Azmat Alibhai relates her therapeutic experience at the Time Reversal Spa in Oman to Sana ZehraÂ
I have just come back after a few days at the time reversal spa in Jabel Akhdar, a two hour drive from Muscat up in the mountains at an altitude of 2,000 metres.
It’s been a year and a half since I last stepped on a plane. I had developed a fear as I had suffered a stroke the last time I came back from traveling. The flight to Muscat is less than an hour and a half so this was my first step on the way to once again becoming a citizen of the world. Time flew by without any incidents and before I knew it Mohammed, the driver from the Time Reversal Spa was waiting for me at the airport.
My driver informed me that the drive to the resort would take around 2 hours as we had to climb up to an altitude of 2,000 metres. The resort itself is located on military land so all visitors are logged in at a checkpoint before the serious climb begins.
We reached the resort at around 11p.m. at night which unfortunately meant we could not see the breathtaking scenery around us on the drive up.
The Time Reversal Spa is run by Dr Mosaraf Ali, a world renowned doctor with a client list of the who’s who from all over the world. He has written several very successful books as well as columns for leading British newspapers and even has his own TV show–his credentials are impeccable. I started communicating with Dr Ali several years ago. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be going to see him for treatment for my own stroke.
Dr Ali’s philosophy is based on the concept of integrated medicine. This is a combination of massage, nutrition, meditation and breathing that he has developed over the years, which help the body heal itself just like a cut or a fracture. Dr Ali has developed a proprietary neck connection massage that stimulates the blood flow to the autonomous brain where the self healing centres are located. His Marma massage is based on an ancient technique stimulating the body while removing aches and pains.
These treatments along with yoga and meditation (which I do regularly anyway) and a diet of certain foods suited to my body type were going to be my routine for the next five days.
I was both excited and also apprehensive as the neck is an extremely sensitive area for stroke patients.
From the first day I could start feeling a difference. The sensation in my hand seemed to be getting back to normal, the weakness on my right side, which I have had since my stroke, dissipated to a large extent. My sleeping and appetite improved and my energy levels increased tremendously. Each day I could notice some improvement and by the last day I felt not only rejuvenated, but healthier and fitter than at any time since my stroke. My husband kept saying I looked 5 years younger!
Don’t expect 6 star accommodation or food. The focus here is on relaxation and rehabilitation for chronic fatigue, back pain, strokes etc. The rooms and bathrooms are very comfortable and the food is simple but fresh. Dr. Ali has plans to renovate the resort but since the occupancy is so high all the time it is proving to be more difficult than expected. During my five day stay the resort was totally full of guests from France, Holland, Russia, The UK, Germany and Oman amongst others.
My final thoughts leaving the spa were that we live life at such an incredibly fast pace these days, never having time for ourselves. It is, therefore, important to sometimes go into time reversal mode to heal one’s health, one’s sanity and to give one the tools to cope with this crazy crazy world of ours.
One of the integral trends for S/S 17 has to be loud, unrepenting colour. The trick is to keep the focus on the hue and to not break the effect with overly patterned elements in the shape of scarves and bags. Think colour blocking for both ease and maximum impact.
There’s something so composed and glamorous about an an all-black ensemble. Even more eye-catching when accentuated with a hint of colour or a sparkling accessory, this is the trusted look for in-the-know creatives. The recently held PFDC fashion red carpet brimmed with a variety of cool and contrary all-black outfits, all to great effect.
Charlotte Le Bon
PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 23: Chiara Ferragni attends the Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 23, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Last week, I had a very interesting encounter with a beautiful, 51 year old baby turkey (I call them â€˜baby turkeysâ€™ because they are new and fresh and juicy for the grill).
Ayesha (not her real name) walked in wearing a crisp white, tucked-in shirt and a beautiful Hermes silk scarf. She wanted to lose weight, not that she needed it. It took us 15 minutes to get comfortable before she finally confessed: â€œMantahaa,â€ she sighed, â€œI donâ€™t think even you can help me. I have been to tons of nutritionists in Dubai and Canada and no one is able to help me lose these last 6 stubborn kilos!â€
By looking at her, I donâ€™t think any one could have guessed that she wanted to shed more pounds. But then it occurred to me, she wanted to lose the extra 6 kilos to gain back her sense of accomplishment. So after a series of blood work analyses and 24/7 monitoring of her meals, I had the aha! moment, a sort of nutrient-rich epiphanyâ€”her meals lacked a very important macronutrient, namely fat.
Just like the C-word (carbs), the F-word (fat) is thrashed in all the fad diets where one important macronutrient or other is criminally ignored.
Fat, like proteins or carbohydrates, perform a full workload of body functions that you cannot live without. They come in different forms as well, just like cholesterol. On one end, thereâ€™s the good, unsaturated fat. On the other, thereâ€™s the bad, saturated fat.
First, the good news: We all need a certain amount of body fat to cushion, position and protect our internal organs. That means protecting our bones from injury and underlining our skin for insulation. These are just a couple of all the boring benefits that we donâ€™t bother worrying about. Ladies, the enlighteningly shocking news is that if you donâ€™t have fat in your system, you will lose the subcutaneous layer under your skin the absence of which is the cause of wrinkles, fine lines and aging spots. So go ahead and grab that hummus with all the might of your unconstrained pleasure (but, ahem-ahem, portion-control, please).
The question now is how to differentiate between good and bad fats. Itâ€™s actually quite simple. The good, unsaturated fat doesnâ€™t solidify at room temperature, so olive oil, sunflower oil, flax seed oil, avocado oil, nuts, Omega 3 and Omega 6, all fall into this category. Bad or saturated fat solidifies at room temperature. This includes cream, cheese, animal fats, processed meats and baking chocolate that are just some of the yummy sins you should keep your body away from.
My advice is that if youâ€™re going mad over the difference between good fat vs. bad fat, just go nuts: that is peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, etc.
After I explained the fat facts, Ayesha understood that fat is unfairly treated as the underdog among all the macronutrients, and that, too, without a fair trial.
If you are following the same diet plan and fitness regime for years without a core understanding of your goals, I know that it can be really frustrating. After all, what should your next step be? How do you navigate the twists and turns in your long term nutritional planning? Fortunately, Ayesha got it. She understood that her body needed to be fuelled by the appropriate amounts of good fats, proteins and carbs to increase metabolic activity so that she could reduce her body-fat percentage. Let me rephrase that more simply: Ayesha understood that she needed the good fat to burn the bad fat away.
Today, Ayesha is well on her way! Not only has she lost 4 kg out of her 6 kg goal, but claims that her anti-aging cosmetics and creams are finally beginning to work. Best of all, she looks 10 years younger and is all set to start a new chapter in her life.
A fun twist on the traditional burger, these “bergers” ditch the grain bun for a roasted sweet potato. This recipe is great when you need to throw something together quick for dinner but still want a flavourful veggie boost!
As the 2016/17 wedding season draws to a close, Director of Crimson Events, a recently launched events complex in Lahore, Muneeb Irfan recaps this season’s top wedding tips. If you have a wedding to plan to for the 2017/18 season read on for inspiration
Pakistani weddings not only celebrate the union of two individuals, they celebrate the joining of two extended families as well. Celebrations extend to uncles, siblings, and aunts who play a major role in many of the traditional customs. In the past few years, local weddings have gotten a major makeover. Young couples enjoy incorporating modern arrangements inspired by global trends to make their big day more exciting. The rising popularity of social media has definitely played an important role in these changes, as our youth is exposed to the latest goings-on internationally. It is only natural that from traditional weddings, we have moved onto fusion weddings that are equally fun. Below, we round-up some of the most popular trends beings witnessed in Pakistani weddings lately:
1) Day events for Nikaah
What used to be a simple signing of the Nikaah (marriage contract) has now been transformed into a full-fledged day event, held usually one day prior to the actual wedding event or on the same day. Most Nikaahs are held at traditional venues, such as the Badshahi Mosque, which serve as the perfect backdrop for the photo op. The bride/groom and all attendees choose to wear soft pastel colours (or whites) for this event and reserve their shiny colourful clothes for the evening functions.
