Model-turned-actress Zubab Rana has garnered acclaim for her role in the recently concluded drama serial “Bandish.” Haider Rifaat sat down with her to know more about the rising star

What drew you to acting?

I knew I wanted to act since I was a child. The way actors are able to portray different characters and bring them to life has always fascinated me.


Tell us about your role in Bandish.

I played the character of an innocent bride-to-be, who happens to be a victim of black magic.

Are you open to experimentation with roles? 

Of course, I would like to play versatile characters. I feel doing justice to a challenging role is any actor’s biggest achievement.

Will you consider signing a film anytime soon? 

Definitely! If the right script comes along, I’d be game.

Who has been the biggest influenc in your life?

My father. The values he’s instilled in me and the way he’s lived his life continue to inspire me daily.

Do you think a career in acting makes it difficult to spend time with your loved ones?

I can’t speak for my colleagues, but I make sure I take enough time out for those who matter.

How do you stay fit?

I strongly believe a healthy body ensures a healthy mind. I don’t necessarily follow a set diet plan, but I try to make healthy choices whenever I can.

Define beauty.

I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than confidence. A confident person wins half the battle before even drawing his sword.

What makes you smile and what scares you the most? 

My mother’s happiness makes me smile. What I fear most on the other hand, are my loved ones going through adversity.

Your thoughts on marriage? 

I’m open to the idea of marriage, when the time is right, with the right man.

What brings you the most satisfaction?

I’m a very family oriented person. Whenever my family is happy and content, I’m satisfied.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

“Just have faith in God.” It has always helped me.

“The way actors are able to portray different characters and bring them to life has always fascinated me”

What’s on your bookshelf?

I’m not much of a reader. All I ever read are the scripts I receive.

What’s on your to-do list for the coming months?

I’m planning to travel and Europe is most definitely on the list.

Your greatest indulgence?

Freud said, “To be happy, all one needs is love and work” and I would define that as my indulgence.

If you could, what one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

I wish I had understood the importance of self-worth. Therefore, I’d advise my younger self to be proud of who she is and to stay true to her beliefs.

Meher Hasan is on our radar for a number of reasons. Having started modelling only a short time ago, she has already scored high profile campaigns with the likes of Muse Luxe, Afsaneh, Rema Shehrbano, and Zaha to name a few. Not only is she beautiful, but is also a highly imaginative and dedicated writer of short stories and poetry. We love her buoyant personality and kitschy sense of style. Read more in her chit chat with Afshan Shafi

Name three things you love:
Roses, Clouds, Rain

Name three things you hate:
Morning alarms, Waiting, Bullies

What do you do in your free time?
I hardly get any free time anymore but when I do, I like to spend it with my loved ones or catch up on lost sleep.
describe your style: Boho-chic. Sometimes I like masculine cuts and take lots of inspiration from vintage glamour, especially for colour palettes and makeup looks.

Dream career:
Working at Vogue

Favourite holiday destination:

Best thing about modelling:
Being part of a creative vision

Worst thing about modelling:
Never having time!

Last dream:
I was standing in the garden of my old house when a strange reptilian creature tried to attack me. Fortunately, I managed to defend myself with a sharp sword. Basically, I’m a ninja in my dreams. And in real life

Favourite writers/books:
I’m the worst at answering questions like this. I can never decide a favourite book, but I can name writers I like to read again and again: Vladimir Nabokov, Mohammed Hanif, Arundhati Roy, Sandra Cisneros, Nadeem Aslam, Italo Calvino, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Toni Morrison and Miriam Toews, to name a few. There’s tons more but these are all I can think of for now.

People that inspire me:
Lady Gaga

Favourite designers:
Fiorucci, Raf Simons, Ali Xeeshan, Faraz Manan, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Alessandro Michele, Naeem Khan, Kamiar Rokni, Azzedine Alaïa, Faryal Aftab, Marc Jacobs, Miuccia Prada, Nomi Ansari, Phoebe Philo, Virgil Abloh, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Alexander McQueen, Iris van Herpen, Misha Lakhani, Maheen Khan, the Mulleavy sisters and Elsa Schiaparelli

Future projects:
You’ll have to wait and see!

Photography: Tajwar Munir

 Coordination: Afshan Shafi

Wardrobe: Hira Ali, Dolce & Gabbana

Beautiful, witty and never afraid to speak her mind, actress Ushna Shah has won a
devoted fan following through her powerful performances and forthright demeanor.
Born to a family of artists, her love for artistic expression is deep-rooted, but what
makes her truly special is her admirable aplomb and integrity. Mehek Raza Rizvi
meets her on a chilly afternoon in Lahore for an exclusive tête-à-tête

Rani, Bubbly, Nigaar… the recent roles you’ve portrayed have been of multi-layered strong women. Is this a conscious decision?

Yes. The status quo for a lead heroine is to play the docile girl in need of a man to save her and I have to admit I’ve accepted such roles many times. However, I now feel like I’ve paid my dues and can choose the characters I want to portray. With AAAI (Alif, Allah aur Insaan) I also think I set a precedent for myself. My audience wants to see me portray real women. Women are complex creatures with many layers. To box them in as one- dimensional characters is unfair to our gender. I’m glad the screen is changing and I’m humbled to be chosen to play such characters.

With the conversation on gender equality and feminism on the rise, how important is it for female actors to choose their roles carefully and avoid playing the damsel in distress?

We can’t completely avoid playing the damsel in distress because she is the quintessential fantasy heroine. It’s a treat for audiences to see their favourite faces play the fairytale princess they’ve grown up admiring. I think it is okay to indulge in that fantasy every now and then but the over-all ideology must change. We must never glorify abuse, which is what we did in my drama serial Bashar Momin. As much as I love that project of mine, I do feel guilty sometimes because that’s not the message I want to give young women. In Lashkara, my character is that of a beautiful daydreamer who is very much in love with her prince but when tragedy hits, it’s her own strength that perseveres, not that of a man. Drama serials, such as Lashkara, have been my way of rectifying the messages my submissive roles have sent.

As actors we have a lot of power over the message we send out and in today’s age, women have a responsibility to further the feminist movement. Female actors are certainly not exempt from that. It’s not my job to tell other actors which roles to select but, as I grow older, this responsibility becomes clearer to me.


How hard is it to detach yourself from the intense and complex characters you play? Does some part of them stay with you?

When on set, the traits of my on-screen characters definitely seep into my own personality. I became versions of myself I didn’t recognize during Rukhsaar and Piya Mann Bhaye. I found myself behaving very timidly during Bheegi Palkein, Shehre-Yaraan and Bashar Momin. Alif Allah took me through many emotional stages off and on camera, which certainly helped the evolution of Rani to Reena Begum but made me behave almost bi-polar. Lashkara was dark and I often found myself depressed and with Nigaar in Balaa, I would be very difficult sometimes (quickly realized my fault and apologized though).

Hence, you could say I’m definitely somewhat an unintentional method actor during shoot. Once camera packs, a quick getaway vacation is mandatory to get the character out of my system and become Ushna again.

Out of all the characters you’ve portrayed, which one do you relate to most and why?

My characters are an extension of myself and my experiences, so in a way they’re always a part of me. However, there isn’t any one character that’s completely like me. I’d feel too exposed to play something like that. There’s security and protection in playing something that’s not you. You can then bring yourself in that character without feeling vulnerable. That’s the beauty of expression through acting.


The fame and influence celebrities enjoy, puts immense responsibility on them to use it wisely. Do you ever feel burdened by the constant spotlight?

I always feel a responsibility to speak up for what I believe in and that almost always gets me in trouble. The platform celebrities have for their voice is a huge responsibility and it would be ungrateful not to use it. The spotlight is rather overwhelming, which is why I’ve backed away from a lot of the PR related social media posts and focused on acting and performance centric roles.

Apart from your strong screen presence, you’re also known for being very outspoken on social media. When a public figure sparks debate, backlash is inevitable. How do you deal with the difference of opinion and hostile voices in particular?

I’ve developed a fairly thick skin so I do what my contemporaries do, which is to ignore. Hostile voices are usually anonymous ones belonging to keyboard warriors who are extremely unsatisfied with their lives and feel the need to attack famous people for their own gratification; those voices aren’t worth responding to. Every now and then, however, I’ll respond, but that’s usually due to boredom or maybe a bad mood.


As a woman, have you experienced any inherent prejudices in your line of work?

Absolutely! Ageism for one. The blatant sexism and objectification we are subjected to are a close second. Every now and then, another actress is favoured for a role meant for you because she is willing to give in to a misogynist producer/director’s whims.

When a male actor/ producer/director is firm, it is because he is professional and he is the boss, but when a woman behaves in a similar  way, she is called an entitled diva.  Women are expected to always have a smile on their faces and not show any signs of authority.

I’m glad to see this trend finally change but I’ve gone through a lot because of it in the past. It bothers me greatly.

As the ambassador of Todd’s Welfare Society (TWS), animal well-being and safety is a cause close to your heart. How do you wish to contribute to this objective?


I do my best to raise my voice wherever I can. I believe there needs to be a movement in Pakistan in favour of animals, both domestic and wild.

Firstly, strict laws need to be passed and implemented against animal abuse. The hunting of wild animals, especially endangered bucks and snow leopards in the north, should be strictly banned. For domestic animals, there ought to be licenses and health checks to ensure they’re not overworked and are well fed. ACF (Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation) has come out with “humane harnesses” for donkeys, which I think should be mandatory for anyone using these animals for transport.

Culling of any kind should be strictly banned and instead a spaying and neutering campaign should be made to control the stray population in Pakistan. Animals meant for slaughter (such as chickens) should be kept in healthy environments.

Most importantly, the public should be educated on the importance of treating animals with compassion. To this end, public service ads should be issued and school curriculums should include courses on the importance of empathy towards animals.

We have a long way to go.

What is Ushna Shah like at home? Tell us about your childhood and family?

