GT – September 16-30 2018


Mahlia S. Lon

It’s all about the latest fashion these days from the runways of NYC to Lahore, from Central Park to The Nishat Hotel, and everything in between. And we have you covered in regards to the freshest looks and standout trends. It’s good to know what key pieces one should invest in to update your look. From Paris, we have an artistic editorial shoot with a ballet theme, that of Black Swan. And globe-trotter Maria Khan tells us about her design inspiration for her jewellery collection.

We visit the lovely home of world renowned Master artist Imran Qureshi. His new house is contemporary, with clean lines and filled with beautiful artworks. What an outstanding art collection he has! He explains the symbolism in his paintings and the techniques of miniature painting he employs for his large scale installations. A must read!

Kanza Zia and Ammar Lasani are the new filmmaking couple responsible for Gumm, a yet to be released feature film doing the rounds of the international film circuit currently. The film is getting extremely positive reviews from critics abroad. We know all about Pakistani actors wanting to work abroad, but Tom Coulston is a British actor wanting to work more here. He had such a good experience working in Teefa in Trouble that he is keen to follow it up. With this and a lot more, we present you with this issue of GT.

Who? Shazia Ammar

Why? She’s kept the focus on her Cult Gaia bag and Chanel suit chain fob while keeping the rest simple

Who? Musharaf Hai

Why? Who says you can’t head a major MNC and not be feminine at the same time? She embodies post-modern feminism in her flirty fuschia top

Who? Nomi Ansari

Why? A well-fitting blazer, jeans, streetwear sneakers with black specs is a no-nonsense look that exudes confidence

Who? Anusheh Shahid

Why? Sultry!

Who? Sophie

Why? Just look how effortlessly and expertly she carries off an Ali Xeeshan dupatta with a Western outfit

Who? Sherbano Taseer

Why? She’s pretty in a flattering fit and flare dress

Who? Sara Lalani

Why? Love her whimsical tape measure belt

Who? Saba Qamar

Why? She’s elegant in an Elan princessy ballgown

Who? Saheefa Jabbar & Hussain Rehar

Why? Coordinated neutrals are so pleasing to the eye

Who? Mawra Hocane

Why? Nothing spells sexy like a well tied sari

Who? Seemi Pasha

Why? This is how to do a print

Who? Misbah Mumtaz

Why? She is working that tribal patchwork jacket. Ab-tastic!

Master artist Imran Qureshi explains the concepts behind his mural installations at the National Cathedral D.C., the Islamabad National Airport, and the Shahi Hamam during the Lahore Biennale, as well as why his work fetches such a high price internationally

By Mahlia Lone

How did you get into art?

I’m from Hyderabad, Sind, where I grew up. I enjoyed art at school and was a favourite of my Art teacher who had attended Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai. But I had no idea I could take it up as a profession. My uncle suggested I attend the NCA (National College of Arts) for further studies. My father, the Principal of City College in Hyderabad, supported the idea and brought me to Lahore to see the institution for myself and decide if I’d be happy here.

At the NCA, I enrolled to study Miniature Painting in the Fine Arts department. I was fortunate to learn from Professors Quddus Mirza, Zahoor ul Akhlaq, Iqbal Hussain, Saeed Akhtar and Salima Hashmi. But in class I felt like a nobody. It was only when I turned in my work and got appreciated by these Master artists that I felt like a somebody. It was also at the NCA that I met Aisha (Khalid), now my wife, who was two years junior to me.

I graduated in 1993 and joined the faculty. I head the Miniature department now.

How did you, being a Muslim artist from Pakistan, get invited to put up an installation at the National Cathedral in D.C., the site of memorial services for top Americans, like U.S. Presidents and military leaders?

It’s not the first time I’ve been asked to put up an installation at a religious site. In 2006, I was asked by curator Sharmini Pereira to put up an installation in Singapore’s largest mosque for the Singapore Biennale. The mosque’s liberal clerics were apprehensive about how the Muslim community would receive an art work in the mosque, but my installation — a video plus painted work — got such a positive response that although initially it was to be put up only for a six month period, a part of the installation has become a permanent exhibit in the mosque.

