Dec 19 2009
Cast: Rubina Ashraf
Produced by: Aamir Khattak
Direction: Shaqielle Khan
Click here to watch video
All About Pakistani TV Dramas
Dec 19 2009
Cast: Rubina Ashraf
Produced by: Aamir Khattak
Direction: Shaqielle Khan
Click here to watch video
Nov 02 2009
Glamazon: Absolutely Aamina
by Fouzia Mapara
Her performances have undertones of Khalida Riyasat. The same defiant eyes, slender frame, the oomph, the spunk, energy and vigour emanating out of her petite person; whether she plays a rescued Bengali woman living with two mobile phone snatchers in Pachees Qadam Pe Maut or drives a rickshaw all over Karachi as the determined young woman in Aasman Chu Lay. Twirling her shiny tresses in a shampoo commercial, she exudes sex appeal that matches that of Zeenat Aman. In a short span of her modelling and acting career, this twenty-something has carved out a niche for herself as a glamorous model and a versatile actor. So who does she want to be known as, a model or an actor? â€œA performer, or a hybrid of some sort?â€ she laughed in response.
Dressed in a casual tee and black harem pants, the doe-eyed Aamina Sheikh looked like Pocahontas, with her cappuccino skin, smile out of a Cosmopolitan cover and a smart head that carries no attitude but loads of long, straight hair. Sitting across from me, she enthusiastically spoke about her adventures as a rickshaw driver for a telefilm Aasman Chu Lay, a special Womenâ€™s Day initiative.
â€œIt was a rocking project directed by Syed Ali Reza. Usman Mustafa wrote the script. I played a girl who is determined to become the breadwinner after her fatherâ€™s death and saves her family from the ensuing hardships,â€ she related. Since the girlâ€™s father was a rickshaw driver, Aamina had to drive a rickshaw with a huge camera attached to it on busy roads such as the M.A. Jinnah Road and Garden area and attract real passengers. â€œBefore the final shoot I wanted to drive a couple rounds in the rickshaw but it was not at all possible. So Mohib came to my rescue and drew the controls and everything for me, where the gears and brakes were and told me that it is very similar to a Vespa.â€
Just before the shoot, she grabbed the opportunity to take a couple of rounds with a real ricksha wallah in a narrow lane or two. But the road experience was for real. â€œMy hair was tied up, I wore a uniform and threw a scarf over it and so it was not very obvious that a woman was driving a rickshaw, but once someone noticed, that was it. At one point, I had some people running after me with a broken tube light! It was a revolutionary play, a wonderful and alternate experience which made me feel totally empowered. Jaise waqai kuch seekha hai. Afterwards we were joking that it would contribute towards my retirement plan!â€
In another telefilm, Pachees Qadam Pe Maut directed by Shahid Jawaad, Aamina played a Bengali woman at par with veteran Sheema Kirmaniâ€™s performance in Chand Girhan. â€œI was so keen to get the right accent. Unfortunately, that kind of time was not available, so I told the director that any minute you think that the accent is not good enough, just stop. But he asked me not to be so overwhelmed with the dialogue delivery and that I would be able to do it. A couple of hiccups here and there would not matter.â€
Demonstrating versatility, Aamina played the role of a mathematics genius, isolated from society in teleplay called Wapsi. â€œIt was an inspiration from A Beautiful Mind, written by Ali Moeen and directed by Naeem Khan. I loved that role. Ali Moeen is fantastic, he doesnâ€™t do much work but is among the people that I love to work with.â€
An election telefilm Baarish Mein Deewar that she did with Mohib was a hit. â€œIt was very youth-oriented, politically-charged and a very different play about concepts of Pakistani politics and how the youth is affected.â€ After doing some memorable telefilms where she got challenging, character roles, producers start taking notice of Aamina and serials followed. â€œI am doing more serials now than teleplays. I started with difficult roles. Now slowly I seem to be getting those female lead roles where you are mostly a decoration piece with little potential to act.â€
Maryam was a serial where Aamina played a bratty, young vamp. â€œI played a vamp even though I donâ€™t want to be stereotyped into that role. There is such a dearth of talent, and if you want to keep working, you end up accepting roles that you may not choose otherwise. It was an impactful role and although I did it a long time back, it was aired much later.â€
One of her major serials where she was present from the beginning to the end was Aane Wala Pal. â€œIt was a compact play, shot in Bahawalpur and I was very much involved in it. When you take out a couple of weeks and go on location, you literally become a part of the story.â€ Then came mega serial Dil-e-Nadaan, directed by Anjum Shahzad and Mustafa Afridi. â€œCharacter wise, I loved it.â€
Aaminaâ€™s commitment to her dramatic endeavours leaves one a little surprised that she detoured the fashion industry and advertising before she made it to acting. â€œOne day I ran into Tanya Shafi and she suggested that I give her my headshots which she would pass around to agencies for modeling. I took that extremely seriously and began searching for references, commercials and what is out there and what is the mould that I have to set for an appealing portfolio. I hired a photographer, made a storyboard, executed a photo shoot and handed to Tanya and a couple of other people I knew.â€
