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I had to put myself in a negative, dark headspace to play her and this took its toll- Armeena Khan about her role in the drama “Muhabatain Chahatain”

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There are some dramas in which a negative role steals all the attention and people wait for each episode only to see their next evil plot. “Tara” in Muhabatain Chahtain is one such character and we have to say it was beautifully portrayed by Armeena Khan. From hair to outfits to expressions; everything was in synch with the character and its demand. We hated the character for ruining everyone, but we also wanted to know the “real” issue with her, because no one can be evil for no reason, right?

To satisfy our curiosity and to get into the details of the character along with some other questions; we had a conversation with the very beautiful and talented Armeena Khan.

Was it difficult playing Tara? How did you prepare for the role?

Honestly, this was probably the HARDEST character that I have had to play in my entire career in the Pakistani industry. First came the character and personality of Tara herself. I  spent months preparing, researching personality disorders such as Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder, Psychopathy, Sociopathy as that was the lens I used to distill the script. No person is just plain evil. Everyone believes they are good so it was important to ascribe justification for her actions.

Then came Tara’s look. For the clothes, I trawled through Pakistani Instagram and various socialite websites internalising outfits and the attitudes accompanying them. For her hair, I partnered with Catherine Boden (a hair colour design specialist) and she custom-made this colour. I also picked out hairpieces to give her a perpetual groomed look. Tara’s make-up was designed by the channel itself, right down to the diamond rings and jewels that she was wearing. After all, that prep came to the dialogue, It is not easy when your first language is not Urdu. For example, I had already memorized the script before I stepped onto the sets, then I would prepare each scene the night before. I simply cannot take things for granted that other actors are able to when filming thousands of miles away from my home.

Then came the grueling filming schedule. Tara is a multi-dimensional, complex and intelligent character. I had to put myself in a negative, dark headspace to play her and this took its toll. Often my co-stars would comment on how convincing my portrayal was of her. But by the second month, I was emotionally and physically exhausted.

In hindsight, I am very happy that I played this character. It helped me understand my scope, potential and limitations as an actor. I would go as far as to say that this has also been the most entertaining character that I have ever undertaken. Tara has given me strength as an actor and I cannot emphasize this enough.

 

Any reason for choosing ‘Tara’ in Mohabbatein Chahatain?

I am quite progressive, liberal, and an open-minded person. Tara is not only mentally ill but fearless. I drew a lot of strength from her character, despite it being so negative. For example, when Faraz said to her ‘Mein Aisa hi hoon, agar nahi Qabool tow khatam ker daytay hein’ to which Tara replies: ‘Okay, Khatam ker daytay hein’ and then proceeds to walk away nonchalantly. That really tickled me. In a patriarchal society, such things do not happen. Putting aside her negativity, Tara breaks through social norms and conventions, and ultimately that is what appealed most about the script.

 

Were you scared to do a negative character as the audience starts perceiving the actor as they see on their television screen?

 

I never worry about that. I appreciate that negative characters can impact a ‘heroine’s’ career but I wanted to step away from all that and be progressive in my choice of roles. As an actor, you simply have to experiment, otherwise boredom and complacency sets in. After all, we are here to entertain and not just play contrived, mono-dimensional characters.

Have you ever encountered a person like Tara? Do you think people with such complicated personalities exist?

Yes, they do exist, even though television characters are almost always exaggerated, I have met some conniving individuals in my time who came close to the character. Having said that I don’t believe ‘normal’ exists. We are all mentally challenged and have to face our own demons in our darkest moments. I think contemporary society with its technological connectivity amplifies mental health issues. Modern life is not healthy. It is pushing more and more people to the edges of sanity, to the limits of what their emotions and minds can handle.

How does it feel to be an expat and work in the entertainment industry in Pakistan?

I often feel my career has been conjured out of thin air, for I have no familial connections to call upon nor entry through financial investment. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have been offered, whether as a result of my own perseverance or fortune’s favour. But there are 2 consistent hurdles for me as an expat.

 

The first is obvious in working far away from home. I don’t maintain a permanent residence in Pakistan so this means expensive bills for flights, hotels, food and transport. My friendships and support network is several time zones away when on set.

 

The second problem is cultural. For example, I am a stickler for timekeeping and always turn up on the dot and behave professionally on set. Unfortunately, I am not always met with the same reciprocity on set because the local culture does not prioritise these traits. Then comes the whole gender angle. I am not used to playing second fiddle to men or listening to execrable chauvinistic humour and conversations. Many expats reading this will understand what I mean.

