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Junoon makes an electrifying comeback

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The cool sea breeze teased my hair as I entered Karachi’s Moin Khan Academy to attend what was possibly one of the biggest events of this decade: the Sooper Junoon concert. Thousands of Pakistanis from across the world, including women and children, came together to witness the magic of one of Pakistan’s best music bands, once again. After several failed attempts to bring the band together, leading biscuit brand Peek Freans Sooper managed to get the music maestros on stage and let’s just the say the result was epic.

Though I have attended my fair share of concerts over the years, nothing quite matched up to the aura and electric energy that radiated through the crowds Tuesday night. From Khumariyan’s soulful opening to Salman Ahmed’s tribute to Junaid Jamshed, the entire event was a music lover’s dream come true.

The Sooper Junoon concert commenced with some brilliant performances by several bands including Lyaari Underground, Khumariyan, Tamasha and Sounds of Kolachi. However, Khumariyan’s performance, which mostly featured instrumental tunes truly, stole the show.

As the opening performances drew to a close, audiences waited with bated breaths for Junoon to finally take the stage and when Ali Azmat, Salman Ahmed and Brian O’ Connell, along with the rest of the band members, finally made an appearance, the cheer that emitted from the stadium could probably be heard for miles. Both the leads, Ali and Salman, were dressed in flamboyant and colourful outfits, staying true to their essence and personas.

Junoon opened their act with Azaadi, which perfectly complemented the date on the calendar i.e. 25th December, the birth date of the founder of the country, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. They then proceeded to perform their iconic numbers, including Khudi ko ker buland itna, Saiyonee, Ni Heerey enthralling the huge crowds which swayed and danced to the beat of the drums and guitar.

As the event entered its final stage, Salman took the mic and remembered his dear friend Junaid Jamshed, who passed away two years back in an airplane crash, sending waves of emotions across the crowd.

Salman shared with the audiences that the night before Jamshed travelled to Chitral, he called him up and the two spoke for almost two hours about “everything under the sun”.

In the conversation, Junaid expressed his desire, and was almost persistent, to see him [Salman] and Ali perform live on stage. Salman said that he told Junaid that they would talk about this when he would return from Chitral but unfortunately he never returned. Salman concluded that this event was a tribute to his friend, after which he went onto play Dil Dil Pakistan while pictures of Junaid and Salman were displayed on the large screens. The moment was nothing short of sentimental and some members of the audiences were seen shedding a few tears.

Salman also remembered the great Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and recalled an occasion when he and his band members were given the privilege to sit in the maestro’s company and learn from him. Taking a cue from this, Salman brought four young girls on stage, whom he had spotted at a local school’s event and trained them, and performed Dhoom Tana, alongside them.

The event concluded with a stellar display of fireworks as the band played Jazba Junoon, mesmerising the crowd whose eyes darted between the fireworks and the musicians.

This concert proved that these stars are truly in a league of their own and nothing can quite match up to their star power and crowd-pulling ability. Prominent members of the entertainment industry, including Ali Rehman Khan, Deepak Perwani, Zahid Ahmed, Nabeel Zuberi, Ayesha Omar, Hareem Farooq, Junaid Khan, Farhan Saeed and Zoheb Hassan were also part of the crowd as was Wasim Akram and Governor Sindh Imran Ismail.

And as a concluding remark, a shout out to the team behind the event who ensured that they left no stone unturned for smooth sailing. Their hard work shone through the entire event.

The Pakistani entertainment industry has definitely taken a turn for the better and here’s to hoping that more such events take place in the future.

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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