2) Pre-wedding shoots
Wedding photography is now a serious business and no longer limited to one photographer coming on the day of the wedding to take a few images. An entire team of photographers and videographers is usually in place that not only capture all the events related to a wedding, but also conceptualize and shoot a pre-wedding photo album for the couple.
3) Grand entries
Wedding is a very special day for the couple, which is why their entry should be no less. Whether it is a floral arrangement or the use of wedding sparklers, the idea is to create a breathtaking sight that would leave the attendees in awe.
4) Rickshaws/cycles as props
Rickshaws or cycles are not just great vintage rides but also make fun props. Vibrantly decorated usually with flowers, guests enjoy taking pictures with them throughout the event.
5) Personalized wedding favours
Giving guests personalized wedding favors, such as sweets with wedding cards or decorativeÂ NikaahBidhÂ pouches is the new norm. They not only make memorable keepsakes, but also result in numerous social media posts congratulating the couple (not to forget the personalized hashtags for each wedding).
6) Photo Booths
No modern wedding can be complete without a photo booth that includes a colourful backdrop, frame cutouts and fun props. Fairy lights and sheer drapes add some extra charm.
No Pakistani wedding can be complete without music of course. However, the music has now upgraded from the ladies singing with aÂ dholakÂ to a full-fledged DJ system. Each moment is defined with an appropriate song. The playlist usually ranges from traditionalÂ tappayÂ to the latest filmi numbers. After all, no wedding these days is complete withoutÂ ShakkarWandaan ReÂ andÂ London Thumakda.
Speaking of music, impromptu dancing at weddings is a thing of the past. Modern Pakistani weddings feature well-rehearsed (usually choreographed by professionals) dance numbers performed by relatives as well as friends of the bride and groom.
The Ambassador of Pakistan in Germany His Excellency Jauhar Saleem, Madame Zara Jauhar and the Embassy of Pakistan celebrated Pakistan Day with a fashion event titled #BrandPakistanBerlin at The Maritim Hotel Berlin, with a musical performance by ZEB BANGASH. Sadia Siddiqui and her team at Mustang Productions managed and choreographed the event. The fashion photography was one by Katy Otto, and while the event photography was by Claudio Goosmann.
It takes a bubbling and fiery creative energy to create across various disciplines. The young and zany blogger, YouTuber and artist, Areeba Siddique does just that. Her take on various Pakistani girl quandaries are spot on! She has contributed to Rookie magazine and has been interviewed by Affinity magazine as well as various other digital platforms. The future is bright for this self declared â€œArt child!â€
True luxury begins with customization. When a client’s power of imagination meets the taste and craft of a professional designer, artful magic happens. Handpainted bags caught the attention of a global audience in the early 2000’s when Kanye West gifted Kim Kardashian a nude portrait of herself painted on to a camel Hermes Birkin. Though the latter was a lurid depiction, it set off a trend that is firmly here to stay. Locally, niche labels like PenguinPop by Saadia Gardezi and Flora Ruba are satisfying appetites for distinctive and characterful accouterments. Read on for our picks of the finest wardrobe keepsakes
Heart Evangelista with a Kelly she painted herself
Khloe Kardashian with a Birkin painted with the Monopoly Icon
Kim K with a Kelly painted on by her daughter North West
This Swiss-Russian fashion entrepreneur is not only dazzling but fluent in 6 languages. Xeniaâ€™s bold and exhilarating sartorial sense and undeniable natural beauty have made her one of the biggest style bloggers on the planet with 1.1 million followers. She regularly collaborates with the likes of Ferragamo, Dior and Vogue, and has shot fashion editorials with Â ELLE, Vanity Fair and L’Officiel and several others. She has also presented a TEDx talk about female leadership. A true Intagram star, we can never get enough of her ultra glam aesthetic!
Bold British labels showcasing their spunky, singular designs is synonymous with London Fashion Week. Recently, alongside a handful of British Â emerging stars as well as established fashion houses, the Pakistani design houses Jeem and Zuria Dor also exhibited their creations at LFW. Intelligent use of indigenous elements and a beautiful balance of colours characterized Jeem’s offerings, while Zuria Dor’s light and floaty dresses made for an icy-toned spectacle. They held their own against upcoming British design talent: Luke Anthony Rooney who showcased modern patterns that felt fresh and young and Alice Archer who reinterpreted the quintessential English Rose as dark and seductive.
We love Natasha’s killer sense of style! A London College Of Fashion Alumni, she is also the founder & creative director of T-Shirt Policy London LTD. Ladylike and edgy with a luxe spin, there’s nothing she cant pull off
Ruth Negga dons Irene Neuwirth x Gemfields earrings with a ruby headband
Jessica Biel’s Tiffany and Co necklace was jaw dropping
Emma Roberts in chic Atelier Swarovski jewelry
Karlie Kloss in intricately crafted Nirav Modi jewels
HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 26: Actor Kirsten Dunst attends the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kirstun Dunst channels old hollywood in a Christian Dior Haute Couture gown and a scrolling Niwaka necklaceÂ
HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 26: Actor/singer Janelle Monae attends the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Janelle Monae highlights her pixie cut with a gold Jennifer Behr crown
HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 26: Actor Alicia Vikander attends the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Alicia Vikander in a classic Bulgari necklace
Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock (8434880fu)
89th Annual Academy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA – 26 Feb 2017
Naomie Harris in Calvin Klein’s mismatched shoes
HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 26: Actor Salma Hayek attends the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Salma Hayekâ€™s Fred Leighton bracelet is attached to fishing wire and transforms into a tiara
Denim is no doubt a part of everyone’s closet. No Winter is complete till you have donned your denim jacket and there are some awesome ones to choose from in the market these days. The best thing about denim jackets are that every individual can style and personalise his/her jacket according to the occasion or mood. Here are 10 different types for you to choose from this season.
1. Classic denim You can never go wrong with a staple piece.
2. Embroidered denim To personalize, patches are great to express your individuality. Embroidered denim is funky and stands out.
3. Encrusted denim Turn it up with some wild encrusted jewels on your denim and let yourself really shine.
4. Coloured denim Add some colour to your life by opting for coloured denim. Ombre denim is also a great trend to try.
5. Ripped denim The loved up, lived in look is as on point as it gets at the moment. Let your skin play peek a boo.
6. Printed denim You can now print your personal motto on your favourite denim jacket.
7. Black denim A long standing alternative to the blue, black denim is also a must have.
8. Cropped denim A cute, cropped jacket adds just the right amount of oomph.
9. Hooded denim All hoodie lovers must own one.
10. Long denim Giving casual a new look, long denim jackets can look racy when worn sans trousers.
Eventive, a Lahore based event management company, offers a wide range of events services from personalised favours to invitations. They arrange unique and memorable thematic events, including birthdays, anniversaries, bridal showers, upscale dinners, lunches and much more.
Scandinavian designs haveÂ always been extremely popular due to their simple yet elegant nature. Swedish brand, Scandinavian Homes exhibited furniture at the Nishat Hotel, Lahore on the 10th & 11th December. For upcoming designs & product enquiries:Â email@example.com,Â www.scandinavianhomes.se
We love these comfy yet stylish Miaasa crossovers. Order from their facebook page.
CELEBRATE FREEDOM WITH NISHAT LINEN
Celebrate Freedom with Nishat Linen’s latest winter collection. These soft, luxurious and chic shawls are perfect to keep you warm and are available at all Nishat outlets across Pakistan.
