Aug 092017
Showdown at the box office

LAHORE: Eid is always something to look forward to, especially in the film industry. It’s a prime opportunities for film-makers to benefit from the extended holiday and therefore, we often see them vying for release dates around Eid time. ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ trailer makes us want to say, “Shut up and take my money!” This time, however, it seems like Eid has come a little earlier for the local box office. While major projects like Na Maloom Afraad 2 and Main Punjab Nahi Jaungi are slated to release on Eidul Azha in September, there are two others opening this weekend, namely Syed Noor’s much-talked about Chain Aye Na and Nadeem Cheema’s Geo Sar Utha Kay. Preparations for their August 11 release are in full swing across theatres, particularly in Lahore where both Noor and Cheema hail from. Local cinema houses are sporting posters and advertisements for both films and social media has been ablaze with promotions for quite some time now. Not to mention, speculation regarding which film will do better is rife throughout the film circuit. But perhaps the best part is that both Chain Aye Na and Geo Sar Utha Kay are bringing in fresh new faces into the industry. Cheema’s son Shaheryar is the male lead in his film and will be making his debut alongside three new female actors including Areeba Khan. Besides this, fans will get to see senior actor Babar Ali return to the screen after a long time. Chain Aaye Na, on the other [Read More…]

Jun 222017

LAHORE: A son of Shahanshah-e-Ghazal Mehdi Hasan has approached the Indian government, seeking aid for the construction of his father’s mausoleum, in a move that has created a rift in the family. Arif Mehdi, one of the ghazal legend’s six sons, said it was painful to see that after five years of his demise, the government had shown no interest in constructing a mausoleum for Mehdi Hasan. “My father was a great singer who did a lot for this country,” he said, adding that the federal government and the Sindh government had promised to construct his mausoleum and a library in his name, but nothing had been done as yet. The fading out of Lollywood’s iconic playback singers “I wanted our government do this work but since it has not done anything I’m left with no other option but to ask others for help,” Arif told The Express Tribune. Arif’s plea to the Indian government has not gone down well even with his family which criticised him for earning a bad name for the whole family as well as the nation. In his reaction, another son Sajjad Mehdi said he had visited India along with his father several times. He added that the Indian government had offered support to his father, but he rejected it. “We still reject any Indian support for the construction of my father’s mausoleum as this country gave us a lot, including honour,” he said, adding that the elders in the family were already boycotting Arif. Mehdi [Read More…]

Jun 112017
The fading out of Lollywood’s iconic playback singers

LAHORE: Gone are the days when Noor Jehan, Ahmed Rushdie and Mehdi Hasan were the names that one could think of when it came to film music. Undeniably, the local film industry has turned over a new leaf. Some 30 big and small projects are being churned out every year, in what has evolved from Lollywood into Pakistani cinema. The vacuum left by the film music composers of Lollywood was naturally filled by the country’s pop musicians and bands. As a result that, the Asrars, Shiraz Uppals and Zeb Bangashs started ruling the airwaves instead of someone, whose voice would only be associated with the silver screen. Saira Naseem. PHOTO: File This major shift has not gone down too well for veteran Lollywood crooners. Names like Saira Naseem, Anwar Rafi, Waris Baig, Naseebo Laal, Humaira Channa, Shazia Manzoor and Humaira Arshad are now nowhere to be seen, having gotten little or no work ever since the downfall of Lahore’s film industry. Some of them haven’t been heard of in years and it doesn’t seem like they will be. “Playback singing in Pakistan has a long history,” Anwar Rafi told The Express Tribune. “In the past, Mehdi Hassan, Mala Begum, Mahnaz, Akhlaq Ahmad, Noor Jehan and Naseem Begum – to name a few – had dedicated their lives to playback singing and played a key role in Lollywood. Even in the 90s, we did our best. But now, we’re all suffering. We have no work!” Cultural bonds: Pakistani, Afghan singers, musicians enthral [Read More…]

