A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane, with an estimated 98 people onboard, crashed in Karachi's Model Colony near Jinnah International Airport earlier today.
As news of the crash along with videos and images, started circulating on social media, a rumour also started spreading that celeb couple Ayeza Khan and Danish Taimoor were on PK 8303.
However, the two were quick to rubbish the rumours and call out people for blatantly sharing fake news without any verification.
"We are safe and at our home," confirmed Danish Taimoor.
"May Allah grant an eternal peace to the departed souls and strength and patience to bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss."
Added Ayeza Khan in her own post, "Please act sensible, stop spreading fake news!"
Saba Qamar’s life has been racing away for the past few years. I know so, because she and I have been trying to coordinate for this interview for just as long.
Saba is a superstar and an acting powerhouse and, as her career shifts gears from one project to the other, I knew that an interview with her would be very, very interesting. But Saba has perpetually been busy.
Sometimes she would be ensconced in the picturesque Soon Valley, shooting for Sarmad Khoosat’s Kamli, and the next week, she’d be roaming the winding alleys of androon shehr Lahore for the filming of the upcoming web-series Mann Jogi.
In the midst of all this, she’d also find time to shoot an ad in a foreign locale or dance at a major awards show. Life was hurtling on, full throttle, and so, our quest to find time to sit down for an interview continued.
Until, suddenly, everything came to a halt and we were all locked down in our homes with the coronavirus pandemic upon us. At least, we could finally plan out our interview.
“I’m enjoying the peace,” Saba had told me in the initial days of the lockdown, “it had been a while since I had just sat down at home and relaxed.”
But Saba Qamar isn’t one to sit back and chill. A few days later, she started working on a YouTube channel of her own.
“I’m writing the content myself, figuring out how to film it, and I’m working with a team of young people. We’re all having virtual sessions and trying to figure out how to go about it,” she told me.
The first YouTube video came out a few days later and teasers of the next one followed soon afterwards.
You can’t just sit around and do nothing at home, can you, I ask her now. She laughs. “No, I can’t! I’m having so much fun working on this project and the response has been great so far. This is my latest project and I love projects — the more complicated, the better!”
Looking back at her career trajectory, her words ring true. Saba Qamar loves challenges, more so because she is extremely talented and is able to rise to them brilliantly. Last year, for instance, she danced in the grand finale at the Lux Style Awards. She was experiencing extreme back pain — a condition that she occasionally has to endure, ever since she picked up some very heavy weights on her back while shooting for a past project.
But as she danced with complete synchronisation in a tribute to veteran actress Shabnam, you couldn’t tell that she was in pain. It was a tough challenge to take on — but then, Saba’s never been one to give up.
Was she always like this, even when she first started out? “I always had the energy to learn new things and achieve more,” she says, “but I wasn’t as tough as I’m now.”
She recalls past memories, experiences that may sound familiar to many young actresses who have had to weather the vicissitudes of an industry where power players can often be unfair. Back when she started out, she slogged hard as part of a prominent awards show, playing a part in several segments and coming to work even if she had a fever.
After the show, when she asked for her pay, however, the event organiser told her that it wasn’t their practice to pay a first-timer. Another time, she worked in a drama for 15 days but the director only paid her for two, telling her that he didn’t have more money.
“Back then, there weren’t any contracts, and since I had already shot the drama, there was nothing that I could do.”
Do payment issues still arise?
“No one would dare to trick me now!” she laughs. “I make sure that the contracts and legal issues are all sorted.”
She’s definitely wiser now. “There is a lot that I have learnt through experience,” Saba muses.
“I do a lot of yoga and it’s made me positive. I don’t get jealous or insecure. I barely pay attention to awards and nominations, and whether they are fair or unfair. If someone trolls me on social media, I’m not bothered. I don’t care if someone says something behind my back, or gets a role for which I was being considered. There will be other, better things that will come my way. Sometimes, I see memes made about a shoot that I’ve done and honestly, I usually find them very funny.”
Does she think that working in a major international project, 2017’s Bollywood movie Hindi Medium, opposite actor Irrfan Khan, helped make her more self-assured?
“It definitely did. I was suddenly working with new people, in a different world, away from all these small politics. I was acting with a major star, Irrfan Khan, and being appreciated for my work. It made a huge difference.”
Our discussion naturally diverts to her recollections from the Hindi Medium days, and of the recently deceased Irrfan Khan.