Then, after seeing my work at the Sainte-Geneviève Library (Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, a public and university library) in Paris, I was asked by a British gallery owner to put up three installations in Cornwall, including one at the Truro Cathedral.

Virginia Shore, curator of Halcyon’s By The People (an international arts and dialogue festival in Washington D.C.) asked me to work on a site-specific art work for the National Cathedral in D.C.

I did not want to make a controversial piece but wanted to respect a place of worship and the religious belief of the worshippers there. Hence, I chose to paint water as a symbol of life and peace. Blue, which I’ve used a lot, is the colour of water, peace and a reflection of the sky. The blue spills out of the Cathedral’s main entrance and spreads around. The water has a life energy and flow to it. As life comes out of water, I painted green foliage coming out of the water. My work is a continuation of the mural frieze surrounding the doorway frame, which depicts the creation of humans.

The people who came to take a look really liked and appreciated my work.

How do you translate your miniature painting skills to large scale art works?

I shift the scale but use the same detailing, flow and stylization of miniature painting. Each scale has its challenges and comfort.

Explain the idea behind your largest mural painting to date Pages of Perfection at the new Islamabad International Airport.

I was asked by Nur Jehan Bilgrami who was curating to present a concept for the mural. Then PM Nawaz Sharif wanted a calligraphy. Neither did I want to use calligraphy as a decorative element link it in a conceptual way, nor randomly choose an ayat. We had a lot of meetings where we discussed the concept with the committee. This is my first public permanent installation in Pakistan. Mine is in the Domestic lounge and Aisha’s is in the International lounge, both lounges divided by a glass wall so you can see both simultaneously.

The mural is 12 feet by 200 feet, comprised of 100 canvases and took me eight to nine months to complete. It’s made to resemble unfolding pages of an Islamic manuscript. I chose Surah Qadar because it’s about the Night of Power when the Quran Sharif descended to the Prophet. It’s about sky, travel, movement and energy, so I thought it was appropriate. I used the colour palette of Mughal Islamic manuscripts: gold, turquoise, white. The mural is contemporary but the feel and ornamentation is inspired by Islamic manuscripts. My work is infused with my vocabulary .

There’s a lot of red depicting bloodshed and violence in your paintings. Do you think that using violence as a theme played a role in your international popularity?

No, I started using red to show blood when there were a lot of bomb blasts around the world. Before that when Pakistan tested its nuclear device, I was painting nuclear warheads so violence has always been a prevailing theme of my work. I’ve had an international art following for quite a while now irrespective of the theme.

Explain your gold and red installation at the Shahi Hamam for the Lahore Biennale this year.

In miniature painting, a lot of gold is used. Gold is a solid metal. I wanted to juxtapose it next to fluid and fragile blood and engage in a dialogue between the two.

Which awards are you most proud of?

So far, I am most proud of the Sharjah Biennale award I received as well as the U.S. State Department’s Medal of Art.

Which galleries sell your work?

For continental Europe, Thaddeus Ropac galleries in Paris and Salzburg and for the U.K. Cormivora in London.

Who are some of the collectors of your work?

My work has been bought by museums for their collections. I don’t like to name my private collectors. The galleries vet the buyers of my work to assess that they are serious collectors and not speculative buyers since the prices are high. There are more collectors of my work abroad than there are here.

Then tell us what kind of collector invests in your murals?

I can talk about Christian Louboutin since he’s a personal friend. He collects my art, I collect his shoes. (Indeed, Imran has a vast collection of Louboutin spikey loafers.)

What’s on your agenda next?

In the next one year, I am putting up installations in Al Ain, UAE, Washinton D.C., Paris and London. I can’t speak about these projects presently as they will all be officially announced.

Photography by Ali Agha

By Mahlia S. Lone

One of the season’s most noticeable color trends is pink, in shades from bubblegum to dusty rose, and from salmon to fuschia. Pantone identified Pink Peacock as one of the top shades of the moment. The color exploded on the Brian Maxwell S/S 19 show at NYFW, was seen in collections by Kate Spade New York, by Cushnie and on various other runways. Always charming and feminine, pink can easily be incorporated into your wardrobe.

