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Minaahil Umar- An Epitome of Grace and Grandeur

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Minahil, an architect by training, received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the National College of Arts (NCA) in 2019. Before joining NCA, she studied at Lahore Grammer School where she pursued her interests in Art, Computer Science, and languages. Minahil’s work while at NCA revolved around Urban Architecture, particularly on reimagining South Asian cities.

Stunned by her eloquent talent for creating artistic visuals that are clearly visible through her work, we decided to catch up with the dedicated designer about her off-work routine.

What kind of a person Minaahil is when she is not working or designing?

Downtime is spent predominantly with family, especially my little angel daughter, truly a bundle of Joy.

What sparked your interest in fashion designing?

I’d always been observant and with the passage of time developed a firm understanding of fabric, designing, and color compatibility. I was already offering advice and guidance to friends, and it seemed only natural to take a step in this direction and introduce a revival in the Pakistani couture ecosystem.

Who has been your biggest inspiration from the fashion industry?
I have always been inspired by the originality of the idea or theme but if I have to pick a name — Coco Chanel tops the list; simple, elegant, and original.

Are you self taught or have you formally studied fashion? If so, from where?

The answer to this question is a bit more complex than a simple yes/no response. I didn’t major in fashion but went to what is without a doubt one of Pakistan’s best art schools – NCA that focused on our holistic development as artists. So, despite majoring in architecture, I received some form of training in a range of other arenas; fashion, theatre, music, and miniature art among other things.

 

How do you think Covid-19 has affected the world of couture? How has it affected your business?

COVID 19’s impact is rooted in its inherent uncertainty. We have experienced a massive disruption in our supply chains, have had to rework our workshops to ensure physical distancing, and developed alternative payment and delivery services.

When it comes to being an artist, what exactly are you most fascinated about that eventually becomes a part of your work of art?

They say ‘God lies in the details’. For me, details matter a lot. There’s a way to express yourself in depth which makes every piece truly unique. While I focus on depth and detail – my work at the same time is minimalistic.

Does this demotivate you that a strong lobby of designers has already been here and it is difficult to survive for a comparatively new designer?

I believe every designer has their own uniqueness and their work has its own charm. There’s no end to learning, whenever I see an artist whose work stands out, I connect with them, exchange ideas. To evolve, it’s so important to learn.

I believe firmly that I have in the past, and continue to prove myself by the quality of my work. Fear goes out of the window when you’re only competing with yourself for self-improvement.

What is your personal style statement?

I like to keep it simple, so a white kurta, jeans with a pair of khussas any day.

If you could dress up one famous face from anywhere in the world, who would it be?

Deepika Padukone for sure!

How do you manage to create a merge of contemporary and traditional at the same time while keeping the real essence of old-time charm alive?

Honoring your roots, feeling truly blessed to have a rich culture of native art, poetry, literature – grounds your ways of thinking. This grounding is the cornerstone of my work, and I strive for constant improvement drawing upon contemporary style. So, for me, it isn’t a challenge to capture the old-time charm alive. It is the tradition that fuels my passion for this line of work.

If not a designer, what would have been your career path?

I’d have been an architect, offering advisory services on urban development.

What were you most afraid of while entering into this business?

Keeping a balance between my family and work.

What one hurdle that you faced the most in this business?

I don’t think I have faced many hurdles, it has all been really smooth for me up till now.

What is one opportunity that you are impatiently waiting for?

Waiting for would probably not be the best way to describe it, I’d reframe your question a bit, if I may, and share the opportunities that I’m working towards.
1- I’m currently working towards expanding into North America. Currently researching on the best combination of digital platforms, comprehensive warehousing, and payment gateway development strategies to expand into North America and cater not only to the Pakistani diaspora but also to allies who admire South Asian designs and fabric.
2- Working towards transitioning into an ethical workplace, where raw materials are sourced via fair trade, safe and inclusive workspaces are provided, and staff is compensated and rewarded for the real value that they bring to the table. I firmly believe that the Karigars are the lifeline of any business and I hope to set a standard of fair compensation and inclusive workspace. We all know it’s about time, someone has to take the first step.

What are your further plans regarding your designs?
At this point I’m content with my creative expression, I’ve reached a position where the business is stable with a small but robust clientele. I wish to connect, learn, and be inspired by others who are doing work that’s similar to mine. We really are carving a niche, and it would be great to connect with likeminded people.

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Azaan Sami Khan’s new anthem is a vocal powerhouse of hope!

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While pop-infused, energetic dance numbers might leave one totally high-spirited, we sometimes need soulful anthems to do the same trick. And music composer Azaan Sami Khan, known for his diverse soundtracks for films like Parey Hut Love, Superstar, and Parwaaz Hai Junoon, is now giving us something fresh but just as intense in the form of ‘Tu Hai Mera’.

https://youtu.be/Vl4VfaMa7YA

Written and composed by Khan, the song features some truly iconic collaborations in the form of the fierce Hadiqa Kiani, nine-year-old sweetheart Hadiya Hashmi, Sufi superstars Fareed Ayaz & Abu Muhammad, and Ali Tariq’s romantic touch. You might need a moment or two to fully bask in the power of their heavenly vocals merged together, accompanied by S.K. Khalish’s momentous lyrics.

