Riding on the wave of Laal Kabootarâ€™s immense success, the talented actors sit down with Mehek Raza Rizvi to talk about the overwhelming response theyâ€™ve received
â€œI gave Laal Kabootar over a year of my life. The journey has been exciting and exhilarating, serving as a huge learning experience. The payoff just makes it all worth it.â€
Audiences had been waiting anxiously for Laal Kabootar ever since the trailer launch and for good reason. How does the phenomenal response feel?
The response feels absolutely incredible. Iâ€™m extremely humbled by the love all of us have received, not just from our fans but also from within the industry. Itâ€™s very overwhelming when your peers, seniors and mentors are rooting for you.
I gave Laal Kabootar over a year of my life. The journey has been exciting and exhilarating, serving as a huge learning experience. The payoff just makes it all worth it.
How challenging did you find portraying Aliya? Do you see any similarities between her and yourself?
Honestly, no. I donâ€™t think Aliya and I have much in common at all. That doesnâ€™t make portraying her challenging though, because thatâ€™s exactly what an actorâ€™s job isâ€”to step into another personâ€™s shoes. Sheâ€™s very quiet and internalises her emotions a lot, which is unlike me. I canâ€™t really relate to her, but yes, I can definitely empathise with her.
This was Kamal Khanâ€™s debut as a film director. While heâ€™s definitely here to stay, what lead you to trust his vision?
I think his past work speaks for itself, but more than anything, what intrigued me the most is the way he orates and describes his vision. I knew from day one that he would execute this film brilliantly. When Kamal wants to tell a story, he gets absorbed in it in a manner I havenâ€™t seen before. He wonâ€™t stop until he gets the desired shot and will make sure his team keeps doing their best too. I also enjoyed how we all bonded as a team, as it helped to have honest conversations about everything with him. Apart from this, he has commendable work ethic and thatâ€™s always a plus.
â€œI think the most amusing aspect has to be the fact that Ahmed and I were kept apart on set by our director.â€
Share some memorable moments from the set.
I think the most amusing aspect has to be the fact that Ahmed and I were kept apart on set by our director. He was very firm about us not joking too much or being silly. Other than that, Iâ€™ll never forget that Ahmed broke my phone or the friends I made during our journey.
For now, Iâ€™m completing a drama for ARY. I look forward to doing projects that are different and lighthearted.
Short & Sweet
If you could play any other character in the movie, which one would you pick?
Rashid Farooquiâ€™s character is remarkable, even though I donâ€™t think Iâ€™d be able to portray it. His wifeâ€™s character is also great.
Whatâ€™s your favourite line from the movie?
â€œTumharay haram kay paisey nai yeh kiya haiâ€ (Your black money caused this)
Best thing about your job?
It keeps me on my toes
And the worst?
Actors donâ€™t really connect with each other a lot, except while working together. We all share the same problems, so I feel if we worked on building a community and support system for each other, it would benefit everyone.
Apart from Ahmed, who are your favourite co-stars?
There are so many people, but if I had to pick one, it would be Sami Khan
My own self. I always feel like I can do better.
Do you have a life motto?
Just to be happy and not be too hard on myself
AHMED ALI AKBAR:
What does Laal Kabootar mean?
Laal (red) symbolises blood, violence and love, while Kabootar (pigeon) symbolisesÂ freedom, peace and flight. The name of the movie depicts the conflict the characters face in a city like Karachi, where freedom, blood, violence and peace go hand in hand.
Many believe your portrayal of Adeel may be your finest performance to date. How does the love youâ€™ve garnered from the movie feel?
The response is overwhelming. I feel extremely fortunate to be part of Laal Kabootar. Itâ€™s something Iâ€™ll look back at and be proud of. I was very confident about the film, Kamal Khanâ€™s intricately stylised storytelling, Mo Azmiâ€™s beautiful cinematography, Taha Malikâ€™s unique music and almost all other aspects of the film except for myself. Itâ€™s so hard to gauge oneâ€™s own work, so I had no expectations.
What were the most special moments while shooting for Laal Kabootar?
There were so many special moments that I canâ€™t pick one. Although, the one thing that makes the entire process extraordinary was how we all drew inspiration from each other. Everyone on this team was so focused, the synergy of the team was remarkable. Every member had an earnest love for their craft and was driven to give their best.
