Recently, the alternative rock band Kashmir emerged as the winner of Pepsi Battle of the Bands. Together, band mates: Bilal Ali, Vais Khan, Usman Siddiqui, Shane J. Anthoney Zair Zaki, and Ali Raza won the heart of the judges from the start with one original number after another including some unique renditions of iconic tracks, like Mera Pyar. The band has also won Lux Style award for Best Emerging Talent and has just released their first album. Sana Zehra sits down with the band members to find out whatâ€™s next for them
Please tell us a little about yourself and how Kashmir was formed?
We were just a group of like-minded friends who loved playing music. So we decided to give it a shot.
Now that the album is out what else is in store for you guys?
We are hoping for it to reach out to the public at large so that everyone can experience our work and what weâ€™ve been up to for the past couple of months. We will start touring right after Ramzan.
Do you think your fans will dig it if you guys were to transition to a different music genre?
We are not sure about that. But so far everything we have done, our fans have never failed to support us and we owe it all to them. You guys are the best!
What genre of music do you think Kashmir should be known for?
In our opinion, we donâ€™t like to restrict ourselves to just one genre. We like to experiment and create what comes from the heart.
What is a song that you all disagree about loving right now?
Itâ€™s impossible to answer that Iâ€™m afraid. Lol
How has 2018 been treating you guys so far and what is one musical goal you guys have for this year?
2018 has been really good so far and we are focusing on making more music. So letâ€™s see…
Was it hard to come up with a name that you all thought fit your sound and who you are?
Coming up with a band name is always tough. But we are glad we came up with Kashmir. It has become our identity now. Itâ€™s part of who we are.
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favourite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this group?
There are so many artists we would love to work with so naming a few would not do justice to the rest of them. We listen to all kinds of Pakistani music and itâ€™s exciting to see so many people following their dreams just like we are.
What is the message of your music?
Our message is mostly about peace and love or whatever we feel like writing about at that time. It could be depression, heartbreak, family values etc.
Mihaela Noroc lives in Bucharest, Romania, and has traveled to 55 countries in the last four years working on her ongoing photography project, The Atlas of Beauty, documented on her blog (theatlasofbeauty.com) and on her enormously popular Instagram (@the.atlas.of.beauty) pages. Mihaela’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and Forbes and she has appeared on CNN, t BBC, and Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday.Â Since 2013, she has traveled the globe with her backpack and camera, taking photos of everyday women to showcase the diversity of beauty all around us. The Atlas of Beauty is a collection of her photographs celebrating women from all corners of the world, revealing that beauty is everywhere and that it comes in many different sizes and colors. Noroc’s colourful and moving portraits feature women in their local communities, ranging from the Amazon rain forest to London city streets, and from markets in India to parks in Harlem, visually juxtaposing the varied physical and social worlds these women inhabit. Packaged as a gift-worthy, hardcover book, The Atlas of Beauty presents a fresh perspective on the global lives of women today.
For this fortnightâ€™s style me up, the pakistani bride blog founder, Iman Moghal pairs Anushree Reddy’s gorgeousÂ ensembles with regal Anayah jewels. Read on to see how Iman makes each outfit her own!
An actor, musician and model, Taifoor Khan entered the world of show business while still inhis teens. After a successful stint as the founding member of a band named Jadoo, Taifoor moved on to acting. He has since worked in a large number of televisions serials including Choti, Daray Daray Naina, Dil Ka Darwaza, Do Naina, Kaun Karta Hai Wafa, Khalish, Meka Aur Susral, Meri Dulari, Mubarak Ho Beti Hui Hai, Pardes, and Parsai, and made a name for himself as an actor of considerable merit. In an exclusive interview for Good Times, the talented young man talks to Ally Adnan about his band, making music, the craft of acting, his career, sibling rivalry, cinema, his plans for the future, and many other things.
â€œI am an atypical person with a lot of eccentricitiesâ€
You started your career in show business by founding a two member band, Jadoo, together with Shehroon Khan. Jadoo produced a string of hits, such as Come Into my Life, Meri Sanson Main, and Ve Mahiya Ve, but was disbanded in 2008. What went wrong with the band?
Jadoo enjoyed a period of success for several years but, like most bands, began to see its popularity wane as fans of its music grew up and developed a different taste in music. Shehroon Khan and I had a great time with our band but, over the years, the grind of the road and the mounting of shows became too much to handle. Jadoo became more work than play and, by 2008, we had become young adults who did not have an interest in carrying on what had essentially started out as a teenage activity.
