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Raqs-e-Bismil: Shot In Following Strict SOPs

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After a long lockdown due to CoVid 19 pandemic, entertainment industry resumed its operation in the last quarter of the year and completed their shootings in fast mode as the second wave of corona was expected at the end of the year.

Daily Paperazzi went to the sets of one the most anticipated drama serial Raqs-e-Bismil, which has announced its presence from its first episode aired last week that it would going to be the talk of the town every week with each new episode.  The serial seems a promising entertainment opportunity for viewers which offers a scintillating background score, impeccable direction, brilliant acting and storyline which seems to be a perfect blend of thrill, romance and drama, ticked all the boxes of a mega serial.

Written by Hashim Nadeem, Raqs-e-Bismil marks the television return of ace director Wajahat Rauf and features the versatile Imran Ashraf in yet another distinct avatar opposite the talented Sarah Khan. Produced jointly by Shazia Wajahat and MD Productions, Raqs-e-Bismil is an unconventional take on love and passion.

On the sets, besides shooting late nights in order to complete the last spell as soon as possible, everyone from the producer to director and other crews was concerned about the SOPs to work in CoVid 19.

Talking to Daily Paerazzi, the producer of the project Shazia Wajahat said she started the shoot in the beginning of August when the numbers of CoVid cases were shrinking in Pakistan but at the same time, was very much aware of the fact that lingering the threat of pandemic so they had to follow SOPs to carry on with their work.

“Sometimes crew complaint me for suffocation in masks on sets especially in the heat of lights but I asked them to keep them on if they want to carry on their work otherwise in the appearance of any symptom, they will have to quarantine at home.

Shazia added that she was taking care to keep many washrooms working as much as she could.

Do you think that these restriction on washing hands, sanitize everything and keeping distance is a hindrance in your , Shazia replied I think by following these SOPs, we are accustomed to some good habits and are more careful about our hygiene at least.

During the whole shoot, Shazia keeps a vigilant eye on any suspected on the set, “Luckily, we did not find any case on our set but whenever I heard someone coughing or sneezing or having a fever I sent him or her home and ask them to come after completing their quarantine.”

“There is a daily spray of sanitizers and bleach on sets. After every hour, I make sure that they have sprayed washrooms with sanitizers properly specially taps and handles.”

As far as the scenes are concerned, do they keep any desired distance among actors, she said surprisingly their most of the actors have had corona so for a time being they are corona free. “Yes, I   ask other crew around actors but not on the scene to wear mask properly.”

The most senior actor in their cast is Mahmood Aslam and he has come out of corona as well.

Has this pandemic put any delay on the shoot or making the spell longer because of keeping some restricted timings.

“We are already doing it on very slow pace and shot only five to six scenes maximum daily. We already starts our shoot very late after bakra eid in first week of August and now it is about to en so we took almost four months to complete the serial which I think is not a hectic plan.”

Director of the play Wajahat Rauf said that they started their shoot when corona cases were at their minimal counts daily but they follow strict protocol like washing hands, wearing masks and sanitization.

“We were clear in our minds that if government decides to lock down everything again, we would follow the protocols strictly, even pack up our shoot.”

Did he feel any hassle in washing hands, use sanitizer, wear masks and avoiding our common custom to hug and shake hands while working as a director.

“I think now we are used to of it. It is a good practice and it should be followed in future as well.”

Whether in scenes, has he ever tried to maintain any distance between actors, to which Wajahat said that there is generally a distance among actors in scenes our dramas but if there is a scene where writer has written it like that needs characters to get closer, then we take this calculated risk.

If someone get suspected and go into quarantine, would they go for an alternate “Luckily this has not has happened but it is so we might delay our shoot with that cast and n meantime would do some other work in advance.

Imran Ashraf the lead actor of the serial said that yes actor is at maximum risk but we take it if we want to work

“I keep with a bottle of sanitizer which I spray on me and on others as well.

During   scenes was he ever concerned about keeping distance with co-stars, to which Imran replied Pakistani dramas don’t have intimate shots, so he was comfortable with his colleagues while shooting.   

Imran admitted that he knew that everyone who was coming out to work on this pandemic period as taking a risk but how long one can sit at home without doing any work. He added that he had decided to shoot one drama at a time as he is bit cautious about the pandemic.

“After Raqse Bismil I would think about doing any other project. It might be next year.”  

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MY Genre Of Work Is Comedy: Danish Nawaz

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Danish Nawaz needs no introduction when it comes to acting and direction. Hailing from a family of artists, Nawaz entered into showbiz industry after completing his bachelors in mechanical engineering. Since then, he has established a career in Pakistani television and films mostly in comedy roles. His comic role on sitcom Nadaniya is still remembered by viewers. Another forte of Nawaz is his direction skills. He has many successful television plays on his credit as a director like Kashf, Chupke Chupke, Dobara and Hum Tum.  

