Star Rating 4.0 /5.0
Just like its trailer, ‘Parey Hut Love’ is a pure romantic film which is a complete cinematic experience garnished with powerful performances and extremely beautiful music.
‘Parey Hut Love’ is Asim Raza’s second feature film after ‘Ho Mann Jahan’ and what surprises me is the giant leap he has taken from there. Everything is so beautiful about PHL, extravagant and gigantic sets, melodious tunes, stars, superstars and mega stars all of which is packaged beautifully to create a great cinematic experience.
Although, it is just another boy meets girl kind of a story, which is inspired from Hollywood classic, ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, however, what makes it a must watch on this festive season of Eid is the beautifully shot songs, a catchy background score, with a strong supporting cast and several superstars appearing as cameos, including Fawad Khan.
‘Parey Hut Love’ is a story of Sheheryar (Sheheryar Munawar), an aspiring actor, young and restless, who is afraid of any serious commitments, meets Saniya (Maya Ali) at her cousin Natasha’s (Parisheh James) wedding. They both developed infatuation for each other, however later Sheheryar failing to keep his commitment loses her and then tries to win her back.
As an actor, PHL is Sheheryar Munawar’s coming of an age film. He has come a long way from disaster of ‘Project Ghazi’ and not so well doing ‘7 Din Mohabbat In’. He acted well most importantly according to the script. He showed emotions in every frame, from being in love to a helpless and frustrated lover. He clearly demonstrates that he is certainly here to stay and he is in for a very long time.
Maya Ali as Saniya, appeared to play traditional girl of any subcontinent film, beautiful, dances very well, sweet, calm and content. Her character is that of an independent and confident girl who takes her own decisions. As Saniya, Maya Ali adds glamour to the film from the very beginning when she introduced to us in the start wearing a traditional lehenga choli for a cousin’s Mendi dance. She carried on her persona right till the end with utmost grace. She has proven that she is a complete package for our desi cinema. She acts well, dances her heart out and is ready to break barriers without hesitation. Most importantly, her onscreen chemistry worked well with Sheheryar, giving us a new sensational onscreen couple for years to come.
Mahira Khan as Zeena, brings the oomph factor towards the end. Although Mahira Khan herself called this role a cameo, after watching this film I would describe it as a supporting role with one complete Khathak dance number that she did with grace and style.
PHL is Zara Noor Abbas debut film, although her second film Chhalawa released earlier. She plays Shabbo, Sheheryar’s colleague, neighbour and a close friend, she brings joy, happiness and an emotional support to Sheheryar on many occasions. She has demonstrated her marvellous acting skills, she is a very good dancer and reacts in every situation.
Sheheryar’s friend and also an inspiring director, Arshad (Ahmed Ali Butt) creates laughter, brings joy and sometimes sadness to the screen. Yes, he has done this several times before but Mr. Butt really doesn’t make you feel that his presence is just a filler.
There are several cameos in the film. Rachel Viccaji, Jimmy Khan, Shahbaz Shigri, Frieha Altaf, Meera Jee and none other than Fawad Afzal Khan.
They all had limited screen time still they added value to the star studded romantic saga.
Frieha Altaf daughter, Parisheh James, debuts with this film. She plays a millennial girl who easily gets excited, she is bold, carefree and overconfident. The only thing she needs to take care of is her accent, if she really wants to pursue her career as an actor.
Hina Dilpazeer is hilarious but her character is one dimensional. Nadeem Baig in his role as Saniya’s father brought calm and greatness.
The music is a real treat composed by Azaan Sami Khan, all six songs deserve to be in your playlist. IkPal is a perfect wedding song that will compel to move your feet, Behkana is a melodious romantic number, that can be enjoyed on a long drive, Haye Dil is an upbeat song, Balma Bhagora, can be termed as party anthem of the year. Morey Saiyan is a soothing and calming song sung by Zeb Bangash. And not to be missed the Qawwali Zehal e Miskeen by music maetro Ustaad Rahet Fateh Ali Khan which is a heaven for your ears.
Parey Hut Love is summed up in a one liner, which Fawad Khan said also in a trailer, Zindagi Ka Usool Hai, logon ko maza karao, jeena mat sikhao (The rule of life, let people enjoy, don’t teach them how to live). So Asim Raza played safe and wins it absolutely. He tries to give a subtle message, love will always come back to you if you can give it some time.
Because the canvas is lightened up, the audience will not notice any dips in the story, as you will feel a great cinematic experience.
Raaz-e-Ulfat Very Well Relates to a Pakistani Girl Living in a Strict Household
Raaz-e-Ulfat is one of the latest dramas that has instantly struck a chord with masses owing to its relatable story-line and amazing performances by the remarkable cast. For the uninitiated, what exactly is the plot?
Putting it briefly, Mushk Iftikhar dreams of exploring the world outside her conservative house. She accomplishes her dream life to some extent when she comes across a friend in her university who introduces her to the colours of life. Though, little does Mushk know that Sehba secretly envies her simplicity and innocence and wishes to ruin her life.