Are you still friends with Shehroon Khan?
Yes, I am. Shehroon Khan and I never fell out as friends. Our priorities in life changed and the band ceased to be one. We decided to dissolve the band jointly. The two of us have great memories of our time together as band members and remember the songs that we created very fondly.
Do you plan to resume your career as musician?
I do not have any plans to resume my career as a musician but do harbor a secret desire to make music at some point in the future. I believe that I have a lot of music left to make and need the time, energy and wherewithal to create it. I am sure it will happen but do not know how and when.
What training do you have in music?
I donâ€™t have formal training in music. I am fortunate to have been born with the gift of music. It was and will always be a part of me.
Which do you enjoy more: acting or making music?
I find acting more rewarding but making music is more fun. These days I am focusing only on acting but that may change in the future. I am not a big believer in careful, meticulous planning and let things happen as they are ordained. Artists have an inborn belief in fatalism and allow predestination to chart the course of their life and career. I really donâ€™t know when my focus will shift to music but I do feel that it will happen, sooner or later.
You hold two masterâ€™s degrees â€“ one in business administration and the other in multimedia studies. Why did you opt for a career in show business instead of pursuing a more conventional career, say, in business administration?
I am an atypical person with a lot of eccentricities. My individualistic, and sometimes quirky, personality makes me unfit for a conventional career.Â I tried to find success in the corporate world but failed miserably. Typical nine-to-five jobs are not for someone like me. I find the regimented atmosphere of corporations stifling. I thrive in creative, artistic and open environments and feel at home in the world of show business. This is where I belong and where I plan to stay.
(brother) Sami relies on intuition and instinct whereas I follow the method
You are an alumnus of the venerable National College of Arts, Lahore. The institution has, however, attracted a lot of criticism in recent years and is believed, by many, to have morphed into an elitist institution that caters to the privileged, promotes classism, values money over merit, and allows the disparate treatment of rich and poor students.Â Do you believe the criticism is justified?
No, I do not. Itâ€™s unfair, unjustified and unwarranted. The National College of Arts is a great institution that welcomes people from all cross-sections of society and treats everyone with fairness and equity. I do not think that any other institution in the country can boast of the kind of diversity that one sees in the National College of Arts. I am aware of the few incidents that have hurt the image of a truly wonderful institution but those were an anomaly and not representative of the way things are done at the college.
Did you enjoy your time at the National College of Arts?
Yes, I did. It is a wonderful school and helped me mature both as a person and an artist. My time at the National College of Arts made an invaluable contribution to my intellectual, emotional and academic growth. I would not be the person that I am today had I not spent time in the college.
How did you learn to act?
I believe that I was born with innate acting talent. As a child, I was highly animated, loved to entertain others and had unusually high levels of energy. My imagination was highly developed. I liked to be the center of attention. And I loved to participate in activities that required me to live and behave in cleverly defined, imaginary sets of circumstances. When I look back at my childhood, it is obvious to me that I was always an actor. I always behaved like one.
Iâ€™ve expanded Stanislavski’s seven questions to fourteen. I make sure that I have the answers to these questions when preparing for a role
Once in show business, did you rely just on your innate acting skills and get no training?
Oneâ€™s acting talent is necessary but not sufficient. I had to work hard to develop and refine the skills that I was born with.
What did you do to hone your craft?
I studied acting technique and became familiar with the various styles of acting. I learnt how to read a script, understand the goal of the writer, follow the instructions of the director, and bring a scripted character to life. Most importantly, I worked on developing the ability to create specific relationships for the characters that I play.
Are you referring to â€œpoints of viewâ€ when you say, â€œspecific relationships?â€
Yes, I am. A competent actor creates relationships with all the characters, places, events, circumstances, settings, and things in the story. He needs to have a clear point of view towards other characters, his circumstances and his world.Â An actor cannot deliver a good performance in the absence of clear points of view and an understanding of relationships.
You and your brother, Sami Khan, are well known television stars. Have your careers in show business fueled sibling rivalry between the two of you?
No, it has not. We are both successful actors who have been blessed with fame, fortune and glory. We get offered much more work than we can possibly take on and often find ourselves saying no to projects, sometimes to desirable ones. We are lucky that we donâ€™t have to fight or compete for work â€“ not with each other and not with anyone else. Neither one of us harbors the negative feelings that typically fuel sibling rivalry. We are both very positive people.
Who is the better actor, you or Sami Khan?
We are both good actors but follow different styles of acting. Sami relies on intuition and instinct whereas I follow the method.