May 072017

LAHORE  : The legendary sitar performer of the sub-continent, Ustad Raees Khan passed away on Saturday at the age of 78 in Karachi. He is survived by his wife, renowned singer Bilqees Khanum and four sons. Ustad Raees was born in 1939 in Mewaat Gharana, a family of renown musicians. His family holds various honours from the Mughal Kings. Ustad Raees Ahmad khan was 13th ustad of Meewat family and was a huge name of sitar performers, with the likes of Ravi Shankar, Ustad Sharif Punchwaly, Ustad Walayat Ali khan,  and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan. Ustad Fateh Ali Khan dead at 82 Raess Khan learnt music from his uncle, Walayat Ali Khan and father Muhammad Khan, following the footsteps of the latter. He give his first performance at age of five, at Sunder Bi Hall in Bombay. The performance was attended by the Governer, Mahraja of India, who appreciated the his talent. After that he performed at several places and had his first foreign tour in Poland. He performed around the world and in 1963, he came to Pakistan for the first time and performed in Karachi. 1968, the year when Ustad Raees was at his high, was the same year he moved to Pakistan. In 1979, he met the famous singer Balqees Begum and the two got married in 1980. Folk music: Tributes paid to late Pashto maestro Ustad Fazal Rabi Ustad Raees was the name behind compsing famous songs, Jab Tera Hukam Mila Tarkay Mohaabat Kar Di, Ab Kay Saal [Read More…]

Nov 092016
Govt ignored her death anniversary but I won’t: Reshma’s son

LAHORE: November 4 marked the third death anniversary of legendary folk singer Reshma — a day that went unnoticed by entertainment industry veterans this year. While no cultural body organised an event to commemorate her contributions to Pakistani music, her achievements will always be remembered by her loved ones. The Lambi Judai singer’s son, Sawan Ali, has planned to host an event on November 13 to acknowledge her services. “The government may have ignored her death anniversary but I won’t. Her contributions to music were overlooked during her lifetime as well. But there are a number of artists who have termed her as a legend of our country,” Sawan told The Express Tribune. “She will always remain in the hearts of many renowned singers.” Even artists such as Shoukat Ali lamented the government’s negligence in remembering talents like Reshma. “She should be remembered and recognised on the  govt level even after her death. She did a lot for the country and that’s the only way we can pay her back,” said the folk singer. According to Sawan, the Punjab government has made heavy investments in institutions such as the Lahore Arts Council, Punjab Arts Council and Punjab Institute of Languge Art and Culture to promote local artists. “These organisations are not fulfilling their roles of holding tribute events for legendary artists. My mother spent her entire life working for the country but it is a tragedy that no organisation acknowledges her efforts. That’s why I am organising an event in memory [Read More…]

Nov 022016

LAHORE: Popular Pakistani singer Humaira Arshad and her husband, actor Ahmad Butt, have set aside their differences and agreed to live together again, after a brief separation. The troubled couple will be holding a press conference in Lahore sometime during this week to make the official announcement. But now, things appear to be looking positive. “I must accept Humaira back for the sake of my son, he was suffering the most because of our separation,” Butt told The Express Tribune. “We have decided not to fight to keep him happy. It’s always the parents who have to make sacrifices for their children, right? Humaira and I are together again and hope to remain so for the rest of our lives.” Arshad was not available for comment due to a recent death in her family. However, a family member of hers said that they were hardly surprised by the couple’s reunion. “We have been seeing this drama for many years now, ever since these two got married. We knew they will come back together this time too,” he said. Ironically, this will not be Arshad and Butt’s first press conference of this nature. Their turbulent relationship has been in the news for quite some time, with Arshad recently complaining that she has been subjected to torture for over 12 years. In earlier interviews Arshad had accused Butt of insulting her in front of their neighbours, despite being unemployed himself and living on her income. Butt, in turn claimed that Arshad is addicted [Read More…]

Oct 192016
Hiss-teria: Rabi Pirzada, the snake charmer

LAHORE: Rabi Pirzada’s may have gained some recognition owin gto her brief acting and singing stints, but there’s more to her than that what meets the eye. The Shor Sharaba beauty happens to be very fond of snakes. In fact, Pirzada’s bedroom is currently home to four pet snakes and she hopes to adopt more from different parts of the country. Speaking with The Express Tribune, Pirzada explained that this rather strange fascination of her’s has stuck around since childhood. “I have loved snakes ever since I was young, even though my parents were not in favour of this. They used to try and stop me but I patiently waited till a time I could afford the hobby myself,” she said. “My pets love me back too. Whenever I enter my room, I can tell that they are happy to see me and I try my best to look after them personally as they are familiar with only me.” Ironically, the more dangerous the snakes are, the more Pirzada is drawn to them. “Right now, I even have a cobra in my room. People, especially my relatives, are surprised when they hear of my hobby but I know that my love for snakes comes from God. Snakes are also divine creations that need love and care,” she shared. “It is also a miracle that I have never been bitten by one!” The actor, along with a team of experts visits jungles in various parts of Pakistan to look for different species [Read More…]