After two or three commercials, she landed a telefilm with Khalid Ahmed about Partition but continued to model. â€œI started learning the body language. Things that I would normally look at from a cinematic or film point of view, I started applying to modeling and fashion because the lingo is very much the same in terms of lights on negatives and positives. I started work with some photographers in Lahore and constantly made the effort of being proactive. In Karachi, I started working with Amean J. I did the ARY Fashion TV calendar which led to more fashion shoots. I also worked with Rizwan-ul-Haq who is the king of black and white and very high-fashion oriented. He demands a lot from you as a model when it comes to postures, body language and attitude. He really makes you work which I really like about him. Amean J and Shamyl Khuro do very little fashion work but when they do, it is very artistically inclined. In Lahore I have enjoyed working with Maram Abroo, Guddo Shani, there is Deevees/Jimmy. I havenâ€™t worked with Ather Shahzad and I look forward to that. I worked with Khawar some time back.â€
Fashion work started rolling because a new face had not appeared for ages. â€œI consciously tried my best to work both in Karachi and Lahore by making myself available. I was trying to get hold of some serials because telefilms do have impact but serials get noticed more.â€
In the fashion industry, it can be difficult to get across all the â€˜campsâ€™, meet the right people and get good work. â€œThe way to get through all that is to show your potential and once you have talent, doors open themselves for you. It would be wrong to say that the cliques are so strong that it is impossible for a newcomer to make a mark. Fashion in Pakistan has really done well and I received a lot of encouragement and support from senior models. I also feel that some of our commercial directors should take up films. There are so much talk going on but someone should step forward. I recently worked with Asif Reza for a commercial and I admire the professionalism of people in advertising. If people of Saqib Malikâ€™s caliber take up films, it would make a difference. We have to get started at some point and right now is a good time.â€
TV plays, commercials, fashion shootsâ€¦ has overexposure crossed her mind? â€œWork that we do never comes out in chronological order. We could have done it months ago but it might show much later with something else that you did recently, so it may seem that suddenly you are everywhere and that may create a feeling of being over exposed.â€
Aamina majored in film video production in Boston and after graduation; she worked as an assistant for a production company in Manhattan called Curious Pictures. â€œI used to intern there every summer and production wise it was good exposure but it did not click with me.â€ It was when she met some family friends that she found out about the media boom in Pakistan. â€œI was thinking in terms of a media career but had not figured out exactly what it was going to be. I realised that I would probably be taken more seriously in Pakistan than the States and as my parents were already here, I decided to come back.â€
Since Aamina had already made up her mind to work, she soon landed a job at a private channel along with some volunteering at the Karafilm Festival. â€œChannel mein to ragra laga kaafi! I was handling a couple of shows and assisting a director; one of those odd jobs where they hire you and make you do everything. Nevertheless it was an important time in my life because I learnt so much about how things are done in Pakistan. In addition, I was also doing short films and documentaries and was part of a theatre group. My contract finished and I started doing odd freelance jobs. In my mind somewhere was the thought acting is an option for me and if I take it seriously there is a chance for me to do well but I need to explore it.â€ With time, Aamina has become selective about her work and image. â€œI want to reflect a progressive, modern woman who speaks her mind and is not stuck in victimization or suppression, nor is a feminist. You can definitely control how you want to project yourself. In drama, I want to portray extremes so I can explore my potential and versatility as a performer.â€
Somewhere in her mind is this dream role. â€œA role that crosses boundaries, has international appeal, is progressive. I want to play a South Asian representative living somewhere else, not a hijabi or an extremist of any kind. It should not be the usual â€˜desi girl meets white boy, and wants to marry amidst religious and cultural issues theme.â€™ A genuine story must come out of it.â€
Talking about PTV plays of the golden era, Aamina says â€œToday we are dealing with a different ball game altogether. Our biggest drawback is that there is so much going on now that a lot of good work is lost in all the stuff that is going on air. Earlier, even if a person came in the scene to dust the table, he got noticed. Now people have a remote control! Agreed that they had better scripts and spent more time on everything but there was no other option. If the same people were working now, would they be able to establish themselves in the same way now as they did in those years?â€
Courtesy: Dawn Images
Sunday, 01 Nov, 2009
Oct 17 2009
by SAMEENA HAYEE
From amongst a plethora of programmes offered by our innumerable Pakistani channels, only a few stand out which can be labelled as â€˜worth mentioningâ€™. On current affairs side while programmes like Qalamkar, Kal Tak and many more, anchored and participated by journalism veterans and stalwarts like Athar Abbas, Abdul Qadir Hassan, Mujeeb ur Rehman Shami, Javed Choudry, Quatrina Hussain and Geo TVâ€™s Dr. Shahid Masoodâ€™s Mere Mutabiqâ€™, Hamid Mirâ€™s Capital Talk and similar other ones created ripples and due to their indepth investigative reporting many investigations have already started at highest levels. Result oriented, shall we call it?