Is that the Stanislavski Method?
Yes, along with the techniques developed by renowned acting teachers Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner and Lee Strasberg. I have expanded Stanislavskiâ€™s seven questions to fourteen. I make sure that I have the answers to these questions when preparing for a role. I rely on them very heavily. They help me be a fully developed and connected actor.
What are the fourteen questions?
Who am I?
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses?
Where am I?
When is it?
Where have I just come from?
What do I want?
Why do I want it?
Why do I want it now?
What will happen if I donâ€™t get it now?
What obstacles must I overcome?
How will I get what I want?
Why would audiences care about me?
Why would audience care about my success or failure?
What criteria do you use to select acting projects?
I like to work in projects that give me an opportunity to play roles that are unorthodox and different from my real life persona. I enjoy inhabiting the skins of vastly different people. The psychological make-up of people who are not like me is of great interest to me. I enjoy deconstructing and understanding it.
You have worked in a very large number of television serials, both in lead an in supporting roles. What have been your favorite serials?
I like Do Naina, Dil Ka Darwaza, and Mubarak Ho Beti Hui Hai a great deal.
What do you think of your body of work as an actor?
I think it is good but a work in progress. I hope that it will grow into a memorable oeuvre of television serials and films.
Your recent television serials, Tohmat and Mubarak Ho Beti Hui Hai, have been very successful. What television projects do you have in the pipeline?
I am directing and acting a television serial titled Be Wajah. It has been written by Monam Majeed and stars Noman Ijaz, Alyy Khan, Saba Faisal, Mehrunissa Iqbal, and Kinza Razaq. It is a good play and I believe it will do very well with viewers.
Did you enjoy being one of the contestants of the television reality show Madventures?
Madventures was one hell of a journey for me. I surprised myself with the energy, stamina and guts that I was able to summon during the reality show. And Samia Azhar was a great partner.
Did Danish Hayat and Mehwish Hayat deserve to win the contest?
Not at all. Saima and I should have won.
You do not seem to have a great interest in cinema. Is television all you want to do?
No. I want to do films but very few are being made in Pakistan and I have yet to be offered a role that I want to do. I will make my movie debut as soon as I find the right role in the right film.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I plan to complete work in the various television serials that I have signed. I hope to land an interesting role in a good film. And, I want to take some time off for rest and relaxation.
Photographs By :Daud Malik
Interview By :Â Ally Adnan
Ally Adnan lives in Dallas and writes about culture, history and the arts. He tweets @allyadnan and can be reached at [email protected].
Moammar Rana has had big hits like Pal do Pal, Yeh Dil Aapka Huwa, Love Mein Ghum and, last but not least, Syed Noor directed Choorian, which became the highest grossing Pakistani Punjabi film earning Rs. 20 crores at the box office. He has also worked his magic in the Bollywood film Dobara in 2004 with actress Mahima Chaudhry in a special appearance and made his Bollywood debut in Ek Second… Jo Zindagi Badal De? opposite Manisha Koirala and former beauty pageant queen, Nikita Anand. And now, Moammar is back in the lead with Azaadi. Sana Zehra has a heart to heart with Moammar
Why do you think, apart from a few projects, movies almost always show women as the weaker sex?
I respect women a lot. The world over most movies are male oriented. But our Pakistani drama serials are sentimental and make women cry. In fact itâ€™s been said that if the drama can make a woman cry, then it will be a hit. Thatâ€™s the difference between movies and drama serials.
Do you think that needs to change?
We canâ€™t make a Wonder Woman; we donâ€™t have the resources. But films will predominantly almost always be about the hero and the heroine supporting him.
What is one thing apart from your movie that you are excited about that is coming up in 2018?
Iâ€™m excited about the elections! (Laughs)
If you can change one law of Pakistan what would it be?
Is there really a rule of law?
Do you think you are making a difference in peopleâ€™s lives?
For those 2.5 hours the people are sitting in the cinema, they are staying out of trouble. So, yes, I think Iâ€™m making a difference in peopleâ€™s lives. However, one time while shooting in a jail a prisoner told me that it is because of me that he was here. Please try to take good from the movies and leave the bad. Itâ€™s not real life.
You seem to be impervious to ageing. What do you do to yourself?
My secret is that I exercise a lot. I had to stop working out for a while because of my spine injury and my biceps were reduced to 7 inches. Everyone was worried about me but once I got a green flag from my doctor, I started working out again. I also always try to be happy and try not to stress,
Ultimate love advice?