 

However, despite all these challenges Pakistan has also afforded me immense respect, stardom and belonging as an artist. What that has done for me cannot be quantified in mere words. I am extremely grateful for my audience and this is why I return to Pakistan every year to act my heart out.

 

 

What is your style statement in one line?

Simple, non-fussy and clean lines.

How does social media trolling affect an actor’s mental health and what is the best way to deal with it?

Social Media is a double-edged sword. Although the benefits are obvious, such as marketing and engagement, there are a plethora of pernicious problems outweighing the benefits for many. Firstly it is fraudulent. We are being lied to. It is human nature, in your nature, to compare yourself to others, as natural yardsticks.  But the people we are comparing ourselves to are on a 24/7 permanent filter. Their hardships, flaws and insecurities are disguised and deleted. They are not communicating but propagating at us. As a result, we will always come up wanting. Over time you will feel awful about yourself and your own life, especially when the trolls are added to the equation. This brings us to our second problem. Social media offers anonymity that attracts bottom feeders. Trolls hide in the dark corners of social media, whispering envy, hate and attempts to body shame others. These cowards will never do anything with their lives and so are focused on one thing; to stop others from bettering themselves.

Thirdly, it is bad for your mental health. Do you feel that you are missing out? Do you feel the need to post constantly? Instead of being present in our lives, enjoying beautiful relationships and moments, we are on the lookout for opportunities to manufacture a post, a possible entry into the lottery of viral online fame. If you don’t, you feel excluded somehow. Add this feeling of anxiety to the tiny small little hate comments, these seeds of poison, left unaddressed will sprout into a foliage of weeds that will consume your mental health. I almost look forward to the day when I can delete my SM and withdraw from this jungle. I would love to find an alternative way to keep in touch with my fans.

 

One thing that you could change about the Pakistani Entertainment industry?

 

Frankly speaking there isn’t a proper industry yet. It is an aspiration. Instead, we have a small gaggle of cliques.  It stifles creativity and is structured to guard platforms against talented individuals who could break in and actually help transform this into a roper sustainable industry. I would also like to balance out the playing field between those who can speak English and those who cannot. It is ridiculous that this linguistic divide exists in the first place.

 

You are always so supportive of your co-stars online and in real life. What drives you to do that in this competitive industry?

I sincerely believe that you receive what you give out into the universe. A tweet or a supportive phone call, text message, or just a simple ‘How are you?’ is not going to take anything away from me. I do keep most of my interactions with my co-stars private and out of the public gaze normally but where I feel that they need public support is where I do make an exception. It just feels good to me, I do not see people as my competition as we all are on our own journies. I think the ONLY way to grow is to support others to grow around me as well. I believe in the theory of abundance.’  When a play goes on air, I promote EVERYONE, you never know when the public might take a fancy to a specific character and it might not be yours BUT it could make the whole play a success for the Team?

 

Who is your favourite Co-star?

I get along with everyone generally but negative people are challenging for me. They bring certain energy with them, which is draining and distracting. It is about whose company I enjoy the most and I am drawn to what I call the ‘hulla gulla’ crowd. No drama, no tantrums, no insecurities, just work and fun and those have been the best costars and most memorable sets for me.

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IMGC Announced Upcoming Film Under Its Banner

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The renowned film distribution company of Pakistan, IMGC has recently announced the films going to be distributed in the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year under its banner.  

Now when the cinemas all over the world are functioning fully after the closure of almost of 20 month after the closure of almost 20 month Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, Pakistani film industry is currently relying on the backlogs of films which were supposed to be released in last two years.

The films which would be distributed by IMGC are films form the backlog have been made under the big banners and are waiting in line to be released at right time.  

Here are the list of films that has been and announced to distributed by DC after the reopening of cinemas.

Kamli (3rd June 2022)

Kamli was released on 3rd June 2022, stars Saba Qamar, Sania Saeed and Nimra Bucha as leads. Directed by Sarmad Khoosat, the film is a story of the emotion and desires of a woman which she mostly keeps secrete in our society. The film did decent business in the genre of an art film when the flow in cinemas was low firstly because of its off season release and secondly the reluctance of people to come habitually to cinemas after lockdowns.

Intezaar (19th August 2022)

Intezaar was thefilm, which actually cancelled its already announced plan of release because of lockdown in March 2020. It was finally released on 19th August 2022. Intezaar stars Samina Ahmad, Khalid Ahmad and Kaif Ghaznavi in major roles. Intezaar is directorial debut of veteran actress of Pakistan Sakina Samo.  The film as the name suggest is tale of wait for something good and happy in the life of every character in the film. 

