Gujjars are back.

Punjab is the biggest province of Pakistan and that also makes Punjab as the largest market for many sectors (including movies, films etc.). More than 45% Pakistani’s call Punjabi as their native language/mother tongue and if we also include local dialects like Saraiki, Hindko, Pahari, Gojri and Kashmiri then it’s almost 65% of Pakistani’s.

With the recent success of ‘Punjab Nahi Jaon Gi’, focus of filmmakers and producers seems to shifting back to the mentality of rural Punjab. With ‘Maan Jao Naa’, Lollywood (Pakistani film industry) seems to be welcoming the Gujjars back to its main stream.

Gujjars who once ruled Lollywood’s Punjabi movies with absolute power had faded out but not completely. From early 80’s onwards almost every other Punjabi movie either had a Gujjar title or at-least one of the male lead used to have a Gujjar name. This trend soon shifted towards urdu movies too resulting in a disaster for majority of cine goers.

Gujjars were so good at making movies that they kept on making movies until Lollywood was admitted in an intensive care unit (ICU) and then they left abruptly. Then some well reputed doctors like Shoaib Mansoor etc came to rescue the ailing industry and did well for revival of Lollywood (Pakistani film industry) to some extent, but now it seems as Lollywood is going back to the state of 80’s and 90’s.

Keeping the Gujjar perspective in mind, watching ‘Maan Jao Naa’ was fun, female lead and debutant Elnaaz Norouzi seemed like a younger and skinnier version of Saima with just few difference like acting and dancing at which Saima was really good at, whereas Elnaaz Norouzi had an expressionless face all throughout the movie and didn’t know how to dance.

Watching Adeel Chaudary act was pure mental torture and some who had planned to cast him opposite Elnaaz Norouzi must be punished for casting him opposite Elnaaz Norouzi who at times seemed a foot taller than Adeel Chaudary. Director Aabis Raza must be feeling really proud for casting both leads with no acting skills.

After watching ‘maan jao naa’, I must say we urgently need another revival for Lollywood (Pakistani film industry) as soon as possible or else we will end up watching similar type of movies like the ones produced during 80’s and 90’s.




“Parchi” fails to live-up to its expectations.

For Pakistani movies year 2017 had only one movie to boast about and that was ‘Punjab Nahi Jau Gi’ and year 2018 started as badly as year 2017 stated off. First movie of year 2018 ‘Parchi’ wasn’t much different from the movies of 2017 as it has almost nothing to boast about. Due to immense hype created, expectation were high, but ‘Parchi’ failed to live-up to its expectations.


Certain scenes from ‘Parchi’ resembled ‘Fukrey Returns’ and most prominently roles of ‘Choocha’ and ‘Bholi Punjabaan’ were evident all through the ‘Parchi’. Shafqat Khan tried his best to copy ‘Choocha’ as much as he could but he failed miserably, Story written by Shafqat Khan felt headless and this coupled worst possible execution / direction reminded me of ‘Thora Jee Le’.


Apart from excellent cinematography, only other positive point of ‘Parchi’ acting by some of its actors. Best among them was by seasoned actor Shafqat Cheema as he literally dominated screen with his lively acting and excellent dialogues delivery. Faizan Shaikh also acted flawlessly throughout and surprisingly debutant Faiza Saleem also did justice to her role, her screen presence was better than her female colleagues. All main leads like Hareem Farooq, Ali Rehman Khan, Ahmed Ali Akbar, Usman Mukhtar and Shafqat Khan failed miserably with their forgettable performances. Mah-e-nur Haider had a forgettable debut.


There are certain type of roles meant for certain type of actors and the role played by Hareem Farooq “madam saab” was definitely not meant for someone like Hareem Farooq. She didn’t fit into “madam saab” role at all, as she is simply too beautiful, bubbly and cute to be a gangster. Although it seemed as she had tried hard to act well and there were positive glimpses some were but background didn’t work for her, she is just another pretty face without much acting skills. I was expect a lot more from Hareem Farooq as she hails from theatrical background, but she simply failed to deliver.  At most she looked like a shadow of “bholi punjaaban” from Fukrey Returns. Production might be one reason why she couldn’t do justice to her role. Still wondering if she lost weight just to produce this rubbish.


