We all have been drooling over this IT couple of Altamash and Izzah. Now that Anaa has come to an end, we got a chance to talk to Usman about his character, his upcoming projects, his take on harassment and women empowerment and that’s what we found out.
How is Usman in real life? Is he just like Altamash or totally opposite to him?
I’m not like Altamash in real life, but I’m not totally opposite to him. Altamash is always dressed up, I’m not. I’m very comfortable wearing my shorts and my T-shirt, I love dressing up casually. Altamash is a big businessman, I’m not. I’m a struggling actor. He’s very serious; I’m not that serious in real life. There are not a lot of similarities between me and Altamash.
According to you, what is wrong with directions and directors these days?
I feel like directors here don’t direct the actor, that’s one thing that they need to do. They need to work with the actors. Directors here think they can just sit on a chair, speak on the big microphone the word “ACTION!” and everything is going to take care of itself, that’s not how it works. Especially in advertisements, I think the director of photography is considered the director. Having said that, there are also some good directors in Pakistan as well but yes the director is basically the captain of the ship, he needs to be involved in everything from the sound design to costume design to the set design and also he needs to work with the actors and help the actors which unfortunately most directors here don’t do.
Name one movie that you think would have been better had it been directed by you.
I don’t think I would have done a better job at directing it but I would have really liked to direct Laal Kabootar, that’s the kind of genre I would like to direct but again I’m in no way saying that I would have directed it better. Kamal has done an amazing job and I really respect him as a director.
If it wasn’t acting or directing, what would have been your choice?
Well, my grandfather wanted me to become a lawyer and I wanted to become a cricketer. So either or.
we saw someone calling you “JOEY”, how true is that statement?
Yes, my friends call me JOEY, which is based on Joey Tribbiani from the television series “Friends”, because I have eating habits like Joey. I love food and I don’t share my food, I get really possessive about my food and I get really pissed off if somebody takes food from my plate.
Movies or Dramas, what would you prefer?
In an ideal world, I would love to do movies but right now the movies that the Pakistani film industry is producing does not have that standard and the audience has not been developed. There’s a lot that needs to happen in the film industry. Stories and script writers are very amateur, and sound is not up to par. So right now, I’d like to do dramas. If a good script comes my way I’d love to do it.
Cheesiest fan moment?
It’s not a cheesiest moment but a bit scary and creepy. Somebody dropped off a letter at my house and that letter started off with “Usman, I have been stalking you” so I don’t know if it’s cheesiest but I’m sure it’s very creepy.
One male and female actor that you really look forward to work with?
I think Bilal Abbas and Imran Ashraf are great actors and I would love to work with them because you feed off each other’s energy and if you have a great performer in front of you, you can also give a decent performance so I’d love to work with them. In females, I think Sajal Ali is a great actor and so is Sanam Saeed, they both are amazing actors and I would love to work with either one of them.
Any drama from the past that you would have loved working in?
Yes. Yes. Yes. There are two dramas that I would have loved working in. One of them is Dhoop Kinaray and the other one is Alpha Bravo Charlie.
After researching a lot, we still couldn’t find your relationship status. Would you like to comment on it?
It’s complicated, that’s all I can say.
Define feminism from your perspective.
From my perspective, I think anything that a man does; a woman should be allowed to do as well and anything that a man is not allowed to do, a woman shouldn’t be allowed to do it either. We need to be equals and we are equals as human beings and I’m a strict believer of equality and that is feminism to me.
What’s your take on sexual harassment in media/entertainment industry.
I think sexual harassment is a very serious issue and I think a lot of women go through that and it is the most horrible thing to go through. But, I also feel that we very blindly believe anybody and everybody and that shouldn’t happen. I think there needs to be a strict check and balance that if somebody is saying something it needs to be credible. I know it’s a little difficult but there are a lot of spiteful people out there and also there are a lot of sleazeballs and creepy people out there who harass women but I do feel there needs to be a strict check and balance.
What’s the reason/idea behind your witty captions? (Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, say something about that)
I don’t like putting quotes under my pictures, I like to believe I’m a funny person so I tend to write a caption that is funny and bring a smile to my followers, that’s why.
Tell us about your future projects?
I cannot tell you about my future projects right now but some interesting stuff is coming up so please hold your horses and be patient with me.
One person you secretly stalk on Insta but don’t follow?
If I like somebody I follow them, I don’t stalk people. I mean yes I do, I stalk the people I follow and it’s not stalking you just go through their profile but I don’t really stalk people I don’t follow.
Junaid Khan Wins Hearts with His Performance in “Yaariyan”
The ending of this megahit drama “Yaariyan” couldn’t have been better. The ensemble cast included Junaid Khan, Ayeza Khan, Momal Sheikh, and Muneeb Butt in the leading roles. With everyone essaying their characters to the best of their abilities; there was one person who truly stood out among the rest, and that was Junaid Khan.