The latest nifty gadgets are one way people proclaim their status as well as stay au courant. Quench your thirst for innovation and stay updated by checking out the best buys the tech world has to offer
This invention is a necessity for girls. It makes putting nail polish on easier than ever. I always end up painting my nails in the car and many times the polish drips. Hallelujah! My prayers have been heard. Tweexy is available in four colours. It’s an elegant looking bucket that is efficient and productive to boot. It can fit every kind of nail polish bottle; it fits all sizes of fingers; and it’s only Â£15. A smart gadget like this is well worth the buy.
This Â£18 protector saves us from the mini heart-attacks we get when we drop our phones and crack the screen. This is a guaranteed solution and isÂ just 0.029cm thick. It prevents air bubbles and has a smooth screen. For a clumsy person like me, this phone protector is a must.
If you are not a fan of the Apple watch, then try this. This $100 smart watch has a built-in microphone and speaker, which allows you to take calls directly from your wrist. You can pair it with your IOS 8+ or android using Bluetooth. It offers Siri and Google voice. It has an app which you can control from your phone and manually set information you need to be dis-played on your wrist. The battery time is 2.5 hours but 3 days on stand-by with a magnetic charger and USB cable this watch is more than just to see the time, but a complete phone on your wrist. Itâ€™s elegant and productive.
VIDEO GAMES IN JANUARY:
All you game lover, take a look at the fresh games releasing in January.
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone (PS4) – January 10
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 (PS4) – January 12
Rise & Shine (PC, Xbox One) – January 13
Pit People (PC, Xbox One) early access – January 13
Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star (PS4, Vita) – January 17
Gravity Rush 2 (PS4) – January 18 (EU), January 20 (US)
Dragon Quest 8: Journey of the Cursed King (3DS) – January 20
Tales of Berseria (PC, PS4) – January 24/27
Resident Evil 7 (PC, PS4, PSVR, Xbox One) – January 24
Memoranda (PC) – January 25
Conan Exiles – Steam Early Access (PC) – January 31
Disgaea 2 (PC) – January 31
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers (PS4, Vita) – January 31
Divide (PS4) – January 31
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Sabotage DLC (PS4) (30 days early) – January 31
Hitman: The Complete First Season (PC, PS4, Xbox One) â€“
Aamir Khanâ€™s latest movie Dangal is all set to take the box office by storm. With the return of Bollywood to Pakistani cinemas, this movie should pack the punch needed to get people back into the queue for cin-ema tickets. This biographical sports drama follows the life of Mahavir Singh Phogat (played by Aamir Khan) who taught his daughters Geeta and Babita wrestling. The two daughters went on to win many an accolade in their careers, putting in gold-winning performances at the 2010 Commonwealth
Games. Most remark- able about the production process is the astounding transformation Aamir Khan went through to play the part of Mahavir. He gained 30 kg to play the lead in his mid-life, and then lost that excess and honed his body into a wrestlerâ€™s dream to play Mahavir in his youth. A perfectionist, mand one of the few method actors in Indian cinema, it remains to be seen whether all the hard work and toil pays off for the bottom line.
CHRONICLE OF A CHRONICLE OF A
â€”BY GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZÂ
Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a pseudo-journalistic reconstruction of the murder of Santiago Nasar by the Vicario brothers. This crime fiction is a real page-turner, condensing a remarkable drama within a short 120 pages. The Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez works magic with his words.
The novel follows a non-linear narrative, starting with the day of the murder. When her husband rejects Angela on the day of her wedding having discovered that she has shared a bed with a man before, her brothers avenge their family honour by killing her former lover Santiago. The story was inspired by an actual family that the author knew.An extremely relevant story for a culture such as ours, where sto-ries such as these can be found in the newspapers far too often.
TOP 5 SONGS
1 Black Beatles
Rae Sremmurd Feat. Gucci Mane
The Weeknd Feat. Daft Punk
The Chainsmokers Feat. Halsey
4 24K Magic
5 Side to Side
Ariana Grande Feat. Nicki Minaj
THE MINDY PROJECTÂ
If you are ever feeling low, something that comes hand-in-hand with the drop in temperature cou-pled with shorter days, this is the show for you. The series follows OBGYN Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) as she tries to balance her per-sonal and professional life. Surrounded by quirky colleagues, thestar of the hit TV Series The Office is at once the actor/writer/director/creator of the show. Her larger than life, slightly self-obsessed personality will bring a smile to your face no matter how hard the day has been. The show ran for three seasons after it was can-celled by FOX, only to be picked up by HULU. Picked up for Season 5, if you have never watched it I suggest you buckle down over a weekend and binge through. With a South-Asian face as the lead, we all might find something or the other in common with Mindy as she galli-vants around the big apple.
FOR THIS MONTH’S STYLE ME UP, GT COLLABORATES WITH EOS, THE BRAINCHILD OF SYED SOHAIB AMJAD. THE LABEL TAKES ITS NAME FROM A GREEK GODDESS AND THE CLOTHES LIVE UPTO THEIR UNIQUE AND RESPLENDENT TITLE. AYESHA PLAYS DRESS UP FOR GT WITH THREE SPLENDID ENSEMBLES IN A VARIETY OF HUES
Ayesha is all set for a wedding in this pastel green, glittering ensemble. The metallic silver clutch and crystal earrings add abit more bling. The charmeuse trousers are loosely cut and elongate her body.
This royal blue skirt has just the right amount of volume to create a standout look. Ayesha pairs a pretty deepÂ orange choli and kundan earrings with her get-up
Thereâ€™s nothing quite so fiercely glamorous as an animal print coat. A perennial classic, gracing the shoulders of Hollywood starlets and French ITgirls alike, this trend should find its way into every wardrobe. Available in various high street and high end versions, the animal print coat instantly lends an air of mystery, glamour and sultriness to its wearer.
2017 fashion is inspired by nature. From the colourful birds with multi hued wings, fragrant blooms bursting with colour and animals clad in their personal plush fur coats to the verdant green of leaves, inspiration is everywhere. Hence, the trendiest IN colour of 2017 as announced by the Pantone Colour Institute is directly taken from the wonders of nature and is called Greenery. It represents the awakening of spring, growth and freshness, embodying a new beginning. A zesty mixture of green and yellow, this shade is sprouting up everywhere. We should thank the green apples, centipedes, grapes and grass itself for this particular shade. This year, this fresh colour is not only found on runways, but in our homes too. A piece of furniture or a home accessory coloured Greenery effortlessly brings the outdoors inside.
I HAVE STUMBLED UPON QUITE A FEW THINGS AND THEY ARE A TREAT TO LOOK AT
Nadia Ellahi, creative head of her eponymous bridal and wedding wear couture brand, advises Sana Zehra how to put together the perfect, timeless trousseau
What are the key trends for bridal and wedding wear for the upcoming season?
The best part about bridal couture fashion right now is that not just long and flowy but even short and straight shirts are in fashion. These can be worn withÂ fullerÂ ghararasÂ andÂ lehngasÂ as well as mermaid cutÂ lehngas, flowyÂ pantÂ ghararas, etc.Â Itâ€™s all a matter of choice now, one can and should select what would suit oneself and look flattering depending on body proportions and be age appropriate as well. In hand embroidery for bridals,Â dabka, kamdani, Swarovski crystals, multi-shaped stones and 3D flowers are greatly in vogue. Metallic pastel colors are aÂ popular choice amongst brides these days. Red is and always shall remain a classic. For mehndi events, colorfulÂ lehnga cholisÂ and dresses are trending.
What are classic silhouettes that flatter every woman?
One can never go wrong with a straight slightly below the knee shirt worn with straight pants. Itâ€™s a classic and would never go out of style, so it is perfect to include in a bridal trousseau. For brides, Iâ€™d say thisÂ shirt with a trailed lehnga/gharara is a style that is timeless and will not look dated, regardless when you re-wear it. I always try and create dresses, which even after 10 years one could wear and look stylish and contemporary.
What trends would you like to see die?