Donâ€™t just be husband and wife, be friends.
Best dating advice?
Itâ€™s just a date, relax.
If you were to be an expert of anything in the world what would it be?
What excites you?
Hitting the gym excites me.
What is success to you?
Respect the success you get. Be humble to everyone and pray.
If you get a chance to spend a day in someone elseâ€™s shoes, whose would it be?
The Man of Steelâ€™s
What would you do if you experienced an awkward silence in between conversation?
Rub my ear
What is the best age to get married?
I got married at 24 so I will say 24.
If you got a chance to make a remake of your own movie which one would you pick?
Deewanay Teray Pyar Kay
Rate the following actors according to their professionalism
Shaan, Saud or Babar Ali?
Shaan and Saud are on the same level.
Rate the following actresses according to their professionalism.
Resham, Nimra and Saima?
Resham and Nimra are the same.
Best dancer in the industry right now is
No male. Sohai Ali is very good.
What is the phrase that comes to you following about the following?
Mujhay kyun nikala? (Why did you oust me?)
Chain aye na (I canâ€™t relax)
His wife, Javeria
If you were to write a book on yourself, what would the title be?
In your opinion, who says they enjoy being married but in reality they are not?
So many out there
What is that one thing that a person needs to rid of out of their life?
Name one word that comes to your mind when you think of?
Should have it
Living in the US
I love Pakistan
Only when needed
Dance in the rain
Again only when needed
Comedy or action
Describe Sonya in three words:
Sleeps a lot
Heart breaker or rule breaker
Who needs a stylist out of these three?
Mahira Khan, Mawra or Saba Qamar?
Who needs a dietician really badly in this industry?
Adnan Sdidiqui or Gohar Rasheed?
Who needs a therapist?
Mubasher Luqman, Sahir lodhi or Waseem Badami?
Favourite director at the moment?
Imran Malik is brilliant.
Who do you think would do justice to the role of Godfather?
Youth Wave: Sonya Hussain
Sonya Hussain entered the field of acting by chance. Having failed an audition to be a TV anchor, she instead caught the eye of director Ali Saeed who offered her a role in Donâ€™t Jealous. WithinÂ five years, Sonya has done has a long list of TV plays to her credit and has proved herself in projects likeMoor, Mere Humrahi, Mujhe Sandal Kardo, Mere Harjai, Shikwa, Shareek-i-Hayat, Mein Hari Piya, Marasim, and Dareecha. Azaadi her debut film is all set to release on Eid. Sonya talks to Sana Zehra about her inspiration and her recent breakup
Can body language be considered a language?
How would you start a conversation at a party if you didnâ€™t know anyone?
Iâ€™d just smile!
What promises have you never carried through to yourself?
I always wanted to be independent but I think I still have a long way to go.
Yes, I think so. (Smiles)
Do you expect love in return?Â
Iâ€™m lucky that a lot of people love me but, as far as expectation is concerned, I never expect love or money in return.
If you could spend ten minutes with your â€œheroâ€ alive or dead what would you ask them?
Why are you so charming?
A lot of people in our industry do not have the training or background in acting. Do you think you need one?
Personally speaking, I donâ€™t think you need training to act. Iâ€™ve seen people with a degree in acting and still they are really bad. To be a good actor you need to have good observational skills, be sensitive and need to know how to express emotions, then only youâ€™d be able to act well. Acting is not something that you need to study but itâ€™s something you need to feel.
Yes, as far as direction and filmmaking are concerned for that obviously you need to study.
If you were in the decision committee to make the next 8th wonder of the world what would you pick?
Sea Glass in the United States
What is the strangest compliment you ever received?
That I look like Priyanka Chopra
Any crazy fan moment?
A fan threatened to kill me if I didnâ€™t marry him. Super scary!
Weâ€™ve heard great things about you. Where does all that greatness come from?
I think if a person recognizes himself/herself for who he/she is and where he/she is coming from, and stays humble and grounded that in itself is the start of his/her greatness. Recognize your purpose in life and make sure you are remembered for great things.
If you could erase an event from your mind, which one would you choose?
Itâ€™s a tough question. One event about my father Iâ€™d like to erase from my life forever.
If you got a chance to ask a question from the following celebrities what would you ask?
Why donâ€™t you do movies in Pakistan?
Next time you go to Cannes hopefully Lâ€™Oreal will make you take a film with you.
How do you have such a great sense of humour?
If you get a chance to talk to everyone for five minutes what would you ask them?
Their purpose in life
If you were given a chance to play a biopic who would you play between Nawaz Sharif, Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto?