Brandon Maxwell S/S 19 at NYFW

Kate Spade New York bag

Gigi Hadid at the  Brandon Maxwell show


Pantone: Pink Peacock

By Mahlia S. Lone

At NYFW S/S 2019, Ralph Lauren celebrated his 50th anniversary show in grand style in a specially constructed pavilion in the Bethesda Terrace Tunnel in Central Park. Patchwork rugs (Pakistani patchwork carpets have been in vogue for a while) covered the runway and the collection was in his trademark All-American cool style with a cross-generational appeal. Though the American West set in contemporary Stateside was the prevailing theme, one element that leapt out was the patchwork reminiscent of tribal Pakistani and Afghani handicrafts and garments. Heavy coats and luxe dresses constructed with a patchwork of rich fabrics, like crushed velvet, wool knits, leather, fur, brocade, sequins, tweed and denim, as well as embroidered vests and paisley scarves showed that our collective heritage was on display. To overcome the hefty price tags on these Ralph Lauren designer pieces, we can look closer to home to emulate this style.

Gigi Hadid in a $20,000 patchwork dress and chandelier earrings

Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s daughter

Scarf woven with paisleys, a traditional Kashmiri motif

Patchwork rugs

Embroidery on waistcoat

Hong Kong-based jewellery designer who currently lives in London, Maria Khan was trained at the London College of Fashion. With strong ties to Middle East, Asia and the U.K., Maria has been one of the few lucky ones to have been exposed to a variety of rich cultures and was able to draw on her experiences to create her unique jewellery pieces. Her eponymous line attracts a well-heeled global clientele, looking for something different. Her jewellery has been featured in no less than Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle magazines. Maria sits down with Sana Zehra and tells her about her design aesthetic and company ethos

How did you become a jewellery designer?

I studied Fashion Technology & Womenswear at the London College of Fashion. While working in fashion, I became obsessed with completing looks with right accessories.  A few years later I moved to Hong Kong with my family, and that’s where I discovered my true passion for jewellery and gems. That was almost ten years ago

What jewellery trends do you predict for the coming months?

In my opinion, jewellery is timeless and the theory of trends doesn’t apply as much to it.  My new collection is Art Deco in theme, and I have incorporated the sensibility and mixture of Asian aesthetics with this.

What is different about your designs?

My designs are based on the fusion of cultures.  I keep my designs versatile and fashion flexible, thus, making them very sustainable.

How did you get so many famous faces to wear your pieces?

It’s been a journey for my brand, and certainly didn’t happen overnight.  When your work is good, ultimately it gets noticed.  At the same time, I have been amongst the lucky few who have had the chance to showcase my designs via some famous faces.

What’s your favourite piece/s from your collection?

I work for my passion and each piece is very close to my heart.  But what I love most is my collection of bracelets; I don’t leave home a single day without wearing one.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Travelling has been my biggest inspiration. I am fortunate enough to call several amazing cities around the world home.  I have had the chance to live and learn through various cultures and people.  My biggest inspirations come from people-watching.  I can spend hours wandering around in bazaars and streets to find the uniqueness in people.

What are some of your top achievements so far?

Every stage I get excited and keep counting my blessings; I hope that biggest one is yet to come.

What are the dos and don’ts when accessorizing?

Top rule of accessorizing would be is to keep it simple.  Less is more.  Our super star, Mahira Khan is a great example; one statement piece speaks more than a thousand words.  Invest in key pieces, quality is more important than quantity. Keep outfits simple and choose solid colours so that it doesn’t go out of trend fast.  These few outfits can be accessorized in many styles.  Like how French women do it.

Biggest fashion mistake women make when they choose their pieces?

My pet peeve is when woman follow trends without understanding what will work on them. For example, there are many styles of earrings and different shapes works differently with each face cut.  Additionally, the length of your neck should be a consideration for the length of your earrings.  A similar rule applies for necklaces; check your type and then decide the length.

Is this quote ever true, “I have enough jewellery?”

I would not agree to that at all.  One can have fewer clothes, but never enough jewellery, since those can be passed on to the next generation. Jewellery holds the beauty of being timeless.

Any messages for upcoming jewellery designers?

Find your style, and don’t follow trends blindly. And of course, promote sustainability.