I grew up as the youngest of six children. My elder siblings and I have a huge age gap so it was more like having five extra parents instead of brothers and sisters. I guess in that way I was a bit spoiled but also very disciplined. My family is full of artists and performers and I am essentially an extension of them.

Theater, film or TV?


What irks you most about social media?

People getting insecure by the fake lives created by others.

Biggest pet peeve?

Slow drivers/walkers/ATM users, etc.

 Your biggest strength?

My uncompromisable integrity

 And biggest weakness?


 Favourite ‘90s jam?

Everybody by Backstreet Boys What was the last photo you took?

A selfie with my niece

 Your personal style in three


Comfort Costume Swag

 Last impulsive buy?

A plane ticket

 Most prized possession?

Possessions shouldn’t be prized, people should be.

 What was the last lie you told?

“I’ll definitely try to make it!”

 One habit you have that annoys your family?

Taking ages in the shower (I just asked my sister).

 Do you have a nickname?

Several: Ush, Ushi, Ushners, Uch, Uchi, Tush, Ushi-Baby and many other variations of Ushna. The rest are very personal and only for family so won’t share those.

 What’s one choice you really regret?

Any choice I’ve made that may have hurt someone else.

 What’s your favourite movie quote?

“Don’t tell me you’re innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and makes me very angry.”

—The Godfather


Interview: Mehek Raza Rizvi
Photography: Mohsin Khawar
Hair & Makeup: Zara Gul
Location: Marina Home

Please tell us about your background as an artist and your education in this regard

In 2006, I did my Bachelor’s in Fine Arts, specializing in Indo-Persian Miniature Painting, and in 2012, I did my Master’s in Visual Arts (M.A honours) both from The National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan.  Before this, I went to the Lahore Grammar School, Defence Branch, and The Convent of Jesus and Mary, Lahore.

Which artists, local or international, have influenced or informed your point of view the most?

Famous miniatures, poetry, and stories  from such great masterpieces as Shahnama of Firdausi, especially under the patronage of Shah Tahmasp and Mohammad Juki, Hamzanama, Mirajnama, The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud din Attar, Maqamat or Sessions of Al-Hariri, Diwan of Hafez, The Khamsa of Nizami, and The Haft Awrang by Jami are some of my major literary and artistic inspirations. As far as the great painters of these manuscripts are concerned, undoubtedly painters such as  Kamal ud-Din Behzad Heraw1, Mir Sayyid Ali, Reza I Abbasi, Sadiqi Beg, Khawaja Abdus Samad,and Agha Mirak who for the first time brought individualization, free manner of interpretation, of portraiture and nature in the World of Islamic Art as we see it now.

Sana Kazi’s work takes you on a sweeping journey of deftness and grace through the narratives of Sufi poets and thinkers. Both intellectual and mystic, there are no boundaries to what Kazi can accomplish with exhibitions both internationally as well as locally. Sana catches up with Afshan Shafi for an insightful interview

What has been a seminal, life changing experience in terms of your art? 

A meeting with a group of professionals and intellectuals i.e. doctors, engineers, musicians, painters, lawyers, and writers from the Chishtia order in 2016 changed my views on art and literature, and nurtured my existing practice with a profound meaning and purpose.  Frequent visits and sittings with these bright and talented individuals developed my understanding towards Beauty, and the Beautiful, or as is the Prophetic (SAW) saying, “Allah is Beautiful and loves Beauty.”

The aspect of sublime beauty and its incorporation through image and its concept has been the most life changing experience for me.

Which of your creations are you most attached to and why?  

Attachment to any given thing has never been a part of my art practice, in regard to painting or even its concept. I paint, the transitory, what is in transit and the passing of every single aspect of life, searching and yearning to be with the One and Only Constant, which is God.

Mount 8ft by 8ft Dry pigments on ash covered wasli, 2017

What themes do you find yourself drawn towards most often in your art? 

The only theme of love, as Waris Shah explains in his poetry, is that all worship is based and is through the circle of love, not by fear or any law and ordinance. Work is worship and worship is nothing without love.

This “is the freest and the most accepting of times that the world has ever seen”

If you could travel back in time to an era in art history which period would you choose and why? 

This time, this age, this era, I would rather be here than any other time ever. We may not broadly categorize any specific art movement at the moment, but it is the freest and the most accepting of times that the world has ever seen.

What is your dream project?  

I am currently in process of two projects, which were my dream projects, and have come to reality, hoping for their completion in 2019. Those projects involve materials and concepts that no one in my knowledge has ever attempted before. So let’s see.

Which work of art do you wish you owned?

The complete Shahnama under the patronage of Shah Tahmasp.

8ft by 8ft
Dry pigments on ash covered wasli, 2017

“A meeting with a group of professionals and intellectuals i.e. doctors, engineers, musicians, painters, lawyers, and writers from the Chishtia order in 2016 changed my views on art and literature, and nurtured my existing practice with a profound meaning and purpose”

Whose portrait would you love to make?

A portrait is in process a surprise that shall unravel itself in March 2019 in Karachi. It is a portrait of someone I had only dreamed I would make one day. So I am, and let’s see how it turns out. Its titled, Shaikha, meaning calling out to Shaikh, (teacher, murshid.)

8ft by 8ft
Dry pigments with gold, & copper on ash covered wasli, 2017
8ft by 8ft
Dry pigments and gold on ash covered wasli, 2017


Which artists living or dead would you have loved to collaborate with?

Reza I Abassi

What are you working on as a future project? 

Currently I am working on solo shows in Italy, France, Karachi and Lahore for 2019.

Photography by Raza Ali

There is no stopping this duo. Farhan Saeed and Urwa Hocane are two stars that collided to form a supernova.
Sana Zehra catches up with this starry couple on the eve
of their second wedding anniversary


What are some fun facts about you?

I love playing sports. Cricket is my favourite.

Which of your scars has the best story behind it?

Every scar is a memory, and every memory is special.

What annoys you the most about cliques?

Communication gap

You are strong on social media. Sometimes it’s a double edged sword. While it gives you a platform to get your message across but it also….

Makes your life open to public opinion. There’s a price for everything.

Apart from not trusting others what is one lesson you had to learn the hard way?

That not everyone wants good for others

What’s your style?

Comfort and expressing myself

What insults your intelligence

Computers (I’m a computer engineer.)

When do you agree to disagree

Whenever you’re working as a team, you have to agree to disagree.

What do you think people say behind your back?

I hope good things.

How would you end poverty?

By educating everyone

What’s a more challenging role? Husband, singer or actor?

None, if done properly

“Urwa and I are way too connected to each other for there to be room for any rumours”

What should be the title of your biography?


What are the hot topics that turn into an argument for you?

Mostly political views

Do you think the best part of life is yet to happen or has it already happened?

Has already happened and is yet to happen too, again.

What do you spend too much on?


How would like you people to remember you as?

A great human being

How did you guys meet?

The first time we met was at a get-together at a mutual friend’s place.

“We can’t get enough of each other”

What was the first thing that attracted you towards each other?

The thing I love most about her is her straightforwardness and honesty. In a world full of people with so many faces, she’s really herself. Sometimes she gets in-your-face and people may not like that about her, but I love it.

In what way has life changed ever since marriage?

To be honest my life has changed entirely. I’m more focused, organized and disciplined. Great things have happened to me since we got married.

How do you define your relationship?

Friendship. To be together as a couple and to have to work it out, you are first and foremost friends. You are honest with each other, look out for each other and protect each other. That’s what friends do.

How has your relationship evolved over time?

We became the best of friends over time – luckily for us. And that is the key to a successful relationship. We can’t get enough of each other. We spend so much time together, watching movies, laughing at the same jokes, etc.

What are the keys to a successful relationship?

Like I said, firstly, be friends. Guide each other, understand each other, and love each other. If there’s something not right with your partner, call it out. Communicate. Talk.

Who is the typical life partner from both of you?

Neither. We are both far from being “typical” and I think we’re both unpredictable at times. It’s what makes us interesting to each other.

Who is more romantic or more expressive with feelings?

I like to think I’m the more romantic one. I don’t know what Urwa would have to say about that.

In what ways do you think you complement each other?

She complements me in each and every way. She gives me strength when I need it. Similarly, I complement her. Different people have different strengths and weaknesses. When two people come together, they’re supposed to complete each other.

How do you deal with rumours about each other?

Thankfully, we don’t have that problem. If we hear things, we laugh it off together. Urwa and I are way too connected to each other for there to be room for any rumours. Touch wood!

You have worked in Udari. How does working together bring out the best in each of you?

Udari was a great project to do together. Naturally, the chemistry between us in such projects is phenomenal. It wasn’t even acting. It was just the vibe between us. People were really rooting for us from that point on.

Are there any projects you are both working on currently or are such projects in the works?

Yes, there are a number of projects for which we’re both reading scripts, and if we find something interesting our fans will be the first to know.

How do you both spend your weekends?

Weekends are mostly spent watching Netflix. We love to watch movies together. I think it’s a healthy exercise. It helps build a common intellect or sense of humour. If not, find some other common ground.

How do you describe each other’s style?

We both try to keep it natural and whatever we are comfortable with. We don’t believe in having to go out of our skins to experiment. People should stick to what they feel comes naturally to them.

How has your style evolved since being together?

We take advice from each other and listen to the input each of us has to give. Honest advice really goes a long way.

Do you travel together? Where did you go for your honeymoon and how did it help you understand each other?

We went to Mauritius for our honeymoon. We love to travel together, for gigs, shoots, etc. We’ve been all over Europe together. Traveling together is a beautiful experience. They say there is no better way to get to know someone than to travel with them. So couples should definitely travel together as much as they can.

What is on your goal board for 2019, work wise and family wise?

We obviously want to do great things together. We share our goals and we want to achieve big things for ourselves and for our country. And family wise, we intend on staying just as we are right now, touch wood.


What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you could experience it for the first time again with Farhan?

I would never want to remove anything that I have experienced. I still enjoy some of my favourite films like I am watching them for the first time.

If all jobs had the same pay and hours, what job would you like to have?