What were the challenges you faced while trying to deliver a convincing performance?
I had no idea how I was going to play a Karachiite. I had to trust Kamal whenever he told me I was on the right track. When we started shooting, it had only been a few years since Iâ€™d moved to the city, so portraying a local was a challenge. Adeel could easily have been a caricature, but I wanted him to be real and flawed. I think the toughest bit was to be someone else, yet make the struggle as relatable as possible without crossing the thin line that borders on exaggeration.
â€œThe name of the movie depicts the conflict the characters face in a city like Karachi, where freedom, blood, violence and peace go hand in hand.â€
â€”Ahmed Ali Akbar
Canâ€™t disclose much, but there might be something very exciting coming up in a yearâ€™s time. As far as the near future is concerned, Iâ€™m just reading different scripts at the moment
Short & Sweet
If you could play any other character in the movie, which one would you pick?
Ibrahim, the character played by Rashid Farooqui
Whatâ€™s your favourite line from the movie?
This is not the kind of script where I can pick a line. But two scenes that I really enjoyed watching in terms of dialogue were where an intense conversation takes place between Rashid Farooqui and Mohammad Ahmad, and the moment Aliya offers Adeel double the amount in return for an unspeakable crime.
If you could go back in time and redo any one thing in your journey with Laal Kabootar, what would it be?
Iâ€™d be more careful snatching Manshaâ€™s phone in the scene mentioned above. I accidentally broke the screen.
Best thing about your job?
The variety of skills one has to learn in order to emulate the characters in the vast range of stories we become part of.
And the worst?
As George Clooney once said, â€œAn actor is always looking for work.â€
Apart from Mansha, who are your favourite co-stars?
Yumna Zaidi, Osman Khalid Butt, Omair Rana,Â Sanam Saeed and Nadia Jamil
Do you have a life motto?
Donâ€™t be good to be rewarded, let your goodness be a reward for others
Spring has sprung and nature is in fullÂ bloom. The stunning Sabeeka ImamÂ captures the seasonâ€™s essence against aÂ magical, floral backdrop
Entrepreneur, politician and mother, Hina Butt wears many hats and excels in all of them. In a short span of time, she has become a respected voice for womenâ€™s rights, all while continuing to build her fashion house. Areesha Chaudhry talks to her about her journey and how she balances her life
Youâ€™re quite an accomplished woman. Tell us a bit about your educational background.
I went to LUMS for my undergrad and MBA and was lucky enough to make it to the Deanâ€™s Honour List both times. From there I decided to delve into International Relations and completed a Masters in it from Middlesex University Dubai. I have also participated in the Global Leadership and Policy course at Harvard Kennedy School.
Take us through your career and your entry into the political arena.
Being a strong advocate of female entrepreneurship, I launched my fashion house Teena by Hina Butt after graduating from LUMS. There I also conducted vocational training for women who desired to be financially independent. For this I collaborated with FACES Pakistan for vocational training programs and market accessibility, where mine and my brandâ€™s role has been to polish the skills of the women, in order to make their products more marketable.
â€œBeing a strong advocate of female entrepreneurship, I launched my fashion house Teena by Hina Butt after graduating from LUMS. There I also conducted vocational training for women who desired to be financially independentâ€
PoliticsÂ came about as a result of this programme. I became aware of the dire situation of womenâ€™s rights in the country and the lack of opportunities for a large majority of them. It was obvious to me that Iâ€™d have greater influence over driving such change through politics; ultimately, I received a reserve seat for women in 2013.
How has politics helped you achieve these goals thus far?
Once in the political system, I strived to create equal opportunities and obtain rights for Pakistani women. This included bills and resolutions that I presented; some of the ones that I am most proud of include the â€œChild Marriage Prohibition Bill 2013,â€ â€œPunjab Home Based Workers Bill 2016â€ and the â€œPunjab Domestic Workers Employment Rights Bill 2016.â€
Iâ€™m also grateful to have served as the General Secretary of the First Women Parliamentary Caucus of Punjab (2015-2016) and am currently serving as the Women Health Representative of the Women Caucus.Â But, the Women Protection Bill was one of the highlights of that tenure.
You were selected once again in the 2018 elections through the reserve seats. What policy changes are you focusing on this time?
