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SHE CAME, SHE SAW, SHE CONQUERED

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Pakistani entertainment industry has a special league of actors, who are not only got fame because of their beauty but also with their brain. Hareem Farooq is one of them, who besides having a flourishing acting career is also a producer of box office success Janaan and Parchi. A bachelors in Sociology and journalism from Quid-e-Azan University, Hareem started her acting career in 2012 from a theatre play of veteran Anwar Maqsood Pawnay 14 August by playing the role of Fatima Jinnah. The following year, she made her big screen debut with a leading role in a horror thriller film Siyaah and came to television in Hum TV serial Mausam in 2014. Then there was no stopping. Now at this young age, Hareem has many popular dramas as Diyar-e-Dil and films like Parchi at her credit. She went on to become a first female actor-producer of Pakistan, by producing Janaan and Parchi under the banner of IRK Films. Last year, Hreem formed a global entertainment company, IHA, which soon entered into an agreement with top entertainment in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), as the first distribution firm.

Apart from acting and production, Hareem has been proudly become the official Spokesperson for Loreal Professional, Pakistan since 2017.

Last month she was in Paris to represent Pakistan at L’Oreal on its 110th anniversary. She was extremely excited and responsible at the same time to be a part of those celebrations. We talked to this young, beautiful and talented lady about her visit to the Paris and of course her upcoming feature film Heer Maan Ja supposed to be released on Eid Ul Aza.

How was the excitement to be in Paris for L’Oreal?

It was a great opportunity for me to represent Pakistan among lot of people, coming from different countries at L’Oreal 110th anniversary in Paris. I was the only Pakistani who represented my country there and felt very proud and honoured for this. I hope I lived up to the expectations.

 What were your activities there?

It was a multiple-event celebrations spreading on almost a week. It was their 110th anniversary so they made it huge. In these types of events, you get to mingle with lot of people from different countries, where you show them the positive and lighter side of your country. I did the same.

What and who did wear in those eventful celebrations?

I wore Pakistani designers in all events, including Sania Maskatiya, Munib Nawaz, Rici Melion, Mahgul, Zuria Dor. As far as what I wore, I must tell you that we have to follow a certain dress codes when on these type of international events. We need to show the world that we can compete on international level when we have to, but we made sure that our Pakistani designers should also be promoted there. Again it was a matter for me to represent Pakistan there. If I had to decide, I would wear shalwar kameez, as I love my national dress. 

How did you find Paris?

It was so exciting to be there. They are very rich in art, architecture, and weather. People all are also very nice and welcoming. I am glad that finally L’Oreal is tapping into the Pakistan market. There are very few people from Pakistan who are invited by L’Oreal from Pakistan and it’s a pride for me that I am one of them. They were very surprised to see Pakistan there.

Have you ever been to Paris before?

It was my first visit to Paris. But I am sure it will not be the last. 

Did you learn any French there?

Very little. Only few words like bonjour, mercy, beaucoup. I am trying to learn the language.

What did you observe in Paris while with L’Oreal?

It was a great exposure. They are very skilled people. I came to know that where and how L’Oreal actually works. How they cope up with new techniques and innovations all over the world. There was somewhere around five to six thousand people from various countries of the world.

Are you eying to participate in Cannes as well?

Why not? It is just a start. I believe when you are sincere with your work, anything is achievable. 

You met with Pakistani ambassador (Moin Ul Haq) in Paris? What was discussed in the meeting regarding Pakistani entertainment industry?

It was a great surprise. I was very glad and honoured that they had me come there and invited me to the embassy. The ambassador is very progressive He wants to promote a softer image if Pakistan in world. And Pakistan really needs this at the moment. His ideas and vision, which we are aiming to implement, I am sure will be productive for Pakistan. Whatever we have discussed, it will be executed soon and people will know about it.

This year is also important for you as your film Heer Maan Ja is coming on Eid-Ul- Azha. Shed some light on your role in the film?