The tulip pants, especially in bridal trousseaus. Neither are they flattering nor are they classy. This is one trend that I didnâ€™t even bother to create in my bridal trousseau line.
What trends would you like to see more women experiment with this season?
I would like to see more women in saris; I find saris to be exquisitely elegant. When draped and carried well, a sari looks absolutely glamorous.
What do you hope to see more of from designers in bridal and wedding wear this season?
I love everyoneâ€™s new collections; I think everyone is doing a fantastic job in their own way. However, I would like to see a bit more experimentation with the colour red since red is the classic and traditionalÂ colour for the Pakistani bride.
Saleha Abbas of Musawir has been designing finely crafted furniture for over two decades in Lahore. Known to furniture connoisseurs all over the country, she continues to Â expand her line. Saleha speaks to Afshan Shafi and revealed her inspirations
I adore Victoriana and would amass a trove of these if given a chance. I feel a few Victorian pieces lend any space depth and just a touch of grandeur and interest. Iâ€™m looking to add some generously proportioned armchairs, an open bookcase and a mahogany writing desk to my collection. I am also partial to Chinoserie or a good botanical wallpaper print. I adore the work of the Impressionists, particularlyÂ Claude Monet.
I donâ€™t like heavy draped curtains needlessly adorned with an assortment of tassels. I feel they obstruct natural light and that for me is a big NO!
Favorite interior designers:
I love the work ofÂ Mario BuattaÂ who was known as the Prince of Chintz. He loved a medley of objects and there was real feminine charm to all he did. He knew how to expertly stage English country style.
The work ofÂ Zaha HadidÂ is an eternal inspiration. Locally, I feelÂ FahimÂ is outstanding in his variety, accuracy and perfectionism.
I finde the work ofÂ Billy Baldwin, the cornucopia of Islamic architecture, and the unearthly wonders of Rome especially inspiring.
I would have loved to design a room for the glamorousÂ Elizabeth Taylor. I love all her movies.
Favourite pieces from your own line:
I feel our marquetry pieces are some of the most detailed out there. These are real heirloom, timeless pieces.
I truly enjoyed conceiving the design for our restaurant Buzkash. We serve authentic Central Asian cuisine so there are elements of the latter subtly scattered throughout.
â€œMy childhood was spent in a commune,â€ Shabana Azmi, the renowned Indian actress, recounted in an interview. â€œMy entry into this world â€” on September 18, 1950 in Hyderabad â€” was thanks to a blind dai (midwife). Soon, my family shifted to a semi-commune at Red Flag Hall in Bombay. My father Kaifi Azmi, a Communist Party of India (CPI) member, shared a flat with comrades such as Ali Sardar Jafri and Sawantji. We had a room each and a bal-cony converted into a kitchen. For eight years, I grew up amid CPI meetings. It was an unusual childhood: Each couple, includ-ing my parents, would take turns to look after all the children of the families who lived together. We celebrated all major festi-vals together â€” be it Holi, Diwali, Eid, Xmas. My education was varied. Due to our meagre income, I went to an Urdu-medium school, and then a municipal school. When I got zero in all subjects, Abba sent me to Queen Maryâ€™s, where the fees were a princely Rs. 30. As English-speak-ing parents were a pre-requisite for admission, Sardar Jaffreyâ€™s wife Sultana became my mother Shaukat; Munish Narayan Saxena pretended to be Kaifi Azmi!
My parents worked hard to give us a better life: Abba gave all his earnings to his party and was left with Rs. 40 each month. This was when my mother started working â€”first as an announcer on AIR and then with the Indian Peopleâ€™s Theatre Association (IPTA). Later, she joined Prithvi Theatres. Life improved after my father wrote the film Buzdil, for which he was paid Rs. 500. My father was different other fathers who left for the office in the mornings. My kurta-pyjama-clad Abba, instead of going to office, would write all day.â€
Sayyid Akhtar Hussein Rizvi, known as Kaifi Azmi, was the son of a zamindar from Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces in British India) who gained renown at a young age for his Urdu poetry, especially as a ghazal (lyrical poem) writer. He joined first the Quit India Movement, then the Communist Party of India and lastly the Progressive Writersâ€™ Movement. He married Shaukat in Hyderabad where Munni (later named Shabana by a family friend) was born. The young family moved to Bombay where their son Baba was born. There Kaifi met filmmakers and started to work in the film industry as a script and dialogue writer and lyricist. Kaifi revamped Hindi film dialogues and songs by bringing Urdu literature to films. He changed the tenor and vocabulary of the filmi song. Kaifi Azmiâ€™s greatest feat as a writer is considered to be Chetan Anandâ€™s Heer Raanjha (1970) for which he penned the entire dialogue of the film in verse.
Shaukat Azmi in her Urdu lan-guage book Kaifi Aur Main, which has been translated into English by Nasreen Rehman under the title Kaifi and I, writes about Shabanaâ€™s personality growing up: â€œIt was her hypersensitivity that made her (Shabana) acutely aware of our financial constraints, and she never made the usual demands that most children make of their parents. White plimsoles were a part of her uniform and Shabana went through a pair in three or four months. One day, I grumbled, â€˜Such large feet like Clodhoppers! How can I afford a new pair, every three months?â€™ A few days later I noticed that her shoe was ripped near the small toe, but instead of asking for a new pair Shabana had cut out a piece of cardboard and glued it on the hole. My heart went out to her and I scraped togeth-er some money and bought her a new pair.
I used to give Shabana thirty paisa a day for her bus fare from Juhu to Santa Cruz station. If she wanted a snack she saved five paisas by getting off the bus four stops earlier at Juhu Chowpatty and trudging home, but she never demanded extra money. Once again, it was from Parna that I learnt about this many years later.
Shabana was always looking for ways to earn some extra money for the house. After she had passed her Senior Cambridge in the first division, Shabana had three months before going to col-lege. She found herself a job selling Bru Coffee at petrol stations, earning thirty rupees a day. She did not tell me, and I am afraid that I was so busy rehearsing that I did not notice her absence. At the end of the month she handed me all the money she had earned. Surprised, I asked, â€˜Betey, where did you get this money from?â€™ She made light of it and said, â€˜I had three months to wait before going to college. I thought, why not put the time to some use.â€™
I was very proud of Shabana but I was also distraught that at this young age she felt she had to share her familyâ€™s financial responsibilities.â€
Despite the familyâ€™s finan-cial constraints, Shabana grew up in awe of her father who gave his children a unique Bohemian upbringing that contributed to their creative careers (Baba became a cine-matographer). Shabana com-pleted a graduate degree in Psychology from St. Xavierâ€™s College, Mumbai, and went to watch a film in the cinema that changed her life.
â€œI had the privilege of watch-ing Jaya Bahaduri in a (diploma) film, Suman, and I was completely enchanted by her performance because it was unlike the other perform-ances I had seen. I really mar-velled at that and said, â€˜My God, if by going to the Film Institute I can achieve that, thatâ€™s what I want to do.â€™â€ said Shabana looking back
Since she had always enjoyed acting in school and college, she decided to pick it up as a vocation and joined the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. Incidentally this was where actor Farooq Shaikh, of Umrao Jaan fame (that also starred Shaukat Azmi as the head courtesan), was two years her senior. Naturally gifted, Shabana topped the list of successful candidates of successful candidates of 1972.
Her professor at FTII was the iconic film actor/director Guru Duttâ€™s award winning documentarist grandson Shyam Benegal. For his directorial feature film debut Ankur (The Seedling, released in 1974), he cast Shabana in the lead. The film is based on a true story of eco-nomic and sexual exploitation in his home state, Telangana. In it, Shabana plays Lakshmi, a married village servant who drifts into an affair with a col-lege student who visits the countryside. Benegal shot to fame with this film that started the realistic New India Cinema or parallel cinema. For her portrayal, Shabana won the National Film Award for Best Actress, quite a feat for a newcomer.