Primarily education. However, I am also actively engaged in obtaining maternity rights for women and have submitted a bill regarding acid and burn victims.
â€œWhen you’re trying to challenge the status quo, you’ll face a lot of detractors. However, you need to step out of your comfort zone and pursue your goals with unwavering dedicationâ€
Please tellÂ usÂ how you balanceÂ workÂ andÂ your personal life.Â
Itâ€™s all about priorities. I quite enjoy being a mum, so my son is my priority and I enjoy spending time with him. In the morning itâ€™s politics and the afternoons are with him. Then itâ€™s straight to my business and dinner again with the family. I also ensure that I incorporate working out in my routine.
Any tips to achieve such a balanced life?
Make sure you engage in quality time with your family members: kids, spouse, parents, siblings â€”this keeps you grounded. And always enjoy your bedtime routine. It relaxes you for the day to come.
What are your thoughts on social media and its relation to all the work that you do?
My social media is very active, especially Twitter. I communicate all that Iâ€™m working on, as well as my thoughts on current affairs through this platform. For my business, Instagram has worked brilliantly. In my opinion, social media is like any other toolâ€”one must use it wisely.
Youâ€™ve recently representedÂ Pakistan at the World Economic Forum, which is quite prestigious. How did that feel like?
I had been invited by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader â€”quite prestigious indeed! I was able to meet various heads of state and multiple companies who were interested to invest in Pakistan. My meeting with UNICEFâ€™s director to discuss projects for the Pakistani youth was inspiring.
Recently you submitted a resolution in the Parliament requesting the UN to revoke Priyanka Chopra of her UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadorship. Why is that important to you?
I believe itâ€™s quite contrary to the role of an ambassador of peace to commend military aggression, be it for any country. I felt it was irresponsible for someone in her position to encourage such aggression. Peace can only be achieved if we all work towards it and think of the greater good.
What message would like to give ourÂ readers?
When youâ€™re trying to challenge the status quo, youâ€™ll face a lot of detractors.Â However, you need to step out of your comfort zone and pursue your goals with unwavering dedication. Achieving your goals justifies the struggle. Iâ€™m a firm believer in Allahâ€™s plans for all of us, so I keep faith that the path Iâ€™ve been set on will be fulfilling.
Photography: Ali Agha
In Pakistan, the arrival of spring doesnâ€™t only bring with it the promise of new life and a chance to start afresh, or to even lose those kilos we have been packing over the winter wedding seasonâ€”it also brings with it a peculiar phenomenon now known as “lawn season.” Season is quite an appropriate word to describe this, as this once simple fabric has now taken a life of its own.
Just as the flowers start to bloom again and the temperature slowly rises, we are bombarded form all sides with the latest in lawn. Billboards, television commercials, flyers, print advertisements, social media updates, press releasesâ€”all somehow work in perfect harmony to bring to us “the most coveted lawn.” Images of models, local and international, dressed to the nines and accessorised to the max in exotic locations are imploring us to think of nothing else but this fabric. Somehow, all your sorrows and the miserable summer can be easily fixed if you just have the right lawn outfit it seems.
Lawn season begins as early as mid-February now and brings with it its own counterpart to spring fever i.e. (you guessed it) “lawn fever.” Anyone who has been following lifestyle social media accounts from Pakistan over the last few years is aware of the mania these few months induce in consumers. Long queues outside favourite labels and fights over the last article of a certain design have, sadly, become common. However, this was not always the case.
The “lawn wars,” as some publicists are prone to call it, have only begun recently, but have firmly taken over annual spring festivities. Not too long ago, I remember lawn being spoken of in very normal terms and not given the priority status it enjoys today. But why is that so? And where did it come from?
I was quite surprised to learn that there’s a French connection when it comes to lawn. This seemingly simple fabric got its name from the town of Laon in Northern France, where linen lawn was heavily manufactured
The conversation around lawn has always been there; even as a child I remember that the change of season meant my mother and many women around me had to go and get new lawn clothes made. Yet, the ubiquity of lawn nowadays and the almost reverence with which it is discussed did not exist before. I blame the rise of social media making it easier for fashion houses to reach out to consumers, allowing them to take a simple fabric and elevate it to the level of almost “everyday couture;”Â they market it in such a way that there is no other recourse.
With all this talk of lawn, I decided to look into this. What is this fabric? Where did it come from?