BB she is my inspiration, (and also a woman).
Best story in one sentence?
Suna tha kay unkay baghair hum mar jaye gain
Kamal hay humain tu bukhar bhi nahin hoa.
(I had heard that Iâ€™d die without my significant other
But itâ€™s remarkable that I didnâ€™t even get fever.)
What is one thing thatâ€™s happening in our industry right now that needs to stop?
Insecurities. I feel like the producers are playing it safe and there is hardly any risk taking. We need to start taking risks and making history. Rom-com is not just the formula for a hit. Every genre of film should be made and explored.
What is that one event in your life that would make a good movie?
When I had my breakup
What is that one job that does not exist but should?
What is that one rumour that is not true?
That Iâ€™m egoistic. Not true. In reality Iâ€™m very down to earth.
One thing that makes you feel beautiful
Iâ€™m confident and know who I am; I donâ€™t copy anyone.
If you were a brand, what would be your tagline?
Who do you think could run for a pageant from our industry?
Adnan Siddiqui and HSY
What is one thing that men should know about women and vice versa?
Men need to know that if a woman kicks you out of her life that is for real. She will forgive you once or twice but wonâ€™t take you back if it becomes a habit with you.
Women should know that being a feminist is a good thing but respect and be nice to your husband too.
Any message for your fans?
Donâ€™t judge people based on the way they dress. My connection with Allah is between me and HIM. No one has the right to judge that.
Jimmy Choo Max is being rocked by the hottest celebs recently on the most high profile red carpet events. With a 1.4 inch platform and a 4.7 inch heel, the Max adds 5 inches to the wearerâ€™s height yet is still comfortable to wear all night long; it retails for approximately $1,000
You can’t be a South Asian and have missed the massive coverage of Sonam Kapoor’s glitzy wedding held recently in Mumbai that trended on social media as #Sonamkishaadi. You may have already seen the photos and dance clips, but here is a detailed account fo her love story with her husband Anand Ahuja
By Mahlia Lone
It seems the last name of Kapoor is a lucky one to have for Bollywood acting families; it opens studio doors, ensuring success and longevity of career. During Partition, Surinder Kapoor who belonged to a Punjabi Hindu family from Pre Partition Peshawar was invited by his distant cousin the actor Prithviraj Kapoor to migrate to Bombay and join the burgeoning Hindi film industry. Using his family connections, in 1950 Surinder became secretary to film star Geeta Bali who subsequently married Prithvirajâ€™s middle born son Shammi Kapoor in 1955. Geeta kept acting after her marriage unlike most Kapoor bahus (daughters in law) and in her gratitude to her secretary she helped Surinder become a film producer. He got his big break as a producer when Rajesh Khanna who was a superstar of the 70s consented to do his film as a favour. He said, â€œRajesh Khanna who played the title-role in Shehzada (which became a hit) was truly of a princely disposition. He started shooting for me without ever discussing the price, saying that we could settle that once the film is made, he said and made the banner S. K. International Films become an acknowledged company.â€
In theâ€™80s Surinder produced a string of successful films with his middle son Anil in the lead, such as Hum Paanch, Woh Saat Din, Loafer, Judaai, Sirf Tum, Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai, Pukar, and No Entry. His eldest son Boney learnt the ropes alongside his father and carried on his legacy as a film producer. Boney was famously married to the late South Indian born superstar Sridevi (see Memorable Romance GT March 16th 2018) and has two budding actress daughters, Jhanvi and Khushi and son Arjun Kapoor from a previous marriage. Arjunâ€™s mother and Boneyâ€™s first wife, the late Mona Shourie, who died of cancer, was CEO of Future Studios, the largest ready-to-shoot, fully furnished, indoor shooting studio in Mumbai. The youngest of the three brothers, Sanjay is also an actor but never made it big as a lead.
This is the illustrious Bollywood film family that Sonam was born into in 1985 in the refugee neighbourhood of Chembur, Mumbai to Anil and his wife Sunita, a former model, and the daughter of a well off State Bank of India executive. Anil moved his family to the upmarket suburb of Juhu when Sonam was just a month old where the couple had their younger daughter Rhea, now a film producer, and actor son, Harshvardhan. The kids were educated at the Arya Vidya Mandir school in Juhu. This chain of English medium schools was attended by many Bollywood stars such as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonakshi Sinha, etc.
