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UNDER THE COVERS: With Saba Aqeel

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Saba Aqeel Ahmed has worked tirelessly to set up her home-based bedding business. She strives to deal as fairly and honestly as possible (with the help of her refund and exchange policies) and always makes sure to provide the best quality products so as not to disappoint her customers. She is the mother of four young daughters, a dedicated and honest businesswoman; and a loving wife all wrapped up into one person.

 

  • What pushed you to set up your own business?

I set up this business as a means to support my 4 daughters and husband. I realized that the extra income generated by my business could be put towards my daughters’ higher education and to improve our current standard of living. I also chose to start this business because of my inability to sit idle and my desire to become an economically productive member of society.

 

  • What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in setting up this home-based business?

There were many challenges that I came across while I was initially setting up my business. One of the main problems was transport. I didn’t have a car or driver! This made it quite difficult to commute and get things done. Moreover, my in laws weren’t very supportive of the idea of a working woman either. This became quite worrisome as I wasn’t receiving the kind of support I needed and it lowered my morale quite a bit. In addition to this, one of the hardest things to accomplish was building recognition for my brand.

 

  • There are so many different types of businesses out there. Why did you decide to take up bedding?

Originally I hadn’t decided that I wanted to produce and sell bedding. I had already been contemplating setting up a small home-based business and a close friend suggested that I should pursue bedding. Her husband already owned bedding store so I thought “why not?” I was inexperienced at the time so it was nice to be able to rely on someone who knew what they were doing. Through them I was able to learn a lot about how to grow my business and was able to expand my network of contacts too. Working in bedding textiles is also very unique as not many entrepreneurs have thought to enter this field yet.

 

  • Once you re-started your business for the second time how did you manage to expand it?

Initially, when my business launched I only circulated the news amongst my family and close friends through a Whatsapp message. Then orders started to come in, and as I sent out more products I began to receive positive feedback. From there I was recommended to potential customers outside my immediate family and circle of friends. However, I had to take a short hiatus to focus on a few family matters. Once I re-launched my business I explored new avenues of self-promotion such as online pages, Instagram, and Facebook and that is how I was able to expand my customer base.

 

  • What advice would you offer to someone looking to start their own business?

Give it your all! Don’t pay too much attention to what other people say about you, keep your head down and just keep going. Inshallah, all your efforts will be rewarded if you put in the maximum amount of effort into what you do and keep your intentions clear.

 

  • Was your family supportive of your ambition to run a home-based bedding business?

In all honesty, my family has always been quite supportive of everything I’ve ever wanted to do. I got married at quite a young age only having done my FSC at the time and was very financially vulnerable. It was a blessing to have a supportive husband that encouraged me to take up entrepreneurship and my daughters that pressed me to my get BA degree. However, my in-laws are more conservative and weren’t too keen on the idea of me setting up this business. In this case, I took the executive decisions to carry on and with the support of my husband and daughters I was able to set up a successful career.

 

  • What are some of the most important things you’ve learned as a result of managing this business?

Running this business has in fact been an invaluable learning experience. I had always led quite a sheltered life, but after starting this business my eyes were opened to some very harsh realities. I learned to observe people closely and realized the importance of being polite. People working as sales representatives or offering any goods or services are often wrongly criticized for things beyond their control. Even if they make a genuine yet minor mistake. On the other hand, I also learned how kind and considerate people can be and what the lengths people will go to support you if they care about you.

 

  • Being a working mother can be quite difficult. How do you manage all your responsibilities?

Being a working mother is quite hectic. My children are my number one priority and the whole reason that my entire business is set up at home. This way I am able to look after them while getting on with my work as well. I do all my designing first and only visit the bazaar on selected days to pick out the fabric so that my kids aren’t left alone for too long. It’s a huge responsibility to make sure your children and house aren’t neglected while you work. Especially for me, since I live in a joint family system, and need to be extra vigilant so as to avoid any criticism. At times the routine gets very tedious and work does pile up but at the end of the day, it’s also quite rewarding.

 

  • What is your main focus for the future at this point?

My main focus at this point is educating my 4 young daughters.

 

  • Is there anything you’d like to say to the audience that reads your interview?

Yes, I’d like to take this opportunity and use the Scary Ammi platform to say that every working mother has a lot of responsibilities to shoulder. So it’s important that we do our best to support the work that these mothers do because even the smallest bit of encouragement can do wonders for their morale.

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Meesha Shafi releases HOT MANGO CHUTNEY SAUCE

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A Canadian Pakistani Artist, a cultural and feminist icon and a multidisciplinary artist, has released her latest single, Hot Mango Chutney Sauce. Written and performed by Shafi herself, Hot Mango Chutney Sauce is an electro pop dance composition with an unabashedly original desi sound.

 

While the mood of the song is joyful, it cleverly employs irony and sarcasm to question an unfortunate yet comic facet of urban Pakistani society: the rampant obsession with consumerism and the inability to understand ourselves beyond the facade of “wealth” or “success” we put up in social settings. The South Asian artist celebrates her roots and explores why we express our identities by acquiring and flaunting material possessions, instead of nurturing our values and vocalizing principles we believe in.

 

“The idea of writing this song came out of a period of reflection on the rat race we often find ourselves in, where much of the focus is on what people own instead of who they are. It’s a pitfall that is particularly hard to avoid in an industry literally called showbiz, so coming to this realization has been fascinating” said Meesha Shafi.

 

Blending English, Urdu and Punjabi, Meesha speaks colloquially and playfully integrates quintessentially Pakistani idioms and tongue-twisters in her lyrics. “Ultimately, the song pokes fun at our collective identity crisis, which is only worsened by our colonial hangover as many of us have begun to realize. Even within the race, we’ve come to attach a higher value to aspects of pop culture that have no roots in Pakistan or the wider South Asian community. So whether it was cultural references in the lyrics or the visual translation of the track into a music video, I aspired to create something uniquely us – desi and proud”, said Meesha Shafi.