I was quite surprised to learn that there’s a French connection when it comes to lawn. This seemingly simple fabric got its name from the town of Laon in Northern France, where linen lawn was heavily manufactured. According to the Fairchild Books Dictionary of Textiles, lawn is a “fine, plain weave relatively sheer cotton fabric made in close constructions.” It was used initially to make blouses, dresses (for both women and children) and even handkerchiefs. Other names of the fabric are Batiste and Nainsook.
The original term “lawn” was used for fine linen fabric with an open texture and that is still called linen lawn. Over the years, especially in the Subcontinent with its abundance of good cotton, lawn moved from linen to cotton. The fact that it’s a breathable fabric made it gain popularity due to the extreme summer conditions in the region. Moreover, it lends itself to be dyed easily and printed on; this opened an entirely new avenue for womenswear.
Lawn continued its hold over womenswear for the warmer months for decades. However, with the rise of fashion houses in Pakistan and the constant innovation taking place in the fashion industry, lawn took on new meaning. Catapulted to luxury status, designer lawn is the most sought after fabric every spring. Whether it is stitched or unstitched, a full three-piece suit or just separates, lawn dominates. Designers continue to come up with newer prints every year and embellish them further with intricate embroideries and accessories. Due to the often high price points of designer lawn, imitation lawn vendors have cropped up that allow everyone to be able to wear the designs of the season.
There’s a lot to be said about this, in my opinion. Gone are the times when women would buy unlabelled lawn fabric and simply get their clothes made on their own. Now it’s about whose lawn you wear and whether you were able to get it in time or not. I mean, why would you still be wearing Volume 1 when Volume 2 is clearly in vogue, am I right?
The lawn phenomenon plays directly into our consumerist tendencies and brands comply. Every year budgets are bigger and campaigns are flashier. Social media has definitely played its part in making designer lawn more of a necessity than before.
Whether the demand was created or not, whether there’s a real need for lawn to be so fancy or not, those are lengthier discussions. For now, we just have to accept that we have another season going on and that’s called lawn. Happy shopping ladies!
Royal Bourne is a supplier of premium fabric for over 20 years to many of Pakistanâ€™s top-tier brands. Their focus on superior tailoring and modern simplicity sets them apart. They work with raw material (cotton, cotton yarn), fabrication (weaving and knitting), processing (dyeing and finishing) and apparel manufacturing. With all of that under their belt, they are now introducing their own clothing line, with modern designs and high quality fabrics.
What can customers expect from Royal Bourne?
We have a selected fabric source that is amongst the top 5 fabric manufacturers in the world. Hence, using our experience we are manufacturing high quality garments. Our manufacturing methodology is based on tailor made manufacturing instead of mass production.
What drives you?
A desire to provide high quality products for everyone.
How do customers benefit from your service?
We as a brand always think about our customers first. We want our customers to buy something that is of premium quality but at an affordable price. I guess the proof is in the pudding, as we have a high percentage of returning customers.
Tell us a bit about your backgrounds.
I did my Masters in Marketing and studied visual arts from the New York Film Academy. Iâ€™ve also studied fashion design from the Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture. Due to my past experience, I manage the creative and marketing aspects of the brand.
Since I have studied engineering, I am into the technical side of things and have firm grip on fabrics.
Five words that represents your brand
Whatâ€™s the core message you wish to communicate?
Royal Bourne promises its customers high quality products with stylish designs at affordable prices. We have tried to cater everyone through our different collections or labels (Black, Red, Blue, Green, White, Pink and Platinum)
How does your brands image fall between these opposing characteristics?
What attributes and/or emotions do you want associated with your brand?
Happy and satisfied
How would you describe your brand to a friend?
Affordable, high quality fashion.
How would you describe its style?
Classy, Sophisticated and Trendy
What actor/actress would be perfect to play your brand? Why?
l For White label: Mahira khan because itâ€™s all about elegance and class.
l For Pink Label: Hania Amir because the collection is all about trendy kurtis.
l For Black Label: Adnan Siddique since this collection is all about sophistication.
l For Red Label: Fawad Khan since heâ€™s the stylish actor in town.
l For Blue Label: Ahad Raza Mir since heâ€™s the trendsetter for people who want to look classy.
l For Green Label: we can take Hamayun Saeed dueÂ to his desi charisma.