“You know, while I was shooting the movie, I didn’t even know that he was the one who had selected me for it. It was only when I returned home and saw an interview of his that I found out that he was the one who had seen some of my work on the internet and decided to cast me. I felt bad that I had never thanked him for the opportunity.
“While shooting the movie, I would sometimes get irritated by him. Irrfan would never rehearse a scene beforehand. He would learn his lines and I would learn mine and then, we would just perform together, spontaneously. That’s just how he preferred to work and, after a few takes, we would be done. I have always been accustomed to rehearsing a scene, figuring out what pitch I should have, and I would feel anxious that, while we would spend so much time just chit-chatting, we would just never rehearse.”
Nevertheless, the scenes turned out very well, with Saba receiving accolades for her performance. I remind her that she shot the movie at a time when Indo-Pak political tensions were spiraling, and Pakistani artists working in Bollywood were quickly leaving India to return home.
During all this, Saba quietly continued to shoot Hindi Medium and only came back to Pakistan once work had wrapped up.
“In fact, even my visa expired while I was there and I still had to shoot the movie for 15 more days. So, I just went to the police station, had tea there and they gave me an extension,” she grinned.
Wasn’t she scared? “No, I don’t get scared easily,” she confesses.
Post Hindi Medium, it was this fearlessness that made her take on the role of Qandeel Baloch in the 2018 hit, award-winning drama Baaghi, one of her most memorable projects and also, one that pushed her through an emotional rollercoaster.
Ironically, it is because of this inherent fearlessness that she gives very few interviews. “I can’t lie,” she shrugs, “and I don’t want to hurt anyone. Also, I hate it when my comments get misconstrued.”
Unlike so many of her fellow actresses, who prefer to project typical Eastern personas of themselves to please a largely conservative audience, Saba’s Instagram feed is dictated by her moods.
At one point, she’ll post a picture of her silhouette against a backdrop of the Badshahi Mosque and, the next thing you know, she’ll be posing in a short dress, quipping in the caption, ‘Thorra chhota ho gaya’ [It got a bit too short]! And then, while having breakfast on the sets of Kamli with her director Sarmad Khoosat, she’ll pose with his cigarette in her hands — even though she doesn’t smoke herself.
“That was a good picture, so I posted it,” Saba shrugs. “I don’t smoke but, even if I did, I wouldn’t go to great lengths to hide it. I can’t pretend to be a ‘pyari beti’ [sweet daughter] just to please people. And I think people love the fact that I’m genuine. We are living in a time when people appreciate reality a lot more than pretence and glamour.”
Given that she doesn’t like to abide by conventions, does she also not feel the need to get married and settle down, like so many of her peers?
“I do want to get married one day, yes, but there is no desperation to rush into it,” she says. “I would want to be with someone who accepts me the way I am. And I don’t think I’d ever want to settle down and leave my career. I’ll always want to act, till my last breath!”
For all her positivity, is she now getting worried about her projects that have been left midway due to the coronavirus pandemic? Mann Jogi needs to be shot for two more weeks in order to wrap up, Kamli was tentatively scheduled to release this Eidul Fitr and, around this time — if life had proceeded normally — Saba would have had been shooting the upcoming movie Ghabrana Nahin Hai, opposite Zahid Ahmed.
With cinemas closed indefinitely, the future of Pakistan’s struggling film industry now hangs in the balance. Does this worry her?
“These are sad times,” she agrees, “but we will get through this. We just need to be careful right now and stay safe.”
And while the world outside her home may have come to a stop, life hurtles on for Saba Qamar as she bends over her laptop every day and makes more plans for her YouTube channel. “I have written a lot of scripts. This space [YouTube] can allow me to be candid, speak my mind, make jokes, talk about things that I care about. And now, some of my musician friends from across the border have reached out to me, telling me that they will provide me with any music that I may need. There’s so much to do.”
Ever busy, ever creative, Saba Qamar likes to live her life according to her own rules, paving her own way. It helps that she’s also very talented — the paths she carves out always do tend to be quite spectacular.
