GT – November 01-15 2018


Lifestyle symbolizes creativity and individuality with a blend of trends reflected in the designs. Meet Raheel and Zoya, the creative team and co-founders of Creo, a home accessories and living accents brand. Their passion for accessories stemmed from their motivation to renovate their own home

By Haider Rifaat

Walk us through your journey.

After starting our lives together, we wanted to create a space that was an expression of our personalities. That goal not only pushed us to look at options beyond what was available in the local accessories market, but it also forced us to consider ways to redo our space without a budget breaking overhaul. The result was stunning customized pieces for our home and the birth of Creo.

How did your creative talent translate into a full time profession?

The beginnings of Creo are humble and close to the heart. We always had an innate flare for interior and design but we realized our passion when we started our home improvement project.

What accessories do you specialize in?

Creo has a spectrum of home and lifestyle accessories. From unconventional hangings and floor planters, occasional tables, exquisite lamps to stunning serve ware and unique bookends, we offers a range of accessories and accents pieces.

What are your professional roles as two creative people?

The design process is a shared responsibility. Raheel leads manufacturing and finance, while sales and marketing are my forte.

What is your crafting process? What steps are involved in making luxury home accessories?

Our creative process is very fluid. Sometimes a particular material will inspire a product, and in other cases, design options are discussed once we have determined what type of product we wish to create.

As a couple, how would you describe lifestyle?

There is a growing trend to try to fit into a mold, but we feel lifestyle should reflect your values and personality.

Was your journey struggle free or a tough one?

While our journey wasn’t struggle free, we haven’t faced a choice so difficult, a problem so substantial that we have not been able to overcome. In fact, our resolve to work hard only becomes stronger with each challenge.

How does your individual talent reflect in your designs? Is it a struggle for you both to land on the same page?

We share a similar aesthetic vision and our individual talents complement each other. We have mastered product form, proportions and the ability to merge them with functionality. We seldom find ourselves in a design deadlock.

As a couple, how do you regulate conflict of interest in a business?

We have faith in each other’s ideas and even when we disagree, we give each other the autonomy and space to experiment. Neither of us has regrets about being unable to try something we believed in.

How are affordability and luxury both an asset to your brand’s philosophy? Do the terms not contradict each other?

We don’t believe luxury and affordability are mutually exclusive. Luxury should not be associated with specific price points or exclusive access; instead it should be associated with particular characteristics or values, such as style, quality and finish.

Do you find your designs exotic and far from the mainstream? Is that why you chose not to amalgamate yourselves with the local industry?

While our products are bold and unique, they reflect the urban Pakistani’s burgeoning desire for a modern and luxe aesthetic.

“As artists, we are the ambassadors of our country. It is our responsibility that we convey a positive message to the audiences and around world through our art, music and voice”

How much work is required to create household and office items? Guide me through the process.

The design process is a bit unpredictable. Something that is seemingly easy to create may in fact takes much longer to develop on account of hurdles during execution.  Some products will take days while others may take months to complete.

Who do you cite as your influences?

We greatly admire the work of international designers such as Kelly Wearstler and Jonathan Adler for their adventurous flare. We have also been inspired by local arts and crafts and have developed ways to incorporate such art and artisanship into our accessories.

Are people receptive to your business? Has it been positive or a mix of both?

The response has been overwhelming. Creo is lauded for offering sumptuous home accessories that deliver functionality at affordable price points.

How do you intend to take your business to the next level?

We want to introduce our products to customers all over Pakistan. To that end, we are planning a series of exhibitions in major cities early next year.

Actress Hira Mani, who stars in the acclaimed drama serial Mom Ka Dia, started out briefly hosting a morning show with  her husband, Mani. This charming and grounded young lady believes in believing and does not keep fake relationships with anyone she meets, be it for 2 minutes or 2 years. Hira reveals to Haider Rifaat what she’s really like as a person

Who is Hira Mani?      

I am a free minded and relaxed person and I like starting conversations. Words such as lively, realistic, humble and down to earth describe me well. Pretense is a big NO for me.

 I believe if God has created you, what is the point of pretense?

I believe things are easy in life but you make them difficult for yourself. My kids are scared of me but they really like me for who I am. Every day, I play different roles in my life, as I play the character of a good wife.

What was your last job prior to taking up acting as a full-fledged career?

Before stepping into the media industry, I designed clothes for my family and friends. It was more of a hobby but I never thought of choosing it as a career.

Hira’s excited about her next drama serial, the love story Aseeray Mohabbat, airing soon

What are you known for the most: acting or hosting?