 

Abdullah Siddiqui, who produced the song said: “The themes Meesha was working with on this song really resonated with me because I’ve personally begun to feel like culturally there’s an obsession with keeping up appearances, and sacrificing authenticity in the process. The lyrics really excited me and amused me, especially because they are in such stark contrast to the kind of introspective and sombre work Meesha has been known for, but I’m so excited that people finally get to see this side of her. I had the time of my life producing this track to reflect the spirit in which Meesha wrote it; brash, maximalist, super-charged and unapologetically fun. We tried to create a representation of South Asian motifs that felt completely fresh yet authentic, and I really hope that comes across.”

 

The much-awaited music video has been co-directed by Meesha Shafi and Awais Gohar. The art direction was led by Meesha Shafi and Hashim Ali. The music video stars both Meesha Shafi and Abdullah Siddiqui along with Eman Suleman, Zara Peerzada, Baemisaal and Rubab Ali. To make things even more exciting, the anonymous Instagram sensation known only by her handle ‘Swineryy’ also features on the music video as one of her most popular avatars.

 

The music video for Hot Mango Chutney Sauce can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/aQ2oiqyEzCE.
The song is now available on all major streaming platforms.

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Filmwala Pictures Is Back With a Historic Drama Masterpiece Khel Khel Mein

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The dynamic duo of Pakistani film industry, Nabeel Qureshi & Fizza Ali Meerza, is all set to hit Pakistani Cinemas, yet again with their upcoming film ‘Khel Khel Mein’.

The multi starrer Feature Film will have Sajal Ali and Bilal Abbas in lead roles, along with veterans Javed Sheikh, Samina Ahmed, Marina Khan & Manzar Sehbai. The music of the film is composed by the maestros including Shani Arshad, Shuja Haider & Asrar Shah. This heart-warming drama depicting a youthful take on historic events, will be releasing in cinemas very soon.

The motion poster of the KKM looks promising and fans are eagerly waiting to witness another brilliant piece from the enthusiastic and talented pair, who always tries to give something new in their projects.  The lead cast, Sajal Ali and Bilal Abbas Khan has worked together before in television drama serial ‘O Rangreza’. This is their first feature film together.  

Fizza Ali Meerza, CEO Filmwala Pictures says about her new venture, “Khel Khel Mein is our take on telling history in a fresh and engaging way to the youth so that it can be learned from and remembered. We hope the viewers will resonate with the story and come out of the theaters feeling more entertained & informed.”

The director of Khel Khel Mein Nabeel Qureshi expressed his delight as, “We are very excited to bring Khel Khel Mein to the screens; the entire team has worked immensely hard to create the film and, we hope that people will love it and learn from it.”

About Filmwala Pictures

Filmwala Pictures is a Pakistani Film Production Company based in Karachi founded by Fizza Ali Meerza. The production house has some of the biggest Pakistani hits under its banner including; Na Maloom Afraad, Actor in Law, Na Maloom Afraad 2 & Load Wedding along with the upcoming film Quaid e Azam Zindabad.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kkmthefilm/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/khelkhelmein2021/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/khel_khel_mein

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/khelkhelmein

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Junaid Khan Highlights A Grave Issue Of Society In His Latest Video

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When it comes to Pakistani performers, who can both act and sing, Junaid Khan comes into mind so quickly. We have witnessed his acting skills recently in dramas like Kashf, Muhabbatein Chahtien and Khuda Aur Muhabbat but his first love music, with which he stared his career as Call band, recurs so often. 

Junaid Khan has released a single Taqdeer this eid, which unlike a usual happy song comes out on eids, highlights the grave issue of violence, especially domestic violence which is taking place in almost every household, every class in one way or another. According to singer this video is dedicated to all the victims that have gone through and keep going through all forms of abuse.

About the song and video, Khan pours his heart out, “What I am presenting to the world is not just a song but an ocean of immense emotions. A very grave issue that I lose sleep over.”

The Nishaan singer further says, “When I see and hear abuse, suffering and pain; it takes me into a very dark space. The evil that is spreading so fast in our own society and all over the world, has suffered humanity in the hands of murderers, rapists, abusers and the list just goes on.”

How someone has to suffer in the hands of an oppressor who only knows how to control and torture another human being, he adds.

The Taqdeer is written and composed by Junaid Khan while the video is directed by As-haar Azmat featuring Talat Mahfooz Butt, Shahreen Iftikhar, As-haar Azmat along with Junaid Khan as lead. The track has a grunge-rock feel in it as the video is shot in a dark background to depict the gloom and pain of the theme. Junaid has proved both his singing and acting skills in this five and half minute’s video which carries a powerful message through a conceptual art. 

According to the singer, the video emphasizes how the Power, control, money and greed can destroy generations but the message that he wants to send across to the world through this song is with bad comes good and with suffering comes ease and that karma will come around.

Elaborating more about the video, Khan says, “The oppressors are so strong and blinded by their own motives that are larger than other human lives. And there comes a point when the oppressed knows nothing better than accepting this painful life as fate. Taqdeer! And on this very notion my song, my voice and my emotions came to life in the form of this song.”

It is true that cases of domestic violence take place every day. Some get swept under the carpet while some come out in the open. The authorities must need to give importance to every violent act taking place anywhere in the country.  

According to a report published by Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) in March 20201, The cases of violence against women and rape in Pakistan were doubled in the last six months of 2020 as compared to the first six months of the year. According to official data analysis, domestic violence (1,422 cases) and violence against women (9,401 cases), had high occurrence throughout country.

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