“Yaariyan” was a socially relevant drama serial about love and betrayal, directed by Syed Wajahat Hussain and produced by Erum Binte Shahid. It went on to become one of the greatest hits of the season with its power-packed cast and brilliant storyline.
Standing out with his brilliant performance among the rest, Junaid Khan essayed the role of Ahmer; an emotional yet humble character who is married to Sadia, played by Momal Sheikh. He is deeply in love with his wife but because of some misunderstandings, they don’t end up together and part ways. Junaid proves through his character how versatile he can be, he not only portrays Ahmer’s convolutions with dedication and conviction but also did justice to convey the importance of forgiveness in marriage and relationships.
From hit music numbers to blockbuster drama serials and the notable appearance on the silver screen with tons of accolades to his credits, Junaid Khan has accomplished a lot in a very short span of time. It may be worth mentioning here that Khan commenced his career as a musician with ‘Call the Band’, in mid-2000s, and later grew into acting. Nowadays, he is one of the busiest and highest paid actors on television.
Famed for his distinctive voice and acting chops, this versatile rock star has proved himself one of the finest artists of our industry. This leisure travel lover, cinema-geek and total foodie who is a strong proponent of social media has a charismatic personality and is climbing on the ladder to success and greatness with each passing day.
Finally! A Childbirth Educator in Town
Considering the issues faced by women during and after pregnancy, this is high time that we started taking help from professionals. The most important thing is to normalise the concept of seeking therapy during and after childbirth. There are many women who are unaware of their situations and health issues and are hesitant to ask around for help. There are many facebook support groups where women can post openly or anonymously to seek help but there needs to be a formal education system to get them prepared for a time period that can be overwhelming and exhausting at the same time.
We had an informative conversation with Mahvish who is the new childbirth educator in town that can be quite fruitful for new mommies and the ones in the making.
How did you come up with the idea of establishing Bump & Beyond?
I gave birth to my daughter in New Zealand as my parents reside there. The pre & postnatal care I received in New Zealand was beyond my expectations & this led me to research infant & maternal care in Pakistan.
In order to have an empowering & satisfactory birth/ parenting experience, it is critical to learn skills & strategies as it takes you a long way in this life-changing experience. Bump & Beyond has been established with the objective of providing expectant parents with evidence-based choices that exist during pregnancy, labour & early parenthood. At Bump & Beyond, you learn hands-on skills & knowledge which facilitate to make your journey to parenthood a happier, more satisfactory one.
Do you think ante & postnatal care in Lahore is lacking greatly?
Not just in Lahore, all over Pakistan! I come from a family of gynecologists & obstetricians and had an idea of the services that are lacking here prior to getting on this venture. Quite often, doctor’s lack the interest or time to educate patients around their and their baby’s well being. Simply put, a doctor’s objective starts & ends with a baby being delivered (hopefully safely).
Pre & postnatal education is an integral part of all prestigious international health care systems. Historically, our governments’ investment in the health sector has always been poor/low, hence no such facilities exist at a public or private level – I find this extremely unfortunate because Pakistan has one of the highest infant & maternal mortality rates in the world
What do you hope Ammi’s will take home with them after a session at Bump & Beyond?
There is too much information out there on the internet & too little given by doctors, often misleading us. My aim is to allow every expectan
Where do you hope to see Bump & Beyond in the next 5 years?
Within my private practice, I envision Bump & Beyond as an institution which is a one-stop shop for pregnant women & new parents – this is where they come to learn evidence based choices, and is a platform that is considered both safe & reliable for women to voice/discuss their thoughts & concerns during their journey.
I also hope to integrate Bump & Beyond with the public health sector
Do you feel pregnant women are particularly vulnerable during gestation?
Absolutely – pregnancy is a time of phenomenal transition and a woman’s physical & mental health is subject to changes.
How was your own personal experience of being pregnant in Lahore?
I was lucky to have a non-complicated pregnancy, for the most part, however, I ended up having SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction), which is considered common pelvic/pubic pain in pregnancy for some women. Unfortunately, due to a lack of awareness & support here, I was unable to manage it safely. I still suffer from pelvic pain and have been undergoing physiotherapy for a year now!
Do you think the quality of antenatal care a woman receives increases her chances of postpartum depression?
100% – postpartum depression is a function of 2 key factors; (i) your physiological tendencies/history of depression + (ii) your support system during pregnancy/postpartum. Good antenatal & postnatal care (along with a supportive husband!!) can go a long way.
What certification did you do to become a childbirth educator?
I acquired a Diploma in Childbirth Education from Childbirth International.
How long was the certification?
Do you think the market is ready for such services or are people a little confused about what you offer?
The market is definitely very information hu
How long does a woman have to enroll in the program for?