That year she also starred in Dev Anandâ€™s mainstream movie Ishq Ishq Ishq. Devâ€™s nephew, Shekhar Kapur, who had recently given up a desk job as a chartered accountant in London to pur-sue his Bollywood dream, had a support-ing role in the film. The actor, and later director, was smitten. Shabana promptly dumped her boyfriend actor Benjamin Gillani and began a seven year relation-ship with Shekhar. They eventually got engaged and moved in together to make a go of it. Though it didnâ€™t work out; they split up so amicably that later Shabana starred in Shekharâ€™s directorial debut Masoom (1982), based on Erich Segalâ€™s novel Man, Woman and Child, which catapulted him to fame as a director.
Shekhar went on to direct such commer-cial and critical successes as Mr. India and Bandit Queen. Internationally, he was chosen to direct Cate Blanchett in the vastly successful Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age but after the box office dud Four Feathers, Western filmmakers are no longer as interested in hiring him.
In the meantime, the very married writer Javed Akhtar who lost his own poet father in 1976 had started visiting the Kaifi household. Javed had just added poetry to his roster of literary accom-plishments, having written his first Urdu couplet as homage to his father and sought counsel on matters pertaining to Urdu literature from Kaifi Azmi.
Javed was born in 1945 in Gwalior to Jan Nisar and Safia Akhtar. Jan Nisar, an Urdu poet of ghazals and nazms (rhymed and prose style poems), a Bollywood lyricist and a part of the Progressive Writersâ€™ Movement, belonged to a renowned family of Sunni theologians, scholars and poets. His father Muztar Khairabadi and paternal uncle Bismil Khairabadi were both poets, while his great-grandfather, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi was not just a scholar of Islamic studies and theology, but also edited the first diwan of Mirza Ghalib upon his request. He was also a leader ofÂ the Indian Revolution of 1857 in his hometown of Khairabad.
Javed grew up in Lucknow and attended Saifiya College in Bhopal. Then, film star Rajesh Khanna changed his life. Up till now, different writers were used to pen a filmâ€™s story, screenplay and dialogue and none of them were given any credits in the title. Rajesh Khanna gave Javed and his writing partner Salim Khan (Salman Khanâ€™s father) their first break as screen-play writers by hiring them for Haathi Mere Saathi and sweetening the pot by mentioning them in the filmâ€™s credits. Javed said in an interview, â€œOne day, Rajesh Khanna went to Salim sahib and said that Mr. Devar had given him a huge signing amount with which he could complete the payment for his bunga-low Aashirwad. But the film was a remake and the script of the original was far from being satis-factory. He told us that if we could set right the script, he would make sure we got both money and credit.â€
Of the 25 films Salim-javed wrote, Â 21 were huge hits. Eventually, they split in 1982 reportedly due to ego issues. They are known as “the most successful (Bollywood) scriptwriters of all-time”
The eminently suc-cessful duo Salim-Javed became con-tracted by G. P. Sippy as resident screen-writers for Sippy Films and were responsible for such blockbusters as Andaz, Seeta Aur Geeta, Zanjeer, Deewaar, Sholay, Don and Mr. India, directed by Shabanaâ€™s ex Shekhar Kapur.
Together the Akhtar-Azmis are a redoubtable film family
On the sets of Hema Malini starrer Seeta Aur Geeta, Javed met the former child star and then 17 years old Honey Irani who had a supporting role in the film. Honey belonged to an Irani, Zoroastrian family and her older two sisters were also in the industry. Honeyâ€™s eldest sis-ter Maneka is married to the stunt film-maker Kamran Khan and is the mother of film-makers Sajid Khan and Farah Khan, the latter is ofcourse one of the better known choreogr-pahers in the indus- try. Honeyâ€™s mid-dle sister Daisy, who was a suc-cessful actress, is married to screen-writer K.K. Shukla.
Honey developed a teenage crush on the 26 year old writer and the two bonded on a similar sense of humour. â€œI liked his sense of humour, he liked mine,â€ Honey told Farhana Farook, â€œLove is blind. I was totally in awe of Javedâ€¦.He was los-ing in a game of cards on the sets. I said, â€˜Let me pull a card for youâ€™. He said, â€˜If itâ€™s a good one, Iâ€™ll marry youâ€™. The card was good. He declared, â€˜Chalo, chalo letâ€™s get marriedâ€¦.Salim sahib, a family friend, told my mom that this boy wants to marry her but he has no home, plays cards and drinks. My mom said, â€˜Let her get married, sheâ€™ll learn a lesson and come back.â€™â€ Javed later immortalized their proposal in the Sholay scene when Amitabh Bachchan takes Dharmendraâ€™s proposal to Hema Maliniâ€™s aunt Leela Mishra.
They got married in 1972. â€œWe didnâ€™t have a place. My elder sister Maneka, who was married to filmmaker Kamran Khan (filmmakers Farah and Sajid Khanâ€™s father), had an extra room in Juhu. It was used to store shooting props.
She cleared it for us. We stayed there for a year,â€ Honey said. â€œJaved made me promise; I wouldnâ€™t accompany him to parties, apply make-up or hire a maid. So, Iâ€™d get up at 4 am to fill water. Of course, when I got pregnant, we had a maid. I had two air-conditioners in my parentsâ€™ home. Javed felt bad for me as we didnâ€™t have one. He got a second-hand air condition-er. We were thrilled and called our neigh-bours. And just when they had gathered, the AC conked off. I was so upset. Weâ€™d then sprinkle water on the floor, spread a chaddar and sleep.â€
Two children were born in quick suc-cession, Zoya and Farhan. Affluence fol-lowed Javedâ€™s career success. Honeyâ€™s film connections and Javedâ€™s talent made the couple popular socially and soon they were spending convivial evenings with top stars like Amitabh Bachchan. Honey reminisces, â€œI guess I was lucky for him. After Zanjeer, we never looked back. We bought a flat in Bandstand and then this bungalow. Mashallah! We had a party every night. Amitji and Jaya (Bachchan), Yashji and Pam (Chopra), Yashji and Hiroo (Johar) would often be here. Those days Amitji used to drink. Weâ€™d have a blast the whole night and then go and drop him for his shoot at 5 am. The initial years were wonderful. I donâ€™t really blame Javed for what hap-pened later. He was young when he got such huge success. Itâ€™s not easy to handle that. He used to drink a lot too. That was one of the major problems.â€
Simultaneously, another relationship was brewing. Shabana recounts how â€œJaved had been coming to our home for a long time, like other poets he would come to read his poems to my father, seek his opinion. But I was very busy with my work, and never really engaged with him. I would try to avoid him since Javed was a married man with two children.â€ Finally, he took the first step at a Page 3 event, and struck up a conversation with Shabana about her film Sparsh and it was the first of many engaging literary, philo-sophical and political conversations between the two.
Javed said at this time Shabana was plagued by â€œthousands of questions about which sheâ€™d never thought earlier. Itâ€™s no surprise then that we were drawn closer to each other.â€
Shabana added, â€œI sat in on conversa-tions my father had with him on poetry, on politics, and I realised he was very different from his image. Look at the similarities in our backgrounds. In dis-covering Javed I rediscovered my father. Both are from UP, both poets, film lyri-cists, writers. Both love politics… In fact if you consider the fact that one seeks the perfect match of backgrounds for an arranged marriage, then this could well have been the perfect arranged marriage. He was already married by the time I realised how well suited we were. We stayed away from each other for as long as was possible. My mother was against it completely.â€
Shabana said she liked Javedâ€™s wit, humour and his tehzeeb (manners). â€œHe would never put up his feet before elders.â€
1976 onward rumours of his closeness with Shabana fuelled frequent feuds between the married couple. â€œWe separat-ed in 1978 as things had turned bad,â€ said Honey without any bitterness. Javed and Shabana had become increasingly open about their relationship in the couple of years preceding the separation. â€œThere were fights and ugly scenes. But we ensured the children (Farhan and Zoya) werenâ€™t around. I realised there was no point in living with a man who was no longer in love with me. So I told him, â€˜Please.â€™ Javed said he couldnâ€™t speak to the children. So I spoke to them and said, â€˜Your father is not leaving me because of you guys. Itâ€™s just that we donâ€™t get along.â€™â€
â€œNobody can understand the anguish, the heartbreak,â€ said Shabana. â€œThere were children involved. For 2 to 3 years, we suffered the trauma. And then one day, we decided to break up. It was too trau-matic for the children if we went on. We told each other, â€˜We will break up after one last meeting.â€™ We met for that last meeting and we talked and talked … not love talk alone, but about everything, pol-itics, poetry. We got so busy talking, we forgot to break up.