On the music side, while AAG caters to our insatiable youth with its innovative and creative presentations â€“ another channel is catering to us old timers, reviving the golden era of days gone by and not to be left behind still another channel is introducing wannabeâ€™s and believe me they are good.
And there are channels and channels catering to our local goras â€“ the English medium sect â€“ are a couple of them that stand out though diagonally opposite. One is doing its best to make us forget the English language that we learnt in schools, colleges and universities by using language like â€˜He went, wenta went, so went came-aa hi notâ€™ (woh gaya, gaya, aisa gaya kae aaiya hi nahi). This was a joke mind you, to be taken with a pinch of salt after sleeping at night and before waking up in the morning for maximum curative effect and result. The other channel has become an expert on teaching us how to speak the gora lingo with maximum twisting and exercising our facial muscles while keeping a stiff upper lip to attain the required clipped delivery and accent which an original and genuine gora would find difficult to emulate.
Now lets get serious and talk on the serious subject of drama (read Droma) â€“ serious because it solicits maximum sponsorships and commercials. This last quarter of the year 2009 saw the end of Noorpur Ki Rani, a drama serial on one of the private channels. It was the story of two women; a story of paradoxes. Both very different in their individual capacities but plagued by similar problems. Noori being an orphan from an impoverished family goes through turbulent times before beginning a new life in a palace. On the other hand, Rania, owner of the palace is brought to circumstances she never could have imagined due to her negative and jealous nature â€“ resulting in her going on a rampage to destroy people she dislikes. This close to life serial helped the viewers to meet characters with whom they could identify. Sanam Balouch, Mahnoor Baloch, Azfar Rehman, Naila Jaffry, Sanam Agha, Qawi Khan, Noman Ijaz, Rehman Khan and Samina Peerzada did justice to their assigned characters creating credibility. Though there always is room for improvements, in typical British understatement â€˜it was not bad at allâ€™. We expect more and better from writer Sameera Fazal and director Hissam Hussain next time.
Ishq Junoon Diwangi: written by Momina Duraid is on-air and started well â€“ the theme and storyline being interesting. A different concept in the eternal love triangle. Itâ€™s ringing a bell â€“ being inspired from some foreign novel and movie giving a feeling of dÃ©jÃ vu. A director husband of a writer wife and the imaginary female protagonist â€“ in real life an actress. Well, let me be clear in my thoughts and recollections. Full comments next time.
Well, well, well. Tanveer Fatima B.Aâ€¦ A washermanâ€™s daughter doing her B.A. promising, isnâ€™t it? The very name (title) attracts. This is happening all around us. Our lower-middle class as also the poor class are cutting corners and sacrificing their own needs to educate their offspring, especially daughters as their being educated would compensate for the unaffordable dowry that they cannot dream of. In this just started serial by Geo TV, I hope to find this subject touched along with what is on the menu â€“ a potpourri of funny, passionate, bitter, naughty and greedy characters. This definitely provides an abundance of very interesting possibilities like a typical lower class family being against female education. Stemming from jealousy? On top of that a male tutor â€“ Tauba Tauba.
Good ingredients like the charactersâ€™ interaction with each other exposing their psyche through their actions like toona, totka and jadoo and at the same time romance, mutual caring, human desires, emotional loyalties and jealousies promise a sizzling and juicy dish of entertainment in the coming winter months. Shabbir Jan, Samina Ahmed, Nayyer Ijaz, Umaima Abbasi, Danish Nawaz, Shahnaz Pervaiz, Darakshan Tahir, Syed Nabeel, Rubina Arif and Yasir Nawaz portray characters created and written by Naveed Jafri. Hasan Zia has come up with an identifiable theme and credit to GEO for selecting and approving the same. Direction, camera work and performance are surely commendable.