I’d still be an actor. I truly enjoy my work.

How different was your life one year ago?

Life is different every day. It will be very difficult to put that in words but I can definitely say it’s different in a good way today.

What quirks do you have?

Defining my cup of tea

“The first thing i noticed…is the humility in his body language Eventhough all the girls were drooling over him at the gt where we met”

Best way to start the day?

Stretching and yoga is the best way to start the day.

What fad or trend do you hope comes back?

Bell bottoms

Which city would you most like to live in?


Which movie title best describes your life?

It’s a wonderful life

“Our fans love our chemistry”

Why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?

I never really decided to be an actor. I think the field chose me, and opportunities kept unfolding.

What’s the best way a person can spend their time?

By reading

Which website do you visit most often?


What one thing do you really want but can’t afford it?

A trip to the moon. Ha-ha!

Where do you usually go when you when you have time off?

I like spending time at home when I have time off. That’s the best way for me to unwind.

Where would you spend all your time if you could?

With my mother because she lives in Sydney. I miss her so much.

What is special about the place you grew up in?

Islamabad was the most beautiful place to spend my childhood. I think I will always remember it as a peaceful and clean city. I loved the abundance of nature there.

What age do you want to live to?

For as long as I am healthy, whatever age that might be.

When was the last time you changed your opinion/belief about something major?

I think I do that very often whenever I become convinced about something.

What was the best compliment you’ve received?

That I am a “people builder”  and I am always there for everyone. Mawra calls me that.

If you were the only human left on Earth, what would you do?

That’s a very scary thought.

What is something you will NEVER do again?

I wish to never hurt or upset anyone again intentionally or unintentionally.

What do you spend the most time thinking about?

My loved ones; my family

What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are?

I think every experience has played a role so far.

What are three of the most significant numbers in your life?

I don’t believe in numerology.

What are three interesting facts about you?

I’m super organized.

I’m a morning person.

I don’t like shopping.

If you could make a 20 second phone call to yourself at any point in your life present or future, when would you call and what would you say?

I would tell myself to just believe in myself and keep going further and further with what I love doing.

Urwa, you got married at the peak of your career. Did it ever cross your mind that it could affect your professional growth as an actress?

I think this only added to my professional growth. I believe if you have the right partner who celebrates your career then you only perform better and better.

How did you guys meet?

The first time we met was at a get-together at a mutual friend’s place.

What was the first thing that attracted you towards each other?

The first thing I noticed and the one thing I love most about him is the humility in his body language even though all the girls were drooling over him at the gt where we met.

In what ways has your life changed since marriage?

Life has changed in a really good way.

How do you define your relationship?

Friendship. I second Farhan on this one.

How has your relationship evolved with time?

We became the best of friends over time. Also, we embrace the changes in each other and try to learn about each other as we are growing. We support each other’s individual growth.

What are the keys to a successful relationship?


Who is more romantic or more expressive with feelings?

I would say we both are our own kind of romantic. Can’t really tell who is more romantic.

In what ways do you think you complement each other?

He makes me feel intelligent, witty and beautiful every day, more than I think I am.

How do you deal with rumours about each other?

They are hilarious sometimes. We laugh it off together.

You have worked in Udari. How does working together bring out the best in each of you?

Udari was a great project to do together. I also really enjoyed working with him on two of his music videos Tu Thori Dayr and Saathiya. Our fans love our chemistry.

Any projects you are both working on currently or are such projects in the works?

Yes, we are. We shall announce them soon.

How do you spend your weekends?

We love spending a slow relaxed day on our days off. We love watching movies. Dining out is Farhan’s favourite, so we do that too sometimes.

How do you describe each other’s style?

We both have a minimal and comfortable style.

How has your style evolved since being together?

Like Farhan said, honest advice really goes a long way. We turn to each other for guidance when needed.

Do you travel together? Where did you go for your honeymoon and how has it helped you understand each other?

We went to Mauritius for our honeymoon. We love to travel together.

Photography by Adnan Qazi
Hair & make-up by Mehwish Almas
Assisted by Nas Din

Sonya Hussyn defies the criteria of beauty in Pakistan.
She walks in her truth and embraces the perfect version of herself.
The star of the highly anticipated period drama Aangan,
Sonya shares her story with Haider Rifaat

Describe yourself in a few words.

Intuitive, somewhat indecisive and a self-proclaimed fashionista!

What kind of household did you grow up in?

A very liberal household where open conversations and dreaming big were the norm and heavily encouraged. I grew up in a family that not only provided me with wings to fly, but also taught me how to fly.

Has your family been supportive of your career?

They always have. My mother was my first ever stylist. She was very particular about how I carried myself and was open to what I wanted out of life. The same goes for the rest of my family. Not only have they been by my side, they take immense pride in where I am today, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Are you camera-shy? What was your initial response to seeing yourself on the screen?

I don’t think I was camera-shy but I was most certainly unaware of how the camera worked, and how brutal it can be. It was after I had seen myself on-reel that I realized I could do much better. I wouldn’t say I became more self-conscious but I was definitely better equipped to face the camera with much more assurance.

Are you a director’s actor or a spontaneous one?

I think I am a bit of both. I do walk in on a set hoping that I’ll be able to approach the character how I have perceived it over script readings. I am also a very keen listener and open to all kinds of ideas. The director is undoubtedly the captain of the ship, and he/she knows best. I cannot deny that some of my greatest performances have been with a director’s vision, someone who listens and directs.

“Embrace the light”

Where can we see you next?

You will get to see me in Aangan on your TV screens very soon, and Sorry: A Love Story in the cinemas.

What role changed your life?

In and as Nazo.

Your response to people comparing you with Priyanka Chopra?

I don’t entirely find it bizarre, for Priyanka Chopra is truly very inspiring but I think we are very different from each other. I do admire how she has grown as a person and performer over the years.

sonya is said to resmeble Priyanka chopra

Why do women find the need to change their appearance in this and every other industry?

It has a lot to do with how women are required for projection. For centuries, beauty standards for women, particularly in showbiz, have been unreal and unacceptable. I enjoy dressing up and putting on makeup, but I do it for myself, and not to fit into what people expect of me. It’s about time we look beyond appearances. Do notice and appreciate people apart from their looks.

A message to your critics?

I truly value constructive criticism. It honestly helps me grow. However, I do believe in paying the devil no mind. Embrace the light.

Do you take television and film critics seriously?

I do if I know it is coming from a place that is constructive and will help me hone my craft. If there are other vendettas for criticism, I don’t bother pondering over it.

“I grew up in a family that not only provided me with wings to fly, but also taught me how to fly”

A motto you live by?

Be yourself with no pretense whatsoever

What’s your success mantra?

I think being able to trust my instincts with scripts that I end up choosing. It’s always a gamble. You never know how well a project may perform, one has to take a leap of faith.

Which colour defines your personality. Why?

White as it’s a spiritual colour

What gives you confidence?

My family and self-belief

This lovely starlet is still searching for her soulmate

What do you look for in a soul mate?

Somebody who can complete my sentences and who knows the person I am inside out; someone who I can live and celebrate my imperfections with. I know it is a struggle finding a soulmate, but I am not someone who gives up easily.

How do you keep fit?

Consistent and persistent workout and a healthy diet

Is casting couch an issue in Pakistan?

The casting coach is most definitely an issue in Pakistan. It’s not the predominant state of being otherwise people like myself wouldn’t have been able to survive in the fraternity. Nonetheless, I feel that both men and women are taken for a ride, in all professions and walks of life.

It is appalling and extremely unfortunate, but things are getting better with time. With recent movements and freedom of speech, we are all more equipped and I am glad that the perpetrators are being called out. It is about time we realize what fair and just work is.

Is free will real or an illusion?

Free will has been a reality for me. As long as I can remember, my family was very accepting and open to however I wanted to lead my life. I know it is not the case with most people in our country, or even across the globe, but I truly believe in the phrase, “to each, his own.”

What should be the goal of humanity?

As clichéd as it may sound, it’s simply, live and let live.

Where does one’s self-worth come from?

It comes from within — to believe that you are worth everything that is good in the world and you are at the top of your game. It is self-doubt that kills you!

What is art to you?


What gives you solace?

My family and the contentment that comes with being able to live my dream.

What would you like to say to your devoted fan base?

I am most grateful for the love my fans shower me with each time. They keep telling me how I need to work more and their support keeps me going.

Fresh entrant to Pakistani television, Anmol Baloch tip-toed into the entertainment industry with a slew of prominent commercials and TV series, but is best known for her role as the much beloved protagonist in Aik Larki Aam Si.
Grabbing all the attention she duly deserves, the model and actress has proved to be a lot more than just a pretty face with her strong screen presence and acting prowess. Sana Zehra meets her for a quick tête-à-tête

Has a disastrous start ever led to something great for you?

Fortunately, I can’t think of anything that didn’t start out well for me.

Which weird food combinations do you really enjoy? 

French fries with chocolate

How would your country change if everyone, regardless of age, could vote?

With younger citizens being more socially aware through open dialogue and the use of social media, I think our nation could change for the better. By allowing the youth to vote, they will be able to help create a country they would like to grow up in and start families in at a future date. It would also create a greater sense of civic duty.


What are some red flags to watch out for in daily life?

You can tell someone lacks sincerity when they’re only nice to you when you are surrounded by cameras. A tendency to be overly consumed by one’s phone with no value for interpersonal connections is also a major pet peeve.

If you were surprised with a three day paid leave from work, how would you spend your time?

I would take a quick trip somewhere I can shop till I drop or spend quality time with my cats and family.

Where do you get your news from?

Facebook and Instagram

What movie can you watch over and over without getting tired of?

DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge)

What’s wrong but sounds right?


What’s the most epic way you’ve seen someone quit or be fired?

Someone I know quit their job fearlessly by simply handing out their resignation letter to their boss saying “Hasta la vista, baby.” (Goodbye)

What social stigma does society need to get over?