Mushk’s life is somewhat a true depiction of most Pakistani girls belonging to strict households, and hence the show has become more interesting and connecting for the younger lot in Pakistan.
You can’t move a bone without your parent’s permission
Yes! Parent’s approval is mandatory in everything you do. You can’t study, sleep, eat, choose a career, go out, come late, etc. as per your own will. You can only breathe on your own… rest will depend on your parents’ will. Poor Mushk is in the same boat.
Privacy is a luxury you can never afford.
Mushk has got no private space in her house. She shares a room with her sister, like how it is usually in most households. Even when she is on a call with a friend, someone comes to inquire about the whereabouts of the caller. Privacy is indeed an out of the world thing for Mushk and others like her.
You have to be responsible like a grown-up, but you can never act like one.
Like Mushk, most Pakistani youth, particularly girls, are expected to grow up and take responsibilities but are not allowed to think that they have grown up in a literal way. Hence, you are always a bachi/ bacha who is bound to live by what your parents say.
Marriage is your ultimate goal in life
You dream about marriage and your khuwabon ka shehzada because that’s what your parents aim for you on completing your studies.
Modern Friends Are A Big No!
You cannot stay in touch with rich and modern friends as they are supposedly some spoilt kids who will definitely leave a bad influence on you.
Dating someone is a big struggle!
Going out on a date is a real struggle yet you want to experience it despite knowing that if your parents find out, you are gone for life.
Since the very first episode, Raaz e Ulfat has turned every local TV drama trope on its head to offer a refreshingly new insight by subverting all the typical clichéd plot-lines of most local dramas, bringing forth such nuances that make the entire watching experience oh so relatable and befitting for people around us.
Bunyad Foundation: Countering cerebral health issues with Mindcamp
Mental health, despite holding paramount significance, is largely ignored in third world countries. With societal progression, the rise of the middle class, and a certain ‘tilt’ or ‘shift’ towards westernization, issues associated with mental health have started to exacerbate. According to recent studies, one of the biggest reasons behind suicidal tendencies or suicide itself is mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD and other traumas, different phobias, bipolar disorder, personality disorder and other related disorders.
If we travel a few years back in time, mental health issues were unheard of in Pakistan, in fact, someone found complaining or discussing a mental health issue was either given a particular look or called out for being ‘overly-sensitive’. But over the past few years, things have changed drastically. Now, there are more and more people suffering from mental disorders and psychiatric consultations have increased considerably over time, but even now, a certain amount of people hesitate to seek psychiatric consultation.
The onslaught of Covid-19 has further aggravated the situation throughout the country, with people reporting severe cases of depression and anxiety amid continued lockdowns. It is pertinent to mention here that, although, the issues mentioned are usually associated with urban areas, but the situation in rural areas of Pakistan isn’t much different. Alarmingly, unlike popular opinion, that villages are happy-go-lucky people, even the village dwellers are unknowingly harnessing several mental disorders in this modern age.
In order to facilitate the underprivileged living in less developed, far-flung areas, the Bunyad Foundation in collaboration with Mind organization, has started organizing bi-monthly mind-camps in Hafizabad. The purpose of these camps is to provide free-of-cost facilities to underserved communities. Under these free camps, patients are provided free consultation, medicine and an intervention plan; that too free of cost.
Shaheen Attiq-ur-Rahman, Project Lead and founder of Mind Camp Bunyad, told us that, ‘rural folk suffers from the same mental disorders as more privileged people but often the intensity is greater. Most of the people do not have access to basic medication for relief. Since a lot of unhealed psychiatric disorders can lead to physical ill-health, rural folk face a double burden. At Mindcamp Bunyad, our mission is to give suffering villagers a chance at peace and to ease their task in life’.
It took some time, the involvement of Key Opinion leaders and sustained efforts to convince people to seek help for mental disorders and now there’s better awareness about these issues. In addition, the organization has been carrying out these activities for the past 9 years, by engaging experienced and trained mental health professionals, even in extreme weather, just for the betterment of the society. However, now, the number of mental health professionals offering services has dwindled, in fact, the patient-to-doctor/mental health professional ratio is discouraging.
In order for the unabated and unrestricted continuation of these services, and in order for better, sustained facility provision to the patients; financial backing is imminent, without which such a great initiative gradually might have to retreat. To facilitate the imperative service, Bunyad Foundation is playing a major role.
Get in touch with them to see how you can help.
For donations, please donate here.
Quiet Women: on Surrealism, Beauty and the Female Voice
Lahore based poet, editor and columnist, Afshan Shafi launched her first full-length poetry collection, ‘Quiet Women’ last month. Stocked at Readings, the collection is a unique all-female collaboration featuring the illustrations of acclaimed artists, Samya Arif (Pakistan), Marjan Baniasadi (Iran) and Ishita Basu Mallik (India).