After the separation, though Javed was providing child support, it didnâ€™t cover all the childrenâ€™s expenses. â€œI started embroidering saris. Reena Roy, Mumtaz and others would buy them,â€ said enterprising Honey. â€œI had written some short stories but feared theyâ€™d be dismissed as Javedâ€™s.â€ She showed one to Pam Chopra who showed it to her husband Yash Chopra, the uber successful filmmaker. Yash chose it for a film. â€œLater, Yashji asked me to develop a â€˜five minuteâ€™ idea which he gave me. Soon, I wrote the script and read it out to him. But he just got up and left. An hour later, he returned after having completed his pooja. He hugged me saying, â€˜I was so moved. Itâ€™s fantastic.â€ The film was Lamhe (1992), which became a big hit. Honey also wrote Darr (1993) for Yash Raj Films, followed by Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, Kya Kehna and Koi Mil Gaya. She fell out with the Chopras when she complained that she wasnâ€™t given due cred-it for writing Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge.
When I told my father, I asked him, â€˜Is he wrong for me?â€™
And he said, â€œHe is not wrong, but the circumstances are wrong.â€™
When I asked him, â€˜What if I change the circumstances?â€™
He said, â€˜Then it should be okay.â€™
Shabana and Javedâ€™s affair continued for the next six years and Shabana inspired him to write romantic couplets.
The song Dekha ek khwaab from Silsila picturised on Amitabh-Rekha was written in 1981 at the height of their affair.Â They eventually tied the knot in a traditional Muslim ceremony in 1984, while his divorce from Honey was finalized the fol-lowing year.
The public was outraged because peo-ple felt that Shabana who proudly posed as a feminist was being a hypocrite by first having an adulterous affair and then getting married to an already mar-ried man. Shabana defended her decision explaining that she was no home-wrecker and that the mar-riage was already over by the time she entered the scene. Though not entirely true, that was her justifica-tion.
Honey said she maintained cor-dial relations with her ex and still respected him. â€œHe has been decent and generous. He gave me this house. Javed says, â€˜One good thing about you is that you donâ€™t cling to negative thoughtsâ€™. Once someone says â€˜sorryâ€™, my slate is clean.â€
â€œGirls run after him. He is a poet, he must be so romantic, they think. But believe me, there is not a single romantic bone in his body. I once asked him about it and he joked: â€˜Look, the trapeze artist does not hang from a trapeze at home.â€
â€œI didnâ€™t make any sacrifices â€” thatâ€™s too dramatic. I did what I thought was right,â€ she said describing her life as a struggling single mother. â€œI did miss a man. I was in a long relationship, which didnâ€™t work. But I never gave marriage a thought. I didnâ€™t know how heâ€™d be with the kids. Though they did tell me, â€˜If you wish to get married, go aheadâ€™. Today I have my grandchildren (Shakya 12, and Akira 5), my friends and my work. Of course, you do feel lonely. But I canâ€™t go through the pain again. At this age what you need is a companion, someone to share, to travel with…There again Iâ€™m being a romantic.â€
She was generous enough to allow Shabana to enjoy a warm relationship with Farhan and Zoya. â€œI never spoke a word against Shabana or Javed. I didnâ€™t want the children to develop feelings of hate or anger. Theyâ€™d go over and meet them. Javed would come over. Touchwood! Their relationship never went wrong. But I have no rapport as such with her. I go to Javedâ€™s house on his birthday. Shabana and I greet each other. Itâ€™s cordial. Thereâ€™s a lot of respect. Thatâ€™s it. But itâ€™s not as if we are sahelis (friends). Not at all.â€
Shabana described her conjugal bliss in an interview, â€œAfter marriage it was like we were two peas in a pod. So much was similar about us. There was not much adjustment needed on my part. There was so much he had gone through in a broken marriage that he had come out of it wiser, more mature. I married a sensible man, growing wiser with years. We have each shaped and moulded the other since we married, but the most important fact is that we are also very good friends. And he jokes in his typical manner. He loves to say â€˜Shabana is such a good friend; even marriage could not spoil our friendship.â€™
I have no interest in action films, or in sports. He loves all sports: tennis, cricket, soccer. He took me to watch the finals at Wimbledon. I watched the match and swore never to go again. He also likes to joke: If thereâ€™s a sad serious film on TV, or a boring programme, he will say, â€˜Shabana ko bulao, itâ€™s her type of pro-gramme.â€™â€
While doting on her husband Shabana continued, â€œthe wonderful thing about Javed is that whether I am with him in a slum or with the Queen of England, he is so completely at home. He will win them all over. He is constantly stealing my friends away from me! But to give him his due, in academic circles he is known at Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, and he has delivered lectures there. He com-mands a lot of respect. He is competitive but never jealous; he is ambitious but never insecure.
For medical reasons, I could not have a child. It hurt a lot, and I was heartbroken for a while. Then I told myself, â€˜One canâ€™t have everything in life.â€™ Also Zoya and Farhan were very young then, and their mother was generous in letting us have access to them. So I had children around. And I got the man! I cannot imagine being married to anyone else.
We have deep trust and faith in one another.Â He will never open my bag, or read my mail. (I would do all that though.) The friendship keeps us close. He is deeply emotional and sen-sitive. Of course we have fights and bit-terness; we are so busy in our own worlds that it is great to be together when we do meet! That is what marriage should be about â€“ the undying and unconditional friendship between two individu-als who invest trust and time in each other for a lifetime.â€
Javed said something similar
to Priya Gupta in an interview for The Times of India, â€œShabana is basically my friend. We happen to be married. Our friendship is so strong that even marriage could not break it. We got mar-ried as people thought that you have to be married. What is impor-tant is there are so many things that we share, like our basic values and our aesthetics. And there are many matters on which we differ from each other. But if we are totally sim-ilar, then you should not live with a person who is exactly like you. And if you are totally different, then too, you canâ€™t function together. So I think there is a right kind of balance between similarity and dissimilarity between us. She is a very strong woman with a strong sense of fairness and desire for justice all around. We have come from the same training school. Her parents were poets, leftists, involved in progress of writersâ€™ movements. We both, in our own way, have learnt to hold progressive, liberal, religious and as a matter of fact almost anti- religious values. But she is dangerously frank. That makes me uncomfortable. I generally donâ€™t do that. Much like all cultural civilisations, I am diplomatic.â€
â€œThe camaraderie between Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar is hard to miss; they are so at ease with each other. â€˜We have a really happy marriage because we rarely meet,â€™ quips Shabana.
Javed believes that two people can be happy together only when they are happy as individuals. â€œAnd no matter how close you are to each other, every-one has a private space that needs to be respected. When you expect more than the other person is willing to give, the relationship sours,â€ he says.