Sonam was a â€œnaughtyâ€ and â€œcarefreeâ€ girl who would pick on the boys, was sporty, playing rugby and basketball, as well as being a good dancer, training in Kathak, classical music and Latin dance. At 15, she took up a waitressing job that only lasted a week. A heavy teenager, she recalled, â€œI had every issue related to weight that I could have. I was unhealthy, I had bad skin, and I had hair growing on my face!â€ Then it was discovered that she is diabetic (she started taking an insulin injection everyday) plus has polycystic ovaries that causes hormonal imbalance because of which pregnancies are recommended at an earlier age.
Sonam was sent to Singapore to the United World College of South East Asia to help her get into a Western college. After which she got admission at the average University of East London in Stratford, but dropped out soon after. So itâ€™s safe to assume that Sonam was not at all academically inclined.
In Singapore Sonam met with family friend Rani Mukherji who at the time was working on the film Black (2005) opposite Amitabh Bachchan, a casting coup. Sonam decided she wanted to work as a crew member on the set as she had aspirations to become a writer/director. Anil asked the filmâ€™s director Sanjay Leela Bhansali to mentor his daughter so Sonam became his assistant director.
Star kids are a saleable commodity in the Indian film industry drawing crowds to cinemas out of curiosity
Sunita Sunit Star kids are a saleable commodity in the Indian film industry drawing crowds to cinemas out of curiosity. Bhansali offered Sonam the lead in his next film, Saawariya (2007) opposite another star kid,Â Ranbir Kapoor, son of Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, on the condition that she lose a lot of weight. At the time, Sonam at 5â€™ 96â€ weighed 180 lb. She spent the next two years overhauling her diet and fitness regime and lost a total of 77 lb. by jogging, doing yoga and playing squash. In addition, she studied acting with renowned coaches.
The debut movie of two star kids was hyped up but, despite being the first Bollywood movie to receive a North American release by a Hollywood studio, and having established stars Rani Mukherjee and Salman Khan in supporting roles, the movie, loosely based on Russian literary giant Fyodor Dostoevskyâ€™s short story White Nights, fared badly at the box office. Sonam and Ranbir who were distant cousins had been hanging out during during filming drifted apart. The young hot shot actor started dating another statuesque beauty Deepika, also a new entry in the film world.
On a side note, two more young actors also part of Sonamâ€™s family are: paternal cousinÂ Mohit Marwah, and last but certainly not least her maternal second cousin, Ranveer Singh who is now engaged to Deepika. As they say, itâ€™s all in the family.
Next, Sonam chose the role of an aspiring singer opposite her idol veteran actress Waheeda Rehman and Abhishek Bachchan in the drama Delhi-6 (2009), another commercial failure. Though she received some positive reviews with critic Rajeev Masand stating that Sonam was â€œa firecracker, instinctive and uninhibited in what isnâ€™t even a conventional female lead.â€
Finally the next year, she had her first hit with I Hate Luv Storys. During filming the actress was briefly dating the movieâ€™s director Punit Malhotra, who is the nephew of famous Indian designer, Manish Malhotra. Despite her limited success as a box office draw, that year, Sonam became the first Indian actress to appear on The Hollywood Reporterâ€™s â€œNext Generation: Asia Classâ€, a list of newcomers in film.
Now Sonam is a huge Jane Austen fan. With her younger sister Rhea at the helm as producer, the two sisters decided to remake the Hollywood romcom Clueless in Hindi, a cinematic adaptation of Jane Austenâ€™s comedy of errors novel Emma set in modern day. But the resulting movie Aisha (2010) made under the Anil Kapoor Films Company banner failed to leave much of an impact and couldnâ€™t draw in the masala crowd.
Sonam, however, had quickly emerged as a style icon for younger women and got several ad endorsements, including the lucrative and high profile Lâ€™Oreal campaigns. She represented the global brand for the first time at the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival in 2011 and became an instant internationally recognized Bollywood style queen.
After a few more misses, the romantic drama Raanjhanaa (2013) marked a turning point in Sonamâ€™s career. She played the role of a Muslim student pulled into politics after the murder of her Sikh boyfriend. Determined to make her role work, she prepared intensely for her part, by spending time with students, and practising with the Jawaharlal Nehru University theatre club. At this time in her personal life, Sonam was set up with entrepreneur/model Sahir Berry by Rhea on a social media network. The two dated for a few months before breaking up. It seemed she wasnâ€™t clicking with anyone.
Rhea and Anil produced the dramedy Khoobsurat, (2014) in which Sonam, who played a physiotherapist, starred opposite Fawad Khan, who played an Indian prince. The movie was a modest success in India, and did especially well in the international market.