Oct 16 2009
Juggun Kazim also known as Jay Kazim, is a very talented and ambitious young woman. She has worked in numerous Pakistani telefilms and even embarked on the Canadian film scene. Not only is she an admirable actress, she is also a model and TV host for various shows airing on Pakistani channels. Read on to learn how she got into acting and what her future goals areâ€¦
How would you introduce yourself to our readers?
I would like to think that Iâ€™m a rather multifaceted personality. From modeling to hosting to acting and lately the random bit of journalism; I seem to want to do it all. I just love the arts, and more specifically the media. Iâ€™m one of those people that wake up in the middle of the night because of having a dream that could be converted into a scene. For me, this line of work is more than a passion, itâ€™s an obsession.
Tell us about where you grew up, your family and education?
I grew up in Cantonment, Lahore with an elder sister and a younger brother. My mother is still alive, but my father passed away 5 years ago. His murder was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. My own tiny family unit is comprised of my two year old son, Hamza Ahmed and myself. I am a single mother and adore my son to distraction; he is my motivation to do everything and truly makes me want to be a better person.
I went to Lahore Grammar School, and then to Kinnaird College for my FA. After completing that, I went to Canada to attend the University of Western Ontario where I did my BA Honors in Media Information Technology and Sociology with a minor in Psychology. One summer while in college, I also did my CCNA 2.0 just for fun. I guess I was bored and computers arenâ€™t exactly rocket science, so I decided to have fun and educate myself at the same time. After college, I took a variety of courses in acting and commercial modeling. I am also now planning to do my LLB privately. I have to admit, I miss college and I love to constantly educate myself; it makes me feel like I’m still a kid.
You are an actress, a TV host and a model; how did you get involved with working in the media?
When I was four, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My reply was â€œmein bara ho kay actor banu ga.â€ At that age, I obviously hadnâ€™t quite realized that I was a girl, which of course came along as a rude awakening at the age of thirteen.
My first commercial play was when I was fourteen years old and the director was my best friend Mashal Peerzada. I must say, it was one of the most fun theatre projects I have worked on till date. However, I started my professional acting and modeling career under the name â€˜Jay Kazimâ€™ in Toronto. I was approached by Sutherland Models in Canada to work as a â€˜petiteâ€™ and â€˜commercialâ€™ model; because obviously I am way too short for the ramp. I did two music videos with them and then was approached my current Canadian Agents, The Newton Landry Management. Sandie Newton and Yanick Landry took me under their wing and started sending me to auditions. I ended up doing a Diet Coke Ad which ran for 2 seasons because it was so popular. I also then did a few more commercials and theatre work, and in the process also auditioned for the movie Pink Ludoos. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be chosen as the lead in this movie; but Allah Mian was very kind to me and after only the 2nd stage of auditions, I was offered the part. (You can google me under â€˜Jay Kazimâ€™ and the rest of my stage and acting work in Canada will come up.)
Did your family support your decision to enter this industry? What obstacles have you faced by entering this profession?
My family didn’t really approve of this line of work initially, but now I think they have come to accept it and are secretly a little proud of me. I had no major obstacles because I have always been very independent in my behavior and thought process. Also, once I had finished my degree from college, my mother was pretty much okay with whatever profession I chose to pursue.
Out of modeling, acting and hosting, what do you enjoy most?
I have never really considered myself to be a model. I am essentially an actress and enjoy hosting. Hosting is something I just fell into while I was pregnant, and now I have to say I love acting and hosting just as much. Though, I do have the soul of an actor. I host predominantly to change people’s narrow-minded perception of the media industry and to promote positive social change.
What type of modeling have you done? Have you participated in fashion shows? If so, when and where?
I am mainly a print model, if you can call me a model that is. Modeling is something I do just for fun; I have never participated in fashion shows despite being trained by Sutherland Models to walk the ramp. I just think that at 5 feet 4 inches, Iâ€™d look rather stupid walking the ramp. One should learn to work within the limitations of one’s body rather than make of fool of themselves.
Tell us about the shows you host on TV.
A.My career in hosting started with the program Beanbag, which I wrote and conceptualized for Business Plus. After that, I hosted: CEO for Business Plus, Aaj Entertainment Tonight for Aaj TV, Fashion Stop for Ary Digital, Sunday Brunch for Aaj TV
My current programs on air are: Morning with Hum Weekend Edition for Hum TV, Aik Din Juggun Kay Saath for Vibe TV (Celebrity and Media Personalities kay interview.), Honestly Speaking with Juggun Kazim on PTV (Program deals with social issues within Pakistan)
You have acted as well; what shows you have acted in and what is your most memorable role in acting?