Shabana recounted an incident where a woman walked in on her ironing Javedâ€™s kurta. â€˜She asked me how I could call myself a feminist. I was doing it because I wanted him to wear a well-ironed kurta. It was that simple,â€™ she says. Javed adds, â€˜Thankfully no one came into the room the day I was press-ing your feet because you were tired. They wouldnâ€™t have believed it if I told them that it was not an everyday occurrence!â€™
And when it comes to age, Shabana is more accepting of it. â€˜Embrace your age. Donâ€™t fight to be younger,â€™ she says, even as Javed adds, â€˜Given a chance, Iâ€™d live forever. Not because I love myself â€” although that is true too â€” but because the thought that I wonâ€™t be around to see new movies, listen to new songs and learn about new discoveries about the human body and the uni-verse is depressing. And there are so many poems, scripts and more waiting to be written.â€™â€ â€”Susanna Myrtle Lazarus, The Hindu â€œGirls run after him. He is a poet, he must be so romantic, they think. But believe me, there is not a single romantic bone in his body. I once asked him about it and he joked: â€˜Look, the trapeze artist does not hang from a trapeze at home.â€
The Sunday Tribune article described their relationship thus: â€œHereâ€™s a marriage where the couple discuss various â€˜ismsâ€™ (socialism, Marxism or secularism) over a cup of adrak (ginger) tea which Javed cannot make and Shabana loves. Itâ€™s another matter altogether that their rare disagreements lead to heated debates. Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtarâ€™s is a marriage of intellect, and like true believ-ers in democracy, they agree to disagree.
While possessiveness for the man and jealousy in the woman are considered inevitable and even prescribed in a romantic relationship, hereâ€™s a couple who thinks differently. Says Javed in an interview, â€˜We seek love from one source, wisdom from another and companionship from yet another. Seldom does it all come from one single source. She gives me all this plus mental and intellectual support.â€™
And when constant companionship like Siamese twins is considered a hall-mark of intimacy, Shabana has her own prescription for a successful relationship. â€˜Bumping into each other, occasionally, at airports,â€™ she says, â€˜is very good for mar-riage!â€™
The world knows her as the inspiration behind Javedâ€™s most romantic song, Ek ladki ko dekha toh aaisa laga. She was theÂ narmi ki baat (gentle whispers), sardi ki dhup (the winter sun), resham ki dor (a strand of silk) and sandhal ki aag (a sandalwood fire).
She, in turn, simply calls him Jaduâ€”in her peculiar style with sparkling eyes disap-pearing into the crinkles. She is not the only muse in this relationship. â€˜What I really value is when I have to write a paper and am stuck; I know I can depend on him to help me.â€™ For Shabana, Jadu is the touchstone for testing ideas and thoughts. Itâ€™s Javed who encouraged her to do the con-troversial role in Fire (in which she plays a lonely lesbian). He is the one who coerced her into Submitting Arth for National Film Awards (1982) and Fire for the Best Actress Award both times.â€
Though Javed was born a Muslim, heÂ is a self proclaimed atheist and raised his children with the same beliefs. In fact, Javed gets upset when people refer to him as being Muslim. he replies that only his name is muslimÂ
After his second marriage, Javed had a solo writing career in which he wrote the scripts for a dozen movies and more than 100 songs. He has won a total of 11 National Film Awards for his song lyrics and 13 Filmfare Awards; he was also awarded the civilian honours Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2007 by the Government of India, as well as the 2013 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu, Indiaâ€™s second highest literary honour, for his poetry anthol- ogy Lava. He also served for a term in the Parliamentâ€™s upper house Rajya Sabha starting 2009.
Javedâ€™s son Farhan Akhtar is an actor/filmmaker and Zoya is a screenwriter/direc-tor. They have collaborated on films such as Dil Chahta Hai, Rock On and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara that have the recurring theme of friendship. Farhan said this was because he leaned on his friendsâ€™ support during the painful times his parents split up. â€œI have always found this relationship of friends very beauti-ful. It made a lot of sense to me when Zoya told me that dur-ing our growing up years, friends played a very important part for us. Given the fact that my parents were going through a divorce, friends became a huge part of our support sys-tem and eased a whole lot of pain for us.â€
Recognised as one of the finest Indian actresses and having appeared in more than 120 Hindi and Bengali films, Shabana in her turn has won the National Film Award for Best Actress five times and also bagged four Filmfare Awards, as well as several international awards like the Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress at the 32nd Chicago Film Festival and Jury Award for Best Actress at Outfest, Los Angeles. Some of her notable films include Shyam Benegalâ€™s Nishant (1975), Junoon (1978), Susman (1986), and Antarnaad (1992); Satyajit Rayâ€™s Shatranj Ke Khiladi; Mrinal Senâ€™s Khandhar, Genesis, Ek Din Achanak; Saeed Mirzaâ€™s Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai; Sai Paranjpyeâ€™s Sparsh and Disha; Gautam Ghoseâ€™s Paar; Aparna Senâ€™s Picnic and Sati; Mahesh Bhattâ€™s Arth; Vinay Shuklaâ€™s Godmother. She has starred in Western productions such as John Schlesingerâ€™s Madame Sousatzka (1988) and Roland Joffeâ€™s City of Joy (1992), Klotzâ€™s Bengali Night, Immaculate Conception, the comedy Son of the Pink Panther, and Ismail Merchantâ€™s In Custody. She is also a skilled theatre actress having performed in many plays, such as M. S. Sathyuâ€™s Safed Kundali (1980), based on The Caucasian Chalk Circle; Feroz Abbas Khanâ€™s Tumhari Amrita with actor Farooq Sheikh, which had a vastly suc-cessful five year run; the Singapore Repertory Theatre Company production Ingmar Bergmanâ€™s adaptation of Henrik Ibsenâ€™s A Dollâ€™s House; and in 2014 toured UK, Dubai and India with British production Happy Birthday Sunita. Having worked in films, theatre and televi-sion, she pointed out the differences in these media, remarking that the-atre is really the actorâ€™s medium; the stage is the actorâ€™s space; cine-ma is the directorâ€™s medium; and television is a writerâ€™s medium.
Finally about her marriage she has this to say, â€œafter 32 years of marriage, you get so intertwined with each other,â€ said Shabana speaking of Javed. â€œItâ€™s the same with him. In fact, Javed has even written a poem, titled Shabana, which talks precisely about this. The time we spend together, watch-ing movies, listening to musicâ€”those are far more precious to me than any solitaires.â€
AMMARA KHAN IS A DESIGNER OF DISTINCTION, TASTE AND UNDENIABLEÂ ARTISTRY. SET APART FROM HER PEERS BY HER TIMELESS YET DECADENTÂ AESTHETIC, SHE NEVER COMPROMISES ON QUALITY.RENAISSANCE ARTÂ INFORMS THE POINT OF VIEW OF HER LATEST COLLECTION TITLED ILÂ GIGLIO. (LILY IN ITALIAN, ITâ€™S DISPLAYED ON THE CITYâ€™S COAT OF ARMS.)Â MODEL/ACTRESS MAYA ALI WAS CHOSEN FOR THE COLLECTION CAMPAIGN.Â AMMARA SPOKE TO AFSHAN SHAFI REGARDING ALL ASPECTS OF HERÂ CRAFT IN AN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE FOR GT
WHAT WAS THE STARTING POINT OF THE INSPIRATION FOR THIS COLLECTION?
A trip to Florence earlier this summer inspired me tremendously. It reminded me again of how unbelievably gorgeous and rich in culture the city is.
WHAT ARE THE STATEMENT PIECES OF THIS COLLECTION, IN YOUR OPINION?
I would say the long jacket with high slits is a personal favourite. It can be worn with a lehnga or elongated pants and looks beautiful.
WHAT IS THE OVERALL COLOUR SCHEME FOR THE COLLECTION?
The colours are drawn from Renaissance master Botticelli’s paintings and the Florentine sunset when viewed from the historic Ponte Vecchio. (Old Bridge in Italianâ€”Itâ€™s the most famous bridge and landmark in Florence.)
WHAT WAS THE PROCESS FROM INSPIRATION TO DESIGN LIKE FOR THE IL GIGLIO COLLECTION?
