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.
Steps towards a Plastic free Pakistan.
Have you been wanting to go plastic free or at least reduce its usage but you don’t know how to get started or need a little push? Don’t worry, I have got your back with these seven easy tips and tricks to get you started!
- Start carrying a reusable water bottle with you everywhere and don’t buy one unless absolutely necessary. The earth will thank you and so will you wallet.
- Stop all usage of plastic bags and replace with reusable, non-plastic, earth-loving shopping bags. You can use a cloth bag, baskets, jute bags or get one stitched by your tailor. Get nice bags that you can even enjoy using. Take their care by washing them from time to time and keep them fresh.
- Switch out your usual plastic toothbrush with an eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush. Many non-plastic habits are hard to pick up. This one’s easy to make and stick to. None of the elements of a typical plastic toothbrush are biodegradable so they remain in our planet forever whereas bamboo brushes disintegrate into natural elements and leave no toxicity behind on the planet.
- If you are used to buying disposable drinks every day, get yourself a reusable straw or cup. The straws can fit in your work/school bag easily and the cups not only help you reduce plastic but look absolutely chic as well.
- Next time you are grocery shopping, pick pasta in the box instead of pasta in a bag. Choose cardboard over plastic bags. Paper products tend to biodegrade more easily without adding a lot of weight.
- There are a number of non-disposable options out there to cut down on period waste by using silicon cups to reusable pads. All these choices reduce incredible amount of packaging that most pads are encased in.
- Rethink about your food storage. Instead of using plastic zipper bags or cling wrap, why not use jars or glass containers or bees wax wraps to store food? When it comes to carryout, these types of containers can be reused instead of disposable ones.
- When buying anything new in plastic, stop & think if you can buy it in a non-plastic option – wooden cooking spoons, disposable plates.
- If you use cling wrap at home regularly, buy bees wax wraps from stores like @codegreenpk
- If you store food in containers at home, only buy new ones in glass, steel etc.
- Some Instagram accounts where you can your plastic free supplies from: @codegreenpk, @keano-ru, @recircle.life, @trashitpk
4 Facebook Groups with Great Initiatives that Serve Significant Purposes
Old were the days when a review was not a “thing” and it was extremely difficult to get information about anything be it travel, food, medical issues or any problem related to everyday life. It was not common to have a forum where people would share their experiences directly with the public. Reading first-hand experiences was rare and forums like Quora and Yahoo Answers were considered the only reliable sources.
Now, everything is available on the internet and is just a click away. But, should we rely on such sources to be authentic and true? It depends and varies from source to source. It also depends on who moderates the source and how.
When the trend of having groups on Facebook started, people only used it for fun, to gather at a place to talk and share jokes. At that time, a few were trying to utilize this source for a meaningful purpose and those people gave birth to some amazing groups that, now, have a huge following and are considered reliable sources for any information related to the subject matter of the group.
Now groups have become a popular and the safest space for like-minded people to congregate and discuss specific stuff- from hobbies to pets and celebrities.
If you are still living in the stone age or looking for answers to your riddles related to food, travel, pets, allergies, mental health, etc., these are the groups that are at your service with a meaningful purpose and a great initiative to help the masses through a direct communication and dissemination of information through various posts.
Foodies ‘R US
Created in 2013, now this group has over 95k followers. This is the place where you will find reviews about any restaurant. You name it and people will share their experiences. If you are a foodie, this is surely going to be your favorite group as it has all the solutions to deal with your appetite. Not only the masses, but this has also helped a lot of restaurateurs and home-based chefs with their businesses.
The founder of the group, Asad Sheikh says “I started this group 6 years ago for one reason only and that’s the passion for food. I just want to tell and guide people on what’s good out there to try and what’s good that our country has to offer. I don’t write bad reviews of any kind but that doesn’t mean that I have not had my share of bad food. Always try to highlight the good while telling owners of the restaurant about things that need improvement.
We all are ambassadors of our city or country and others who see our posts or reviews create an image of where we are from. Over the years Foodies ‘R Us has helped many people living out of city or out of country to pick the eateries when they visit Lahore Karachi or even Islamabad. The same passion was translated into encouraging home-based talent to post as much as they can and later encouraging them to turn this talent into a business.
Many small businesses have blossomed from this platform and we later encouraged them further to be part of our Coke Food Festival, giving them a face to face experience with their consumers.
We have never charged anyone to advertise on our platform and that’s the reason for the success of many small businesses.”
Soul Sisters Pakistan
This group is home to 212K women who interact and share their issues and experiences related to health, relationships, feminism, networking, their moments of happiness, moments of suffering or any piece of advice related to the ongoing discussion. Not only this, through the group, women were able to find their long lost friends, online jobs, solutions to their problems and a lot more. This has become a safe place for them to talk about stuff they do not normally share publicly or are afraid to talk about. Anonymous posts have become the new trend to send your message across.
