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Laal Kabootar for the international feature film



By Aliza Aftab Khan

The Academy Selection Committee of Pakistan has nominated the film, “Laal Kabootar” for the International Feature Film category in the 92nd Academy Awards, being held in 2020.

The Oscar Awards committee will scrutinize the films submitted by all the countries, in December of the ongoing year, and the final nominations will be announced on the 13th January of the following year. The award ceremony will be held on the 9th of February, 2020.

The head of the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee, is Sharmeen Ubaid Chinoy, a Director who has won the Oscar Award twice. Others in the committee include the country’s most illustrious actors, directors, and writers, as well as individuals belonging from various other fields, namely, Zaiba Bakhtiar, Zarar Khoro, Zaib un Nisa Hamid, Sarmad Khoosat, Asim Abbasi, Rizawan Beyg, Jameel Beyg, Sanam Saeed and Hamna Zubair.

For a film to be accepted and shortlisted for the final Oscar nominations, it is essential for the respective film to have been screened in a commercial Cinema of its own country for at least a week, between the 1st of October 2018 till 30th September 2019. Since after eid, no other Pakistani film is being presented before the 30th September deadline, the committee has arrived at this decision, taking place through a secretly held consensus.

Retrospectively, “Laal Kabootar” was released across Cinemas in Pakistan on 22nd March of the present year, and was screened for a total of 11 weeks, consecutively. According to the film’s Producer, Kamil Chima, the film’s budget was 3 crore and its total Box Office revenue amounted to 3.5 crore.

The film was highly praised by the audiences; however, it didn’t turn out to be as successful at the Box Office. It is important to note here that the Oscar Nominations Committee reviews a film based on its technical aspects, and not the Box Office revenue.

The film’s Director, Kamal Khan, expressed his feelings regarding the selection of “Laal Kabootar”, “Humbled by the news! This is an extremely proud moment for the entire team, we are all very excited. Want to thank the Pakistan selection committee and audiences for giving Laal Kabootar so much love.”

The Producers of the film, Kamil Chima and Hania Chima, also evinced the pride and excitement they felt regarding the news.

Isolated from the upscale Karachi life, “Laal Kabootar” is a story, set in the streets of the commoners, its lead characters a cab driver, Ahmed Ali Butt and the widow of an assassinated journalist, Mansha Pasha. Kashif Farooqui and Saleem Mairaj also played significant roles in the film. The film is based on an incident of traget killing, apparently a common street crime.

Ever since the revival of Pakistani Cinema, Pakistan has submitted a film every year for the Academy Award Nominations; however, none of the films have made it to the final nominations yet.

“Laal Kabootar is an authentic representation of the new wave cinema in Pakistan. Karachi’s raw and fierce beauty has never been shown like this on screen before,” said Sarmad Khoosat. The revival of Pakistani Cinema began with the film “Zinda Bhaag” (2013), after which “Dukhtar” (2014), “Moor” (2015), “Maah e Mir” (2016), “Saawan” (2017), and “Cake” in the preceding year, 2018, have been selected for Oscar considerations.

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With the Covid-19 lockdown slowly easing but not enough to host audience-packed live shows, Catwalk Cares Virtual Fashion Show Season 2 was recorded at Net Set Studio Karachi  to be aired on three consecutive days from August 14 to 16 2020 on ARY Zindagi TV and ARY digital (YouTube).

The day one of the Virtual Fashion Show was aired last night featuring five designers with the central themes that reverberated was of hope, resilience and a sense of positivity.

Zainab Chottani’s diffusion high street line TAHRA presented a collection called ‘Joy’ with popular upcoming models Erica Robinson, Javeria Hanif, Rahima Ali and Fatima Hasan. The collection was inspired by the idea that amid the stress of the pandemic we should all remain positive and think about joy and fun.

Rather than traditional catwalk, models danced, gallivanted, drank soda drinks and  high-fived wearing cotton kurtis and belted  tunics in vibrant colours like marigold yellow, bright pink and cerulean blue, embellished with funny embroidered motifs of  balloons, pineapples, cameras and  airplanes juxtaposed with neutral black and white striped and chequered prints designed in wide pants.

One of the leading textile brands Al-Karam showcased a four piece Luxe collection titled, ‘Esfir’ (Star Like) that paid tribute to eastern roots and traditions, modelled by Robina Khan.