People know me more for acting now. Mani and I started hosting a trendsetting show, and were cited “The Pakistani Host Couple.” It is more of acting than hosting today.

Tell me about your married life. How did you and Mani meet?

Mani and I met just like an ordinary couple but we were destined to be together. After 11 years of our marriage, we love each other wholeheartedly and fulfill the duties of a married couple happily.

So far, how has your experience been filming the hit drama Dil Mom Ka Diya? Are there any other dramas you are working on?

I play the character of Tamkinat in the acclaimed serial Dil Mom Ka Diya. It is the talk of the town, and I can relate to the character because it depicts how patience and sacrifices keep a family going. Another project that will be on air soon is the love story titled Aseeray Mohabbat, and I am anxiously waiting for it to come out.

What kind of roles appeal to you the most? Which role do you want to do next?

I want to do the girl-next-door character, someone who is lively and bubbly, as well as dark and meaningful roles.

How do you keep Hira Mani dissociated from the character she is playing?

While I am playing a character, it does become difficult to stop living it when the camera is off. My kids often help to bring me back to reality.

You have mostly played characters that are victims. Will your fans get to see you portray a negative role?

I am an actor and any role with solid content gets my attention. I don’t really have dos and don’ts as far as negative or positive roles are concerned.

Are impactful characters seldom attributed to female actors?

Female actors usually get good roles, but only a few of them are impactful. We need writers to come up with good scripts for brilliant actors we have in our industry.

If offered a film, which actor would you like to work with?

I would love to work with Nawazuddin Siddiqui. He is one powerful actor with tremendous talent.

Does screen fright get to you at times or is it something you have recovered from?

I never have screen fright. I don’t know why. Even in my earlier hosting days, I only kept one thing in mind — to maintain the respect of my family and myself.

What have you learned about yourself and the world since you became a celebrity?

I have learned a lot about myself since I started working in this industry. My husband has provided a great support system, which has brought me here today. He is the one who always believes in me and my work.

“Mani and I started hosting a trendsetting show, and were cited ‘The Pakistani Host Couple’”

What do you do when you are not working?

I like spending time with my kids. We go on playdates, to the pool and make the most of our time.

Are you a fashion girl?

I don’t follow fashion blindly. I have my own sense of style that works for me.

What are some things in life that are a mystery to you?

The only mystery for me is how to provide a better lifestyle to all the orphans and needy children on a larger scale.

Are you competitive? Do you thrive under pressure?

Well, I don’t think so. I am competitive but I don’t take any pressure. I love my work and I try to give it my 100% and perform better than before.

How do you stay positive in negative situations?

By focusing on my blessings and knowing that things happen for a reason

How has your family helped you blossom in this industry?

My extended family, especially my spouse, have my back. Without their constant encouragement and support, I wouldn’t have been able to last a day.

Does stardom create arrogant celebs?

Sadly, it is true. One should act responsibly and kindly.

“I would love to work with Nawazuddin Siddiqui”

Do you enjoy a decent fan base?

Definitely! It keeps me motivated and makes me want to do even better.

Does social media draw unwanted attention?

Yes, it does! Today, our lives are programed in such a way that we are constantly on social media sharing our daily activities. We need to think outside of social media and enjoy life as it should be.

If you had the authority to rule the world, what would you like to see different?

Only if I could, I would want to eradicate child labour and hunger from the world. It is saddening to see the current state we are living in. Every needy child should be given the basic necessities of life.

Do you think we are doing a good enough job to sustain water shortage? What are you doing to contribute your part?

We need to do so much collectively. Water shortage is one thing that will affect our planet like nothing else. I enforce conserving water through controlled usage while washing dishes or turning the tap off while we brush our teeth and getting domestic leakages fixed. It is about being aware in general to not waste water.

What are your thoughts on mental health stigmas in Pakistan?

Mental health is the most neglected topic in Pakistan. We are constantly competing, our lives revolve around social media and we fail to accept us as we are. We need to come out of it, accept it, talk openly about mental health and help everyone around us.

What advice would you give your younger self?

That I should have started acting earlier

The best word of advice you ever received.

There are no shortcuts. Hard work is the name of the game.

Photographs by

Rehan Mithani & Hasan Habib Hashmi

Having recently truimphed in the Pepsi Battle of the Bands competition, Bayaan has become the hottest band in the country, apprearing on everyone’s radar. Soulful and lyrical, the band’s music touches both hearts and minds. Afshan Shafi catches up with members: Muqeet, Mansoor, Haider, Shahrukh and Asfar, for an insightful interview

How does it feel to be the Battle of the Bands champions?