That same year, Sonam was introduced by her stylist Pernia Qureshi to fellow Delhi-ite Anand Ahuja. Pernia became friends with Sonam when she designed costumes for Aisha. Incidentally, Perniaâ€™s mother, Nasreen was born and bred in Lahore and worked as an actress here before moving to New Delhi when she married wealthy Indian Muslim meat exporter, Moin Qureshi.
Back to Anand Ahuja. Anand belongs to a merchant class Khatri Punjabi Sikh family and is third generation wealthy. His grandfather Harish Ahuja is the owner of the countryâ€™s largest export house Shahi Exports that exports garment and has an annual turnover of over $450 million or INR3,000 crores. Shahi Exports supplies garments to Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Esprit, Wal-Mart, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger among others. In 2015, Harish Ahuja bought a 9,000 square feet sprawling bungalow built on a 3,170 square yard plot on Prithviraj Road in central Delhi–where a lot of the top industrialists live–for Rs. 173 crore, which is now worth Rs. 300 crores according to India Times.
Anand was born to Sunil and Beena Ahuja in 1983 in New Delhi and grew up in the family house in the posh Jor Bagh locality of Delhi with his younger brothers, Anant and Amit but since then the family has moved to the exclusive Golf Links gated community.
After doing his high school from the American Embassy School in New Delhi, Anand graduated in economics and international relations from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, he went to Wharton to pursue MBA, but did not complete his degree. After interning in Duetsch Bank, he worked as an assistant buyer at a Macyâ€™s Inc. store owned by his uncle, and then as a product manager at Last Sportswear and Amazon.com in Seattle. Getting a good knowledge of the business, he decided to return to India and set up his own clothing brand, backed by his family of course. He set up clothing brand Bhane with a showroom in New Delhiâ€™s upscale Meherchand Market. After he started dating Sonam, the actress and her siblings were spotted wearing the brand at a number of events to help bring it publicity.
Sonam and Anand hit it off almost immediately. Just a month into their relationship, he popped the question to her, which took her a few monthsâ€™ consideration to answer. But the two lovebirds were not ready to settle down quite as yet. Though she remained tightlipped about her relationship, photos floated about of Anand and Sonam together at public as well as family events and holidays abroad.
The 5â€™ 9â€ tall weighing 143 lbs. muscular basketball playing and gym honed guy with the well-built chest and dark brown eyes was well dressed to boot. Escorting her to events, he was content to stay discreetly in the background. Rather than living off her reflected star wattage, he focused on starting Indiaâ€™s first multi-brand sneaker boutique, VegNonVeg that retails international footwear brands, like Nike and Adidas, and lesser known but cult labels like the Japanese Visvim. Meanwhile Sonam was hard at work solidifying her career.
Next Sonam starred in the biographical thriller Neerja (2016) as the eponymous air hostess Neerja Bhanot who died while saving the passengers of the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 in 1986. Again Sonam got into her role by researching the real life events, and met Bhanotâ€™s family. The film became one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films featuring a female protagonist and was critically well received with Sonamâ€™s performance noted to be her best to date. Hindustan Times critic Rohit Vats wrote that â€œshe carries the film entirely on her shoulder. She looks earnest, scared, benevolent and bold, all at the same time. Sonam won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and National Film Award â€“ Special Mention. Anand was seated next to Sonam and stood up to applaud and cheer his â€œpartner in crimeâ€ when she received the award on stage and Instagrammed: â€œmy fave! #everydayphenomenal.â€
Soon after, Sonam was asked about her relationship with the entrepreneur by a reporter. She replied cryptically, â€œThere are a lot of other things which make you a whole person besides who youâ€™re dating. My personal life is out there because Iâ€™ve always been myself but if youâ€™re talking about personal life as in (context of) boyfriend, then Iâ€™ll never talk about it.â€
Rhea regularly helps style Sonam at high profile events like the Cannes Film Festival and both sisters are considered stylish and modern. Inspired in part by Anand, they launched their clothing line Rheson in 2017.
â€œSonam and Rhea Kapoor have, for years now been considered style icons for young India,â€ said their brand consultant Anya Rangaswami. â€œRheson (RHEa + SONam; pronounced â€˜reasonâ€™) was conceptualised to be a brand for fashionable young Indian womenâ€¦at an affordable priceâ€¦through Shoppers Stop (department store chain and online retailer)â€¦. The first of its kind, the brand aimed to position Indian retail on the global fashion map, building a homegrown brand at a scale never seen before.â€
Certainly the Ahuja business acumen and garment industry knowhow was rubbing off.