The talented star took out some time to talk to The Daily Paparazzi from the sets of his recently aired Ramazan Special serial Hum Tum. Here it is.

What was special for the audience in your Ramzan Special drama serial Hum Tum?

It is just a family entertainment to make people happy and bring laughter to their faces. Our lives have already become very chaotic, vanishing every fun element from it. We have become intolerant as well and people get offended by little jokes. Therefore, I wanted to make a little change in every household in Pakistan through this light comedy television drama.

You had an ensemble cast in Hum Tum. How was the experience with them?

It was wonderful.  All actors are experienced. Luckily they have worked under the banner of Hum TV, so know the style of production there. Everyone enjoyed the sets as they were already aware about the genre of the play. Moreover, yes! Most of them knew me as well

Did you face any problem during shoot like timings, availability of actors and locations as the cast was big, and time was very limited to record the play?

Not at all. Instead, it adds to my enjoyment and excitement when I have a big cast to work with. Beside the leading cast, I have seniors like Muhammad Ahmed, Arjumand Rahim, Adnan Jaffer and Farhan Ali Agha, Uzma Baig and Munazzah Arif, and two child stars Aina and Anoushay as well. I was lucky enough to work with this talented team. Everything was managed quite well. Moreover, we had a wonderful script of Hum Tum written by Saima Akram Chaudhry. She has an expertise of writing family stories.

What when gets a weak playwright, and has to put more effort as a director to make it ready to run with directions and choice of actors

It has not happened with me yet but yes whenever I am doubtful about anything in the story, I sit with the writer and try to solve the confusion. We have a special content department in MD Productions at Hum TV, where we discuss these things. I try my best to get the script up to mark before going on set. I believe that strong content is very necessary for any director. Without a proper plot, we can never erect a strong building.

Besides comedy and light stories, you have also directed plays on very serious issues, which have been very successful as well. What do you enjoy most?

I think the genre of comedy is quite difficult though I enjoy it a lot. Actually, everyone has his or her sense of humour when it comes to comedy and jokes but as far as serious stories are concerned, people somehow accept it especially when it is on a social issue. Yes, I am comfortable directing serious plays but there should be a message in that. In many plays, I try to convey the serious issue in a comic way.

Now come to your acting. You opt mostly in comedy roles. When are your fans going to see you in a serious role?

To be honest, it would be a bit difficult for me. I think comedy is my own style, and find it more comfortable and easy doing comic roles. You need to make an extra effort especially when putting glycerine for tears in crying scenes. I have an idea that even directors and producers would not suggest me for the serious role nor would people accept me in a crying scene. I have a trademark image of a comedy actor. Yes, I might work in a very tragic play or film but my role would be of comic relief in that.

Don’t you think doing the same kind of roles hinders actors’ versatility?

Honestly speaking it is not my genre of acting. I sometimes find serious roles very funny. Again yes, if I get something, which really attracts me, I would try but really not the public would accept it or not.

After a successful career as a drama director, when are you going to direct a film?

Oh, yes. It is in the pipeline. For film, I am looking for a good script, which is an integral part of the whole product. For dramas, I get too many scripts and always have options to select one. Films are expensive, need heavy investment. That is why one should work on ideas, which can appeal to the public so they are ready to spend on cinema tickets to watch them. Our budget is not very ample like Hollywood and Bollywood. We make films on any script of our choice.

Unfortunately, we are still confused about what our masses actually want to watch. When we make a film with a strong storyline, critics rate it a television drama and if we incorporate more action, it is called a copy of Tamil films. Therefore, it is very tricky to make a film in Pakistan. I hope I will soon get a clicking story soon and will definitely direct a film.

Do you have any idea or story in your mind on which you want to make a film?

No. Not at this moment.

In the end, any message for your fans

Keep watching and appreciating our dramas and films. We try our best to give you the best entertainment, which at the same time sends little messages, which can improve your current and future life and vanquish the regret of past life.

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IPPA Announces Its Fifth Instalment

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IPPA (International Pakistan Prestige Awards) announced its fifth instalment to be held Dallas, Texas, USA, on July 23 at a press conference in Karachi.

The programme was kick-started with a red carpet where celebrities, particularly those who have been part of previous IPPAs shared their previous experiences.