From the initial point of inspiration everything flowed magically. I drew out the technical drawings and the motif development took the longest. It was fun to work on the embroideries with my team of skilled artisans. They havebeen with me for years and know my mind really well. Itâ€™s always fantastic to see the final garment come together.
WHICH RENAISSANCE ART MOTIFS FORM A BASIS FOR THE COLLECTION AS A WHOLE?
From the warm colours to the ornate drawings and the finest gold embroidery Il Giglio is inspired by the grandeur and beauty of Renaissance art, architecture and jewels. It is unique in its richness and exudes an aura of antiquity and regalia.
IF WE WERE TO TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR MOODBOARD FOR IL GIGLIO WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
I don’t follow a set mood board. Usually things accumulate in a compartment of my mind for days and days and then I get things on paper in the form of technical drawings for silhouette and notes. Itâ€™s a bit crazy but that’s how it is.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHOICE OF MODEL/ACTRESS MAYAALI FOR THE SHOOT.
I was nominated for a LUX style award this year and I had a chance to see Maya Ali at the show. I just found her to be so beautiful and charming. I immediately knew she had the depth to translate emotions to a still shot and I was thrilled with the resulting campaign.
DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND IN THREE WORDSÂ
Luxurious, timeless, elegant.
WHAT KIND OF WOMAN ENCOMPASSES THE ETHOS OF THE AMMARA KHAN BRAND?
Someone who is sophisticated,
poised and also elegant with just the
right amount of self confidence.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE DESIGNERS OF ALL TIME?
Valentino Garavani, Giambattista
Valli and I am madly in love with
Gucci’s Alessandro Michele’s
aesthetic. Ralph and Russo are
amazing for occasion wear.
NAME SOME STYLE ICONS YOU ADMIRE?
Olivia Palermo, Amal Clooney.
Kate Middleton, Charlotte
Casiraghi, Queen Rania
WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE WEARING YOUR DESIGNS?
Olivia Palermo and Kate Middleton
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINEÂ THE TERM ‘STYLE’?WHICHÂ PEOPLE DO YOU THINKÂ EXUDE A STYLISH PERSONA
Style to me is something that comes
from within. It is a reflection of
what one has grasped from one’s
environment and made his own with
the passage of time. It is not
something that can be borrowed,
bought or replicated
Fatima Sheikh shares her favourite types of trendy chokers
Fashion comes in all shapes, forms and sizes and this time it came in the shape of a choker. These neck pieces have been trending like wildfire. Initially worn by American supermodels like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid etc., the trend soon spread its wings around Asia. Now everyone and their aunt seem to be rocking a choker.
I remember I wore one last year on my birthday in March because my dress had a deep neckline and statement necklaces were hitting the shopping bags at that point. I was never a fan of chunky necklaces so I took a ribbon, cut it and tied it around my neck. As I stepped in the car my mother gave me a daunting look telling me that the strap around my neck looked hideous and out of place. I rolled my eyes and took it off. Last week not to my surprise she bought me two chokers.
This trend is even catching up with the not so fashion forward older set. The silver lining is that it is not too expensive nor pure cut throat fashion, (no pun intended).
HERE ARE 9 OF MY FAVOURITEÂ CHOKER LOOKS SO FAR THATÂ YOU SHOULD TRY:
This one is my favourite. An off-shoulder top with a wide preferably black velvet choker. This is as classy as it can get.
To add a little funk you can mix and match your chokers and make it look as trendy as you please.
This look defines elegance in one colour. Wear the same colour of choker as your dress. The result will speak for itself.
Love for lace
Don’t forget the elegant lace chokers bringing back the Victorian touch to our outfits.
The tinier the better
Just a string can do the trick, It’s less, but more in the language of fashion. This look is effortlessly eye-catching.You can even add a little charm in the middle to give a cute effect.
Beauty lies at the collar
Beautiful jewels tightly around your neck instead of hanging. These are hard to find in stores, but you can get creative. Take your favourite necklace and adjust it tightly around your neck in the place of a choker and you can find yourself as the trendiest person at the party.
The leather goods
This is an edgier, more funky look – a leather choker with studs. A leather jacket or fur would go perfect with this one. It’s a good winter look.
Shoelace out of place
This look is casual yet adds definition. If I weren’t in love with the trend I would say it is a shoelace tied around the neck, but it is more than that. It is a statement widely recognized around the world that looks cool.
90s is the new 2000
This choker is an actual replica of the 90s look. I remember clearly finding these in my aunt’s dressing room from time to time because I was a fashion obsessed baby. I have stumbled upon some old family pictures too where my khalas are posing and flaunting these chokers. Generations change but fashion stills remains.
With roles ranging from Shakespeare’s Othello, to a concerned father trying to escape Syria with his family, to a playboy arms dealer, to the legendary Captain Nemo, Faran Tahir’s career seems to be bursting at the seams. One of the only Pakistani-actors in the world’s top film industry, Faran comes across as humble, caring and motivated. A trained and seasoned actor who moved from the theater stage to the silver screen, Faran talked to Kamil Chima about life in Hollywood, his journey starting out and his aspirations for the future
How were you introduced to the world of acting? Did you have any mentorship in your early days?
My family in Pakistan has been involved with the performing arts for three generations so my introduction was a natural one. I guess the mentorship also came from there by default as I grew up being part of a family of very talented people.
Over a long career you have now worked with so many of the top actors in the world. But everyone has to start somewhere. What was a fan moment for you starting off?
I started off in theatre and then moved on to film and television therefore I would not call one specific moment as the turning point. It has been a gradual expansion into different mediums and I have appreciated every step of my journey because it gave me the chance to learn a lot.
When was the first time somebody recognized you on the street and how did you react?
It was probably after one of my first stage plays. To this day, it is a humbling feeling. Espe-cially for someone to take time out of their day to say a kind word.
Which actor or director have you most enjoyed working with and why?
I have been lucky enough to work with some wonderful actors and directors throughout my career. All of whom have made me grow and I am very grateful. I always enjoy my work and have never faced a situation where I have not liked working with anyone.
What is it like working in Hollywood and rubbing shoulders with the who’s who of American society?
It’s funny but when you are working together all that does not matter. Everyone is so focused on trying to give all they have to the project. Of course I feel blessed to be a part of the Hol-lywood fraternity and my experience has been a positive one. Everyone I have met and worked with in Hollywood has been talented and I have found good in all.
You’ve performed at an international level and you also possess a trans-cultural identity. How does this figure in your acting?
Your own experience with life, culture, society gives you the ability to draw from all of these aspects. I certainly have tried to use all these as my resources to enrich the characters that I play.
Do you feel you are typecast due to your ethnicity? If so, do you feel it holds you back in any way?
Sometimes one is offered roles of a similar nature. One just needs to be careful not to keep on repeating similar roles too much or it becomes artistic suicide. I try to bring as much diversity in my roles as I can. For example, this year my roles have ranged from Shakespeare’s Othello, to a concerned father trying to escape Syria with his family, to a playboy arms dealer, to the legendary Captain Nemo. Variety is the spice of life.
With mainstream shows such as ‘The Night Of’, ‘Quantico’, and ‘Master of None’ all with South Asian leads, do you think American audiences are ready for a South Asian lead in a mainstream feature?
Audiences are smart. They want to watch content that is interesting, fresh and captivating. If that comes with a South Asian lead then so be it.
What movies do you find yourself watching on a Sunday evening after a hard week?
I think the little boy in me is still alive so anything that will get my adrenaline pumping. The last movie I watched was Jason Bourne.
What do you specially like about Pakistan?
The ability we all have to be hospitable and generous.
What are your future aims and aspirations? Any projects in Pakistan that we should know about?
I would like to keep finding diversity and challenges in my work. There have been instances when I have been offered projects from Pakistan. Would love to work in Pakistan provided it’s a good script and the logistics can be worked out.
And we look forward to seeing farhan play the lead in a Pakistani production!