Mohammed Ehteshamuddin is the one in our entertainment industry, who whenever create anything; it gets special recognition and appreciation. These days he is enjoying the success of his first full length feature film Superstar. His first ventured into cinema in 2005 with a short, ‘Shahrukh Khan Ki Maut’, which was screened at nine festivals worldwide including ‘Kara film festival of Pakistan. Next year, he made another short film ‘Mein Sawa Paanch Bujay Aai Thi’ for festivals. According to Ehtesham, “These films didn’t have any cinematic feel but was made with a very realistic approach”.
Ehteshamuddin loves television and in absence of cinema in those days, continued to make dramas both as director and producer. His is known for famous dramas like Perfume Chowk (2010), Aseerzadi (2013), Sadqay Tumhare (2014), Preet Na Kariyo Koi (2015), Udaari (2016), and Aangan (2018). He has also acted in few films and dramas including Chambeli (2013) and Maalik (2016) and drama serial Yaqeen Ka Safar (2017). His drama serials ‘Sadqay Tumhare’ and ‘Udaari’ won him ‘Hum Award for Best Director Drama Serial’ while he was nominated in ‘best supporting actor’ and ‘best debutant male’ categories for Chambeli at first ARY Film Awards in 2014.
Born in Karachi, Mohammed Ehteshamuddin grew up in a colony with a lot of migrants from Hyderabad Deccan, including many writers, which he says influenced his early artistic inclination.
He graduated with a degree in commerce from the Karachi University, and worked in a company with also joining various theater groups, including Tehrik-e-Niswan, Katha and Theatre Circle. In 1998, he came behind the world of screen when was inducted into Television Production Program at the Pakistan Television Academy, Islamabad.
He says, “Story telling is my business irrespective if whatever medium it is on. If the story is strong, then it will definitely inspire people.”
There is a misconception that our drama directors don’t completely get out from television when making a film. How much you have retorted to this mind-set?
I have heard about it often but I have a different opinion altogether. For me, story is most important thing whether it is film or television. Yes, there is a term called ‘filmy pun’ used specifically in subcontinent cinema, which makes both these medium different from each other, otherwise in the rest of the world, story does matter irrespective of the size of screen. In the end, it is a visual story, and if it moves you, touches you, makes you cry and laugh, the purpose is served. So, in western and European cinema there is not any drastic difference in film or television.
When I made my first short film ‘Shahrukh Khan Ki Maut’ back in 2005 with a television camera, and took it to nine big festivals of the world, no one asked me if it was a film or drama. It was called a film!
Technically speaking, how much it is different for a drama director to make a film?
Yes, technically film has bigger scale and frame than television. There are some basic technical requirements when making a film, but I think saying this that a drama director cannot do justice with a film is wrong. I don’t think so. Actually, we are going through an evolution process. In past, we were rich in this area. Indian and Pakistani film industries were standing equally in the field whether it was technique, story, direction or acting, but unfortunately we went through a period when our industry started to deteriorate. We made undergrad films and our culture of cinema also affected. Our cinema halls started converting in plazas and shopping malls.
Don’t you think that cinema is reshaping all over the world because of the availability of online platforms?
It is a fact that because of lot of content available online, cinema is being affected all over the world but despite that it remains there and they continue to produce films for big screen. There, it continues to expand and develop in IMAX and 4K screens. May be next year, we can watch 4D films without special glasses. So, cinema continues to grow in rest of the world but we stopped and so our creativity and work. We had to start it all over again.
So, what did you find something unique in Superstar story which enticed you to direct it?
I found the story of Superstar very simple yet entertaining. It has all the ingredients, which the people of subcontinent prefer to watch like emotions, love, tragedy and music. I was a bit scared in the beginning to direct a love story as many people had tagged my productions dark and very close to reality but then I asked myself that if I could enjoy watching love stories, why couldn’t I make them. So, Superstar was made with determination and love and the result is before everyone.
“I admire Mahira a lot and offered her a role in my epic Aangan but she could not accommodate as she was because of her occupancy in some other project”, Ehteshamuddin
So, are you satisfied with the reviews and public feedback of the film?
I have always appreciated healthy criticism as it plays positive role in your future endeavours.
You have worked with Mahira Khan in drama serial ‘Sadqay Tumhare’ and now in a film Superstar. Do you find her any different working in both the medium?
Mahira has gone through a lot of transition. When we did ‘Sadqay Tumhare’ it was almost the start of her career while in Superstar she is at the peak of it. So, difference is obvious in her work, approach and focus. She has improved a lot in every aspect of her art. I always love working with people on whom you can trust and Mahira is among one of them. It is quite natural that when you have spent lot of good time with someone in first project, the next one with the same person is more enjoyable and productive.
“The role of Noor was exclusively written for Mahira Khan, and she was on board in this project before me, so this was an added point for me to direct Superstar,” Ehteshamuddin
It was first collaboration of you and Bilal Ashraf. His acting has been admired by many but at the same time his song ‘Dharak Bharak’ is being criticized for its too much boldness and copying from Bollywood? What do you say?
I think criticism and views on anything are the right of those for whom we make our product, but I don’t understand why they criticize on what they love to watch and enjoy if made by others, but when we try to include these flavours in our products, they negatively criticize it.
“Songs like Dharak Bharak always have a right place in commercial cinema of our region. People enjoy them in Bollywood cinema but criticize negatively if they are included in our films. I know many people have liked and appreciated it as well”, Ehteshamuddin
Where do you see the Pakistani Cinema right now?