Having starred in this year’s successful Teefa in Trouble, Tom Coulston is living his dream of being a global actor. Born and raised in Sheffield, England, he has mostly been cast in TV shows though he will appear in the upcoming short films In2ruders and Seen this year. Tom discussed his experience filming in Pakistan with Haider Rifaat

Describe yourself in a few words.

Passionate, hardworking, caring, over sensitive and those who are very close to me would probably say that I am moody at times.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Sheffield to my parents Anne Marie and Andrew. My mom’s Scottish and her dad was Irish. My father was born in Sheffield where I was raised as a child. I have family in Scotland but my immediate family is in Sheffield. I live in London but I try to regularly visit my parents and grandparents. I have a younger brother who is happily married. My dad is a retired firefighter; he served in the fire service for 30 years. My mother works as a Scenes of Crime Officer and deals with murders and burglaries, like in CSI. (Laughs)

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy keeping fit; I try to play football if I can. Growing up, football was my passion! I used to play for Sheffield United Juniors. I go to the gym regularly. I am into boxing and like doing circuit training and punch bag. I like socializing with my loved ones, the wildlife, nature and traveling. I visited Italy this year, which was beautiful. Spain is one of my favourite places, especially Madrid.

What made you want to become an actor?

I never set out to be an actor. I started modeling when I was 20 and built my confidence that way. I did a few campaign shoots and different modeling jobs, including catwalk. I never really thought about acting, that was the natural transition. I felt that the industry chose me rather than me choosing it because of all the opportunities I was gifted with. I worked on my first feature film in 2013 as a bar man in the gangster film Top Dog directed by Martin Kemp. It was his directorial debut.

I got my lines in the morning and learned them for my character. I rehearsed them with Martin and he told me that I did it perfect. I worked as a personal trainer at a gym and, in 2014, I decided to do my training with L.A. acting coach Michael John Gonzales. Although he moved back, I trained with him for 3 years. The industry is a good place to be and I relish all the opportunities I get. I feel like I am on the right path.

Is performing arts your dream career?

Yes, I would definitely say that now that I find myself in the acting realm, it is my passion. I hope things keep progressing nicely as they have so far. I have had and some good roles. Teefa in Trouble for me is one of my best roles to date. It was such an amazing experience and I pray I get many more. I feel honoured and privileged to be a part of it.

Why did you decide to do Teefa in Trouble? How were you approached for the project?

I modeled for Pakistan Fashion Week in London in 2012 and a good friend of mine, who is a director and photographer, kept in touch. We did a few collaborations together. He was a friend of Ali Zafar’s. He knew about the role of Andy and he put me up for it.

I had the conversation with Ahsan Rahim, the director on the phone about the character. I did a self-tape for them so they could see my acting ability. They could visualize me playing Andy’s role and the next thing I knew, I was flying out to Lahore to do my scenes. I lived with Ali and his beautiful family. They were so kind and welcomed me with open arms. I hope I get the opportunity to come back soon!

How was the transition of film from England to Pakistan? Is there any stark difference you noted?

Filming in Pakistan was great. When I filmed in Lahore, all my scenes were studio based. The internal train set that Ali had purposefully built along with the rest was unbelievable to look at. One thing that blew my mind was when I first got to Lahore, I went to meet Ahsan Rahim and the cast was filming at the Lahore train station.

The fact that the train station was running normally and right beside it was the film set where Ali was performing his stunts. I found that quite incredible because if it were here in England or Hollywood, it would probably be a closed set. The train station would not be the actual one for an international production. Everybody was professional on set. I was honoured to work alongside everybody.

How was it like working with Ali Zafar and Maya Ali?

It was great to work with Maya and Ali. My first scene was in Lahore with Maya Ali. She really is a sweetheart. Before we filmed, we got the chance to speak to each other. I found out that she has family in Scotland like myself. She is such a kind, warm and loving girl and an amazing actress as well. I do wish her the very best. She was phenomenal in Teefa in Trouble.

Ali is literally the Tom Cruise of Pakistan. He is so talented. I saw him do many of his own stunts, which were amazing. All his passion goes into everything he does. He gave me some advice on my character, which worked really well. It was a true honor to work with Ali, Maya, Ahsan and the dream team.

Are you happy with the film’s response? Do you think the success of Teefa in Trouble will open more doors for you in the future?

