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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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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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