After a two-year hiatus from films, Sonam came back in a film that addresses important social issues Pad Man (2018) playing a social worker in Arunachalam Muruganantham, who campaigned for menstrual hygiene in rural India. Pad Man is based on a short story in Twinkle Khannaâ€™s book The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad and co-stars Twinkleâ€™s husband starring Akshay Kumar. Sonam said she wants to make films with a social message and not just provide entertainment. She, in fact, publicly criticised fellow actress Katrina Kaif for doing â€œover the top films.â€
Most recently, Rhea has produced the romcom Veere Di Wedding, playing in cinemas now, about four girls who embark on a road trip with an ensemble cast co-starring Sonam and her best friends, Kareena Kapoor and Swara Bhasker. When a reporter asked her if it was true that real friends canâ€™t be made in Bollywood, Sonam disagreed, â€œCompletely untrue. Jacqueline, Bebo (Kareena) and Swara are my closest friends.â€
A month before their wedding took place, Sonam and Anand decided they had waited long enough and they were ready to formalize their commitment. Within a month, all the preparations were made hastily but expertly.
Mr. and Mrs. Anil Kapoor put up a grand show, hosting a pre-Mehndi party, followed by a Sangeet, the wedding and a grand reception. Sonamâ€™s cousins: Arjun Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Jahnvi Kapoor prepared dance performances for the Sangeet. All the top Indian actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, etc. fully participated with fervor. Anand and Sonam tied the knot on 8th May in the 55,000-sq ft. mansion of Sonamâ€™s maternal aunt interior designer Kavita Singh, married to pharmaceutical magnate Jasjit Singh, in Bandra, Mumbai in a traditional Sikh Anand Karaj ceremony.
bWood Style Queen at cannes Film Festival
After the wedding, Sonam jetted off to Cannes to fulfill her responsibilities to Lâ€™Oreal as one of its Indian ambassadors where she cut a wedding cake and Instagrammed, â€œAnand Ahuja this was for us!â€
The couple will not leave for honeymoon right away but have decided to postpone it till October-November due to work commitments. Neither will they be moving to the Ahujas London house as was reported earlier. Instead Sonam will go back and forth between Mumbai and Delhi for the time being. Bollywood Hungama quoted a close friend of the Kapoors saying that the couple have been hunting for residential properties in Mumbai prior to their wedding, â€œIt is true that the couple was seen checking out some property in Mumbai close to her parentsâ€™ home. But they didnâ€™t zero in on anything they like. Honestly Anil Kapoor wants Sonam and her husband to stay in the Kapoor bungalow. Anandâ€™s business and family are in Delhi. Sonamâ€™s home and career are in Mumbai. For some time at least she will be shuttling between the two cities.â€
Next up, Sonam will feature in a biopic of the actor Sanjay Dutt, entitled Sanju, plus is filming the romance Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, co-starring her father and Juhi Chawla, releasing later this year. In addition, she has signed on to play the title role in a film adaptation of Anuja Chauhanâ€™s novel The Zoya Factor.
Looks like the actress has no intention of slowing down and Anand has no mind to hold her back. They must have an extremely trusting, supportive and secure relationship. Sonam said, â€œI need to be thankful for so much.â€ Sounds like she found her true match.
Thereâ€™s nothing like the thought of cool water and seaside breeze to bring your body temperature down. With that in mind, we have a delightfully chilling cover feature for you with Moammar Rana and Sonya Hussain, stars of the film Azaadi. Moammar talks about his film comeback, how he maintains his looks and his long standing relationship with his wife, while Sonya talks about her recent relationship breakup and stepping into the film industry. Taifoor Khan gives budding actors tips on the method system of acting by sharing questions he poses himself while preparing for a role. And the members of the alternative rock band Kashmir, the winner of Pepsi Battle of the Bands, give GT readers a heads-up regarding their tour after Eid.
Socially, lawn launches and iIftaris are the norm this month. Of those who summer abroad, Karachiites have as usual left for cooler climes early, while generally Lahoris leave after Ramzan. Speaking sartorially, whereas I tend to wear flip flops in the summer, for those who fastidiously stick to heels, the new Jimmy Choo Max shoe promises to make you look five inches taller and is being seen on the red carpets the world over. You may want to try on a pair if you are amongst those holidaying abroad. Itâ€™s a whopping $1000 but more reasonably priced inspired versions are sure to hit the shops abroad and locally.