The sartorial consisted of old-style prints using vibrant hues including fuchsia, amethyst, tangerine, jade green  and  cerulean sky blue transposed onto the season’s latest trends inspired by traditional silhouettes including short  and off- the -shoulder embroidered balloon-sleeved tunics and shirts paired with voluminous shararas, gharaaas  and shalwars, embellished with intricate embroidery.

A showman, poet and esoteric creator, Yousuf Bashir Qureshi (YBQ) showcased his delicate 18 piece collection ‘Seen Unseen’ in an artistic poetry-laden fashion film featuring Sarah Bashir Qureshi, Hani Yousuf Qureshi and Anoushey Abbasi, inspired by dreaming of old Dhaka and the tale of a single mother and her connections with her offspring. 

The Casual Pret wear collection made from pure cotton and mulmul in pure white and soft pastels hues composed of loose tunics, shirts, and crop tops paired with Thar pants and dhotis, end noted with a traditional Sari.

DINERS are known for their sleek menswear especially formal office wear including shoes, belts and accessories showed six outfits including three formal suits, in dark blue, brown and deep burgundy and  three shalwar kameez suits in black white and cream  colours paired with maroon, grey and blue waistcoats using a plethora of breathable fabrics keeping in mind  Pakistan’s weather.

These outfits were modelled by upcoming TV actor, former Mr Commonwealth International 2015 and a fashion model, Danish Wakeel.

Kayseria’s Autumn Winter 2020 collection “Umeed” modelled by Maha Tahirani, buoyed the themes of human reflection and celebrating resilience.

A vibrant seven- piece limited edition Bridal wear capsule specifically designed for the Zoom weddings. Using finely embroidered fabrics including  velvet, raw and pure silks, nets, fine khaddar and lawn karandi, the voluminous outfits included opera coats, sleek tunics, shararas and a billowing sari, imbued in bright colours with richly regal  contrasting hues including cream, burnt sienna, deep burgundy, turquoise blue and black.

Folk-Rock songstress Natasha Baig rendered a performance of the raag-based song ‘Kesaria’ during the Kayseria’s presentation.

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Meet The Churails



“When people will watch Churails, they would forget who we are in real and what we have done before but know us only by our characters of Sarah, Jugnu, Batool, and Zubaida, on screens,” say the four leading ladies of a first original web series of Zindagi, a tab on OTT app Zee5.

Written and directed by famous Pakistani filmmaker Asim Abbasi, Churails (meaning witch) is an action thriller series of women from different backgrounds to form a secret agency, with the mission of elevating women and solve their problems. The series has created much hype in just three days of its release and actually a breakthrough in changing in many stereotypes of Pakistani entertainment industry with respect to storyline, script, characterization, dialogue and overall presentation of the product.

According to Asim, Churails is his effort to modify the general meaning of the word in opposite subtext.

Here we meet main cast of Churails and know from them what they are doing in this one of the landmark project of their careers. 

Sarah by Sarwat Gilan

Sarwat Gilani, plays Sarah in Churails, who fights against the various ills in society especially related to women.

“Sarah is a lawyer and living a happy family life in an affluent setup. She loves her husband madly but at a certain point because of his infidelity, she feels broken and during the process of recollecting herself she meets these four women, with different backgrounds but with the same amount of pain as hers, and forms the squad. Her love has changed into vengeance and that fire prompted her to fight for every woman who is betrayed by her husbands,” Sarwat elaborates her character in the series.

Sarwat admits that she has not played the character like Sarah in her 18 years of career.

“Media generally portrays a woman very suppressive and deprived who most of the time, needs a man as her savoir and a guiding force but in Churails, all these women are brave enough to uplift and support each other in fighting their own battle.”

The Jawani Phir Nahin Aani star wants people to not judge this series just by the title but understand its dual meaning, which talks about the issues and ordeal, which women of in Sub-Continental society go through.

About doing collaborative projects among different countries, Sarwat was of view that it was the need of the moment to break the monotony of our subjects and to find new levels and platforms. 

“When we cross boundaries and collaborate, we try to give our best and they also do the same so the combination of these bests always promises for something new and better.”

Sarwat also supports these joined ventures on order to get out of from the stagnant state of Pakistani dramas and films, which are mainly emphasizing for so long on the subject of victimisation of women.

Jugnu by Yasra Rizvi

Yasra Rizvi is portraying Jugnu Chaudhry, who is also Sarah’s best friend. An event planner by profession, Jugnu joins Sarah after facing losses in her business, with primary reason to compensate her damages.  

