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6 Feb

Shehryar Taseer will be walking the ramp for Amir Adnan

"I have always designed for high achievers and here we are working with a set of handpicked, successful role models for our youth," says Amir Adnan. I'll say this without a doubt in my heart: when it comes to sherwanis, no one beats Amir Adnan and the proof is in the pie. He's the designer of choice when it comes to Heads of States both sides of the border and beyond. But rather than open an archive of who he has dressed, I thought it would be better to focus on who he's going to dress. As Sindh Festival unfurls with all sorts of cultural celebrations, we're headed towards two days of fashion next week. And Amir Adnan will be dressing two...
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30 Jan

Grease Lightening…don’t miss it!

Watching Grease Lightening at the Arts Council in Karachi delighted me and simultaneously troubled me. While it was magnificent to see the depth of talent - from Sanam Saeed, Ayesha Omar, Ahmad Ali and the very young Parishae Adnan (Amir and Huma Adnan's talented daughter) - it was, in equal parts, frustrating to witness the state of the auditorium, the condition of the stage and the overall lack of facilities. The stage does absolutely no justice to the months of hard work and commitment that Nida Butt and her team put into each of their productions. Having seen Singing in the Rain in London (where it actually rained on stage) amongst other stage productions abroad and then seeing all the glamorous...
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27 Dec

25 years of the legendary Strings

Faisal and Bilal performing at the Lahore Gymkhana, incidentally around their 25 years in music. After watching another episode of Pakistan Idol, merely two days after experiencing Strings live in concert in Lahore, I couldn't help but wonder: could there be a new music legend lurking in these auditions? At this point it doesn't seem so. And after hearing Strings live, it doesn't seem like there can ever be anyone like them again. The kind of maturity their music has achieved is magnetic; those hit songs are now considered classic and unforgettable. The concert was a raving success and the crowd - apparently conservative and reserved at first - was hooked onto one hit after the other and...
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8 Dec

My thoughts on Pakistan Idol

Airing every Friday and Sunday, two episodes down, I do feel that Pakistan Idol deserves a comment or two. And my first reaction is wholehearted approval. I did intend to avoid the cliche but cannot help myself from saying that in a country where conservatism seems to be seeping into lives and styles, it's pleasing to see parents encouraging their sons and daughters to perform on television. It's heartening to see husbands pushing their wives to sing and even for the youth, it brings on a smile to see music make their world go round. You may argue that a lot of what we see is orchestrated and perhaps it really is, but when this 'reality' is aired to millions...
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18 Nov

Ram Leela: lust at first sight!

After a long winter of blacks, blues and melancholic shades of grey (Black, Saawariya, Guzarish) it is delightful to watch Sanjay Leela Bhansali's return to the effervescence of colour, theatrics and love of the most enigmatic kind: lust. That is what Ram-Leela is: a contemporary story of how two lovers override 500 years of enmity between two rival clans. Loosely based on Romeo Juliet, it is destined to have tragic undertones but Ram-Leela isn't a period drama nor a tragedy rather a celebration of life and of love in violent times. It's also unbelievably light-hearted. "Post this on Twitter," Ram says as he poses cheek to cheek with Leela, "And it'll make it to tomorrow's headline news." I did notice the loopholes...
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11 Nov

Ali Zafar on Total Siyapa, his upcoming com-com and abstinence!

“Puttar don’t come back crying when he marries twice, thrice…FOUR times!” says a devastated Kiron Kher, the heroine’s (Yami Gautum) mother. “Wasn’t it bad enough that he’s Muslim; BUT PAKISTANI? Hai Hai!!!” In an exaggerated avatar, that’s Kiron Kher at her comic best, very similar to her role in Dostana, where she had to bless her ‘gay’ son and his partner. In many ways Total Siyapa (formerly known as Aman Ki Asha) will be even more controversial as it’s about an Indian girl falling for a Pakistani boy. And the boy: our very favourite, Ali Zafar. The film releases on January 31 and I really hope the Pakistani censors don’t kill our hopes of watching it in Pakistan. How do I know?...
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21 Oct

Waar, finally, but really?

Everyone has to watch Waar, right? There's just too much build-up and baggage that the film has been carrying for almost five years to ignore. Of course! We all went to watch Waar over the Eid holidays, which accounts for the high box office figures. However, all is not hunky dory with the film. Two of its strongholds are filming and soundtrack. Let me rephrase that. Two of its ONLY strongholds are filming and soundtrack. Waar is a well made film, shot by Bilal Lashari with a smart camera and its soundtrack is contemporary. It brings Pakistani cinema to the present and pushes it forward while most Pakistani films still appear archaic and outdated in technology. Out of all the recent...
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23 Sep

Frieha’s Fabulous 50!

Frieha Altaf's 50th birthday celebrations began on a yacht that sailed, under full moon, around midnight. It was gorgeous, the moonlight leaving a silver trail on the water's surface, eighties music playing in the background and just enough people to be around happily, without having to make superficial small talk. I haven't known Frieha long, just around 12 years. And I remember meeting her for the very first time, backstage at the first Carnival de Couture held in Karachi. I introduced myself (there had been work-related communications over the phone) and she beamed a fabulously dimpled smile at me, "Finally, we meet!" Contrary to what I had heard, Frieha was not scary. And believe it or not, while the world finds...
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18 Sep

Pakistan Idol, finally!

It took them a couple of years to actually launch a project they initiated in 2007/8. But if anyone can, GEO can. And GEO has. Finally brought Pakistan Idol to Pakistan. The buzz has been in the air for a week ten days but a formal (much too formal, which reads dry) press conference put some facts and figures on the table. Asif Raza Mir launches Pakistan Idol on behalf of GEO TV. 1. Auditions for the very first Pakistan Idol will be starting tomorrow in Karachi, followed by Lahore, Islamabad and even Peshawer and Quetta, according to the newly appointed CEO of GEO Entertainment, Asif Raza Mir (yes, the one and only). There is no reason to...
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