VERNA – trailer launch

Presenting the official trailer of “Verna”, a film by Shoaib Mansoor, starring Mahira Khan, Haroon Shahid, Zarar Khan, Naimal Khawar and Rasheed Naz. From the director of Khuda Kay Liye & Bol. Directed by Shoaib Mansoor and Produced by HUM Films & Shoman Productions,

From the trailer it seems like a Mahira Khan centred movie and two male leads don’t look promising enough. Haroon Shahid didn’t impress much with singing skills and its seems same for his acting too. But let’s wait and see till the movie is released.

 

The love anthem of the season is here “Sambhal Sambhal” sung by Haroon Shahid and Zebunnisa Bangash. This song does have a Shoaib Mansoor’s feel to it.

 

Speaking on the trailer launch Mahira Khan informed; “that Verna was an amazing experience for her and Shoaib Mansoor has always been like a teacher to her”.

On Haroon Shahid’s performance Mahira Khan said; “Haroon has done exceptionally well, keeping in mind that this was his first acting stint and to make things easy for him, I did what my seniors had done for me by making my life much easier and this time as a senior myself I did same”.

 

Haroon Shahid also spoke on this occasion and said; “it felt amazing to be a part of Shoaib Mansoor’s project both as an actor and as a musician”. He said that; “he was connected with Shoaib Mansoor since 2011 as musician and very few have this privilege of being associated with Shoaib Mansoor as a musician”.

 

It was very challenging task and despite being very supportive, Shoaib Mansoor is not an easy director to work with, but determination and extremely supportive attitude from other colleagues especially Mahira Khan made life a lot easier.

Mrs. Sultana Siddiqui, President of Hum Network spoke highly of Shoaib Mansoor and praised his efforts of introducing new faces in acting and in music. According to her the most magical words by Shoaib Mansoor are; “Khuda kay liay, BOL, Verna”.

She further said that; “socials messages are must and it’s about time that we should start speaking up on social issues and social problems”.

On the concluding note President of Hum Network requested all to support and promote Pakistanis movies as we doing very well with very low budget movies and competing against very high budgets ones. If we keep progressing like this, inshaALLH within next 5 years we will be somewhere.

“Verna” is set to release on 17th November 2017.

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Sindhi Food Tradition Celebration.

The Pearl Continental Hotel Karachi, a hotel of the ‘Hashoo Group of Companies’ presented “Sindhi Food Tradition Celebration” at  their renowned Chandni Restaurant on 09th October 2017.

 

The Pearl Continental Hotel Karachi, with great zeal and enthusiasm, puts forward various cultural and literary, festivities and celebrations of international accord all the year around, providing its guests with pleasant, fun-filled and memorable experiences.

 

This time around The Pearl Continental Karachi celebrated Sindhi Food Tradition at  the Chandni Restaurant, the celebration shall include a lavish Buffet Dinner with delicious Sindhi delicacies. This celebration is for 7 days from the 9th of October 2017 and shall continue till the 15th October 2017.

 

Mr. Aslam Khan – HM Pearl Continental Hotel Karachi received the esteemed Chief Guest Ms. Rubina Qiamkhani MPA, Sindh Assembly. The Event started off with an official ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by lavish dinner at Chandni Restaurant. Sindhi Food Tradition Celebration at the Chandni Restaurant was inaugurated by the chief guest on the evening of 09th of October 2017.

 

This launch event was well attended by goverement dignitaries, officials, selected press & media, honourbale guests of  The Pearl Continental Karachi.

 

Some of the stand-out dishes which are a must try for everyone visiting are; Desi Kukar ji Bhaaji, Chanwar ji Mani, Panjrtni Daal, Desi Kukar jo Pullao and Seyal Machi.

 

The 7 days celebration is scheduled from the 9th of October and shall continue till the 15th of this month.

Heer Ranjha

Heer Ranjha is one of the most well-known love stories of the Punjab. It’s a story of two ill-fated lovers from two warring villages who fall in love. Ranjha disguises himself as a cow-heard to remain near his beloved Heer and to also keep it as a secret too. Soon their love is discovered and they are separated. Heer’s evil uncle plans to keep the lovers apart forever, even when the two families are willing to let them marry.