I like experimenting with my characters as I believe that audience should get something new every time. It is a little journey from Iman of Parchi to Heer of Heer Maan Ja. They are poles apart. Iman is a very strong woman who stands up for everything while on the other hand Heer is a very next door desi girl. She is sweet pretty and innocent, for which most Pakistani girls are known for. It was a lot fun playing that character.

By Kaukab Jahan from Pakistan and Ashfaque Chaudhry from Paris

Entertainment

His Dark Materials

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With Game of Thrones coming to an end, all of us will need a new addiction to invest our time in, but in this saturated age where almost every network is churning out a mediocre show with half baked plot-lines, who should we turn towards? Not to worry, BBC HBO has us covered once again, with their new enigmatic and captivating show; His Dark Materials.

Based on the novel series of the same name by Phillip Pullman, we should have high expectations for how this turns out, the novels are known to focus on deep intellectual themes and contain subtext relating to politics, physics, philosophy and theology. The main attraction of the show is its focus on fantasy and adventure, while maintaining a serious undertone that talks about issues we can all relate to; the loss of innocence as one grows old.

The Series takes place in a multiverse, worlds parallel to ours, revolving around two children embarking on a journey that transcends all planes. The rest of the story is being kept under wraps, but people that want to test the waters before watching the series can check out the novels or watch the 2007 adaptation of one of them, called The Golden Compass.

Featuring a stellar cast headlined by James McAvoy, alongside the talented Dafne Keen of Logan’s fame. BBC HBO has cast other well known actors and actresses such as James Cosmo, who we all remember as Lord Commander Jeor Mormont from Game of Thrones, Ruth Wilson and many more. The show has been green-lit for episodes set to premiere in late 2019, it has also been renewed for a second season.

So for those of us wanting to fill the void in our hearts courtesy of Game of Thrones, taking this on seems to be the best course of action. A series that has conspiracy, action, drama and suspense, it seems to be a perfect blend that we can all get behind. So without further adieu, mark your calendars and add His Dark Materials to your watchlist, this seems like one TV Show you might not want to miss out on.

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A quick & fun natter with the gorgeous Naimal Khawar

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What acting style would explain you the best? Is it just one? Or you are open to negative roles as well in future? 

I really don’t know which style would suit me the best because I have only done two characters so far. I am still exploring myself. But, as an actor, I will be open to all kind of roles which have substance in them.  

What would you like to be known for; being a painter or an actor? 

Painting is something that I worked hard on all my life. I have strived for it. Acting is something that just came my way. It was very unexpected. So, hands down, it’s painting. 

What drama (especially) from the past you would have loved doing?

One drama that I would really like to be in is Sheher-e-Zaat. I would love to play Mahira’s character there. I think it was a beautiful script and I loved it. 

We have seen Izza in Anna (a sensitive girl who loves her family who likes to keep things simple and who thinks money can make a person rude and proud) so, what Naimal is like in real life? 

Naimal is pretty much like Izza because we share same morals and values in life. Dignity and respect is very important for me. That’s how I have been brought up in my family as well. So, yes I am a very simple girl. I like my life not so complicated and I also feel money cant buy happiness. 

Your weirdest fan moment?

I don’t think I have a lot of fans but let me think… Yes, one time, I received this box and it had 10 sketches of me. I thought it would be random but they kept coming in every week. So, that was pretty creepy. 

What do you do when you are not working?  (other than painting) 

So, when i am not working, i love spending time with my family and nature. Most of my time is with my horses at the stable and you will see me there. 

What have you learned about yourself since you became a celebrity?

I really don’t think I can answer this question because I still feel I am not a celebrity as yet. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

One advice that I would like to give to my younger self is “ Don’t worry too much about things in life. Just be patient and hang in there.” 

What’s your take on feminism? 

To me, feminism is equality. 

Has your life changed after being an actor? 