A lot of the stigmas women have to face on a daily basis. An independent woman is not “corrupt” nor is a woman obligated to bow down to her husband. It’s all about mutual respect, which society needs to acknowledge.

What’s the most creative use of emojis you’ve ever seen?

Narrating a full story through emojis, only making it sound funnier.

What’s something that will always be in fashion, no matter how much time passes?

Watches. I think people will never get over watches

Which actors or actresses play the same character in almost every movie or show they do?

Humayun Saeed and Mahira Khan; he always plays the charming protagonist and she is always seen as the damsel in distress.

In the past, people were buried with items they would need in the afterlife. What would you want buried with you?

My cell phone

What’s the best /worst practical joke that you’ve played on someone or that was played on you?

Prank calling Pizza Hut and asking them for advice to solve my problems.

Who do you go out of your way to be nice to?

I try to be nice to everyone I come across but mostly my family. I would take a bullet for them if I had to.

Which celebrity do you think is the most down to earth?

Mahira Khan

What would be the worst thing to hear while going under anesthesia before a surgery?

The doctor cracking a joke about the survival rate of that particular surgery. Bad timing doc!

Something you have you never eaten but would really like to try?


What food is delicious but a pain to eat?

Pani puri. You’ve got to time your dunk and eat it super quickly so the whole thing doesn’t crumble in your hands. But I will gladly eat pani puri any day for as long as I live.

Who was your craziest/most interesting teacher?

My math teacher. He was known for telling the lamest jokes that only he found funny.

“An independent woman is not ‘corrupt’ nor is a woman obligated to bow down to her husband. It’s all about mutual respect”

What “old person” things do you do?

Stay home and sleep in on a Saturday night instead of partying.

What was the last photo you took?

The one I just uploaded on Instagram

Hair & makeup: Eric Sen

at JY Style Studio

Photography: Raza Jaffri

Though Ramsha Khan’s debut movie Thora Jee Le never made it to the box office, she has risen like a phoenix from the ashes. Currently, the starlet is working alongside industry veterans on super hit dramas, like Wo Aik Pal, Daagh, Khudaparast, and Mah-e-Tamam, and has outdone herself regarding her histrionic abilities in Tumhari Mariam. Sana Zehra sits down with pretty Ramsha Khan for a heart to heart

With whom do you connect with most both on and off set?

I try connecting with the director and my co-actors on set so we can all sync with each other and jump into scenes easily. I’m not much of a good friend off set lol, as I have trouble keeping in touch.

What is your take on love? Can a person fall in love with two people at the same time?

I think love is about caring deeply for someone. And, no, I don’t believe in falling in love with two people at the same time. That’s not love then.

You think you have found your living right now?

Nope, not yet. I have a lot to discover.

You are working with so many people right now. What makes a fruitful collaboration?

I thrive to dig deeper into my craft so I can learn and experience more, and working with all these amazing actors gives me just that opportunity.

Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

For me sometimes it’s harder to keep going, I guess I was lucky I started off easily.

Ramsha thinks Mahira Khan can become a beauty pageant queen

What’s the one thing that’s happening in our industry right now that needs to stop?

I feel like there’s a lobby when it comes to films, it’s like there are a bunch of friends who make films and cast each other. There are so many talented actors in the drama industry who deserve to be seen on the big screen.

What is that one rumor that is not true?

I haven’t heard a signle rumor about me, so I don’t know, lol.

Who do you think could run for a pageant from our industry?

Mahira Khan — she’s both intelligent and beautiful.


What is one thing that men should know about women and vice versa?

We’re a lot stronger than you think, mentally especially.

Can body language be considered a language?

I guess I don’t understand body language. I know it’s wrong but I’m always slouching.

What do you think that tells people?


How would you start a conversation in a party if you wouldn’t know anyone?

I’m not a conversation starter; I’m socially awkward. Crowds make me anxious.

“Acting isn’t something that you can teach people. It just comes naturally”

What promises have you never carried through for yourself?

That I will be regular with my yoga and diet, which stopped in 2012.

Have you ever expected love in return? Did you get it?

No, I don’t expect love in return. I already get it from my family, friends and fans of course!

If you could spend ten minutes with your “hero” alive or dead, what would you ask him?

Why did you get bored of being Batman? I thought he completed you!

A lot of people in our industry do not have the training or background in acting. Do you think you need one?

I don’t think so, I feel like anyone can act. Acting isn’t something that you can teach people. It just comes naturally. And, no, you don’t need an acting background to become an actor.

“I’ m not a conversation starter; I’m socially awkward. Crowds make me anxious”

If you were in the decision committee to make the next 8th wonder of the world what would you pick?

As weird as it sounds, I’d make an underwater aquarium/gym.

Any crazy fan moment?

Wasn’t really a crazy fan moment, but just last week my friends and I were in a humongous queue for this concert, and one of the people from the security recognized me. It turned out that he and his sister are my fans. So he discreetly helped us cut the queue and get our tickets. It was super sweet of him. He saved the day because all of us had to go to the bathroom really badly.

If you could erase an event from your mind, which one would you choose?

I wouldn’t want to erase any events because then erasing an event would mean erasing an experience, which I obviously don’t want to lose.

Best story in one sentence?

The fool didn’t know it was impossible, so he did it.

Photography by Jaffer Hasan

An actor, musician and model, Taifoor Khan entered the world of show business while still in his 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.

“I am an atypical person with a lot of eccentricities”

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 don’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 don’t know when my focus will shift to music but I do feel that it will happen, sooner or later.

You hold two master’s degrees – 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.  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.  Do you believe the criticism is justified?

No, I do not. It’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.

I’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?

One’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 “points of view” when you say, “specific relationships?”

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.  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 don’t have to fight or compete for work – 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 Stanislavski’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 don’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 : 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].

An actor, advertising professional, lyricist, musician, vocalist, and writer, Shahvaar Ali Khan is a man of many parts. He entered the world of music with a splash with No Sazish No Jang in 2008 and went on to quickly establish himself as a musician of merit by producing a number of hit songs including Azad Ki Dua, Jab Koi Pyar Se Bulayega and Filmain Shilmain, which was featured in Rohit Dhawan’s feature film Desi Boyz. A few years later, the handsome young artist took up acting and starred in the popular television serials Noor E Zindagi, Tishnagi Dil Ki, and Mera Dard Na Janay Koi. Khan is one of television’s most bankable actors today. In an exclusive interview for Good Times, he talks to Ally Adnan about his personal and professional life, music, acting, politics and a lot else.

You study Hindustani Sangeet, the music of Northern India and Pakistan, with Basharat Hussain Khan, who belongs to the Gwalior gharana  of music. Why does a pop musician like yourself need training in classical music?

All musicians need training in classical music; there really is no other form of training. One can practice lighter form of music but a sound foundation in music is necessary and this can only be built with proper, rigorous training in Hindustani Sangeet. The most popular singers of Pakistan and India, Noor Jehan and Lata Mangeshkar, were both trained in classical music although they almost always sang ghazal, geet, and other lighter forms of music.

What are the unique characteristic of the Gwalior gharana of music?

The Gwalior gharana was founded by Raja Man Singh Tomar in the sixteenth century. It is the oldest gharana of khayal, which is the most popular genre of classical music both in India and in Pakistan, today. The history of most of the extant schools of music is inextricably tied to the Gwalior gharana. It is an ancient school of music with a truly venerable history.

The Gwalior gharana is known for the purity, authenticity and simplicity of its music. Gwalior musicians make music accessible, lucid and comprehensible. They try to both entertain and educate in their concerts. Their goal is to endear and not to impress listeners. They focus on pure singing, free of artifice, complication and gimmickry. Musicians of the gharana are known for their tayyari (virtuosity) and ilm (knowledge). They prefer to sing at medium and fast tempos and like to perform well-known, popular raags, and using musical ornamentation with restraint. The most commonly used tan is the sapat tan, which employs music notes in sequence. A lot of emphasis is placed on the text of compositions, the bandish, which is rendered with great fidelity and accuracy. The asthayi (first part of composition) and antara (second part of composition) are sung in their entirety before improvisation and the introduction of variations.  The music of the Gwalior gharana is serious, somber and genuine.

What does your teacher, Basharat Hussain Khan, teach you?

A whole lot.

Basharat Sahib works with me on the clarity, tone and timbre of my voice. Voice culture is of paramount importance in music. A singer must have a rich, resonant and distinct voice to achieve success in music, and he must protect his voice from damage and deterioration. It is easy to ruin one’s voice by singing without proper training and instruction.

Basharat Sahib trains me in the basic elements of music, sur (melodic notes) and lay (tempo), by introducing raags (musical modes) and taals (rhythmic time cycles) of Hindustani Sangeet to me. He teaches me the various alankaars (musical ornamentations) of music and guides me in their proper and judicious use during singing. He makes sure that I explore my full vocal range, from teep (high registers) to kharaj (low register). Most importantly, he makes sure that I focus on riyaaz (practice) and give it due time and attention.

Basharat Sahib is a truly special teacher. He is a full trained classical musician but has equal facility in the lighter forms of music. He used to sing for films in his youth and has, in fact, recorded duets with Noor Jehan. Since, my goal has never been to become a classical musician, he has trained me in a unique manner: he has established a base in classical music but trained me in the singing of lighter genres of music like geet, ghazal and film songs. I am truly blessed to have him as my Ustad (teacher).

A lot of your songs deal with themes of peace, syncretism and tolerance.

Yes, they do. Nationalism, peace and tolerance are very important to me. They are a part of my person and my music and I am proud of the fact that my songs represent my beliefs, values and politics. They would be meaningless if they did not. All good art represents the truth that is held dear by the artist. Art that does not do so makes no impact, affects no one, and fails the test of time.

Your parents are graduates of the venerable National College of Arts, Lahore, and are known to have a great love for art, culture and history. How did their love for the finer things in life affect you?