Zarrar (25th November 2022)

The first date of the release of the film was announced 23 September 2022 but due to the emergency situations all over the country after recent floods, Shaan Shahid the lead cast and the writer and director of the film delay the release for one week. Now it will be in cinemas on 25th of November 2022.

The film is produced by Ejaz Shahid and Adnan Butt under the banner of Jehan Films. Zarrar is an action thriller about the patriotism and love of mother land. Shaan in the titular role of Zarrar is a secret agent, who is on a mission to solve the seemingly endless cycle of threats against his homeland of Pakistan.

Other cast of the film includes Kiran Malik, Nadeem Baig, Natyyar Ejaz and Shafqat Cheema in supporting characters.

Development of Zarrar started in 2016 when behind the scene shots of the film were shared by Shaan himself.

Neelofar (23 December 2022)   

Neelofar would be the second film of Fawad Khan and third film of Mahira Khan this year. Both would have The Legend Of Maula Jatt releasing on 13 October on their credits, while Mahira who starred in Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad opposite Fahad Mustafa on eid-ul-fitr would celebrate Neelofar as her third film released in 2022.

The film is written and directed by debutant Ammar Rasool and a co-produced by Fawad Khan and IMGC.

The film lovers would also witness pair of Mahira and Fawad Khan on screen together third time after Hamsafar (2011) and The Legend Of Maula Jatt (October 2022), though this pair often appears together in many television commercials and fashion shoots.

Mahira Khan is playing a role of a blind girl in the movie. The principal shooting for Neelofar was completed in December 2020.

Aasman Bolay Ga (January 2023)

The final release date of the film has not yet been confirmed, but according to IMGC, it would most likely to be released in the first month of the next year.

ABG is written, directed and produced by veteran Shoaib Mansoor, under his company Shoman Films. Mansoor has given us block buster like Khuda Ke Liye (2007), Bol (2011), and Verna (2017). The film also seems to be the last instalment of his series which started in 2007 with KKL. According to Amjad Rasheed, all four instalments link each other as far as their names are concerned i.e. Khuda Ke Liye, Bol, Verna, Aasman Bolay Ga. All films highlighted the political and social issues of our society.

ABG stars Maya Ali and Emmad Irfani in lead roles. The title teaser of the film was released a couple of months ago by Shoiab Mansoor on his social media. In an interview to Dutche Welle last year Maya Ali revealed that she would be playing the role of a journalist in ABG.

Money Back Gurantee (21st April 2023)

Money Back Guarantee is a multi-starrer heavy budget Pakistani film produced by Zain Farooqi. The film, which has already created lot of buzz around the film circles, is directed by versatile Faisal Qureshi, who has released the first poster of the film digitally on his social media. Teaser of film will be released on 9th September and movie will hit the screens on 21 April in 2023, which would fall on the days of eid-ul-fitr.

The film which is under post production at the moment claims to be based on a novel concept, which covers a theme full of humour and suspense. The star cast of the film includes the leading stars of current era including Fawad Khan, Ayesha Omar, Mikaal Zulfiqar, John Rambo, Javed Sheikh, Hina Dilpazer, Mirza Gohar Rashid, Shayan Khan, Mani, Kiran Malik, Ali Safina, Shafaat Ali in important roles. Another surprise of the movie is the presence Sultan of Swing legendary cricketer Wasim Akram and his wife Shaniera Akram as actors. 

The film was scheduled to release on 22 May 2020 (eid-ul-fitr); however, due to Covid-19 pandemic, the release of the movie was postponed. 

About IMGC

Started as Distribution Club (Pvt) limited in 1953 by late Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, the company, since then has cascaded numerous (about 450) Pakistani and international films in country. Rasheed also established Independent AR Films in 1964 extending the operations of company.

The legacy continued when his son Shiekh Amjad Rasheed took charge of the affairs as the chairman after his father and established the group of company IMGC in 1985 with increased functions and a turnover of approximately 200 million US dollar. For last four decades Amjad Rasheed has been in a thriving business of film production and distribution and has the privilege of heading the Film Producers Association as Chairman two times to date.

DC also has its esteemed clients and partners both locally and globally like EROS, Yashraj, YTV, FOX, Zee, Red Chillies, Madhu, Balaji, Grand Showbiz, T-Series, Disney, Reliance, Shree International, Mahesh Bhatt, Rhythm Boy and White Hill etc.