As of late, I have acted in various projects in Pakistan. The ones I was most noted in 2007 were: Manosalva in the character of Sheena for Hum TV, Sitam in the character of Kiran for PTV and Piyasi in the character of Dolly for Hum TV. I have also acted in a variety of series and telefilms. Just recently my new serial aired on ARY Digital by the name of Sher Dil, on which I play the character of Neelum. I am now working on 3 serials, Momal Productions â€˜Saiqa,â€™ Shahid Zahoor’s ‘Chaat,â€™ Talking Filmein’s serial and a television soap that has yet to be titled. The most favorite character Iâ€™ve played was Maya in ‘Aik Pal,â€™ a telefilm which I producted and which was directed by Mashal Peerzada. The film has been selected by Hum TV for their telefilm competition.
They say there is a lot of competition in modeling, what has your experience been? Would you recommend this profession to the youngsters who want to enter this field?
Thank god I’m not a professional model! I just model for fun. If you are tall and skinny, itâ€™s easy to become a model in Pakistan. However, itâ€™s a lot tougher to be as good of an actor as Nadia Jamil or Faisal Qureshi. Twenty years ago I wouldnâ€™t recommend this profession to anyone, but now things have changed for the better and thatâ€™s allowed a lot of people to enter this industry on a more positive note.
You recently appeared in the latest Jal video, tell us where that video was shot and how was the experience?
The video was shot in Lahore at Bari Studios. It was amazing to work with a team of such talented professionals like DOP Neil Lisk and director Bilal Lashari. Within the limited amount of technical facilities, they did a fabulous job. The hair and makeup was done by Maram and Abaru, and the wardrobe was provided by Rabya Butt and Munib Nawaz. Basically, there was no way that things couldâ€™ve gone wrong. Itâ€™s the team that makes the production, not just the talent!
To a lot of people, being a model means having a glamorous lifestyle, hundreds of fans and traveling; how true is this and what are the drawbacks?
People say that success goes to your head, but I wouldnâ€™t know since I am not even one hundredth as successful as I aim to be eventually. Of course the fans, traveling and glamour are all part of the package that comes with acting, hosting and modeling. But it’s not quite as glamorous at it may seem. It’s a lot of hard work and effort at the end of the day. The drawbacks included constant exhaustion, constant criticism and the fans that sometimes decide to start stalking and harassing you. All in all, I love it because I donâ€™t get caught up in the issues.
What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself professionally in the next 10 years?
I will hopefully have my book published and be working on the next few. In terms of acting, I hope to be recognized as the Shabana Azmi or Meryl Streep of Pakistan. As far as hosting is concerned, Oprah is my idol! And of course, I do plan to start producing feature films. Those are the goalsâ€¦ I hope I can supersede them.
Lastly, what is your message to the readers of The Saturday Post?
Learn to love yourself. When you can honestly love yourself, only then can you love others unconditionally. Learn to respect yourself and the opinions of others. Be a good person; a clean and pure soul goes a long way. And ALWAYS follow your dreams. One always gets those things that they want the most in lifeâ€¦ but you have to really have to want it.
Courtesy: The Saturday Post
Oct 13 2009
Itâ€™s never too late, they say. The playwright with a sharp socio-political sense (and DMD Pakistan Television) Shahid Nadeem has been bestowed with Presidentâ€™s Pride of Performance for Literature.
The marked feature of Shahid Nadeemâ€™s showbiz and literary career is the no less than 40 top-notch Urdu and Punjabi plays that heâ€™s written. In a country where original scripts for theatre are a rare treat, his plays have been a source of inspiration for many. For television he has penned and produced critically acclaimed drama serials such as Neelay Haath, Zard Dopehar, Janjaalpura and Ghairat, apart from telefilms Choolah Aur Chaardeevari and Sahara.
Shahid Nadeem has produced documentaries on human rights issues as well, a couple for Amnesty International, and one of them was selected for screening at the South Asian Documentaries Festival in 2001.
Not many are aware that Shahid Nadeemâ€™s plays have been included in the MA Punjabi syllabus in India. Recently Oxford University Press published a collection of English translations of his dramas. His association with the countryâ€™s foremost theatre group Ajoka as its executive director has also been exceedingly productive.
Courtesy: Dawn Images