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This production is a contemporary re-telling of a story based on script by Kaifi Azmi, The script has been adapted for stage and some changes have been made to the music to suit the version of tragic tale.

Directed by Zain Ahmed who is now turning out to be an established director at the theatre scene and his skills can be gauged by the fact that some very senior actors like Arshad Mahmood, Samina Ahmed and Sanam Saeed act in his play.

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Sanam Saeed probably the best theatre actor in Pakistan carries the play on her shoulders with her superb acting and singing. She simply outshone everyone including senior actors like Arshad Mahmood and Samina Ahmed. Flawless and outstanding performance to put it simply. Other main lead Hassan Raza also did justice to his role as Ranjha and Heer’s parents were equally good with their roles too. Other worth mentioning roles were of Meesam Naqvi and Nazar-ul-Hasan. Meesam’s dialogue deliveries were blurred at time and Nazar ul Hassan impressed with his acting here on theatre as previously we had only seen him as Mumbai Don in Na Maloom Afraad 2.

As for very senior and veteran actress Samina Ahmed, it must have been a very strange and a very unique experience of working under the direction of her own son. She must have enjoyed that a lot. Arshad Mahmood as always was perfect and spot on.

 

Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 07

This episode started off with celebrity performance Uzair Jaswal who sang ‘sajna’, and on concluding Call performed their iconic song ‘jilawatan’.

Final of Pepsi’s Battle of the Bands, Season two has two contestants namely Badnaam and Kashmir and both of these bands are really promising and have equal chances of winning the title.

Final round consisted of two rounds; 01) mash-up song and 02) original song.

Badnaam stated off the proceeding and performed ‘Ishqnaama’ which was a mashup of their original song ‘ishq mei teray + halka halka suroor by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan + teray ishq nachaya by Adida Parveen and haq ali mola ali also by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and wow what an explosive performance it was. Their mash-up started off very splendidly. Vocals were very melodious and were full of feelings and emotions that comes with the original ones. They really had put their heart and soul into this mash-up. Felt excellent.badnaam02

Kashmir’s mash-up ‘ankahi’ consisted of two very popular songs ‘adat by Atif Aslam + aeitbaar by Vital Signs’. Although vocals on both song were lacking to come near the original ones but had their own style and music arrangement and compositions were both of top level.kashmir07

Second round started by Badnaam’s original song ‘kalyaan Ishq’ which had all the elements of Badnaam’s style. It had powerful vocals, excellent music arrangements and composition too.badnaam03

Kashmir sang their original ‘kaaghaz ka jahaaz’, excellent composition, nice and soft with nothing very hard to it but still very amazing to listen too, groovy bass lines with equally soothing vocals by bilal. All this coupled with excellent live performance, almost flawless. Yes another song which forced the judges to give them a standing ovation and a hug from Atif Aslam. WOW.kashmir08

So finally with their song ‘kaaghaz ka jahaaz’, it seems as Kashmir has done it already. Now it’s for the audience to vote and decide, but I personally think that Kashmir should win this battle which will be like a repeat result, as during the last Battle of the Bands 2002, where final was between Aaroh who were more on the mellow side with softer and melodious type of music against Entity Paradigm’s power packed performance.

My vote goes to Kashmir but I have gut feeling that most of the Pakistani audiences will vote for Badnaam for their sufi type of music, which seems missing since Ali Azmat left Junoon.

Fashion Pakistan Week 2017 Winter / Festive – Day 01

After a very impressive start a-day before at the House of Shamaeel Anasri, expectation were quite high for the main event of FPW17 Winter / Festive. With new management, new public relations firm, new media partner, new set of sponsors and a new venue, expectations were higher than anticipated, but all turned sour before leaving the venue.

Red carpet was to start at 06:30pm, but hardly any guests arrived by 07:30pm and very few celebrities were spotted on the red carpet, which crowded by photographers, cameramen etc. Not many celebrities besides fashion fraternity chose to come.

main event was to start at 07:30pm, but started a bit after 09:00 pm and it seems as FPW is losing it charm, instead of progressing further and mastering the craft of managing events of this magnitude, the management of FPW failed miserably. After being in business for ten years they could have improved, but they chose not to.