Muqeet: We fill privileged, lucky and immensely gracious to our supporters who have brought us to this position.

Mansoor: I feel humbled and elated!

Haider: It feels great to be acknowledged as the winner in the pool of immensely talented bands. We feel that all the bands are winners due to their invaluable contribution to the industry.

Shahrukh: It still feels a bit unreal, like I’m divorced from it and it happened to someone else other than us.

Asfar: It still hasn’t hit me yet. It definitely feels good to get all this recognition and gigs haha!

What was your favourite moment from the whole show (apart from the moment of winning, of course)?

Muqeet: Playing Azadi while in the bottom two against the brilliant Tamasha. It was a very emotional performance for all the band members and we are glad the emotions were reflected in the performance.

Mansoor: The whole experience was great! Not only did I learn a lot but I also made some amazing friends along the way

Haider: The performance of Azadi in Episode 6 was one of the best highlights for us in the show.

Shahrukh: My personal favourite moment was playing Azadi during our final Danger Zone performance.

Asfar: Standing ovation after we performed Azaadi!

Which judge’s critique do you think helped you the most?

Muqeet: Bilal from Strings was really helpful. Not only did he give very specific comments on stage, he also gave us more detailed comments off stage that gave us more clarity in our shortcomings

Mansoor: I respect and appreciate all the judges and their helpful critique. However, Bilal’s advice resonated most with me.

Haider: Bilal Maqsood

Shahrukh: I feel like both members of Strings, Bilal and Faisal, gave us very good advice that was related to something perhaps even more important than songwriting — band communication, organization and how to maintain a healthy work dynamic.

Asfar: Bilal! His critique has always been very constructive.

What was the least pleasant aspect of your Battle of the Bands journey?

Muqeet: I will go with Episode 3. After our first performance in the Top 8, we were absolutely grilled by the judges and sent to the Bottom 2 straight away. We managed to escape into the top 6 by just a hair’s breadth.

Mansoor: Getting used to going in the Danger Zone since we went there thrice!

Haider: Going into the Danger Zone in most of the episodes.

Shahrukh: I don’t want to sound like I’m whining but the hours were sooo long sometimes.

Asfar: The fact that our favourite bands had to leave,


“It’s just about the feels”

Muqueet Shahzad”

“I am the most direct member of the band, to a fault perhaps”
Shahrukh  Aslam

Rapid Fire:

Celebrity Crush?

Muqeet: You

Mansoor: Alison Brie

Haider: Several (international and local)

Shahrukh: Ezra Miller

Asfar: Deepika Padukone

Favourite Musician?

Muqeet: Hans Zimmer

Mansoor: Gumbi and Benny Greb

Haider: Hans Zimmer

Shahrukh: Koi scene hee nahin hai, can’t answer this question rapid fire!

Asfar: Zafar Yousaf

Love or Money?

Muqeet: Love

Mansoor: Love

Haider: Love

Shahrukh: Love

Asfar: Love

Fav. holiday destination?

Muqeet: Hunza

Mansoor: Northern Areas

Haider: Europe

Shahrukh: Wherever! As long as the right people are with me

Asfar: Europe

Top three qualities you look for in a partner?

Muqeet: I guess it’s just about the feels.

Mansoor: Is this a question by a rishta aunty?

Haider: Compatibility



Shahrukh: A business partner?! This is an interview about my band, this question is irrelevant.

Asfar: Ambitious

Spiritually driven


Top 3 turnoffs in a partner?

Muqeet: I guess that’s also just about how the feels.

Mansoor: If Clucker doesn’t approve of you, I’m sorry…

Haider: Dishonesty.



Shahrukh: Not interested in answering this one either.

Asfar: Not respecting each others personal space


Poor hygiene

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day who would it be?

Muqeet: Bruce Wayne

Haider: Someone from the lowest strata of the society

Shahrukh: A cat

Asfar: I’m happy as myself

Your dream collaboration with another musician?

Muqeet: Hans Zimmer

Mansoor: One of my favourite bands, Haken

Haider: Hans Zimmer or Steven Wilson

Shahrukh: That’s a tough one. At the moment, I think it’d have to be someone like Devin Townsend.

Asfar: Abida Parveen or Nayaara Noor

All the band members pick love over money

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians across the country?

Muqeet: Keep working on improving your skill. Practice as much as you can. Put as much passion in your practice as possible.

Create original music. Don’t shy away from what you want to express through music. That’s what will make you a true artist, help you explore the impact of music and also push our industry forward.