Aug 242016

LAHORE: A prominent figure in the world of Punjabi and Urdu cinema, yesteryear actor Bahar Begum will soon be seen in Hasnain Hyderabadwala’s upcoming film Shor Sharaba. The project marks her return to filmdom after a prolonged hiatus. While shooting for the film is complete, she hopes it turns out to be a success. “The director told me that my role in Shor Sharaba will be a big hit,” Bahar told The Express Tribune. While age is just a number for her, the 74-year-old is eager to work on more projects. “I want to find more work and play more roles,” she said. “I have seen beautiful times in Lollywood and have worked in more than 600 films. I am still waiting for good work to come my way.” When asked about the hiatus, Bahar pointed towards the “dishonesty” of Lahore-based film-makers and producers. “Priorities and preferences of directors have changed and it seems like they are not interested in producing good work,” Bahar shared. On the other hand, she feels there are a number of decent films being made by Karachi-based film-makers. “I cannot migrate to Karachi in search of work and I can only wait to see good times for Punjabi cinema. Everyone wants to see quality work and it is the duty of film-makers to understand what kind of movies the audiences want,” she added. “It pains me to see the state of film studios in Lahore. I think about the days when this industry was at its [Read More…]

May 102016
Rabi Pirzada’s debut film to come out on Eidul Azha

LAHORE: Looking at Nabeel Qureshi’s Actor in Law and Mohsin Ali’s Chupan Chupai, one can already say that Eidul Azha this year will be quite busy on the box office. Keeping with this development, producer Sohail Khan has roped in Indian director Hasnain Hyderabadwala to help with his latest romantic-comedy that will also make it to theatres on the festival. The film which has been given the title of Shor Sharaba, the producer said, will be a family film. “It will attract all cinema-goers who have been disappointed by many films in the past,” he told The Express Tribune. According to Khan, Shor Sharaba is a new take on the Bollywood-esque style of comedies. While a director from across the border is helming it, the project comprises a Pakistani cast with actors such as Mustafa Qureshi, Nisho Begum, Meera and Malik Aqeel already on board. On the other hand, singer Rabi Pirzada will make her silver screen debut with the film. The soundtrack is being taken care of by local musicians Zulfiqar Attre and Shaifo Khan and is expected to feature a few Indian musicians as well. “This will be a completely different kind experience for them,” Khan maintained. Rabi Pirzada to make film debut with ‘Shor Sharaba’ As to why he thought of funding the project, he added, “Digital cinemas are present in all big cities of the country now. It is a good time for Pakistani cinema and for those associated with film-making.” The movie is currently being shot [Read More…]

Apr 142016

LAHORE:  Almost a week ago, news made the rounds that Nouman Javaid was injured in a car accident and was on the hospital bed. Rumours suggested the singer had attempted suicide; while hospital staffers refused to comment, Nouman’s family had denied all such speculation and a post on his Facebook page said he was injured following a gas leak in his bedroom. However, Nouman has considered it wise to come out on the issue and tell his fans and followers what exactly happened. Talking to The Express Tribune, Nouman made the revelation that in real, no car accident had happened and he had instead popped some 50 sleeping pills in order to end his life – a decision he regrets today. He was rushed to Ittefaq Hospital where he remained for two days. Nouman said he has been battling depression for a while now. “I was in depression for quite some time before finally attempting suicide. I was facing issues in life but I wish to make it clear that my marriage has not ended yet,” he said, referring to hearsay of his falling out with wife, singer Fariha Parvez. “Secondly, Fariha was not the only reason behind my depression; there were a number of other things involved,” shared Nouman. Nouman and Fariha had tied the knot during a private ceremony earlier this year. Subsequent months saw the two get involved in a property dispute between them. Nouman also denied claims that Fariha’s family had taken steps to recover money [Read More…]

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