Inside the main event hall, air-conditioning didn’t seemed to be working efficiently. Ramp was designed in T-shape and seating arrangements were such that they gave a very hollow looking feel to the show. Throughout the show there were just too many vacant seats here and there. Overall it was a stark contrast between this show and the ones held previously.

Among few positives points of the show was the flow of the show, which was at par with previous ones, choreography was spot-on, designers showed some very brilliant looking dresses and most of models walked the ramp perfectly, whereas show-stoppers should learn to walk the ramp too.

First to hit the show was Misha Lakhani who showcased her creations which were a mixture of mughal styled fused into modern Indian eastern styled. Looked very elegant and very sophisticated.

Next in-line to showcase her creations gorgeous and beautiful Aamna Aqeel whose creations titled ‘Palace Wonderland’ had a royal feel to it. Bridal dress worn by Mehreen Raheel was one the best creation of Amna Aqeel closely followed by sari wore by Nadia Hussain. On the final note Amna Aqeel being a head taller than most of the models, walked the ramp with such ease and confidence that she literally outshone almost all the models with her stark beauty and her elegant walk.

Erum Khan was next to showcase her talent as a dress designer, her creation titled as Bridal Odyssey’ had too much to them but even then was the best show of the evening. Sunita Marshall was first with a very elegant and royal looking dress which made her look like a princess Raja’s darbar from twentieth century. Rabya Chaudary also adorned one the best dress from Erum Khan’s collection.

Husan Ara by Obaid Sheikh was due next which had a pure eastern feel to it, Areeba Habib and Maha displayed some of creative work of Obaid Sheikh, while his other work had feel good effect to it too. His show stopper Ghana Ali could have walked better on the ramp, but she sure did adorn one best creation of Obaid Sheikh.

Saira Rizwan’s collection Glitterati had its highs and lows with Sunita Marshall again stealing the limelight with best creation from Saira Rizwan closely followed by Fouzia Aman who wore something of a new type of creation, a new type of sari. On Saira Rizwan’s show, finally got to see a zero sized model in Pakistan for the first time. A zero sized model seemed too good as here we get to see too many plus size models. Showstopper Sumbul Ibqal wasn’t even recognizable to most of the crowd as they didn’t even budge at her entry nor did she impress with her shabby walk.

Last to showcase on day one was Suffuse with Jaipur & CO, with collection called Asteria and first dress looked more like a very fashionable and expensive sleeping gown, followed by some Cinderella type dresses. Mehreen Raheel displayed the best dress created by the team at Suffuse. Jewellery for this show was by Jaipur & Co.

On the concluding note, not a very promising first day of Fashion Pakistan Week 2017, let see what comes up on day two.

Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 06

Episode 06 of Pepsi Battle of the Bands, season two knock out round can also be referred as semi-final of this competition with only top three banding remaining now.

This episode started off with celebrity performance from Asrar which was very powerful, energetic and explosive and was the real highlight of episode.

Moving back to contestants, Roots were first to perform and they decided opted for traditional folk song ‘peera ho’, which was also sung by Khalid Anum during late 90’s. Voice of Rutaba Yaqub didn’t suit the music style of this song. Roots nearly destroyed the peera ho and tried best to kill the essence of it. Music produced also wasn’t very firey. After this performance Roots should walk out on their own rather than waiting for judges to ask them to leave.

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Second to hit the stage was Kashmir, who sang ‘mehdah ishq vi toon by Pathanay Khan’. Song started soft and mellow and vocalist brought it up very nicely and was full of soul. Kashmir has been my favourite song from the beginning till this knockout stage.

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Badnaam performed ‘bismillah karraan by Nadeem Abbas’, perfect start with excellent and perfect vocals and equally excellent support by other band members. Probably first flawless performance of season two of Pepsi Top of the Pops. Can’t say more on it. Even though not on my favourite list but this band seems like a potential winner.

After three performances Badnaam was declared to be safe and remaining two bands Kashmir and Roots were declared to be in the danger and were to fight again for only one remaining spot in the final.