It helped me develop whatever I have by way of taste, appreciation and fondness for the finer things in life. I owe a lot to my parents. They gave me a lot of time and attention, in addition, of course, to love. They made sure that I was introduced to the best of art, poetry, literature, and music, as a child. They made me proud of my heritage by introducing the culture, history and arts of Pakistan to me, at a very young age, in a very effective and interesting manner.

My mother is a graduate of the National College of Arts, Lahore, and received her doctoral degree from Harvard.  She has an unwavering belief in the necessity and importance of education. It inspired me to secure the best education that was available to me. She is also a very hardworking woman who did more in a month than people do in a year. She was the perfect mother and wife while being a dedicated academician and educationist. She helped me understand the value of time and the importance time-management. I am embarrassed when people say that I do a lot – acting, singing, managing a business – because what she used to do in a day is so much more than I manage to accomplish in twenty-four hours. She set high standards for me.

My father is an artist. He has a very deep understanding of art, design and aesthetics. He is also a lover of music and the person who first introduced me to South Asian music. As a child, I use to watch him listen to music with both awe and amazement. He did not take it lightly and gave it time, attention, thought, and love – A lot of love. He made me realize that listening to music is an art in itself and as important as performing music. Good listeners bring out the best in good musicians.

You have a degree in Economics & International Studies from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, and have held jobs in advertising and investment banking. What prompted the move to show business?

I am an artist and was born and raised as one. I can only work as an artist; other careers are not for me. I enjoyed studying at the Trinity College but was never comfortable in the corporate world.  A corporate junkie by day and a performing artist by night – the dichotomy seemed duplicitous and was hugely disconcerting. It became necessary – very quickly –  for me to make a move to the arts in order to be true to myself.  And, although it was daring and risky, the move was refreshingly easy. I felt great relief after making it.

You work as an actor, writer, musician, vocalist, and lyricist while managing an advertising company. That is a lot to do.

It does seem that way but, although I get overwhelmed with work, every now and then, I am very happy to have a lot on my plate. It is good to be busy. It keeps one out of trouble.

You are known to be a workaholic. Do you find time to pay attention to your family?

I try to do my best but sometimes fail to give my family the time it deserves. There are times when I wish I had more than one of me to do all that is on my to-do list but, for the most part, I enjoy being overloaded with work. Time is precious and every single moment should be productive. Workaholism is good. I do not really believe in work-life balance. I think it is a regressive ‘corporate’ concept. We have twenty-four hours in a day and need to make them count so that we make a mark in life and leave behind a meaningful legacy. Small talk, gossip, meaningless conversation, shallow socializing, and the like are a horrible waste of time. I believe in spending quality time with friends and family members, that helps all of us become learn and become better, more intelligent people. Idling is not for me.

Which do you like the most, singing writing, or acting?

I like all three. I am a singer at heart. Writing helps me explore myself and my psyche. And, acting affords me an escape from the din and vagaries of daily life.

Did you have formal training in acting?

I do not. I learn from the directors, actors and producers that I work with. I also learn by watching great actors perform in films and on television.

Do you enjoy acting?

Yes, I do. I like being able to take over the identities of other people and experience lives that are vastly different than my own.

What do you find most difficult about being an actor?

I have trouble dealing with lack of discipline, professionalism and responsibility and get annoyed when have to deal with it as an actor. Fortunately, it does not happen very often.

What constitutes a lack of discipline, professionalism and responsibility?

Changing schedules at the last minute and without justification tops the list. Giving actors scripts a few minutes before the start of shooting is unprofessional. It prevents them from preparing properly and limits their performances. Tardiness is bad, as is poor scheduling. I have a lot going on in my life and do not like having my time wasted. Nothing makes me angrier than having someone disrespect my time.

Your advertising agency, Farigh Four, produced a remarkable promotional campaign for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospitals, a few years ago. Who conceived the campaign?

My partner, Beenish Mir, and I conceived the campaign. Farigh Four has developed a number of very successful campaigns during its relatively short history. I am proud of all that I have accomplished with the company but, like everything else that is good in my life, I give full credit for the success to my wife. She manages the business and the home while I reap the benefits of being married to a particularly special lady.

Do you believe that the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospitals have made a genuine contribution to Pakistani society?

Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospitals are truly great philanthropic institutions. One can have millions of differences with Imran Khan but no one can deny the fact that the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospitals are a huge gift to Pakistan, much bigger than the 1992 Cricket World Cup. I consider being associated with Imran Khan’s noble cause both an honor and a privilege.

Farigh Four was also behind PTI’s 2013 Naya Pakistan campaign. Why did your advertising agency take the risk of aligning itself with one particular political party in the highly polarized political landscape of Pakistan?

Farigh Four is not politically aligned with any one party. Different people at the company have different political ideologies and preferences. These do not affect their work. We treat PTI like any other client and work hard to do deliver the best possible work to the party.

On a personal level, do you agree with the politics of Imran Khan?

I am a student of political science and human behavior. I do not believe in messiahs and in having blind faith in political leaders. On the political front, I like what Imran Khan stands for but dislike some of his actions and decisions. It is not black or white for me. If we take politics out of the picture, I am a tremendous fan of Imran Khan. He was a great cricketer. His philanthropic and charitable work is truly awesome. And he is a dreamer with boundless energy, unbridled optimism and infinite grit. I am a fan of Imran Khan, the person if not the politician.

You lost your son, Sher Ali Khan Azad, to a lung disease a few years ago. How did you deal with the tragedy?

Yes, that was the biggest tragedy of my life. I tried to find solace in faith, friends and family. It was not easy. It still is not. I think that I have gotten used to living without Sheroo but am as sad about his passing today as I was when he left us. He has left a gaping hole in my heart that can never be filled. Not a day goes by without me thinking of him. The loss of a child is an enormous tragedy. I hope that no parents ever have to deal with it.

I want to add that, in leaving us, Sheroo gave me and Rohma the gift of marital bliss. He brought us together in a truly remarkable manner, giving us an understanding of matrimony that we did not have earlier. He united us, made us grow closer, and strengthened the bond between the two of us.  He was with us for a very short time but gave us enough happiness to last a lifetime. He was a very special baby.

Acting was helpful at the time. It was therapeutic for me. The opportunity to act came along shortly after Sheroo left us. I am glad that I seized the opportunity because it offered me the escape that I needed at the time. It helped me leave my own and lead someone else’s life for a few months. It was an incredibly healing experience.

Did you name your son after the renowned Indian writer and poet Jagan Nath Azad?

No, I did not. People just assumed that I did because I had put Azad Ki Dua, the national anthem written by Jagan Nath Azad, to music.

What is keeping you busy these days?

Three things – television, music and Farigh Four.

I am working in a television serial for Geo Entertainment. It is the story of a simple, young man who is torn between the conflicting demands of love and tradition, as he tries to navigate Pakistan’s disparate urban and rural cultures. I am in talks with another channel about doing a serial. It has a great script and looks very promising.

I am growing Farigh Four and recruiting some very talented people into the agency. We have a lot of interesting work ahead of us and I am assembling the right team to execute it.

I am also working on music. It has been a while since I released a song and have a strong urge to create good music. I plan to release several singles during the year.

And on the personal front?

I am having a great time with the love of life as we celebrate the arrival of our new baby daughter. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Photographs by Daud Malik

Ally Adnan lives in Dallas and writes about culture, history and the arts. He tweets @allyadnan and can be reached at [email protected].

A well-known and highly popular director and actor, Adnan Malik is making his film acting debut with Asim Abbasi’s Cake. The talented young man sits down with Ally Adnan, and talks about Cake, Pakistani cinema, minority rights, the charm of family dysfunction, and a lot else

I absolutely believe that all Pakistanis — Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Zoroastrians and others — should have equal citizenship

Cake had its world premiere in London’s West End recently. How did it go?

It was absolutely amazing! To see the name of our Pakistani film up in lights in London’s most iconic film destination was enthralling. It was a proper, world-class premiere with a full house and people loved the film.

It took you a long while to sign on to do a film. Why?

Yes, it sure did. I had a few offers after the success of television serial, Sadqay Tumhare, but none that really appealed to me. I had worked in Dil Banjara after Sadqay Tumhare. The serial was not successful and made me realize that I needed to be choosy and selective when deciding to take on acting projects. I resolved to take on projects that appealed to me, both personally and professionally, and that were in line with my personal values. Cake certainly was all of that.

What did you like about Cake?

A lot but three things specifically – the story, the cast and crew, and the director’s vision – stood out.

The script of Cake blew me away when I first read it. It moved me, made me laugh and had me in tears. It was a real page-turner. The team of Cake was truly brilliant. Not only were the actors great, but the crew included some of the finest people in the business, like production designer Aarij Hashmi, cinematographer Mo Azmi and costumier Samiya Ansari, to name a few.

Most importantly, I loved the vision Asim had for the film. He had a fantastic story and he had the wherewithal to tell it in a simple, thoughtful and effective manner. Cake has a lyrical quality to it, which is a reflection of his sensibilities as a director.

Does the finished product live up to your expectations?

It sure does. Cake is a great film with a wonderful story and features some truly outstanding performances. It excels in a lot of areas – casting, editing, cinematography, colour grading, art direction, and costume design – that have often been ignored in Pakistani films and it has great music. It is a well-integrated film, crafted by a very astute director.

I feel that the story of Cake will resonate with a lot of viewers. The themes of aging, family dysfunction, sibling conflict, marital ennui, and love are universal. People will relate to the themes and identify with the characters of the film. We hope that it will become the perfect crossover film that appeals to audiences from all over the world. The attendees of the London premiere were certainly not limited to people from the South Asian diaspora.

What are the strengths of Cake?

In many ways, Cake is a groundbreaking film because of its story and technical soundness.  It is wonderfully written, meticulously crafted and intelligently structured. It is engaging, entertaining and moving and will force people to think about their own relationships and re-examine the way in which they view familial bonds. It will encourage dialogue and debate, and, hopefully effect positive change in the lives of viewers. I know that it stayed with me for a long time after I watched it for the first time at the premiere.

