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In conversation with Nimar Zar Chaudhry

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A solo music artist who is originally from Pakistan but lived most of his music career in LA. Nimar aka an all rounder musician who sings, produces and plays guitar, drums and piano, tells us about his journey of following his music passion!

1) How did you get into music?

I Started music 10 years ago while studying in Beaconhouse Newlands. I Was a part of multiple bands but eventually the bands split and I moved to LA to study cinematic arts and technology from California state university. But I dropped out in my third year and since I loved to travel, I travelled around a bit and then came to Pakistan. That’s when I met my childhood friend Daniyal Zafar, and we jammed a bit and before you know it we decided to go to LA together and make music. We made amazing music there together and got the opportunity to meet many famous singers and producers who helped us evolve as artists as well.

2) What inspired you to play music?

Love Kings of Leon band which is what inspired me to sing and play music.

3) Describe your sound

Hip hop and R&B. I most play western music.

4) Do remember your first performance?

My first ever gig was at Newlands and I was a drummer in the band back then. I still won’t forget my first gig because we got tomatoes and eggs thrown at us. It was really tough because people don’t know how much work we put in. but that’s what us artists have to deal with. There are a lot of people who will pull you down but you have to keep going for what you love.

5) What was your childhood dream?

To become an actor for sure! I did some plays but realised soon enough it wasn’t for me.

6) Is there an interesting story behind any of your songs?

I dated a Christian girl back in LA when I was studying there and 2 years down the line she moved to Netherlands. Hence I decided to move to London to be closer to her but 2 days before my move, she broke up with me and that’s when I wrote Christian girl raincoat. I still moved to London though. But the songs are very close to my heart as they describe my story, what I went through what many people go through and is also very relatable for many people.

7) What are your aims?

Well I aim to be the biggest music artist ever known but realistically I wanna become a well known, developed artist. I want to expand my horizons and not just limit myself to Pakistani music industry.

8) What changes do you hope to see in our music industry?

hope to see western music by Pakistani artists being promoted more and seeing people be more accepting of it.

9) Which musician dead or alive you’d want to jam with and why?

I love so many artists, but I’d love to jam with Post Malone and day!

10) Who is your fashion inspo?

Billie Eilish

11) Tell us a secret about yourself.

I write down stories that I hears or something that I see on my little note book that I carry with me everywhere I go.

12) What’s next for you?

My solo album is coming out soon which will feature some great other artists! I also eventually plan to go back and finish my last year of university.

13) What’s the secret behind your long, luscious curly locks?

It’s a funny story. So I always wanted to have long curly hair and I met this guy in California on a beach and saw his long curly hair and I asked him what he does to his hair and he said “ just let it flow!” So I stopped using a lot of hair products and I just let my hair grow out. It’s been 3 years now since I’ve been growing them.

14) What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue music?

Do not give up and always love what you do!

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Music, Dance and Mehwish are Chhalawa only saving grace

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Rating: 2.5/5

Chhalawa is a story of a very traditional family. Chaudhary Rafaqat (Mehmood Aslam) has two daughters and a son. The elder one is Zoya (Mehwish Hayat) who went to city for higher studies and now wants to marry the love of her life Sameer (Azfar Rehman) whom she met during her studies. His second daughter Haya (Zara Noor Abbas) is a fired up girl, who usually lives in her own fantasy world of films, desperate to fall in love and loves to dance in her room on Lollywood songs. His son Haroon (Ashir Wajahat) is another character, blunt slightly manner less but loves his sisters.

From here, the age-old story begins that Chaudhary wants his daughter Zoya to marry his nephew, as it is a tradition to marry girls in the family, Zoya resists and conflict begins.

The first half of the movie is still bearable where at least some kind of story is developing, after interval; it nosedives and leaves the audience wondering what is happening. For example, first song makes sense but second was there because someone wants it to be. No effort was made to put some sense in it.

The story is simple, it is told several hundred times before, both in Bollywood and in Pakistani Cinema, and then extra level of creativity is required to make it interesting. Unfortunately, that is the biggest issue with Chhalawa. Scenes lasting for several minutes, borderline jokes and most of all, Zoya’s letters to her mother were a big question mark.

With a star like Mehwish Hayat, if the movie is still not able to pull the audience in, then to an extent it is a crime.

Wajahat Rauf’s Chhalawa is particularly disappointing for many, because people considered it a third time charm. Surprisingly, all the actors in the film performed very well despite having a weak script and practically limited room to perform.