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Roots came back very strongly and they performed their original song ‘pagal sa, ye dil’ which was their first near perfect performance. Everything seemed to worked for them for this song, their vocals (with a bit of Shania Twain), composition, music arrangements felt perfect.

Kashmir also came back very strongly with their original song ‘soch’, started soft and mellow as its turning out to the style of Kashmir, Bilal has created own style of singing and along-with Vais Khan who happens to Fawad Khan’s favourite and drummer Shane J.Anthoney will do wonders on stage.

Finally judges thought that that Roots should leave and Kashmir should stay on, felt like a decent decision as Roots performed in-consistently whereas Kashmir and Badnaam were consistent throughout.

Now eagerly waiting for the final between Badnaam and Kashmir. 

Fashion Pakistan Week 17 launched by Shamaeel Ansari’s “The Blue Tulip”.

The opening show of Fashion Pakistan Week 17 winter festive titled “The Blue Tulip” by Shamaeel Ansari was held to showcase her signature world of luxury, where historical influences from the Ottoman Empire merge with intricate craftsmanship and modern silhouettes to create an opulent collection that has set just the right tone for Fashion Pakistan Week 2017 Winter Festive.

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Show titled “The Blue Tulip” was declared open by none other the maestro himself Mr. Deepak Perwani Chairman of Fashion Pakistan Council after which models adorned the ramp with elegant, exquisite collection of Shamaeel Ansari. First to hit the ramp was Fouzia Aman, followed by Sunita Marshall, Nadia Hussain, Sadaf Kanwal, Areeba Habib and Amna Ilyas.

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Luxurious collection “The Blue Tulip” by Shamaeel Ansari was a huge success and was well attended by leading diplomats, industrialists, celebrities, socialites, fashion fraternity and media personnel.

Show styled and curated by style director Ehtesham Ansari.

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Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 05

Episode 05 of Pepsi Battle of the Bands, season two a battle between last four contestants and from these four only three will proceed further, with one very unlucky band to head home.

Zeb Bangash started off the proceeding with her song ‘sureela samandir’, which had some Nazia Hasan into too and was very melodious to listen too.

Jasim and The Pindi Boys were first to hit the stage with the song ‘yes love by Dr & Billa’, which was by far the best performance by this band. It was an overall good attempt from them.

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Then it was Badnaam with ‘sham-e-qalandar’ folk song / traditional song, stared off with a bang and exploded right away, overall a very explosive performance full of energy and with it a very traditional feel to it. Vocalist Ahmed Jillani is next level guy, he should be up their taking centre stage with all the legends.

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Kashmir came in next with ‘waqt by EP’, although not as good as Fawad would have done so, but musically good to enough for ears. Bilal’s vocals are not meant for this type of song. He should concentrate on even more mellow songs. Music arrangements were awesome and fit for head-banging.

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Officially Roots were the final act the day with ‘mera dil nahi available by Vital Signs’, and vocalist almost destroyed the essence of original song. This song gave me a a very miserable feeling, although some parts sung well and music was arranged well.

Badnaam and Roots were declared to safe ahead of Kashmir, I think judges were not in their senses while deciding this one, and then remaining two bands Kashmir and Jasim and the Pindi Boys were asked to perform again.

Jasim and the Pindi Boys sang ‘dil mai tum by Bunny’ which was a pretty mediocre performance at this stage and then Kashmir sang their original song ‘faisaly’ which was better performance as compared to Jasim and the Pindi Boys, judges also thought same and asked Kashmir to proceed further and Jasim and the Pindi Boys were asked to leave.

Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 04

Episode 04 of Pepsi Battle of the Bands, season two was to be battle between last six contestants and from these six four were to proceed further, whereas two very unlucky were to head home. Theme of this episode was is original songs from the bands.

Sara Haider started off the proceeding with her song ‘zindagi’, which was very soulful and had feelings to it, but needs to work on her urdu accent, some of her pronunciations were very indianized, but over very energetic performance.

Kashmir were first to hit the stage with their original song ‘buddha baba’ from Bial’s childhood memories, started in a very soft and mellow fashion with Bilal’s vocal standing out. Overall above-average composition with a very fresh feel to it. Music was arranged nicely and their performance was without much errors.