It is incredible to see how well the film has done in Pakistan. The film opened to a house full in London. My parents went across to Manchester to see it and I was waiting for them at the theater. A few audience members recognized me as Andy.

The fans were so kind that they wanted photos with me. It was good to see how proud my parents were. I am happy to be a part of something so historic. It would be great to come back and work in Pakistan again. I hope Teefa in Trouble opens a few doors for me.

What is next for you?

I have a few things coming up. I worked on film In2ruders and another one called Seen. They are coming out later in the year. I am still modeling so that keeps my head above waters. I am still busy with that and I enjoy it. Back in May, I worked on a television production, which will be shown in America, and England titled Flack. I play an interesting role that of Jay, a flamboyant, really out there character. He has an affair with a footballer.

I believe that comes out in the U.K. and the U.S. next year and I am sure my character will make an impact. I was lucky to work with an Oscar winning performer, Anna Paquin on this production. She very kindly praised my performance as Jay. She was the first millennial to win an Oscar and I cannot wait for it to come out next year. I am also constantly auditioning because that is how it goes in this industry.

Alumna of L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, Saudi/French Sakina Shbib first built her technique at Chanel Atelier as a seamstress, where she learnt the art of embroidery, the rigour of Haute Couture and the demand of an elite clientèle. Then, she met fashion designer Alexandre Vauthier in 2013 and started a year of collaboration; she learnt the draping and structuring of women’s garments. Later on, she attained more experience at L’Atelier de Givenchy.

In her latest collection, Sakina expresses swan-like femininity, staging the transformation of Princess Odette into a black swan through her designs. The skirts, inspired by ballet costumes, are light and flowing — a subtle glow of transparency unveiling the grace of the legs, ruffles of Dentelle de Chantilly creating a playful volume on a base of transparent organza. The looks celebrate the grace of a ballerina, but with a dark twist.

A draped top enhances the sensuality of a shoulder, the ball gowns have a slit on the leg, and the backless cuts unveil the curves of the female figure. Sensuality is omnipresent. It expresses itself through the complexity of identity, between the light and the obscure. Hand-made embroideries of crystal brighten the darkness of velvet, a myriad gold tubes drawing a constellation of stars on black organza, tinted by the brightness of crystal adding a mysterious glow to the collection.

Duality looms throughout each piece, the aesthetics of the Black Swan take roots in the expression of the evil double, and its balance between force and fragility. It’s Art as Fashion.

With their widely praised thriller Gumm, filmmakers Ammar Lasani and Kanza Zia have arrived in the world of cinema. The debut film of the husband and wife filmmaking duo has been exhibited at numerous international film festivals and has won awards, accolades and praise all over the world. Ahead of the wide release of Gumm, the talented young couple sits down with Ally Adnan for an exclusive interview for GT and talk about their first feature film and how it is to work together

Gumm was compared with Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s epic western The Revenant at the 2018 Madrid International Film Festival. That must feel good.

Ammar Lasani: It sure does! The Revenant is a masterpiece and a truly great film. Gumm and The Revenant are very different in style and approach but deal with the same theme – challenges facing man and nature in the modern world.

Pakistan has been ranked as the seventh most vulnerable country to climate change by German think-tank Germanwatch. Deforestation and global warming are real and serious problems. We have tried to highlight them by shooting a major portion of Gumm in the deep jungle.

Kanza Zia: I should add that the comparison to The Revenant is an honour not just for ourselves but also for our emerging film industry. It feels great to know that a Pakistani film is being compared to a critically acclaimed film from Hollywood.

Gumm has so far represented Pakistan in eight international film festivals. How was the film selected as Pakistan’s official entry to the festivals?

“As graduates of the New York Film Academy, Kanza and I… have made a film that has universal appeal and meets international filmmaking standards”

Kanza Zia: I believe that we have made a good film in Gumm. Its story-telling style allows viewers to fully enjoy, experience and, if you will, live the story. I believe that the film has been selected as Pakistan’s official entry to several film festivals because of its merit and quality.

Ammar Lasani: As graduates of the New York Film Academy, Kanza and I have an international perspective on films. We have made a film that has universal appeal and meets international filmmaking standards. We are glad – and grateful – that it has represented Pakistan all over the world and won seven major awards to date.