One of the issues that hurts Pakistani cinema is the desire to watch and produce films that imitate Bollywood. Cake is an important film because, if successful, it could change the trend and encourage producers to invest in films that are original and groom audiences to want more than copies of Bollywood films. We need more authentic stories to be told. So, a lot is riding on this film.

You play the character of Romeo, a Pakistani Christian, in Cake. The character is very different than your own. Was it difficult for you to play this role?

Playing Romeo was a daunting task at first but Asim was very certain that I was the actor to play the character. It was his belief in me, more than anything else that convinced me to take Romeo on. The preparation to play this character was tough but, once I got into it, playing the role became easy.

How did you prepare for the role of Romeo?

Very diligentl.

A lot of research went into playing the character of Romeo. It had been written so well that I wanted to do full justice to the role. Asim and I had a lot of discussion about Romeo’s person, history and psyche. We created a backstory for him. I spent a lot of time with people similar to Romeo in environs that were frequented by them but were totally alien to me. I remember the first day when I wore his wardrobe, donned the moustache, and walked down the street near a commercial market. I noticed that people engaged with me very differently. I looked at myself from their viewpoint and realized that I was no longer Adnan Malik; I was Romeo. The reaction of people to the persona of Romeo emboldened me to get fully into his character. It was a great experience.

A lot of attention was paid to Romeo’s look as well. Asim had written him as a young man who wore checkered shirts with jeans. I did not think that jeans went well with the character and found a pair of pastel coloured, bell-bottomed pants, which my father wore in the sixties, for Romeo. They gave the character a retro look. Asim, Samiya and I decided to give Romeo a moustache and add a cut to one of his eyebrows to allude to a more complicated and, perhaps, dangerous past. I think that the effort that was put into getting Romeo’s look right was rewarded very richly. He looks like he is from another era, and, in many ways, given his values, he really is. His world view and sincerity are from an era far gone. In many ways, Romeo embodies nostalgia in the film.

You seem to be very fond of the character of Romeo.

Yes, I am.

Romeo is quiet but charming and the moral compass of the film. When I saw him on screen for the first time, I viewed him as another person, instead of myself, and found him to be very likable. He is a strong person but deals with others with kindness, sensitivity and patience. I think he is truly a hero for the twenty-first century. I think in this era of female empowerment and with the Me Too movement, we need to reexamine the portrayal of men in popular culture. In the Subcontinent, we have always depicted the hero as an alpha male. I do not believe that a grown-up, spoilt momma’s boy, who is perpetually angry, picks fights easily, and chases women relentlessly, is a “hero” in this day and age.

We need to redefine the “hero” for the twenty-first century. In my mind, he is a man who is strong, kind, supportive, emotionally intelligent, and a believer in gender equality. Romeo is such a hero and very much a man after my own heart.

What did you learn Pakistani Christians while researching the role of Romeo?

I learnt that they are not at all treated well by Pakistani society. That’s very upsetting because, in a truly Islamic society, all citizens have equal rights, and religion is never the basis for any discrimination. Islamic law considers Muslims and non-Muslims to be equal and does not accord any special privileges to Muslims. The history of Islam is full of instances where Muslims and non-Muslims have been treated equally and are subject to one and the same laws. Indeed, Christianity and Judaism have flourished in many Islamic empires. It’s upsetting to see Muslims in Pakistan treat religious minorities with contempt, disdain and unfairness.

On the positive side, I discovered that Pakistani Christians are intensely patriotic and love their country dearly. They do have a strong desire to become a part of the mainstream and be treated with love, respect and kindness.

Do Christians have equal citizenship in the predominantly Muslim Pakistan?

No, but they should.

I absolutely believe that all Pakistanis – Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Zoroastrians and others – should have equal citizenship.

Why do you think the population of minorities in Pakistan has decreased by more than fifteen percent since its creation in 1947?

It has decreased because we have failed to treat minorities with fairness, kindness and equity. We have denied them equal citizenship and not allowed them to live with us in peace and harmony. Many Islamic countries, Egypt, Malaysia and Turkey, to name a few, have succeeded where we have failed. It makes me profoundly sad to see Pakistan lose the rich benefits of diversity due to the exodus of minorities.

The constitution of Pakistan guarantees the rights of minorities. A few laws have been passed to protect the rights of religious minorities, as well. Yet, the country seems to be plagued by systemic, endemic and egregious violations of freedom of religion. Do you believe that the laws and the constitution have failed to protect religious minorities because they contradict societal, cultural and local norms, or is there another reason for their failure?

Laws work when they reflect the norms, beliefs and morality of people, and fail when they are at odds with the intellectual, moral and cultural fabric of society. The people of Pakistan need to believe that treating religious minorities with fairness, equality and justice is the right thing to do; unless that happens, the laws won’t work. The only way to ensure the effectiveness of the laws is to develop a culture where religion is not allowed to become the basis of any sort of discrimination.

Do you believe that Cake has the power to positively affect the manner in which minorities are treated in Pakistan? 

Yes. I hope and wish that is makes a difference.

Ally Adnan lives in Dallas and writes about culture, history and the arts. He tweets @allyadnan and can be reached at [email protected].

Photography by Yaseen Lakhani



Shahroz Sabzwari may be the son of veteran actor Behroz Sabzwari, but he has made his own place in the field of acting and modeling, making his mark with his impeccable performance in the drama serial Tanhaiyan Naye Silsilay and Nanhi. Though his debut movie Chain Aye Na flopped at the box office, his recent hit serial Zard Zamano Ka Sawera made that look like a little bump in his very shiny ride. Sana Zehra sits down with the star of drama serial Seep to talk about love, life and his plans

One regret you live with?


How are you different after the release of your movie Chain Aye Na?

I’m much stronger.

What insults your intelligence?


In an emergency who would you call for help?

I have a lot of friends I can call but in an emergency I would call Naeem Khan.

Ever falsely accused of something?


What do you think people say behind your back?

He is one pompous @#%*!

What temptation have you successfully resisted?

A lot of them! (Laughs)

If you are in an honesty room with Syra what would you ask her?

Syra is an open book really. I don’t need to ask her anything.

First thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word fun?


Name one commonly held belief that you find offensive?

That you shouldn’t eat to lose weight. No, you need to eat and eat right to lose weight.

Crazy held belief you held as a child?

That my mother was a tooth fairy.

Tell us about your project Seep?

Seep is on air now. It is Shaista Abbas’s debut. I’m very proud of it, as it’s very different.

Who did you get the most retakes with?

Sarish Khan

What is your most useless talent?

Nothing, everything has been pretty useful so far.

How do you seek someone special’s attention?

By talking. I sure can talk!

One song that you can never get tired of?

Running away by Hoobastank

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes, yes! With Syra.

Have you ever been stalked by an ex?


Who do you think has it easier, men or women?


Who do you think is the best dressed celebrity?

My uncle, Jawed Sheikh

If you get a chance to ask God one questions what would it be?

I ask Allah questions every day. I’m very much connected to Him.

If Hareem Farooq and Hania Amir were drowning who would you save first?


Rule breaker or take permission?

Take permission

Who would rather by your costar in 007?

Syra, who else?

Who is your favourite actor?

The late Marlon Brando

What is that one character you feel like you should’ve never said yes to?

No such character

An advice from your father that you should’ve followed?

Just recently, my tooth cap came off and my father said to go get it fixed right away. I didn’t listen and lo and behold I have severe toothache right nowL

Most embarrassing comment anyone has ever made?

There were a lot of lethal comments made when Chain Aye Na trailer was released.

Describe love in three words?

I can’t describe love in three words. I can write a whole book about it!

One word for Chain Aye Na?

My first film

One word for awards?

If you have a good jury then that’s fine, but awards should not be given based on public opinion or as a result of a popularity contest.

One word for Botox?

I like it. Everyone should get it done.

Do you think you got it before your time?


Do you think people should invest money in flop films?

I think investment should be done regardless. Whether it’s smart or not, the end result always speaks for itself.

Who would you rather go dancing with? Mahira or Maya?

Maya Ali

Imagine A movie scene. you have to introduce your girl to your mother. Who would it rather be: Soha Ali or Shaista Abbas?


Who would you rather arm wrestle? Bilal Ashraf or Ali Rehman?

Ali Rehman because I might have a chance with him, but Bilal Ashraf hell no!

If you were given a chance to do a high school musical that would you rather do it with: Sonya Hussain or Armeena Khan?


Were your exes invited to your wedding?

I invited some of them.

Did they show up?

One of them did.

Imagine you are swimming in sunny California and suddenly you start drowning. Who would rather be your lifeguard: Sadaf Kanwal or Amna Babar?

Sadaf Kanwal

Imagine there is an alien attack happening. who would rather be your side kick: Kubra Khan or Syra Shahroz?

If I say Kubra Khan my world will end so I will say Syra Shahroz.

If you had a choice of a personal butler, would it rather be Sanam Baloch or Sarish Khan?

Sarish Khan

And why is that?

Because she’d be one hot butler.

Who is that one actress you really wish to work with?

Maya Ali

Rate the following as the best actress: Mahira Khan, Mehwish Hayat or Saba Qamar?

Mehwish Hayat, Saba Qamar and Mahira Khan

What does GT mean to you?

Good times!

“I invited some of my exes to my wedding”

Off the Cuff with
Shaista Abbas

Making her debut with the drama serial Seep opposite Shahroz Sabzwari, Shaista is the younger, half-sister of Meera Jee and is a paralegal by profession. Growing  up in London, her Urdu is not fluent so she’s working extra hard on her dialogue delivery as  all eyes are currently on this beauty. Sana Zehra sits down with the ingenue for a fun rapid fire session

Most googled question: Are you really Meera Jee Sister?

I’m her half-sister.

Do you think you got special treatment because of your sister?

I don’t think so. I had to audition for this role just like anyone else

How come you are not so active on social media?

That’s because I am a very shy person.

What is your personal grievance?

Don’t have any.

Who is your style icon?

Aishwarya Rai. I think she is gorgeous, a real lady and has a positive energy around her. She exudes optimism.