The host of the evening, Shanaz Ramzi, who has been an integral part of IPPA since it started in 2017, welcomed the guests and expressed her delight that her company has been associated for more than five years with IPPA, the only independent Pakistani awards that has consistently been doing successful shows abroad.  A presentation was also shown that featured excerpts from the previous IPPAs.

Co-founder IPPA, Ali Malik, who could not attend the conference because of his engagement in another event in Manchester, sent his special message for the event.

The message read “It gives me the utmost pleasure to announce the fifth IPPA, after successfully holding it consistently in different parts of the world. Our vision was to project a positive image of Pakistan abroad and we have been successful in doing that by showcasing our talent in the field of drama, films, music and fashion. I am delighted to announce that the next IPPA will be in the US, and we are joining hands with a seasoned US-based company to execute the event. I am grateful to HUM TV, all our partners, sponsors and of course our highly talented artistes who have been supporting us from day one, and continue to do so to date. Let’s make the fifth IPPA rock!”

Another co-founder of IPPA, Mukhtar Ahmed while addressing the audience, expressed his pride and joy for the successful trail of IPPs, “It is a very ambitious move on our part, but we are confident that together, we will pull it off! Our objective of taking IPPA to different parts of the world is not just to project our marvellous talent but also to strengthen Pakistan’s ties with the country hosting us. We hope to increase trade and export our talent to these places once they are exposed to what we have to offer.”

IPPA has joined hands with Azhar Zaidi, aka AZ, who runs AZ Entertainment, a US-based company to host the fifth IPPA in Dallas, Texas.

Azhar Zaidi showed his excitement by saying, “I am delighted to be joining hands this time with IPPA to host the fifth IPPA in Dallas. We have a huge Pakistani diaspora there and as you have just seen, and we are very comfortable pulling of mammoth shows in Dallas. I am confident that with our combined efforts we will be able to make the next IPPA even more successful than the previous ones, Inshallah!”

Celebrities, who have been part of IPPA earlier, or hope to be this time round, then shared their experiences/emotions.

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Dewan Motors Launches Centre For BMW Motorrad In Lahore

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The world-renowned premium motorcycle brand BMW Motorrad marks a new era by joining hand with already well-known Dewan Motors in Pakistan. Dewan Motors has appointed famous rock musician, actor Mr. Umair Jaswal as the BMW Motorrad, brand Ambassador for Pakistan.

Having a heritage of cutting-edge German technology, the Motorrad Centre was inaugurated in Lahore last week by Nabiha Yousuf, CEO, Dewan Motors Private Limited along with Israr Ahmad, Area Manager, BMW Group Middle East and Umair Jaswal, BMW Motorrad Brand Ambassador in Pakistan.

“The BMW Group congratulates its partner Dewan Motors for launching Motorrad in Pakistan. It is great news for Pakistani motorbikes enthusiasts to get their hands on top quality BMW motorbikes. This is yet another BMW Group and Dewan Motors strategic initiative to enhance the BMW footprint in Pakistan and we look forward to welcoming our customers to try our fantastic motorbikes”, said Mr. Israr Ahmad, Area Manager, BMW Group Middle East.

“We are very excited to announce the opening of the first Motorrad Centre in Lahore. It is the only officially represented premium motorcycle franchise in the country. This state-of-the art facility will cater to all the needs of our esteemed BMW motorcyclist and will provide them an environment that is as hospitable as it is professionally focused”, said Ms. Nabiha Yousuf, CEO, Dewan Motors.

Yousuf showed her delight to have Mr. Umair Jaswal as the BMW Motorrad Brand Ambassador explaining that in addition to being the country’s biggest rockstar, Umair’s personal affinity for BMW motorcycles, made him the obvious choice.

“With him on board, one can anticipate that BMW Motorrad journey will be a lot more entertaining. We warmly welcome Umair to Dewan family and look forward to our fruitful association.”

An avid biker, Umair Jaswal was very enthusiastic to be the celebrity representing BMW Motorrad in Pakistan.

“I am very excited to be the face of Motorrad brand as well as emotional at the same time to have become a part of Dewan family”, said Umar Jaswal.

The singer added that riding motorcycles was his passion and no other brand than BMW Motorrad could satiate his desire to perfection.

The event was highlighted by the participation of hard-core enthusiasts, who came from far and wide, including the capital city, rendering the glittering event, even more memorable.

Motorrad is a premium motorcycle brand, building fascinating and dynamic motorcycles from long-distance enduros to racing bikes, exclusive luxury touring motorcycles to cool urban bikes whereas Dewan Motors has almost two decades of experience in representing premium automotive brand, BMW in Pakistan.

Earlier, in Karachi, Dewan Motors signed a MOU with Umair Jaswal, stating him as brand ambassador for Motorrad.    

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