Ali Rehman Khan didn’t act well but he seems like a terrific dancer, rest should take dancing lessons. Ali Rehman Khan seems like a decent addition to our very small list of male actors who have hero material within them and I am pretty hopeful that with better selection and slight improvement he can be the next big thing in Pakistani movie scene.


As for music, I have seen very few Pakistani movies which lack good music and ‘Parchi’ is definitely on the list with its pathetic music. Highly anticipated songs Billo Hai and Imagine have Bollywood feel to them. Should have done better.



Rangreza – will be remembered for its music.

After huge success of Punjab Nahi Jaon Gi and Na Maloom Afraad 2, I was expecting some quality stuff from the makers of Rangreza, but was hugely disappointed  and to be honest I was expecting a lot more then what I had just seen. During the promotional period I remember someone from the production team said it to one of the most expensive Pakistani films of the year. Still wondering where all that money had been dumped to. My prediction for Rangreza is that this will be last miss of 2017 as last two movies of 2017, Arth-2 and Chuppan Chupai will be hit it for sure.


Rangreza is just another addition to the long list of Pakistani movies that flopped and almost all the flops of 2017 had at-least one point to share with each other that was ‘weak story line / weak content’, but in-case of Rangreza there were some other issues too.


Weak story coupled with even weaker direction was even harder to digest even though ‘rangreza had some brilliant actors but even they couldn’t steer the ship ashore. Editing was also sub-standard and I am still wondering how suddenly the song ‘Kallu’ jumped in from. This song ‘Kallu’ had no relevance to post or pre scenes.


Some of the brilliant acting displays were by Saleem Mairaj and Akbar Subhani, both these seniors were flawless with their acting skills and they didn’t miss a single mark. Normally it’s very pretty clear that Saleem Mairaj will be spot-on and flawless with his acting. Akbar Subhani’s acting and his face expressions were awesome and will be remembered for long. Malkani also acted superbly.


Main leads Bilal Ashraf and Urwa Hocaine were just pretty faces and weren’t that impressive, Gohar Rasheed showed glimpses of his skills but at times over-acted. Goher Rasheed is a very skilled and talented actor who wasn’t used well by the director. Ghana Ali turned out to be a surprise as she was not just a pretty face, but she also acted better then main lead Urwa Hocaine.

Music was the best part of Rangreza, to start off with best song of the movie and probably the best part of Rangreza was its song ‘Bagiya’ by Jonita Gandhi, title track which was ‘Hey Rangreza’ title track was a power packed performance by J. Ali and this title track reminded me of Aashiqui 2 but even then this song had feel-good factor it, Phool Khil Jayien by Abida Parveen & Asrar Shah and Bulleya by Asrar Shah and lastly Balamwa sung by Ustaad Fareed Ayaz, Ustaad Abu Mohammad & Hamza Akram Qawal. Only one song ‘Kallu’ could have been avoided.

Dances need to be choreographed in a better way and fight scenes were as badly choreographed as they have always been done in the past. DOP and Cinematography was better as compared some recent movies.

Overall there aren’t any crowd pullers in Rangreza and also the movie has no repeat value, I don’t see this movie doing much.


“Bagiya” from ‘Rangreza’.


“Bagiya” is probably the best song from Pakistani movie ‘Rangreza’ and here we have the video of this song which is nicely executed and shot with excellent colors + camera work is also of good quality and all this coupled with the cuteness and beauty of Urwa Hocane makes this video a must watch. Composed by Pakistani-Canadian musician, music producer and composer Qurram Hussain and sung by Indian-Canadian Jonita Ghandi, “Bagiay” is a nice romantic song which is a treat for ears too.

Dances and lyrics need improvement.


‘STRINGS’ mesmerized once again with an excellent performance.

Salts Arts has succeeded in reviving the concert culture here in Karachi by collaborating with legendary pop-rock band “Strings”. Although Salt Arts had previously collaborated with lesser known acts and had successfully pulled-off concerts of much smaller scale, but arranging something as big as this one, deserves to be praised, as almost everything was spot-on starting from venue itself ‘lawns of Beach Luxury Hotel’ which was a brilliant choice with its sea-front coupled with light December breeze created a very romantic ambiance, followed by ample parking with proper guidance, excellent security arrangements (no mishaps were seen or reported), food court with delicious and fresh cooked food, sound arrangements, time management (as we were home by mid-night), crowd handling, crowd itself was very well behaved and all that topped-up with excellent and flawless performance by legendary pop-rock band of Pakistan “Strings”.

Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia.

Due to some reasons mentioned above, this concert will be remembered for a long long time and more reasons would be that Strings is performing after quite some time as they were extremely busy with their Coke Studio project, second reason was 30th anniversary of Strings itself, which elevates their status to legendary level and they are the only band to have survived that long.

Crowd thoroughly enjoying live performance by ‘Strings’.  

Two hours of live music by Strings reminded of the time when Junoon use to rule the roost with their two hours and at times three hours of live music. But for someone like me even a two hour’s performance by Strings wasn’t enough and I felt like carving for more. Current line-up of Strings which features Adeel Ali on lead guitarist (who also happens to be the oldest member after Bilal & Faisal), Bradley D’Souza on Bass Guitars, Haider Ali on keyboards and Ahad Nayani on drums gelled well and gave a notion that they had rehearsed well.

Seems like a full house.  

Faisal Kapadia as usual was very energetic, enthusiastic with his solid vocal tone all through the concert was a treat for ears, mind and soul.  Faisal Kapadia and profusely thanked the crowd that had come to see Strings performing. Bilal Maqsood with his soothing and soft vocals was on the mellow side and he looked a lot more matured as compared to Faisal Kapadia or other members but his melodious side of too much to handle with light December breeze and Sea on your left side.


First song of the night was ‘koi aanay wala hay’, which was a decent start and felt more a like a warm-up session, followed by ‘na janay kyun’ which had a Spider-Man effect to it, ‘kahani mohabbat ki’ was next, then ‘chaiay chaiay’ and ‘jab sae tum ko mai nay dekha’, is one of their oldest song which I use to hate but now due to its nostalgic I started liking it.


Without any doubt best song of the night was ‘sar kiay ye pahar’ and this song is only reason why I love Strings so much, it has a nostalgic feel to it and bring back memories of my school time. Strings sang ‘sar kiay ye pahar’ to perfection, not a single error, its seems as they have been rehearsing this song a lot. Next song by Bilal Maqsood was ‘mera bichar yaar’, mellowed things down and then ‘durr’ energized the once again and Faisal Kapadia showed the awesome power of his vocals.

Next in-line was guest singer Momina Mustehsan who came in to present ‘muntazir’ from Coke Studio. Momina Mustehsan failed to impress with her live performance and proved to just another pretty face with not much singing talent, whereas Faisal Kapadia was best among the three vocalist and Bilal Maqsood’s vocals was soothing enough but didn’t fit well with sound of this song.

After a fiery performance by Strings and Momina Mustehsan, ‘mai to dekhoon ga’ soften the mood once again only to be boosted once again by excellent and thrilling drum performance by each and every member of Strings. This drum was very unique had many different instruments.

As far as I remember ‘so ja’ from their first album was first ever song by Strings that I heard or had seen on Music Channel Charts and ‘so ja’ kept the crowd going, ‘soniay’ which had female back-up vocals and to fill this gap Faisal Kapadia requested female members in the crowd who would be willing share the stage with Strings and four young and energetic ladies showed up and sang ‘soniay’ with Faisal Kapadia and Bilal Maqsood. ‘Dhaani’ went in with the flow of the concert and last song of the night was the world cup song of 2003 ‘hay koi ham jaisa’. Pakistan was one of the hot favourite to lift the cricket world cup of 2003, but what happened there shouldn’t be remembered. Last was as an energetic and the performances was as power-packed as first one.

Overall it was an excellent effort by Salt Arts and Strings for putting up such an excellent show for very entertainment starved population of Karachi.


Made in Pakistan. Fashion showcase – Day 01

Pakistan’s leading Fashion Council “Fashion Pakistan” (FP) has collaborated with Pakistan’s leading trade authority “Trade Development Authority of Pakistan” (TDAP) to bring another fashion week to our fashion industry with the title “Made in Pakistan – Fashion Showcase”.