What is the most expensive gift you bought for yourself?

A pair of gold earrings

What do you think about celebrities posting pictures of various brands on their social media?

Well, if something makes them happy then why not? If it gives them a sense of achievement then why not celebrate it and share it with the rest of the world and give inspiration to young girls as well? No harm in that!

What about people who cannot afford these brands?

It’s a sad reality that so many people are in want and are suffering. We should all help them but if someone wants to enjoy life then I say let it be. God has everything. He can provide anything to anyone. We are divided into social strata for a reason. Everything should be taken positively.

Ever seen a ghost?

No, but I wish to because I don’t get scared.

If you have an unlimited food supply what one thing would you want to eat?

Fish and eggs

What is your guilty pleasure?


Favorite Music?

Punjabi songs

Last video watched on YouTube?

Series of interviews of celebrities

Last crush?

I had a crush on my classmate.

Any tattoos?

No, I’m not a tattoo kind of person.

Analog or Digital?


Who is your spirit animal?

I love dogs.

If you are a magician and you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I’d make myself more beautiful.

Can you cook?

Yes, I love to cook.

Fahad Mustafa, Junaid Khan, and Ahsan Khan: Who would you want to work with in the future?

Fahad Mustafa

Out of these two who would you say yes to a dinner date. Imran Abbas or Mikaal Zulfiqar?

Mikaal Zulfiqar

An actor you really wanted to work with?

Mikaal Zulfikar

What is your take on Botox and fillers?

Something very convenient nowadays, a good thing to have I guess. I appreciate the people who would be that daring to go for it.

Have you ever been hit on by a co-star?


Have you ever committed to a shoot and not show up?

No way, I’ve always met my commitments.

If you have an opportunity of losing one memory what would it be?

Hating someone.

How many times have you been in love?

I love to love and I love the feeling of love and I don’t mind falling in love again and again.

Everything is fair in love and war—True or False?


What does GT means to you?

Every time can be a good time.


Arsalan Bilgrami of a.bilgrami studio

Hair & makeup:

Shaista Studio Z salon and spa

Shahroz grooming:


Location courtesy:

The Deli

Shaista is Meera’s younger, half-sister

“We are divided into social strata for

a reason” (Hmmm    )

Juggun Kazim is a name that needs no introduction. Her no nonsense attitude about love, life and her openness about her personal relationships have made her connect with people. Sana Zehra sits down with her for a short & sweet one on one

What do you think it means to be a feminist in 2017?

I believe that women should have the same political, social, and economic rights as men but, most importantly, we need to make sure that we respect and every human being’s basic rights on this planet.

As a mother raising a boy what do you hope to teach him about equality?

As a mother raising a boy, it’s always an upward battle. I always try to teach him that men and women are equal, and both need to be respected the same way; in some ways, women more than men. It’s not very easy, because he is currently studying in an all-boys school where obviously there’s a little bit of male chauvinism that exists as well. But I believe that children really learn by example, so I try to be respectful of all people, male or female, some who work for me in my house or at work, or even my bosses. I try to keep an equal and respectful attitude towards everyone, so that my children learn to do the same.

How has Juggun changed over the course of the years?

The two great changes that have happened are: (a) that I’ve become extremely conscious of my health. I’ve become proactive about going to the gym and eating well, which I was very careless about say ten years ago. The other thing that has happened is that I’ve become much more patient than I used to be. I used to get very upset and worked up pretty quickly. Now I’ve learnt how to take a breath and be calm about adversities as well as minor irritants.

Under that tough facade, who is the real Juggun?

I’m basically just a regular girl. I like going out with my friends, hanging out at home watching movies, cooking for my family and friends. So I would say I’m very basic, there is no deep, dark or very interesting thing about me.

Favourite fan moment?

I’ve always had people coming up to me to appreciate my work, but what really touches me is when someone says I made a difference in their life, which happens very largely with my morning show. I have a dialogue based show on education and health. I still remember there was this one time a woman came up to me told me she was almost going to divorce her husband but changed her mind after listening to something I had to say in a show, about “when is it exactly the right time to give up” or “giving yourself that first year of getting to know each other properly before making such a serious decision.” So that was a really great moment for me to know that somebody actually listened to me and is now happy and settled down because of a small thing that I pointed out.

“To know that somebody actually listened to me and is now happy and settled down because of a small thing that I pointed out on my morning show is a great feeling”

Closest ever came to death?

I have A LOT of near death experiences, predominantly because I’m very accident prone. When I was four or five years old, I went to Nathiagali with my family, and everyone was just doing their thing till suddenly they realised that I was missing. Then one of them found me literally hanging from a cliff very quietly because I was very very scared. That is probably the nearest to death experience that I’ve had. Then, I was in a really bad car accident when I was 17, I lost a really dear friends of mine in that accident, so yes that’s another one.

One word describing Marriage and Morning shows?

The one word I would use is “unnecessary.”

One thing you are really bad at?

I have to admit whenever I’m really upset or stressed out, I binge eat. That’s a really bad habit that I’d like to change this year.

Advice to women with a broken heart?

Honestly, there’s really nothing you can say or do for a person when their heart is broken. I can relate to that feeling. But the only thing I can say is “this too shall pass.” Broken hearts do heal, bigger and better things come along. But when you’re in that moment you need to deal with whatever you’re going through because only when you acknowledge it and deal with it, you come out of it.

Relationship advice to a 15 year old Juggun?

I would say don’t be in a relationship because 15 is too young; I’d say talk to your parents, confide in them. When you’re at that age you should explore the world and yourself and just have fun. Relationships are great, when they happen at the right time. But if you try to fast forward to them, I think you don’t enjoy them as much as you get confused with things that come with it. So I’d say don’t be in a relationship if you’re 15, but if you are then make sure that your parents know who you are with and the entire dynamic of it, because a lot of times people take advantage of you or the situation since it’s a secret. The right thing at the right time has a better impact and makes you happier.

Shehzad Shaikh, son of veteran film actor Javed Shaikh, gets candid with Sana Zehra

Make a prediction: What will you be doing a year from now?

I will probablybe directing a movie.

What do you do on your days off?

I sleep a lot. I take my kids out for outing you know just chill and relax with the family.

Favourite place to visit in the world?

New York

One hobby you plan on taking up?

Scuba diving

One poster you had it on your wall while you were growing up?

Backstreet Boys and Michael Schumacher

What show would you like to do a cameo on?

I won’t ever do a cameo.

Which movie made you cry?

Cast Away

If you’d be a rockstar from any decade who’d you be?

Ali Azmat

If you could be any rapper who you’d be?


What’s one thing you have from your childhood?

My toys, which now my son has sort of taken over.

What’s your favourite 90s song?

Cloud Number Nine by BryanAdams

Name of your first pet?

Veck my pet dog

If you’d play any professional sports what would you play?


What was it like to play the romantic lead against Iqra Aziz?

Fun! It’s always super fun. I’m doing two more serials with her so it will be even more fun.

What’s the best impression you can make?

I can act and I can make any impression I want to.

Worst habit?

Never on time on set, shhh!

Best habit?

I love with my heart.

Biggest role model?

Quaid e Azam

If you weren’t an actor what would be your dream job?

Selling tickets in black

Craziest thing happened on set?

It was an Aijaz Aslam production and we had four people who showed up on our set with 4-5 grenades. It was absolutely insane.

Who would you love to do a lead opposite?

Mahira Khan

Best piece of advice ever received?

Be yourself because everyone else is taken.

What’s the biggest personal change you’ve ever made?

I got a haircut.

Why is it that on a phone or a calculator the number five has a little dot on it?

Because it’s right in the middle.

What’s the most money you’ve ever given away?

A million dollars

If someone gave you the power to save just one animal species on earth, which would it be?


What do you most regret and wish you could re-do?

Go back in time to college and not take up smoking.

Which super power would you prefer, invisibility or flight?


What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Dove in a pool and lost my shorts!

What in this world breaks your heart?

People are not loving to each other anymore.

What does GT mean to you?

Magazine, which keep you up-to-date

I won’t ever do a cameo

Beautiful Alyzeh is making waves for her modelling and her admirers. As a model, actress and a mother, Alyzeh is a new addition to the acting frat. Sana Zehra manages to tear her away for a quick-fire round of questions

What’s the best thing about being in Karachi?

Karachi itself, it’s my home town and I love it.

What’s the worst part about being in Karachi?

Humidity and the crazy traffic

What’s the best thing about being in Lahore?

The beauty of the city and the great food options it offers.

What’s one thing you like to have on set with you at all times?

My power bank as I take a lot of BTS shots

What is one cause dear to your heart?

Children’s welfare as I am a mother myself and can’t see a child in pain

Funniest thing you’ve ever read about yourself in print?

That I got Nikkah-ified.

What hair colour do you enjoy having the most?

Ash blonde highlights

What is your favourite colour?


Funniest person you know?

Babloo, the makeup artist

Who has made you most star struck?

I haven’t been star struck yet but can’t wait to be.

Name one historical figure you’d love to have coffee with?

I wish I could have a cup of coffee with the late Benazir Bhutto. She still is an inspiration for me.

Name one historical figure you’d love to have a cocktail with?

Diana, Princess of Wales, I wish.

What made you want to act?

I wanted explore this side of me. When the role in Rangreza was offered to me, I was a little hesitant but I am glad that I took the chance and proved to myself that I could do it.

Favourite app?


Favourite thing to eat?

French fries

Least favourite thing to eat?


Favourite fashion trend of all times?

Denim on denim

Least favourite fashion trend of all times?

I just don’t like belt bags and headbands or bandanas.

Do you have a morning beauty ritual?

I am not a morning person lol.

Favourite beauty product?

No make-up palette

Worst beauty product you’ve ever tried?

I bought this water proof mascara once that wouldn’t wash off and when it did, my real lashes came off with it.

Priciest thing you splurged on?

My Rolex watch that I lost recently during fashion week.

Favourite book of all times?