TS Eliot award nominee and winner of the Forward Prize for Poetry, Vahni Capildeo termed ‘Quiet Women’ as one of the ‘new poetries emerging in the twenty-first century which are characterized by a ferocity that spans yet exceeds love and outrage, involvement and observation’.
‘Quiet Women’ is an exploration of form and linguistic artistry, propelled by a sense of creative freedom espoused by the surrealists and abstract artists. Inspired by the creations of both Eastern and Western female artists and writers this book is a tribute to women and the power of their collective voices. Afshan Shafi has studied English Literature and International Relations at The University of Buckingham and Webster Graduate School London. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Blackbox Manifold, Poetry Wales, Flag + Void, Luna Luna, Clinic, 3 am magazine, Ala Champ Magazine, and others. Her poems have also appeared in the anthologies, Smear (edited by Greta Bellamacina), The New River Press Yearbook and Halal if you hear me ( edited by Fatima Asghar and Salma Elhilo). Her debut chapbook of poems ‘Odd Circles’ was published by Readings (Pakistan) in 2014. For her work as a poet, she has been interviewed by Arte Tv (France) and Words Without Borders. As part of the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan she has appeared on BBC (World), The Times (UK), and in The Economist’s culture magazine. She has also served as a poetry editor for “The Missing Slate” and is currently a senior contributing editor at Pakistan’s leading literary journal “The Aleph Review”. She also serves as an editor-in-chief for the online Pandemonium Journal, which is a platform for emerging creatives from Pakistan and abroad.
Inspiration to write this book:
This is my first full-length collection and is a tribute to the panoply of female artists that continue to inspire me. From the creations of Iranian artist Farideh Lashai to the work of lesser-known poets like Veronica Forrest, there is a rich engagement with the work of these female trailblazers in ‘Quiet Women’. What makes the book different is its collaborative nature. Each artist I have collaborated with in ‘Quiet Women’ possesses something unique to their perspective. Samya Arif’s illustrations are defined by their bold and stylized detail. She thinks in an opulent manner. Marjan Baniasadi, hails from Iran and has studied at the NCA and her paintings are elegant, deeply intelligent and beautiful. Ishita Basu who lives in Calcutta, India, is a poet as well as an artist and there is such a yearning and melancholy to her creations. Their art complements my writing seamlessly in the book.
On how ‘Quiet Women’ came together
‘Quiet Women came together over a period of two years, where my poems were being frequently accepted by European magazines for publication. I decided to put together a collection of these poems with some newer verses with the intention to collaborate with artists for the final product. The titular poem of the collection ‘Quiet Women’ deals with the notion of female silence and the policing of a women’s language and her personal choices. For one reason or the other, this notion of ‘quietude’ had been drilled into me from an early age, and as I grew as a writer I started questioning all kinds of enforced silences, which in turn led me to critically examining all kinds of oppressive practices aimed at ‘containing’ the very agency of a woman. ‘Quiet Women’ as a book, functions for me as a bridge across a myriad number of fears; these verses are bridges across patriarchal structures, restrictive artistic ideologies, and perhaps purely existential concerns
On the collaboration with artists for ‘Quiet Women’
I would say that I have been a student of the Surrealists my whole life, as I have often been drawn to the interplay of artist mediums, in which they reveled. Surreal output has always been concerned with juxtapositions and techniques like ‘collage’ and ‘frottage’, and indulgence in hybridity. For example, Surrealist collaborations include films based on poems, in the way that the filmmaker Man Ray adapted poems by Robert Desnos to his medium. Since my poems are often initiated by visual ephemera, and my imaginative focus is on delineating these visuals (triggered of course by emotion or artistic curiosity), I found collaboration with these artists to be a natural progression. Each artist was sent the poem to illustrate without any instructions, the idea was for there to be a fluidity of connection, one derived purely by imaginative means, and for the artworks to be instinctual and primal.
Creative influences and the impact of Surrealism on my work
Each poem in ‘Quiet Women’ is a tribute to the marginalised, whether that figure be that of a woman or an artist or poet. Each poem aims to counter reality with the dream and to re-engineer the accepted image of the creative as ‘outlier’. Whether in terms of stylistic experimentation, influence or tribute, this book aims to upset normative modes of thought and glorify one’s creative faculty. The founder of Surrealism, Andre Breton, spoke much of how the imagination is seen as a threat to all dimensions of order, similarly, much of my work is concerned with consistently upending language, mass-perspective and received ideas.
On why I enjoy poetry as a genre and as my chosen form
A poet often writes a poem as a postscript to an emotion. ‘High tragedy’ or ‘wondrous joy’ need not compel the writing of verse, it could be a retained sense of childlike wonder for say an owl or the precise engineering of a pistol. I feel that I write primarily to escape a powerful inborn reticence. In that vein these words by the great James Joyce encapsulate perfectly the retaliatory bent of my mind as it stitches a sentence together; ‘poetry even when apparently most fantastic is always a revolt against artifice, a revolt, in a sense, against actuality’.
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