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In conversation with Azfar Rehman

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WHEN DETERMINATION IS THE RULE OF THE GAME

Azfar Rehman is one of those male actors of Pakistan, who because of their director’s actor qualities, become the foremost choice of many projects. Born in Karachi to a Kashmiri family, Azfar started his career as a model when he was 16. After studies, he joined an exclusive English monthly of Pakistan as a journalist. He got his TV break as the host of a celebrity talk show in 2006 called ‘Spotlight with Azfar Rehman’, before turning to acting. Serials like Baityaan, Noor Pur Ki Rani, Dugdugi, Ladies Park, Sitamgar, Bunty I Love You, and most recent Aatish have given him much critical acclaim and praise from the audience. He has also gained label of film star by doing a cameo on ‘Manto’ and a supporting role in ‘Pinjab Nahin  Jaongi’ and now playing lead in an upcoming eid release ‘Chhalawa’. He is very content to work with director like Wajahat Rauf and actors like Mehwish Hayat and hope that this family entertainer will compel audience to come to cinema.

Here is the chat with this hardworking actor about his association and expectations from Chhalawa.  

Now you are a lead in Chhalawa. Are you excited or nervous?

To be honest, I feel a little nervous with this achievement as I believe I must not disappoint my fans and audience. Audience of film pay first before get entertained. So I think it is my responsibility that I should entertain them to my full efforts.

Have you made some extra efforts to become a film hero?

I have been coming as a hero or main lead in dramas for almost last 10 years, but the concept of a hero in a film is something very different. In film, you have to dance well and do fighting and action sequences. I had to go through a new whole training process for this film. 

From trailer, Chhalawa seems to be portraying Punjab. What is your character and have you also spoken Punjabi in film?  

My character in the film is of Urdu speaking boy, while both the heroines belong to Punjabi family. I can’t reveal much but there is full Punjabi tarka in the film.

How much you have danced in the film?

I have two songs on me, full with dance. I hope people will like them. I was a bit tense in beginning but I practiced and got extended training of dance. It was a very refreshing experience. Whab Shah was our choreographer. He has done tremendous job.

How was the experience of working with Mehwish Hayat?

Mehwish is an amazing person. We are family friends for last 11 years. So, being friends, our comfort level has worked a lot in this film. It is also a fact that she is much senior than me in experience as Chhalawa is her seventh and mine is third film, but she is very accommodating and supportive. You learn a lot from her. I never felt that I was working with such a big star.

How was working with Wajahat Rauf?

He was the most supportive in the whole team. He almost spoon feed us everything. I found him very distinctive with entirely different sensibility from the rest of the film makers of the country. His style is slightly westernized and mind-set is very open. Even Mehwish found him very different though she has a quite a good experience of working with many directors. She used to say sometimes during shoot that if she was doing film first time.

Do you think that you have done justice to your role?

I think I did that role quite easily as I am almost the same in my real life. So, I didn’t need to act very differently. There were some emotional scenes (like some heart breaker) where I really had to act.

Is there any specific character which Asfar Rehman wants to do in his career?

What I feel that someone (a writer) should think or design a specific character for me. It should be a character which they think that no other actor can do better than me. I think a good character is a team work or combination of writer, director and actor. A writer creates and develops a character, which is carved by a director for screen and an actor put some soul and life in it. Every legendary character in the history of film has these three forces behind it.

In what genre of films you like most to work in?

I want to do a serious love story, which is a little less depressing than Devdas and much more close to Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Mien Ne Pyar Kiya. It should be something like a sheer fantasy love story. I want people to come to cinema to enjoy quality entertainment; laugh, get emotional a bit, listen to good music, watch dances and go home with a light and happy heart.

What do you prefer? Television or film. In Pakistan, we can never leave television as there are not many films being made here. So, to keep our regular earnings coming, we have to continue television and in my case I say yes to good scripts

Entertainment

Steps towards a Plastic free Pakistan.

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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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • 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

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4 Facebook Groups with Great Initiatives that Serve Significant Purposes

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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) 

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Gawah Rehna: An Upcoming Film Glorifying The Past

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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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