Don’t rely on music to be your source of income. Pakistan’s music industry is not in a position to support indie artists yet. Have another income stream to keep fueling your passion.

Mansoor: If music is really your passion then go for it and don’t be discouraged by the struggle that accompanies it. Try to balance a day job with it.

Haider: Stay true to your art.

Be as original as possible.

Focus on original music mainly.

Perseverance and patience is the key.

Shahrukh: Never give up.

Don’t do it for the money.

Always have a day job.

Asfar: Just keep playing and making music as things take time.

Be loyal to your work.

“Clucker Faheem is too loud!”
Asfar Hussain

What are the most major differences in personality between the group members?

Muqeet: Never thought about this actually but I guess the differences are as normal as between you and your friend.

Mansoor: We all have tiny differences but we are all very similar on a broader scale. I guess this is the reason we have been best friends and band members for so long.

Haider: All group members have very contrasting personalities and they add their own unique flavour to the band, onstage and offstage.

Shahrukh: We all have our own approaches to life, especially to problem solving and work. I suppose I am the most direct member of the band, to a fault perhaps in terms of clearly stating how I feel about something, especially when I have concerns or issues.

Asfar: Clucker Faheem is too loud!

Who gets along the most from the group?

Muqeet: I think we all get along really well. Never felt there’s a difference.

Mansoor: Haider has a bromance with Muqeet. Asfar has a bromance with everyone. Sharukh has a bromance with Clucker. It’s too confusing!

Haider: Probably Mansoor

Shahrukh: We all get along. We’re friends. That’s why we do this.

Asfar: As a group we have different dynamics. We all get along very well, but our one on one dynamic is different with everyone.

Who fights the most with each other from the group?

Muqeet: Hmm there are no fights but I think there have been equal proportion of disagreements between everyone.

Mansoor: Clucker

Haider: No one

Shahrukh: Exchanging a few heated words or disagreeing with someone is not the same as fighting. Breaking someone.

“Haider has a bromancemwith Muqeet. Asfar has a bromance with everyone. Sharukh has a bromancemwith Clucker”
Mansoor Lashari

Name the best and worst aspect of being in Bayaan?

Muqeet: I feel blessed to be following my passion with some of the best people I know. There can be nothing bad about that but yes, there are pitfalls just like in any other human relationships but that’s part and parcel of it all.

Mansoor: The best is that we have the opportunity to get out music out to so many people. We can express ourselves with complete freedom and honesty. I don’t think there is a worst part.

Haider: The best aspect is definitely being a part of the new generation of musicians and bands in the country as well as being able to express and make original music. No worst aspect.

Shahrukh: Best aspect – I get to help create what I consider good music knowing people will listen to it

Worst aspect – I have very little to no time for anything other than work and Bayaan

Asfar: Best aspect is that the worst aspect doesn’t exist!

Photographs by Ali Agha

“The performance of Azadi in Episode 6 was the highlight”
Haider Abbas

Who? Natasha Ali Lakhani

Why? She looks divine in her pristine, ethnic look

Who? Anzela Abbasi

Why? She has a rockchic vibe going on

Who? Sonya Husayn

Why? Geometric print pantsuit with a corset belt makes for one standout look

Who? Kubbra Sait

Why? What a fun jigsaw print!

Who? Danish Wakeel

Why? The model has accessorised his jeans and white shirt with blingy gold

Who? Aditi Gautam

Why? An on-trend pleated striped skirt, peep toe boots and a fun necklace makes her stand out

What’s art?

Art is any medium through which an artist emotionally connects with people and it can be a strong force to reckon with. Just last week, Rashid Rana’s photomontage titled Red Carpet was sold at Bonhams, London, for a whopping £200,000 (Rs. 34.4 million) at an auction of modern and contemporary South Asian art. A painting by the deceased Master Sadequain fetching £75,000 came second in the highest selling Pakistani paintings. We at GT congratulate Rashid for being such a maverick and breaking new ground for contemporary Pakistani art, and feel proud of him.

On the subject of art, we have a revealing interview with the band Bayaan, winner of the Pepsi Battle of the Bands, in which the young members take us through their highs and lows during the stiff competition. They tell us how they connected with the audience through their stirring performance of Azaadi by pouring their hearts into their rendition. The audience and judges responded in kind by giving the band a standing ovation. That’s how you win hearts and minds. Take anyone out of the minutiae of their daily lives and transport them to a realm where they are free to be feeling, sentient beings. Brimming with thoughtful content, we present you the latest GT.

Pin It