Unveiled at the 2021 LUX Style Awards and termed as the Hope Song of the Year, ‘Tu Hai Mera’s video showcases memorable performances by all the vocalists, along with a stellar dance performance by a fresh face. The video encompasses Khan’s vision for the song, which was “to make something that holds value,’ he stated. While most of the production was carried out locally, Khan also partnered with Eric Pillai across the border for the mixing and mastering, nailing that multicultural feel.

With this promising anthem, Khan surely has brought out the best in all the artists he has collaborated with, and has given us hope to look forward to. The song is now available on all streaming platforms, including Khan’s YouTube channel.

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Touching Upon Ahmad Ali Butt’s Personal Transformation

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It is always a delight talking to Ahmad Ali butt, but this time, the topic is not “comedy” that has always been associated with the star. We will be talking about his personal growth, the spiritual side of him, the 90s, some old and new projects, social media, mental health, and a lot more.

The actor reveals some untold stories in conversation with Daily Paperazzi.

 

Q) Initially when you started, how hard was it for you to survive in the industry?

I started from the theater in the mid-90s. Yes, it was hard in the beginning because nobody was casting anyone at that time and everyone was doing their own thing so, I had my own productions. In the 2000s, my luck started to change; I got into TV for our play Jutt and Bond. Zain Ahmad cast Fawad Khan, Vasay Chaudhry, and me. You can call it our humble beginning. There were no social media back then however saying that, we got lucky because the sitcom and battle of the bands happened at the same time. We did some excellent work in the TV and Music Industry. So, yes the popularity came in a way, and that gave us a boost among the youth.

Q) Can you share some mean comments that you heard from people around you in the industry, any particular incident?

In the corporate world, it does happen because I have hosted a lot of corporate shows. Like, what car you drive, what watch you are wearing etc., people notice such things. But no one has ever said anything mean to my face.

Q) When did you realize that Comedy is your genre?

I guess I never realized it. It was inherent. My parents had a great sense of humour. My father was known to be the man with the best sense of humour among his friends and he had a way of telling stories and he had a way with humour. So, I think I picked it up from them. The art of delivering jokes came from my father. I have always been overweight. So, when you see an overweight person, you will say “Oh he is the token comedy guy”. The same was the case with me. Comedy came to me naturally. It was a way of making fun of my own self before somebody else could. A lot of comedians do that. If you see any famous comedian, you will find him odd. They are not your typical “tall, dark and handsome” heroes. Comedy gave me sort of a shield and it also became one of my superpowers to make people laugh. The more I learned, the more I started to realize how much power it has. It made me comfortable in my own skin and it made me extremely aware of how to transform my flaws into my advantages.

Q) People have always seen you performing comedy, is there any other side to Ahmad Ali Butt?

In Pakistan, there is minimal film production. For the longest time, I have struggled with this image that he is overweight; he will be a great comedy guy. I think Jhooti gave me a very different platform to showcase my acting capabilities as a method actor. It gave me a completely different environment to work in. Yes, in theatre, I have done serious roles in different Urdu and English plays but on television, I didn’t get such a chance.

Q) Anything that you want people to know about this profession highlighting the mental grind an actor\comedian goes through according to your point of view especially?

Yes, acting is a very odd profession to be in. You will struggle in every field, no matter what you choose. But this is the field that puts you into the limelight especially when you get famous instantly and it goes to your head. There are incidents where people achieve so much and suddenly, they feel the ground slipping under their feet, which is a worse scenario. Acting demands a lot. It has odd hours. It has odd locations. It is not a fixed job. You are roaming around in different cities and you are only as good as your last project. You have to constantly prove yourself. This is the profession of vanity and it’s tougher for women because we judge on looks a lot. We need a fresh, beautiful face every time. For men, it is tough because there is an age when you are in demand, and then comes an age where you shift from lead to supporting roles. This is something that challenges your vanity, social life, and personal life. But I think people who are in the longer game focus on maintaining the quality because they know it’s not about the quantity but the quality of work they produce. And, I think only such people succeed.

Q) Your advice on accepting your mistakes/negligence and flaws and working on it

When you start, you make a lot of mistakes. Your failure is your biggest teacher. Don’t be afraid of mistakes and failures. You will have all kinds of projects but take this as a learning curve and only then you will survive. This will challenge you mentally, physically, and financially. But the biggest thing is to accept your mistake and learn from them.

 

Q) What has been your thought process about a healthy lifestyle and self-acceptance?

It has been a long journey because I have always struggled with that. It never really bothered me too much but obviously, there comes a time when your body stops favoring you and you have to make some changes in your lifestyle. This has been a tough journey but my wife was extremely helpful. You have to strengthen your thought process. These things will bring depression but you have to keep thinking positive. I pray. My wife and I have a very strong spiritual side that has helped me a lot. Set a routine and keep your priorities right. I cannot say for everyone but these things work for me.