How does exhibition at a film festival help a film?

Kanza Zia: Exhibition at a film festival helps a film by giving it greater exposure, a wider audience, and a proper platform to present itself. It also helps raise the standing of the filmmakers amongst their peers.

Ammar Lasani:  More importantly, it helps gets the best of viewers for films. The finest of critics, scholars, directors, industry professionals, and cinema aficionados attend these events. One cannot ask for a better audience for a film than the one we have at international film festivals.

How do awards benefit a film, its cast and crew?

Kanza Zia: Awards, along with positive reviews and box office returns, are a major index of a film’s worth. They offer great encouragement to the film’s cast and crew and raise their profile in the industry.

Ammar Lasani: They also help by making it easier to secure financing and support of subsequent projects. And, they are a veritable endorsement for the film, its cast and crew.

The two of you made Gumm – your first feature film – together. Was working together as a team difficult for you?

Kanza Zia: No, it was not. In my opinion, we did very well as a team; both of us are aware of our strengths and weaknesses and worked together in a manner that allowed us to enhance the former and mitigate the latter.

Ammar Lasani: Kanza and I are very different as filmmakers, with different areas of strength, skill and expertise. Fortunately, these areas are complementary and come together like pieces of a puzzle when we work together.

Did being married to each other help?

Kanza Zia: Yes, it did. Working with Ammar was like realizing a dream together with a friend, confidante and partner who completely shared your vision.

“I feel that Gumm will open new avenues for the Pakistani film industry by encouraging our filmmakers to make films for both domestic and international audiences”
“It is not easy to find one’s way in an industry where people constantly try to pull each other down”

Ammar Lasani: The fact that we are married helped communication, collaboration and teamwork. We shared ideas, discussed details, debated approaches, and envisioned scenes, while preparing for our film, around the clock. I also feel that our debates, discussions and arguments were pleasant and productive because, as husband and wife, we had trust, respect and love for each other; with someone else, they could have been corrosive and hostile.

Writing, directing, editing and cinematography, you did a lot for the film yourself. Why?

Ammar Lasani: You forgot to include the background score. That was done by us, as well. We did engage the services of a lot of people for Gumm but there were areas where we felt others would not do a job to our liking. We took care of those ourselves.

Kanza Zia: Ours is a fledgling film industry and it is difficult to find people who are talented, capable, and share one’s passion, dedication and vision. We did not want to compromise by recruiting someone who would not be able to deliver satisfactorily and ended up taking a lot of roles in the making of Gumm.

How did you come up with the idea of Gumm?

Kanza Zia: We are staunch environmentalists and wanted to tell a story that highlighted the plight of our planet.

“We are staunch environmentalists and wanted to tell a story that highlighted the plight of our planet”
“Kanza and I…come together like pieces of a puzzle”

Ammar Lasani: The two of us have a great fascination for human relationships and believe that cinema is a great forum to explore them in all their complexity, beauty and charm. We started on Gumm with the aim of telling a moving story, centered around strong, flushed-out characters and their relationships. Environmentalism made a great backdrop for the story that we wanted to tell with Gumm.

How different is Gumm from the film that you had envisioned originally?

Ammar Lasani: It is not different at all. We made the exact film that we had envisioned originally.

Kanza Zia: I believe that the amount of planning and preparation that went into getting ready for Gumm ensured the faithful realization of our vision. There were times when challenges and difficulties made this hard, but we never gave in and never compromised. We had a film in mind and we were determined to make it. I am glad that we succeeded.

Gumm has three principal characters – Haider, Asad and Dua. How did you cast for the three roles?

Kanza Zia: I couldn’t agree more with the celebrated French film director and screenwriter, Bruno Dumont, when he says, “matching character and actor is what a good director does.” That is what we tried to do in Gumm.

Ammar Lasani: We had Sami Khan and Shamoon Abbasi in mind for the roles of Asad and Haider while writing the final draft of our screenplay but did not have anyone in mind for the Dua. We selected Shameen Khan for the role after watching her showreel. All three actors loved the story and screenplay of Gumm and signed on to do the films soon after we approached them. The film would not have been the same without the three of them.