ایک دہائی طویل شادی کے بعد ، نوازالدین صدیقی کی اہلیہ عالیہ صدیقی نے تجربہ کار اداکار کو ان کی شادی ختم کرنے کے لئے قانونی نوٹس بھجوا دیا ہے۔ "شادی میں مشکلات کا آغاز بہت پہلے ہوچکا تھا ، لیکن میں ان کو آگے نہیں لا رہا تھا۔ میں ان امور کو حل کرنے کی کوشش کر رہا تھا ، ان کے بہتر ہونے کا انتظار کر رہا تھا۔ بالآخر مجھے یہ فیصلہ کرنا پڑا ، ”عالیہ نے بالی ووڈ زندگی سے گفتگو میں انکشاف کیا۔ اس نے اپنے خاندان پر جسمانی اور ذہنی اذیت کا الزام عائد کرتے ہوئے مزید کہا کہ "نواز نے مجھ پر کبھی ہاتھ نہیں اٹھایا تھا ، لیکن چیخ و پکار اور دلائل ناقابل برداشت ہوگئے تھے۔ لیکن اس کے اہل خانہ نے مجھے بہت ذہنی اور جسمانی اذیت دی ہے۔ حتی کہ اس کے بھائی نے مجھے بھی مارا تھا۔ انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ "میں بہت سالوں سے بہت کچھ برداشت کر رہا ہوں۔" ان کی پہلی بیوی نے بھی اسی وجہ سے اسے چھوڑ دیا تھا۔ یہ [کنبہ میں] ایک نمونہ ہے۔ ان کے خلاف ان کے گھر کی بیویاں کے ذریعہ پہلے ہی سات مقدمات درج ہیں ، اور چار طلاق ہوچکی ہیں۔ یہ پانچواں ہے۔ یہ اس کے کنبے میں ایک نمونہ ہے۔ آپ دوسروں کے سامنے شرمندگی سے بچنے کے لئے بہت کچھ چھپاتے ہیں ، لیکن آپ محبت میں کتنا فائدہ اٹھا سکتے ہیں؟ انہوں نے ان کی نو سالہ بیٹی شورا صدیقی اور پانچ سالہ بیٹے یانی صدیقی کی بھی حراست میں لینے کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔ اور اپنا نام تبدیل کرکے انجنہ آنند کشور پانڈے رکھ دیا ، اور کہا کہ وہ اب اپنی شناخت سے کچھ نہیں کرنا چاہتے ہیں۔ اس سے قبل نوازالدین صدیقی کی شادی شیبہ سے ہوئی تھی ، لیکن یہ جوڑی چھ ماہ میں الگ ہوگئی تھی۔ اس وقت وہ بوڈھانہ میں اپنے کنبہ کے ساتھ جرمانہ ہیں اور ابھی تک اس معاملے پر کوئی بیان جاری نہیں کیا ہے۔
After a decade long marriage, Nawazuddin Siddiqui's wife Aalia Siddiqui has sent the veteran actor a legal notice to end their marriage.
“Problems in the marriage had begun long before, but I wasn’t bringing them forward. I was trying to solve these issues, waiting for them to get better. I finally had to take this decision,” revealed Aalia in a conversation with Bollywood Life.
She further accused his family of physical and mental torture, sharing that “Nawaz had never raised his hands on me, but the shouting and arguments had become unbearable. But his family has mentally and physically tortured me a lot. His brother had even hit me.”
“I’ve been bearing a lot for too many years," she added. "His first wife had also left him for this reason. It’s a pattern [in the family]. There are already seven cases registered by the wives of their house against them, and four divorces have taken place. This is the fifth one. It’s a pattern in his family. You conceal a lot to avoid embarrassment before others, but how much can you take in love?”
She has also demanded sole custody of their nine-year-old daughter Shaura Siddiqui, and five-year-old son Yaani Siddiqui; and changed her name back to Anjana Anand Kishore Pandey, saying she wants nothing to do with his identity anymore.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui was earlier married to Sheeba, but the duo had separated in six months. He is currently under quarantine with his family in Budhana and has released no statement on the matter yet.
Worldwide, people have been saluting and commending medical professionals for being on the frontlines of a pandemic...as they should be.
Doctors, nurses and all staffers in each hospital are risking their lives to save others. And while it already sounds harder than it looks, it is much much more difficult than we can possibly imagine.
So many have quarantined themselves from their own families, working without proper medical protective gear and are spending several sleepless nights at the hospital. All to give the world a fighting chance at survival. Make them join the Justice League and Avengers already.
Such isolation and stress can take a toll, so it makes sense that these hard workers take a little break now and then to unwind; they're not robots. And should their hard work pay off and they see improvements in their patients, they can definitely celebrate, right?
Several videos of medical professionals taking dance breaks have made rounds on the internet and while many appreciate and adore the content, there are those who do not approve.