Q) On one side, we all talk about “Self-love” and on the other hand, many brands (almost all brands) prefer fair skin, perfect sized-actors. What is your take on that and what is your advice/guide for someone who wants to start from scratch?

“Jo dikhta hai, wo bikta hai” – This is showbiz. I don’t have any issue with people improving their looks, this is self-grooming. But yes, in our industry, there is pressure. In films, we have stereotyped the looks, and this way, we promote many beauty brands because they are selling what is required in today’s time. So, I don’t have a say but at the end of the day, this is entirely your choice where you want to indulge yourself.

Q) People think “Ahmad Ali Butt is always laughing and cracking jokes. He is not a serious person” – Let’s break this myth about you.

People see you and smile they know he will crack a joke. But there is a serious side to me as well. I am very serious about my work. There should be a serious attitude because if you don’t take acting seriously, people are not going to take you seriously. Obviously, people register the image that they have seen of you but during work, you should be serious. In life, you shouldn’t be very somber. Already, there is a lot to worry about so take things lightly.

Q) How hard\easy was it to switch your humorous persona into a serious one that you played in “Jhooti”?

Jhooti came at the time when I just got done with the films. So, Abdullah told me about this role and I really liked that- a husband who loves his wife so much but she is a compulsive liar. I did my homework for this role and I studied Humayun Saeed. I took some time to work on this role, on dialogue delivery, on the look and it was a slow process to develop that character. But, it was an extremely important character for me.

Q) Social Media plays a major role in affecting someone’s mental health, your take?

When we started, there was no social media game. But for today’s generation, it is important. The brands need to understand that it is not just about the number of followers, it is about the work that someone has done. If you give more importance to your work, you will get what you aim for because such things as social media are just like a trend. Today, they have a presence, tomorrow they won’t. People, who take their work professionally and seriously, will have followers automatically. Social media is for those who are here for the quick stardom. Remember, today you are famous and tomorrow someone else will have that glare of publicity.

 

Q) We heard that you were initially a part of Maula Jutt and was removed from the cast after 3 months of shooting, would you like to comment on that?

While I was shooting for “Punjab Nahi Jaungi”, the prep work for Maula Jutt was going on. We just came to a point where we could not make it work anymore. Things would have been worse for me had I been a part of that project. It happens that some projects are not viable for you. But, Maula Jutt is an amazing production, Bilal has done a great job and you will see once the film is out.

Q) Supporting roles are as important as the main lead but in Pakistan, they are not given the limelight they deserve. Is this true or have you faced this yourself?

This is the issue of the whole world. Supporting roles are the backbone of the story. In some movies, supporting roles are more important than the lead role, and in some, the lead role is the only important role. In our industry, we don’t give much heed to the supporting role because we think it’s the “side” role. Sometimes supporting roles make a film hit. Alhamdulilah, I have worked with people who give importance to the supporting roles. I think directors, producers, and writers need to understand that team effort is everything. So, you are lucky if you get a good producer who understands the importance of each role.

Q) So, you are totally fine with the title “Fatman” of your upcoming movie, but there are people who get fat-shamed and it can trigger their insecurities, what would you say to them?

When it was introduced to me, I loved it. I do accept that obesity is a disease. The movie is actually about a father and a son where the situation of obesity is being discussed. It discusses the mental health and the problems like body-shaming a fat person goes through in his life. It is a very honest and brave movie if we make it because this discusses very delicate and important issues.

 

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Zubab Rana is the Standout performer of the Drama Fitrat!

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It is reasonable to call Zubab Rana, a newcomer in the entertainment industry because the youthful entertainer is finding her space in the business; however, notwithstanding that, she has prevailed with regards to winning the hearts of crowds with her splendid performances. Directly from her absolute first drama Naseebon Jali that aired on Hum TV, Zubab Rana has figured out how to harden her presence in the business as a marvel with the ability to take on any job that comes to her direction. She has constructed a collection for herself for taking the more unfamiliar way, treading new waters, and always surprising us with her charm. Today her name is incorporated among the rundown of entertainers who can stand their ground before the camera and convey what is anticipated from them.

In Fitrat, she assumes a somewhat unglamorized part of Rafia, one of the drama’s leading characters. There is no scene where Zubab Rana doesn’t look pretty, but in Rafia, there is an innocence that is a part of Rana’s charm that just can’t go unnoticed. Especially if you see her in her other ongoing drama ‘Bharaas’ where she has taken upon a completely different role and can’t help but think how can someone pull off both negative and positive characters so well.

Though, this isn’t just about pulling off a negative or positive role. Rafia is a multi-dimensional character – and Rana knows just what to do with the character to convey her special story to the audiences in the most heartwarming manner. She perfectly balances the scales between neither being too forceful nor too timid, which makes her the standout performer of the whole drama.

Rana has set up an enormous fan following over the past few years. She has gotten known for her incredible acting chops and a stunning hard-working attitude that has given her a distinct edge over her peers. With every last one of her undertakings, she has figured out how to convey what is anticipated from her and has gathered commendation from the audience.

 

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