Sami Khan has won tremendous praise – and the best actor awards at the prestigious 2018 Madrid International Film Festival and the Creation International Film Festival, Canada – for his portrayal of Asad in Gumm. Although he has always been known to be a resourceful actor, his performance in the film is said to be significantly better than the ones he has delivered in the past. Why did he do so well in Gumm?

Kanza Zia:  Sami Khan is truly a director’s actor. He understands what the director wants and does his very best to deliver accordingly.

Ammar Lasani: I think a number of factors contributed to Sami Khan’s phenomenal performance in Gumm. First and foremost, he worked very hard, with great dedication and determination. Two, the story gave him a lot of room to perform well as an actor. Three, he understood our vision very well. Four, he is a very intelligent, insightful and perceptive person and used these attributes to make Asad’s character real. Most importantly, he used the positive energy that is an intrinsic part of his persona to bring out the best in himself and in others. I am not surprised that he has won two major awards for his performance in Gumm already. Kanza and I had always known that this would happen. He will certainly will take home many more.

Who was the most difficult actor to work with – Sami Khan, Shamoon Abbasi or Shameen Khan?

Kanza Zia: Each one of them have different personalities and styles of work. Ammar and I made sure that we accommodated their individual temperaments and gave them the space, guidance and environment they needed to deliver their best as actors. At the end of the day, it is the director’s job to manage each member of a film’s cast and crew. We did that as best as we could.

Ammar Lasani: Every human being has his own idiosyncrasies, peculiarities and eccentricities. We accommodated theirs as, I am sure, they accommodated ours.  We made a great team together.

Who delivered the best performance: Sami Khan, Shamoon Abbasi or Shameen Khan?

Kanza Zia: In my opinion, all three of them delivered solid performances and did full justice to their roles. No one actor in Gumm is better than the others.

Ammar Lasani: That is not a fair question. It is like asking parents to name their favourite child. I think all three did well; very well to tell you the truth. People who have seen Gumm, loved Asad, hated Haider and adored Dua. That is testimony to the fact that all three actors played the roles convincingly.

What challenges did you face while making Gumm?

Kanza Zia: As debutante filmmakers, we faced a number of challenges. It is not easy to find one’s way in an industry where people constantly try to pull each other down.

Ammar Lasani: There were so many challenges that I stopped keeping track of them a long time ago. I believe that we handled each one of them well and have since moved on. I do not want to talk to them at a time when our film is doing wonderfully well all over the world and is poised for a huge domestic release.

What do you think of Gumm as a film?

Kanza Zia: Gumm has universal appeal. It explores familial relationships in great depth. It has drama, thrills, romance, and comedy. It tells a poignant story that is both engaging, interesting and entertaining. It makes a strong emotional impact and gives viewers food for thought.

Ammar Lasani: Gumm is an intelligent, sensitive and nuanced exploration of human relationships. It deals with topics that are real, important and relatable. It meets international filmmaking standards. I hope that I do not sound arrogant in saying so but I feel that Gumm will open new avenues for the Pakistani film industry by encouraging our filmmakers to make films for both domestic and international audiences.

Gumm has not been released in Pakistan yet. How do you think the film will do critically and commercially in Pakistan?

Kanza Zia: Gumm is very different from the Pakistani films that people are used to seeing in the country. I believe they will enjoy and appreciate its novelty and originality of the film.

Ammar Lasani: We are certain that the film will do exceedingly well in Pakistan, both critically and commercially. Pakistani filmgoers are intelligent, mature and discerning. Gumm will touch their hearts and move them both emotionally and intellectually. Watching the film will be a wonderful experience for them.

Are you planning a big premiere, full of glitz, glamour and glitter, for Gumm?

Ammar Lasani: As a matter of fact, we are. We did not cut any corners in the making of the film and do not plan to do so when marketing it either.

Kanza Zia: We plan to design a proper marketing campaign for Gumm, once the release date is finalized. It will, of course, include a big premiere.

Are you concerned that the critical acclaim of Gumm has raised expectations to a level that audiences may be disappointed when they see the film?

Kanza Zia: No, not at all.

Ammar Lasani: Gumm will live up to the raised expectations and then some.

Photographs by Fahad Raza


Pin It