understanding of the importance of the Arts and Humanities in our society, we have been unable to develop a culture where talent can be nurtured, groomed and guided to reach its true potential, nor build an industry.”
He further said, “During all these years as a performing artist, I have had the great fortune of learning about different aspects of the music industry. As artists or human beings in general, we are intrinsically prone to become self-indulgent or internally focused, but that is the mistake that most of us make. I feel the only thing that carries on beyond our existence, is the honesty in our work and the sincerity of our intentions. An artist leaves a legacy, and surely that should not just be about him or her. In an era where we are bombarded with tools that bring out the vanity in us, I think it’s important to see the beauty and talent in others and help them achieve their goals and dreams also. Become a part of their struggle and journey and help them in any way you can. As I said before – “you are not a star if you can’t shine for others.” Let’s shine for each other and share the light.”
At the end of the post, Ali announced the launching “Lightingale records” and said that through this endeavour; he would personally mentor, produce, record and showcase talent of young and upcoming artists.
He further explained that their goal is to bring to light at least 10 new artists this year and give people some great songs to cherish.
He also asked his fans and followers to share more ideas for his initiative, “If you have any ideas that can augment this venture, do share. Stay tuned.”
Our Favorite Fashion Divas that have Evolved Over Time
While reading the title, you must be thinking about the acting skills and how these ladies have made their name in the drama and film industry. But no, here we are talking about the fashion game of these actresses that have taken us all by surprise. Perking up their style statement and emerging as few of the finest actresses in terms of being glamorous and presentable, they have absolutely conquered the fashion world.
These are our favorite Divas who have proved that working on oneself is never a selfish thing and this hard work can eventually help you in the long run.
Starting from soaps and not so glamorous dramas, we never saw Saboor Aly dressing up as impressively as she does now. Probably, this is the social fashion awareness that some choose to pick and some don’t. And, we have to say that Saboor is doing quite well with her dress sense while earning a huge fan following at a great pace. She is one of those finest actresses who keep us hooked to their gram-game as something cool and happening just pops up out of nowhere anytime and any occasion.
Our fancy-pants; Nausheen Shah has instantly beefed up her fashion game and we cannot stop admiring her taste and style in whatever she wears. She has definitely come a long way. Also known for carrying bold statements just like in a recent awards show, her hairstyle was quite eccentric perfectly aligning with a blingy Hussain Rehar attire.
Her vibrant tops, glowing face and quirky pants have got our attention and we, indisputably, give her the award of being the most stylish actress among the lot. This was never the scenario from the day she joined the Entertainment industry so, she came this far and has definitely grown into a woman who keeps herself up-to-date in every trend and fashion.
Our recent favorite bride, Iqra has polished herself over time and we love how effortlessly she carries every outfit in sheer grace and pizzazz. Recently, she has been appointed as the face of Al-Karam and this was all a result of gradual progress and immense effort she has put into building her powerful aura and strong-headed personality that beautifully harmonizes with her chic and classic sense of styling.
If Sonya had a synonym, it would be the word “grace”. We love her for her impactful persona, the way she dresses up and the way she owns everything she wears with undying confidence. There are very few celebrities who have evolved to be steezy and sassy in a way that they know what they should actually wear. Unlike some who do not even know their body type. Sonya Hussyn proves that style is always within, you can improve with time but class remains constant.