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Durvesh came on then with their original track titled ‘sadaye darvesh”, which according to them has all their heart and soul in it. Excellent try it was, they surely did put all their heart and soul into it. Very powerful vocals with equally powerful and fiery music to match it. Truly amazing to listen to, just by listen to this song takes you to next level. Best performance of episode 04.

Jasim and the Pindi Boys performed their original song ‘korina’, which reminded me again that Jasim and the Pindi Boys is the most over-rated band of this season two. This song doesn’t have much to it, at times looked exciting but overall not impressive song at all.

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‘Khirkhiyaan’ was up next by Roots, with good music arrangements and equally good composition, but with weak lyrics and not matching vocal tone ruined it altogether. Vocals and music didn’t synchronize well enough.

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Madlock also had the same problem composition and music arrangements excellent but vocals were missing at that level. Their song ‘kab hoga’ had better lyrics as compared to previous performer, but on other aspects they were on same level with Roots. Music and vocals were going opposite directions.

Badnaam was the final act of the day with their song ‘khawaja ki dewaani’, and with a soft start and was expecting it to explode a bit early and but explodes a bit late. Vocals of Ahmed Jillani is the best part of this song.

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Judges preferred Roots and Pindi Boys over Durvesh and MadLock, which was a very pathetic decision, both Roots and Pindi Boys are highly over-rated and should have been sent home.

Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Season Two – Episode 03

Episode 03 of Pepsi Battle of the Bands, season two was the start of knock out rounds where from eight chosen contestants two were to head home and six were to proceed further.

Another development at this stage was Farooq moving out as judge and Shahi and Atif Aslam moving in as judges. Now revised judge’s panels consists of Atif Aslam, Shahi Hussain, Fawad Khan and Meesha Shafi.   

This episode started off with celebrity performance from one and only Atif Aslam who sang ‘yaad tehari’ which is his latest number to hit the market. Song had very powerful, energetic and explosive vocals which are now a trade-mark of Atif Aslam.

First band to hit the stage were Darvesh who sang ‘Allah hi dega’ by Sounds of Karachi, overall performance was near excellent, didn’t leave much for criticism.

Second band was Jasim and Pindi Boys who sang ‘jabsay hm howay jawan by Vital Signs’, and they have improved a lot from their previous performance but their vocalist needs to work more to make it to big stage.

Aura performed ‘dekha na tha by Alamgir’, which was more of a disappointment, especially from vocals perspective, music arrangement were creative and were excellent but vocalist didn’t fit well to the mood of the song. Although it was better re-make, but wasn’t expecting this kind of performance from Aura’s vocalist.  

Next in line was Madlock who sang ‘kahan hoon mai by EP’, musically started off with a band, but when vocals came in, it was very disappointing.

Kashmir performed ‘mera piyar by Aamir Zaki’, which was a very sentimental due to sad depart of maestro Amir Zaki, this song brought excellent feelings and memories. They Kashmir performed this song was truly amazing, vocals from Bilal gave this song an altogether new dimension and now this is song is on my favourite list. Composition, music arrangements and vocals all had sentimental values to them, this is surely next level stuff.

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Next were Badnaam who performed ‘kaala jorra paya, which is a famous folk song’, started off with very impressive vocals + powerful, explosive and very unique vocal tone. By far most unique and most powerful vocals of season two. Rest all was impressive too.   

Shajr tried a very difficult song which was ‘kisay da yaar by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’, and it sure was an excellent try, but was probably too much for Shajr. Singing Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is not an easy task for anyone. Even Rahat Fateh Ali Khan prefers not to sing this one during his shows. Vocals of Shajr aren’t meant for this type of song, she really messed it up. Although backup music was strong enough to support it.

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Roots performed ‘iss bar millo by Hadiqa Kiani & Aamir Zaki’ and this was another forgeable performance with not much to say on it.

At the end of show two Aura and Shajr left the battle and six bands Darvesh, Jasim & Pindi Boys, Madlock, Kashmir, Badnaam and Roots were to proceed further.