The biggest surprise is by far the Zara Noor Abbas who played Haya, Mehwish’s younger sister. Zara turns out to be someone who handles her comic timings well, she is sharp and witty, and yet cute enough to keep the audience engaged. She danced quite well in couples of scenes. Ashir Wajahat also performed better than expected, although his character did not have much to do except for a scene or two.

Although, Azfar Rehman looks good on screen, however I am unable to understand his character, at one time he wants to commit suicide, then he plans to win Zoya’s father heart, then he just runs away when she asked him and without making a scene leaves her when she asked him to do so.

Mehmood Aslam in his role is picture perfect until the climax where he insisted on carrying out his daughter’s Nikah after he was shot.

Mehwish Hayat as usual shines bright even in this very limited role. She did well when she was playing a lover, arguing with her father, running away from home and coming back and again succumbing to her father pressure, but her biggest wins are two songs i.e. ‘Chhalawa’ and ‘Chiriya’ where she danced her heart out. Wahab Shah’s Choreography was engaging and full of fun, that is the only positive that you can come out with in the entire saga of over 2 hours.

Only thing that can save this film is music; Shiraz Uppal did very well giving not one but two already hit songs to Pakistani Cinema.

This is the weakest ever Mehwish Hayatfilm by any standard, with films like Na Maloom Afraad, Actor in Law, Punjab Nahi Jaungi the superstar stumbles at the last ball of the over.

You can opt to watch Chhalawa if you like song and dance numbers and that too from Mehwish Hayat and if you are ready to leave your brain outside the cinema hall.

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ART Alert!

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Escape Through Art II curated by Mahaa Malik. Featuring the brilliant artists from all over Pakistan!

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I Wanted To Come With A New Story This Time

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Wajahat Rauf is a well-known Pakistani director, actor, screenwriter, producer, singer and host. He has the credit of many firsts of Pakistan on his shoulders from becoming the head of first youth-based entertainment channel AAG TV to the director of first Pakistani web series Enaaya starring Mehwish Hayat, which was shown on Eros International last year. Wajahat has established his own production company Showcase Films under which he has produced two successful comedy feature films Karachi Se Lahore (2015) and Lahore Se Aagey (2016) and over 25 television dramas. He has also started his youtube channel ‘Showcase Tv’ on which he is hosting a very popular satirical/comedy show ‘Vice Over Man’ in which he invites top notch showbiz celebrities of Pakistan and ask them some witty and funny questions. Being a staunch music lover, Wjahat has also produced many music videos; the recent one is Talaash also featuring his son Aashir Wajahat.  

His upcoming film, Chhalawa, releasing on Eid al-Fitr, is a “lighthearted love story” that is directed, produced and written by him. We talked to this multi-talented man from the idea casting and storyline of his upcoming flick.

We were expecting Karachi Se Lahore 2 this year but instead you have come up with Chhalawa?  How this idea came into your mind?

I had this idea in my mind for last three to four years. I discussed it too with to a few people. Then I shelved it for some period as I became busy in Karachi Se Lahore 3. I wrote the script of KSL3 and did some rehearsals but in the end I thought that it was going to be exactly as same as my first two movies. So, instead of presenting same type of story that is about road trip and comedy for even the third time consecutively, I thought it was better that I make a family rom-com film. Chhalawa is a family based story focusing more on sibling and father-daughter relations including romance and comedy.

You choose the super stars of industry as the heroines (female lead) but avoid casting a super star as heroes (male lead) of your films. Any big reason?

I think if you want to play in main stream cinema, one lead (from hero and heroine) of the film should be stronger, bigger and larger than other. It can be a female lead or male lead. Cinema needs a pull for the audience as ticket prices are high up to 800. So the factor of big names like Mehwish Hayat and Saba Qamar attract cine goers. So you need to have a one big star in a movie to pull the audience. I might change this formula in my next film where I cast a big name as hero (make lead) and a new comer as heroine (female lead).  But what I think is one big star is necessary or enough to pull audience towards cinema or for a successful film.

It doesn’t mean that film industry will not welcome new comers. My whole career is based around and introducing new talent.

You have shown a Punjabi culture in the film. Where have you mostly shot the film?

Surprisingly, most of our filming is in Karachi and Sindh. Locations include a haveli in Badin, and many more places of interior Sindh. We had our shooting in Punjab as well but for a few days only.

How many songs and dances in are in the film?

There are four songs in the film, in which two are dance based while other two are montage based. Whab Shah has choreographed the dances. He has done an excellent job. One dance number has been included in the trailer and second one is Chirya.  

Lasltly, tell us about your character in the film. We have not seen any glimpse in the trailer? Is it a surprise? My role? (Laughs) I am actually not fond of acting but there is a surprise about me in the film.

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