The antenatal classes span over 4 sessions – I encourage pregnant women in their 2nd or 3rd trimester to sign up for all 4. However, I also offer the choice of signing up for individual sessions.
Do you also offer postpartum support?
Yes – currently I am doing one on one support sessions which encompass breastfeeding, postpartum blues or depression management, and transition to parenting. Going forward I will be introducing group sessions for postpartum support also.
What certification did you do to become a childbirth educator?
I acquired a Diploma in Childbirth Education from Childbirth International.
UNDER THE COVERS: With Saba Aqeel
Saba Aqeel Ahmed has worked tirelessly to set up her home-based bedding business. She strives to deal as fairly and honestly as possible (with the help of her refund and exchange policies) and always makes sure to provide the best quality products so as not to disappoint her customers. She is the mother of four young daughters, a dedicated and honest businesswoman; and a loving wife all wrapped up into one person.
- What pushed you to set up your own business?
I set up this business as a means to support my 4 daughters and husband. I realized that the extra income generated by my business could be put towards my daughters’ higher education and to improve our current standard of living. I also chose to start this business because of my inability to sit idle and my desire to become an economically productive member of society.
- What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in setting up this home-based business?
There were many challenges that I came across while I was initially setting up my business. One of the main problems was transport. I didn’t have a car or driver! This made it quite difficult to commute and get things done. Moreover, my in laws weren’t very supportive of the idea of a working woman either. This became quite worrisome as I wasn’t receiving the kind of support I needed and it lowered my morale quite a bit. In addition to this, one of the hardest things to accomplish was building recognition for my brand.
- There are so many different types of businesses out there. Why did you decide to take up bedding?
Originally I hadn’t decided that I wanted to produce and sell bedding. I had already been contemplating setting up a small home-based business and a close friend suggested that I should pursue bedding. Her husband already owned bedding store so I thought “why not?” I was inexperienced at the time so it was nice to be able to rely on someone who knew what they were doing. Through them I was able to learn a lot about how to grow my business and was able to expand my network of contacts too. Working in bedding textiles is also very unique as not many entrepreneurs have thought to enter this field yet.
- Once you re-started your business for the second time how did you manage to expand it?
Initially, when my business launched I only circulated the news amongst my family and close friends through a Whatsapp message. Then orders started to come in, and as I sent out more products I began to receive positive feedback. From there I was recommended to potential customers outside my immediate family and circle of friends. However, I had to take a short hiatus to focus on a few family matters. Once I re-launched my business I explored new avenues of self-promotion such as online pages, Instagram, and Facebook and that is how I was able to expand my customer base.
- What advice would you offer to someone looking to start their own business?
Give it your all! Don’t pay too much attention to what other people say about you, keep your head down and just keep going. Inshallah, all your efforts will be rewarded if you put in the maximum amount of effort into what you do and keep your intentions clear.
- Was your family supportive of your ambition to run a home-based bedding business?
In all honesty, my family has always been quite supportive of everything I’ve ever wanted to do. I got married at quite a young age only having done my FSC at the time and was very financially vulnerable. It was a blessing to have a supportive husband that encouraged me to take up entrepreneurship and my daughters that pressed me to my get BA degree. However, my in-laws are more conservative and weren’t too keen on the idea of me setting up this business. In this case, I took the executive decisions to carry on and with the support of my husband and daughters I was able to set up a successful career.
- What are some of the most important things you’ve learned as a result of managing this business?
Running this business has in fact been an invaluable learning experience. I had always led quite a sheltered life, but after starting this business my eyes were opened to some very harsh realities. I learned to observe people closely and realized the importance of being polite. People working as sales representatives or offering any goods or services are often wrongly criticized for things beyond their control. Even if they make a genuine yet minor mistake. On the other hand, I also learned how kind and considerate people can be and what the lengths people will go to support you if they care about you.
- Being a working mother can be quite difficult. How do you manage all your responsibilities?
Being a working mother is quite hectic. My children are my number one priority and the whole reason that my entire business is set up at home. This way I am able to look after them while getting on with my work as well. I do all my designing first and only visit the bazaar on selected days to pick out the fabric so that my kids aren’t left alone for too long. It’s a huge responsibility to make sure your children and house aren’t neglected while you work. Especially for me, since I live in a joint family system, and need to be extra vigilant so as to avoid any criticism. At times the routine gets very tedious and work does pile up but at the end of the day, it’s also quite rewarding.
- What is your main focus for the future at this point?
My main focus at this point is educating my 4 young daughters.
- Is there anything you’d like to say to the audience that reads your interview?
Yes, I’d like to take this opportunity and use the Scary Ammi platform to say that every working mother has a lot of responsibilities to shoulder. So it’s important that we do our best to support the work that these mothers do because even the smallest bit of encouragement can do wonders for their morale.
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