While Ushna Shah doesn't disapprove, she did share her concerns for these very short videos in a now deleted tweet. And it was sad to read.
Said Ushna, "I'm curious to know people's thoughts on doctors/nurses creating choreographed dances in hospitals. I'm conflicted: on one hand I understand they need uplifting breaks, but on the other, these dances seem quite time consuming, precious time consuming. Thoughts? "
Okay, first of all, it's a three minute video, not a mehndi dance rehearsal at the Ambani's. If a person were to take a 10 minute break everyday to rehearse a performance, they'd have a small dance performance ready in a week. Repeat. 10 minute break in 24 hours. We're certainly sure they deserve more than that, don't you?
Also, if you truly understand that they need uplifting breaks, there's nothing 'on the other hand.'
As we mentioned before, we can't begin to imagine what it's like to work in that environment, let alone saving lives while risking one's own in a world that does not even have enough medical gear and equipment for them to do their job properly.
Countries are out of ventilators, random buildings are being turned into makeshift hospitals just so there are more beds for patients and many of those patients are dying in their arms. No amount of training can make such a huge death count easy to handle.
So is it really so bizarre to let them have a little routine to keep themselves sane and motivated during these incredibly difficult times? They know what they're doing, better than any of us. Let the doctors dance.
Due to the onset of the coronavirus outbreak and suspension of International flight operations, the cast of Ishrat Made in China is stuck in Thailand post pack-up.
The film, meant to be Mohib Mirza's debut directorial, had kicked off shooting before Covid-19 became a global pandemic.
Speaking to Images, Shamoon Abbasi said, “Half of the team of Ishrat Made In China directed by Mohib Mirza reached Thailand around the end of February. At the time, the coronavirus issue had not spread as a global pandemic.”
According to Abbasi, “The cast which includes HSY, Mani, Mustafa Choudhry, Ali Kazmi (who flew from Canada) and Sanam Saeed reached the location early. However, Sara Loren, Imam Said and I joined them later around early March.”
“Once we reached, we realised things were starting to get complicated, first it was just China and the west but eventually, the issue had reached Pakistan.”
"Mani, HSY, Ali Kazmi and Mustafa Chowdhry went back, but the rest of our flights were on the 25 March and by then, airports had been sealed. Now we’re waiting for the 4 April to head back," he added.
Sanam Saeed also confirmed the same to Images, sharing that they are "safe and sound".
The cast is currently four hours away from Bangkok, near a forest that is much cleaner and safer, according to Shamoon Abbasi.
Addressing criticism from his fans who are questioning why they left in the first place, he also stated, "Obviously we’re anxious and uncomfortable being away from our home and families knowing that the issue is getting worse in Pakistan."
"We want to create awareness that when the situation happened, we did not come here to vacation - we were booked for a movie shoot. We had come way before and none of us knew this would happen. Everything escalated in front of our eyes too quickly. But the shoot is over and we're hoping to get back home safely."
Ishrat Made in China was slated for a 2020 release.
The Donkey King has made his comeback and it's to fight Covid-19.
Mangu - the popular character from the animated movie - is joined by friends to sing track 'Darna Nahi, Larna Hai' which is the latest coronavirus anthem to come out of Pakistan.
This might just be the first original track made for the virus in Urdu - the rest being covers such as DC Hafizabad's rendition of 'Suno Na' - with Shuja Haider and Asrar leading the composition and vocals. The lyrics have been written by Donkey King director Aziz Jindani.
Donkey King is Pakistan's most successful animated movie to date, being released internationally in countless countries including Turkey and Spain. It's good to see the team return for an important cause.
Due to the increased outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Fashion Pakistan Council (FPC) announces the decision to postpone its annual event, Fashion Pakistan Week 2020 until further notice.
The three-day fashion event was previously scheduled to be held from 9-11 April in Karachi. The decision to delay comes in the wake of the coronavirus spread and the precautionary measures taken by local authorities to enforce social distancing.
Chairperson of FPC, Maheen Khan stated, “At this time of a global pandemic, we will assess the situation later during the year, with regards to the rescheduling of Fashion Pakistan Week 2020. We’ve informed our designers and sponsors who agree with our decision and together we’ll reassess later in the year.”
Fashion Pakistan Council is a national body of designers that hosts the biannual events of Fashion Pakistan Week Spring/Summer and Fashion Pakistan Week Winter Festive