Actually we are going through a transition where we are trying to create our own niche. It is also a thought that whether we should intact to and sustain with our typical subcontinent cinema which we have been watching through decades on both sides of borders or divert it completely. The most heartening thing for me in this revival is the production of films on different genres from sports life sketch like ‘Shah’ and ‘Motorcycle Girl’, social dramas like Cake, and suspense and thriller like ‘Laal Kabootar’. I am happy that we are also developing a vibrant indie cinema with our mainstream commercial films. I think confidence of audience is building up and cinema halls are being filled in certain times of the year.
“There are many people out there, loyal to stable our film industry again. I believe in next four to five years, we will be standing at a better place, and competing with the rest of the world,” Ehteshamuddin
What is next by you? Is there anything in the pipeline?
I usually take a year to produce a project. Right now, television is my main forte, and I think there too many stories which have to be told on mini screens. I am doing a drama serial named ‘Firaun’, which is on the issue of domestic violence and I believe it would also create some awareness and debate on the subject like Udaari did three years back. I think our television is still the strong medium for raising issues. As the cinema of Bollywood is known worldwide, our dramas are popular everywhere in the world. But yes, if any interesting story comes before me, I will definitely love to put it into big screen. My profession is to tell stories to people whether it is through television or in the form of film.
TEDxLahoreWomen Pulls Off Another Brilliantly Mind Striking Event!
LAHORE, December 8, 2019: TEDxLahore celebrated its 10th year with yet another series of compelling talks at its TEDxLahoreWomen event held at the British Council Library.
Speakers included Dr. Aneela Darbar, the first US trained female neurosurgeon of Pakistan; Soufia Siddiqui, an education research and strategy advisor; Amna Zamir, an Additional Districts and Sessions Judge in Gilgit Baltistan; Maheen Rahman, an investment banker with an impressive portfolio; Maheen Gul, founder of the Lahore Autism Centre; Fareeda Batool, an independent artist who explores Pakistan’s political upheavals and tumultuous history; and Masuma Anwar, a pediatric doctor and musician. Lakeer ke Fakeer, a husband-wife duo of “singing poets”, also performed at the event.
These “Bold + Brilliant” women shared their profound insights and exciting stories about a remarkable number of issues, ranging from the education of boys in the public sector to the careful mapping of the brain before neurosurgery. The audience comprised over 350 individuals, including young entrepreneurs, educators, doctors, lawyers, and students. Audience members also received a chance to interact with speakers during networking breaks.
“TEDxLahoreWomen brought some powerful women together this year,” said Areej Mehdi, the event’s co-curator. “These women have advocated and opened doors for other women, and changed lives with their groundbreaking work and ideas. We’re excited to share their talks today.” said Irteza Ubaid, TEDx Ambassador – Pakistan. The event was presented in partnership with British Council, Nestle Everyday Lite, MINT PR, Uber, Daftarkhwan, FM 91 and Poet Restaurant.
TEDxLahoreWomen Pulls Off Another Brilliantly Mind Striking Event!
TEDxLahore celebrated its 10th year with yet another series of compelling talks at its TEDxLahoreWomen event held at the British Council Library.
“TEDxLahoreWomen brought some powerful women together this year,” said Areej Mehdi, the event’s co-curator. “These women have advocated and opened doors for other women, and changed lives with their groundbreaking work and ideas. We’re excited to share their talks today.” said Irteza Ubaid, TEDx Ambassador – Pakistan.
The event was presented in partnership with British Council, Nestle Everyday Lite, MINT PR, Uber, Daftarkhwan, FM 91 and Poet Restaurant.
These Four Women are Making some Finger-licking Delicious Desserts
The trends are changing and we are moving back to our roots, that is, homemade desserts. There was a time when we would dine out to soothe our sweet tooth but now, we simply go to a food forum, type dessert and find the best in town. Although food is never associated with any gender who cooks the best, we found some incredible women bakers that have been in the dessert making for a while now and you have to agree with our choice while the bring something delicious every time they put their oven mitts on.
Here are the 4 power-packed women that are bringing the best sweets to complement your sham ki chai and coffee.
This lady Anam Malik knows how to attract customers with her yummy chocolate bars, appetizing caramel crunch cake, moist chocolate fudge cake and many more. You name it and she will make them for you. It was a treat to try her divine desserts just like the name of her bakery. Not only this, she will treat you with customized chocolates wrapped in your pictures printed on it.
Jaweria Usman’s lotus cheesecakes are pure heaven. We don’t remember any restaurant in Lahore that served as good stuff as she makes. Even after being pogged, you will still not feel enough. Made with love and rich in cheese, she has a solution to your bad mood. Ranging from dipped in chocolate to covered with raspberry buttercream; she has got you covered.
The Meetha Cravings Co.
Bushra knows her way quite well. Her chocolate and the cream-filled jar is a great way to brighten your day. Book her for any event and she will not disappoint you. We ordered her chocolate jar which had a moist cake topped with melted caramel. The texture and taste were totally on point. Do not forget to try her yummy chocolate chip cookies whenever you order her chocolate jar.
Moreish by HT
People meet by fate, we met by Besan ka halwa. We saw this girl making Besan halwa dipped in desi ghee and garnished with cashew nuts and instantly ordered a box. To our surprise, it was the same as our Nanis used to make. It had the same taste and love spewing from each bite. This one is especially for the desi buds. If you are too occupied at your house and want to fulfill your tummy with the conventional meetha i.e kheer, halwa, etc. Henna Tassawur is your go-to person