TDAP was at the forefront and FP was at backfoot, and TDAP did succeed in bringing in the so called vip culture also known as ‘sarkaari culture’ to a fashion week for which they must be applauded. Apart from foreign delegates most of the crowd present seemed irrelevant for fashion shows. Once the show started all the deficiencies of TDAP officials became visible to naked eye as half of seats were vacant throughout show and many foreign delegates were seen leaving during the show. TDAP officials were seen facilitating only selected few of their own and many foreign delegates were left to be facilitated by untrained and unexperienced ushers.


First day of “Made in Pakistan – Fashion Showcase” started with a welcome speech by Chairman of Fashion Pakistan Mr. Deepak Perwani and during this welcome speech, Chairman Fashion Pakistan welcomed the delegates and guests and thanked them for gracing this event


He further informed that; “this show is divided into three parts,  during day one and day two Pakistan’s leading and established fashion designers will be show-casing their products, whereas on the third day “Millennial Fashion” is dedicated to young and emerging designers, which goes in-line with Fashion Pakistan’s policy of promoting young talent”.

On this concluding note Mr. Deepak Perwani said; “all the designs that will be showcased during the fashions week are based on export oriented and with a vision to contribute more to Pakistan’s economy for value added sector/market and in the end its it’s all about Pakistan, so bring to you Made In Pakistan”.

First designer to showcase was the chairman of Fashion Pakistan, Mr. Deepak Perwani and his designs seemed very cool, trendy and fit for evening wear. His designs seemed very export oriented keeping in mind both westerners and desi’s.


Next was Amir Adnan who showcased some of the finest jackets on day one, with FNK Asia from the House of Amir Adnan had few good pieces while rest of it was pretty normal.

Nova Leather showcased some of the best collection of day one with their excellent leather jackets, hand bags, purses, trousers and skirts and with any doubt Pakistan leather goods are one of the finest in the world and designs have improved lot too. Model Abeera Habib displayed the best looking dress produced by Nova Leather.

The Pink Tree Company showcased some very cool, trendy and elegant looking evening wear followed by Gogi by Hassan Riaz with pretty ordinary looking designs which didn’t feel like to be destined for export.

Last of the day one was Tena Durrani who wasn’t that impressive as was expected from her, some of her designs felt incomplete and didn’t seem fit to be for exports.

Overall first day of Made in Pakistan. Fashion showcase wasn’t that impressive and with a very dull red carpet with sarkaari culture, choreography by someone who is not familiar with choreography, not many top male/female models and so on.

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.


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.


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.


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 – Elimination Round

Elimination round of Pepsi Battle of the Bands 2017 was full of surprises, ill-fated and bad-decisions from the judges. It seemed strange why all three judges were agreeing and dis-agreeing together on every performance. A certain disliked by one judge was disliked by others too and vice versa.   


21 bands were short listed for elimination round out of which initially only 06 were to proceed further, but due to immense amount of talent available judges requested for addition 04 bands to proceed further totalling to 10 bands proceeding. Finally all agreed on 08 bands moving forward and 13 bands facing elimination.  

Decision to choose Badnaam over Naksh and V-Sell was decent one, whereas preferring Roots over E-Sharp and OB Positive wasn’t easily digestible.


Eliminating Khamaaj was the worst the judges could do, lead vocalist of Khamaaj was by far the best find of this year’s Pepsi Battle of the Bands and I am sure that his vocal chords are more powerful than both male judges Farooq and Fawad and his vocal tone and singing style is also extra ordinary. Don’t know if both male judges were afraid to choose someone better themselves. Kashmir was a decent selection.   

Disqualification of Positive was another blunder by judges, even Pindi Boys didn’t show up with all band members but they weren’t asked a single question then why did they ask a very silly question ending up in dis-qualification.  

Choosing Madlock over Sikandar ka mandar and The Grovers; The Quetta Boys was very okay as Madlock had that flare to go ahead, but choosing very mediocre band Aura and highly over-rated Jasim & The Pindi Boys left a bad taste

Choosing Shajr over Ehl-e-Rock was another pathetic decision, whereas Darvesh deserved to proceed.

Overall after watching this elimination round I have serious doubts about the abilities of judges to choose better outfits.

This round ended by a performance by Aaroh with Farooq on vocals who is only good giving recording performance and his live performance is a bit below average and I am sure bands like Khamaaj and Kashmir can perform better than Aaroh.