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A Solo Bridal Show By Kashee’s in Karachi

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After receiving overwhelming response for his debut bridal collection at the 18th edition of HUM Bridal Couture Week, makeup expert and bridal wear designer Kashif Aslam of Kashee’s presented his latest collection titled ‘Bridal Festive 2022’ in a grand solo showcase in Karachi.

Keeping in mind the wedding festivities of the subcontinent, the showcase was divided into four parts, featuring a wide range of designs for Mayoon, Mehndi, Baraat and Valima. The collection was an ode to our rich culture and traditions designed and embedded with floral motifs in Zari and Swaroaski crystals and traditional embroidery work. The pieces were a combination of traditional sensibility, cut and tailored with a modern edge. The colour palette shuffled between vibrant tones of wedding festivities and the classical red.

Kashee’s solo show had a fabolous line-up of celebrities swaying down the catwalk. Film star Sana Fakhar opened the show while TikTok star Rebecca, Madiha, Saba Faisal and Sarwat Gillani closed the Mayoon. Shagufta Ejaz, Benita David, Nadia Hussain and Sehar walked as show-stoppers in the Mehndi segment, whereas Saba Faisal, Rebecca and Neelam Muneer graced the ramp in the Baraat segment. The final segment of the show was Valima, opened by Dr Shaista Lodhi, whereas Suneeta Marshal, Sana Fakhar and Benita also graced the catwalk. The show came to an end as the ever gorgeous Reema Khan walked down the ramp in thunderous applause by the attendees.

The event was organized by HUM Special Projects & Events. The stage and catwalk for Kashee’s solo showcase were opulent and grand in scale like other big shows of Hum Network. The set theme was in sync with the collection of pieces showcased, which added and enhanced the overall catwalk experience. 

Photography of the show was done by Ahsan Qureshy and Haris Usmani while all the bridal wear and hair and makeup was done by Kashee’s

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REHBRA: Tale Of Two Soulmates

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REHBRA, the Pakistani rom-com action packed film, directed by Amin Iqbal and produced by Saira Afzal has been released in cinemas on June 24 across Pakistan.

The film stars Ayesha Omar, Ahsan Khan as lead and Saba Faisal, Sohail Sameer, Sarish Khan, Adnan Hyder and Ghulam Mohiuddin in pivotal roles. It also includes a special dance number by Rimmal. The trailer of Rehbara promises romance, action, drama, and comedy, in one pack.

The title song of the film is sung by Asim Azhar, and composed by Simab Sen, was picturised across select locales of Pakistan.

Rehbara’s director, the veteran Amin Iqbal terms his film a rom-com action flick with a social message that is bound to be appreciated by audiences.  He said that Rehbra had been a labour of love and as much a journey of self-discovery for the protagonists.

Iqbal further explained his film, a story that revolves around a journey of love, hatred, adventure and discovery of a soul mate where least expected, “Rehbra highlights that love is not a destination but a journey.”

Talking about the social message in the film, he elaborated, “In the film we see how when situations change in life, so does our thinking, but when we act on our thoughts and perceptions, life does not change accordingly. Like the antagonist in the film says, ‘When a situation is as bad as this, one wishes more for death than life!’.”

The film is film is backed by the debutant US-based Pakistani producer, Saira Afzal, who has done courses in production management from NYC. She has also worked with various theatres including Lambs, WPA and American Theatre. She is hopeful about the project as her team have invested a lot of time, money and hard work in the movie, “My passion for film-making led me to this unique journey, a first for any Pakistani woman settled abroad with no prior connection to the film industry. It is a gamble that I am hopeful will bear fruits for us all.”

 Afzal believes that her experience will also be enjoyed by the audience when it would come on silver screens.

The leads of Rehbara, Ahsan Khan and Ayesha Omar, are acting together for the first time in this film. They have hosted shows earlier.  

Khan was excited yet hopeful about his pairing up with Ayesha Omar and admitted that he enjoyed the whole experience if working with her and regarded her as a great friend.   

He also recalls the experience, he and Omar had while shooting the film but specially the title song which was shot in some beautiful lands but difficult weather conditions. 

Ayesha Omar shared the poster of the film on her social media and called Ahsan Khan her “Rehbra”. Omar stated, “This baby of ours is a labour of extreme hard work, patience, perseverance and love.” 

Ahsan Khan also expressed his emotions via social media where he shared the trailer of the film stating: “Expect the unexpected; life is full of wonderful things just waiting to surprise you!”

An SA Entertainment film, Rehbara has been distributed by Mandviwalla Entertainment.

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