“In a culture where women are often silenced and their issues trivialized, I felt that we needed a space and people to talk to, other than their immediate family and friends; a space where we could give unbiased advice as a third person, for each other’s problems and a space where we could come together to share our stories, experienced and inspire each other.
And so in August 2013, Soul Sisters Pakistan was formed, and within months we were getting scores of requests to join the group as the concept of a safe space like this wasn’t so common back then! From discussing taboos to breaking stereotypes to providing legal aid and emotional support – the community has really made a mark and become a household name. It is also one of the 115 most impactful communities in the world, recognized, supported and trained by Facebook itself!- Kanwal Ahmed (the Founder)
The Travel Diary
Earlier, it was extremely difficult to know about the experiences of people who travel. Now, you just have to post a query and hundreds will be there to assist you or guide you about a particular thing, food place, culture or about people of a certain country. All in all, this group is a complete package to know about anything related to a country. Founded in 2016 with more than 72K members, this group is a query-home for all travel enthusiasts.
Mishaal Hashmi, the founder of the group says, “Traveling is something that is an innate part of me. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to travel, be exposed to cultures and people. As an adult, I’m even more fortunate to be able to share my passion with like-minded individuals, who share a similar passion. The idea to create the Travel Diary arose from my desire to share my travel experiences as well as gain wisdom from the experiences of others. Never in my dreams had I imagined my passion to take on such a gigantic form and for a forum such as The Travel Diary to exist is a humbling experience and a dream come true.”
Soul Brothers Pakistan
Even though most of the posts are light-heart humor and user-generated content; the group generally talks about various topics including networking, recruitment, and counseling. Similarly, it talks about issues that surround the men’s ecosystem i.e. relationship, health, masculinity, and mental state. Moreover, It discusses these issues in depth through live talk sessions also known as #SBPGuyTalk, where group members from all walks of life come and discuss issues varying from Depression, Suicide, legal affairs, and health-related topics. Their popular segment #AnonymousSoulBrother is also widely used by members who seek suggestions and valuable insights on a variety of topics.
“We identified a need where we could create a crowd-sourced platform for men which would offer a healthy support system for Pakistani brothers here and abroad.” – Danish Javed (Co-Founder)
Gawah Rehna: An Upcoming Film Glorifying The Past
In dearth of enough content for the Pakistani Cinema and its audience, writer and director Tariq Mehmood, is ready to add something to make the numbers higher and give something different to the audience by going to floors with his first ever feature film Gawah Rehna in October this year.
Cast of this film includes Muhammad Qavi Khan, Ghana Ali, Emmad Irfani, Rabya Kulsoom, Rehan Nazim, Faisal Imtiaz and others. A Turkish actor Mert Sismanlar will also play a very important character in the film.
Talking at a presser in Karachi, Tariq Mehmood said that the film was based on a significant historical period of Khilafat Movement. The film depicts the era of 1920 when British rule was at its peak in the Sub-Continent while our forefathers defied the British rule and at the same time started a mass movement called the Khilafat Movement to help their Turkish brothers and sisters in their struggle against the imperial forces”
According to Mehmood, “Gawah Rehna pays rich tribute to the unsung heroes of our independence movement as well as to the brave Turkish nation. The film will be a source of further strengthening the people to people bonds between Pakistan and Turkey as it will tell Turkish audience what our forefathers went through while helping their Turkish brothers and sisters.”
Ghana Ali, one of the lead of the film said she could not tell much about her character but she loved the script that is why I couldn’t say no to it. She disclosed that her character in Gawah Rehna was the role that her father always wanted her to do that is why was more excited to be part of this film.
She further said “I am very honoured to be the part of this film as I always wanted to do something that could educate our new generation. Gawah Rehna is a peep into the history and our youth will get to learn about the past struggles of the Muslims of Subcontinent.”
Ghana was sure that Gawah Rehna will give us an international recognition and will be appreciated because if its topic.
Emmad Irfani, another lead in the film, said, he felt lucky to be an actor and being an actor it was his responsibility to portray his character it its true sense.
Talking about his character in the film Irfani said, “Gawah Rehna carries a very strong message. The film is about how to achieve your aim and to remain determine to get to your destination despite all challenges come in the way. My character is very challenging in the film which will go through many emotional and physical despair but will carry on his struggle to achieve the point (actually the ‘why’ of his life) that has been lost. The character will transform at that point.”
He further said that he was really looking forward to this project as he loved to take different types of roles for his professional growth.”
Veteran Muhammad Qavi Khan said we need more of these types of films where we can glorify our past struggles which further strengthens our present cause like Kashmir issue and others where Muslims are oppressed and the target of violence.
Gawah Rehna will be released in both Pakistan and Turkey as well as in other foreign markets in March next year.
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