Honestly, my life hasn’t really changed after being an actor. 

What do you enjoy the most? The limelight or the ordinary life you had before getting into this career? 

If I had to choose, I would definitely take the ordinary life. 

Would you like to comment on “Harassment at Workplace”? Have you ever encountered such a thing or has it made you uncomfortable at any point since you have started your career? 

So far, in the acting business, I have not experienced any case of harassment. It has been very professional and to the point. 

 In the season FRIENDS, who can you relate to the most?

A lot of people are going to hate me for this but I am one of those who have actually not seen FRIENDS. But my family and friends tell me that I remind them of Rachel and I am pretty much like her. So, it would be Rachel then.  

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KahaniSaaz start their innings with Changezi Mohabbat

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Finally the wait is over! KahaniSaaz, a filmmaking startup, is releasing it’s first short film titled ‘Changezi Mohabbat’ on 17th May (today) on it’s YouTube Channel at 8:00 pm.

The story ‘a bitter sweet love affair’ as the tag line says in the promo, is about a couple who refuse to acknowledge their love for each other. How easy it is to overcome your urge to love someone? The promo and poster gives a vintage feel and the story seems to be set in the 70s or 80s.

The cast and crew includes new and emerging artists full of talent only lacking opportunity. Lead role is played by Areej Zia and Saad Hussain, apiring actors and this will be their debut film. Produced by co-founder Naveed Akbar and directed by co-founder Fatima Asad. This is her first work professionally.

KahaniSaaz has been making people curious since their launch event ‘Qissa-e-Kahanisaaz’ held at Olomopolo on 19th April where they prmiered the promos of their shortfilms. Their work was well recievd by the audience leaving them eager to watch their films upon release.

“Striving to present the Pakistani media with some unique content and exhibiting fresh talents, the team of KahaniSaaz truly deserves appreciation as a result of their unmatchable potential and hard work,” said Amna Riaz, a clinical psychologist and a student of UCP, who was present at Qissa-e-Kahanisaaz and enjoyed all the promos and the theatrical performances by the team.

“It has been an amazing experience with the most down to earth artists I have ever known. KahaniSaaz is a channel providing people with pure and marvellous artistic skills with their talents. So for all the people out there waiting for some actual entertaining content, do follow and subscribe KahaniSaaz on YouTube.” she added.

The company has made six short films so far which will be released every month on it’s YouTube channel named ‘KahaniSaaz’. The generes range from philosophy to comedy. Many more are under production including music videos.

“KahaniSaaz is a place where intellect meets talent and excellence meets new standards.” says Naveed Akbar, co-founder of KahaniSaaz. “We want to represent the thoughts and psyche of a common man through our work,” he adds.

The foundation was laid after Naveed Akbar, an actor, writer and director, conducted an acting workshop at Olomopolo where he discovered some hidden talent of Pakistan that was full of potential. It only lacked the opportunity. After a gap of one year, he along with his two students, Fatima Asad and Affan-ul-Haq, joined together to tell stories through short films and music videos.

Then Naveed and Fatima continued with the ventured that had started. Laeeq Ahmed, a friend of Naveed who had been working with him previously, became their backbone, assisting them in artwork and production management. They were further joined by other amazing writers, musicians and actors in their journey.

Fatima Asad, co-founder and director at KahaniSaaz is confident that the film will receive a positive response from the viewers.

“Our work speaks for itself,” she says, “ We are focusing on the audience that has been neglected by the entertainment industry of Pakistan so far. Either you see oppressed women buried in a bottomless pit of abuse and violence or you see meaningless stuff going viral. But we at KahaniSaaz have something unique to give to the audience,” she adds.

The team is detremined to set new standards in the entertainment industry. Quality and meaningful entertainment is something that they refuse to compromise on. The promo of Changezi Mohabbat, released on 10th May, seemed promising and is a proof of their detrtmination.

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