Telling more about her character, the actress said, “Jugnu is a funny, fashionable and a forward looking kind of woman, who are generally categorized in a certain type by our society. Being the most glamourized in all four Churails, she lacks romance in her life.”

What was something different about her role in Churails, Yasra replied that like Sarwat, she was also tired of being typecast as a poor and oppressed woman on television, but in Churails she is playing a very independent woman who takes control of her life, though faces problems in achieving that state but used all means to get out of this that is why has become arrogant.

Churails would be the ice breaker in taking out our stereotypes characters from boxes of black and white and good and bad to real life people, who act like a normal human beings, she added.  

About collaborative work with other countries, Yasra said there were so many positive perspectives of this initiative especially for Pakistan, firstly to fasten its pace in the digital world and secondly to find a way to be known in the rest of the world.

“I often observe in online commentary on social media that people from different countries pass very harsh comments for each other. It is all because of getting a view of each other from far, existing and living in different societies because of boundaries,” the actress elaborated.

Nimra Bucha as Batool

Nimra Bucha plays the role of Batool, a self-determined woman with middle class background, who is stubborn and violent many a times because of the adversities she has went through.

“Batool has had enough to bear from men and a society and now lead her life on her own terms and conditions’ Nimra added. 

Having a rich background in theatre helped Nimra a lot to portray a complex role with detailing in Churails, “In Pakistan, female characters are most complex and explored in theatres as compared to films and dramas. So, I took Churails as an extension to my theatre experience. We had lengthy session of rehearsals, similar to the month long presentations of stage plays, while the absence of live audiences would be fulfilled through the worldwide reach of digital app”, she further explained.

Nimra was of the view that web portals in general are about to break the many prevailing laws of film and drama industry, “These platforms are not selling commodities, thus not dictated by the advertisers, which set various media’s target audience, and bound them to produce content according to that target. So, with these OTTs, it is the time to change many stereotypes of screens.”

About collaborative work with other countries, Nimra said that it was necessary as Pakistani artists are not distinguished in the rest of the world. “Even in international projects, if there is a character of a Pakistani, the producers don’t hire Pakistani actors as they don’t know about them much.” 

The Manto actor added behind working in Churails was also greed of being recognized in other countries; if not globally at least to the neighbouring country.” 

Zubaid by Meher Bano

Mehar Bano plays Zubaida, a young girl from a poor family, having strict restrictions on her form her parents.

“She wants to become a boxer and gets training without telling at home but when his father came to know about this, he beats and assault her daughter. At that point, one of the Churails rescued her and then inspired by their mission, she also became their part,” Bano explains.

Being a boxer in Churails, Bano has some fighting scenes in the serial as well, “I took special training of boxing and fighting from Liyari to get myself fit for the character. I had to fight with real boxers for three months during which I got injured many a times.”

Recalling an incident during the rehearsals of a fight scene, Bano told that her male co-star blow her so hard that she had to remain on complete bed rest for next few days as the injury had affected her sight as well.

Bano further said that after the shooting of Churails, she came to realize her own powers. “I could never think of fighting so aggressively before Churails”

Mehr Bano is of the view that entertainment industries all over the world progress when there are cultural exchanges of arts and crafts among.

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With the Covid-19 lockdown slowly easing but not enough to host audience-packed live shows, Catwalk Cares’ Virtual Fashion Show Season 2 was recorded with a proper ramp format at Net Set Studio Karachi.

The three-day Fashion Show will be aired on ARY Zindagi TV and ARY digital (YouTube) starting from this Independence Day i.e. August 14, 15, &16 at 9:00Pm (PST).

Organized by ‘Catwalk Event Management & Productions’, the show, keeping its spirit alive, promises to be filled with a cadre of pioneering and popular designers, leading fashion brands, and four graduates from AIFD (Iqra University).

The 17 finalized showcases inclides; Faiza Samee, Umar Sayeed, Nilofeer Shahid, YBQ, Sadaf Malaterre, Zainab Chottan, Maheen Karim, Zara Shahjahan, Shamsha Hashwan, Rozina Munib, Nauman Afreen, Arsalan Iqbal, Lal Karam, Lawrencepur, Kayseria, Diners and AIFD Graduates.

The theme set for Virtual fashion Show Season 2 is, “Sustainability of the Pakistani Fashion Industry with the incentive and inspiration of;: ideals of hope, resilience and positivity”

This Virtual Fashion claims to showcase so many diverse designers, multiple brands and fashion graduates together under one platform and representing the universality, inclusivity and communal spirit of the Pakistani fashion industry after a long while.

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