Reflections of a Man by Amari Soul

If you’d live in any era what would it be?

Mughal Era

One thing you’d always travel with?

My book, whichever one I am reading at that time.

Stuck on deserted island what would be one thing you’d want to have?


Favourite TV show of all times?

Friends, for sure!

First thing you did this morning?

Cuddled with my daughter.

How would you describe yourself?

A loving mother and a hopeless romantic

What’s your spirit animal?

Not an animal person at all.

What’s your favourite exercise?


Do you have a secret talent?

I write.

Do you have a nickname?


If you knew your death could save a stranger’s life, would you give up your life? Why or why not?

No, I’d like to save as many lives as possible but would like to give my life for the ones who are dear to me, not for strangers.

What insults your intelligence?

When people think most models are dumb.

What is your greatest weakness?

My daughter

What was your favourite recess activity?


When you find yourself in an argument, do you prefer to leave and resolve it later or stay and settle it right away? Why?

I try my best to settle it right away and I also am very tolerant so most of the times I let things go from my end.

Favourite method of getting the news?

Social media

Favourite Disney princess?


What do you have to say about the current rumour between you and Amir?

No comments

What does GT mean to you?

My guide to the latest fashion trends and news


Hania Aamir’s pale, innocent beauty belies a chilled wisecrack temperament that keeps one in fits of laughter. She’s savvy, achingly young yet fiercely independent; she’s also a genuine social media star whose Dubsmash game is truly a skill to behold. Young women can learn a thing or two from this fuss free rising star who is unafraid to be herself. Hania has fun with Afshan Shafi

What has been your most favourite role to date and why?

My most favourite characters were in Parwaz e Junoon and Titli, they were something different.

If you had to choose a profession other than acting, what would it be and why?

Production, because I think I’m good at managment, etc.

Which actor is your greatest inspiration?

Priyanka f***** Chopra

What kind of characters would you love to play in the future?

I think I just want to play Rapunzel in Tangled, not joking haha. And Harley Quinn!

Are you a social person or a loner?

I’m not a loner per se, but like a little bit of both .

Favourite perk of the job?

I get to discover more sides of me in each role, and meeting new people.

Worst pitfall of the job:

Sleepless nights

What’s the last thing you watched?

American Sniper

The weirdest habit I have is…

Spitting chewing gum at people.

Heels or Flats:

Flats…no actually both

The one lipstick shade I wear the most often is…

I’m more of a tint person.

A character I wish I had played…

Harley Quinn

One thing I just won’t eat is…


Can you remember your last dream?

Yeah but I’m not telling.

Kardashian or Jenner:


Celebrity crush local/international:

Local no one . Internationally, Jennifer Lawrence

Dogs or cats?


A historical figure you’d love to have coffee with?

Quaid e Azam

If you had one superpower, what would it be?


Hania spits her gum out at people

Hania has a girl crush on Jennifer Lawrence

People growing up in the 90s would surely remember Dino as an MTV VJ. After that he spent five years in England as a radio jockey (RJ) at BBC Urdu, and now he’s hosting a TV show Ek Dum Live and is an RJ for a radio show Dost Kya Scene Hai on FM91. In addition, he has acted in  Chinar Ghati and Rangreza

By Sana Zehra

What is your real name?

Mohammed Ali Charlie

What are you most known for?

Hosting on television and radio, in particular on the music channels, Indus music and MTV Pakistan.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

A lot of funny and random things happen to me all the time. One time I was discussing with a friend how someone should adapt the famous jasoosi (detective) digest called Imran series for the Pakistan television. That very night while I was going home in a Careem I met a driver who happened to be from the family who have been publishing the books for the past 40 years. The conversation that followed was both funny and insightful.

If you woke up and had thousands of unread emails and could only answer five of them, how would you choose which ones to answer?

Well that’s a tough one because I find it rude not to reply to any form of communication. Ajeeb lagta hai (it feels odd). I guess I would just randomly select which ones to answer.

My worst purchase would be this pair of grey faded jeans I got from the UK. They seemed OK at first but later I looked like a cheesy Tamil hero

Describe the colour blue to somebody who is blind.

I guess I would just say that its calm and relaxing definitely my favourite colour.

What was that one time when you screwed up big time and no one found out?

Generally, I’m a very careful person so I wouldn’t say I mess up big time but little things. Like I’m really bad with names but I always remember faces. So when I meet people who are overly excited to see me and they may have been good friends long ago but I can’t remember their names. I get really embarrassed. I always act that I remember their names and who they are but if they ask me to save their number on my phone I get caught and it’s super embarrassing.

What would you name your boat if you had one?

Something filmi like the SS Nasreen, SS Shabnam or even SS Zubeida.

“A lot of funny and random things happen to me all the time”

Apart from Sana Javed what celebrity would you rate as a perfect 10?

I think all women are perfect 10s in their own way, but I find Iqra Aziz, Hania Amir, Momina Musteshan and Aima Baig very attractive. To be honest I’ve been all over the world and Pakistani women are really beautiful.

Name a fictional character that would be most boring to meet in real life? And which would be most exciting and why?

Any of the female characters you see in local dramas and soaps that would be boring. And most exciting would definitely be Batman I’m a huge fan and just hanging out with him would be awesome.

What is the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?

Best would be this Calvin Klein leather jacket I bought from Los Angeles, which was super expensive, but totally worth it. My worst purchase would be this pair of grey faded jeans I got from the UK. They seemed OK at first but later I looked like a cheesy Tamil hero.

“I find Iqra Aziz, Hania Amir, Momina Musteshan and Aima Baig very attractive. To be honest I’ve been all over the world and Pakistani women are really beautiful”

What are some things that sound like compliments but are actually insults?

I don’t get it when people say, “Oh I didn’t know you could do that,” or “Wow you can do that too,” and then they stop there and don’t bother telling you if its good or bad.

What quote or saying do people say but is complete bogus?

I find the whole positive people versus negative people a little bogus. I mean just because someone is negative or has a tough time in life doesn’t mean they don’t want life to change or they aren’t trying hard to work things out for themselves. One should give advice without using others as examples.

Dumbest way you’ve been injured?

I remember a long time ago I fell onto a glass table at a friend’s GT while playing darkroom when we were kids. My injuries were quite severe. When I tell that I scars from playing darkroom, it just sounds wrong on so many levels. They always reply, “What was happening in that dark room huh?”

Tell us one thing people don’t know about you?

I’m very close to my faith and do my best to practice as regularly as possible. When people meet me they assume that I’m a hyper fun party boy. I’m actually the complete opposite of that. I know how to have a good time but I also feel that a strong solid relationship with God is far more important.

SFK Bridals by Sadaf Fawad Khan imparts subtlety and modernity. Sadaf’s vision offers youthful glamour that balances traditional detailing with fresh silhouettes. Sadaf discusses her recent collection styled exculsively for GT on her muse, the stunning Anaum Hammad

By Afshan Shafi

How would you describe your design journey?

I’ve been designing for five years now so SFK bridals was a very natural progression for me.

Do you have a muse?

For today’s shoot Anaum is my muse who is truly beautiful and looks stunning in each and every color and every cut.

In life, who would you say is your muse?

I think there are so many well dressed inspirational women across the world so it would be hard to choose one.

What inspires you when you’re designing?

I’m quite a minimalist person anyway and I don’t like ostentatious things, so we always keep that in mind. Motif wise I’ve gone with sticking to patterns, mosaics, florals. As we go further, we’ll develop a signature style so to speak but for now we take inspiration from everything.

How would you describe SFK in three words?




What was the starting point for this particular collection that you showed at Pfdc?

Since I’m a business graduate, I handle the business side of things and work with my design team who develop the khakas and we together we add to the databank for inspiration. For the recent collection, we looked at the moonbow which is quite a rare phenomenon and uncommon.

What are your plans for expanding SFK in the future?

I think Bridals will remain an integral focus and since there is no bigger category then couture we will keep on expanding with that in mind. We have big plans let’s see how they roll out.

Rapid Fire

Favourite designers (International)

Ellie Saab and Sabyasaachi

Favourite designers (local)

Elan, Muse, Faraz Manan & Zara Shahjahan

Favourite piece of jewellery

A pendant that Fawad has gifted me, which is my favourite so far.

A celebrity you would love to dress

Deepika Padukone

Non-celebrity you would love to dress

Kate Middleton (Laughs)

Favourite fashion show that you attended in person

The recent showcase by Elan. The ambiance, clothes everything was 100/100

Favourite high street designer


The perfect metallic look for a dholki with a high low hemline adding a modern twist. Pulled back hair gives the right sleekness to the ensemble

 Just the outfit for a glam mehndi with those Shafaq Habib beauties adding the right lustre

Anaum is a knockout in this ivory sari. We love the ruffled fall and pallu and the glints of gold throughout. The deep pink lips and the perfect highlighter finish the look perfectly

We love the entiwining branches of the grand motif here as well as the shimmering fabric. Shiny fuss free hair adds a carefree vibe to this evening ensemble

 Anaum dazzles in a floor length jacket with metallic high waisted trousers. Subtle side swept waves add a traditional elegance to the look

Love the on-trend fringing and high low modernity of this outfit. Anaum rocks those aubergine trousers with strappy heels

2017 has been a year of challenges for Pakistani cinema.

With more flops and a few debatable hits, Rangreza’s trailer seems to be a breath of fresh air in the cinema smog.

The trailer looks enticing, Gohar Rasheed especially seems to be a contender for an acting award next year.

Sana Zehra sits down with Bilal Ashraf, Ghana Ali and Gohar Rasheed for a quick rapid fire on love, life and Rangreza

Interview: Sana Zehra

Photography: Arsalan Bilgrami of a.bilgrami studio

Hair & makeup: Nabila’s

Outfits: Deepak Perwani

Jewellery: Kohar

Bilal Ashraf

What’s your favourite place on earth?


Favourite food?

Qeema Roti

Denim or pants?


Collared shirt or t-shirts?


One thing you can’t live without?


What does love sound like?

Sounds beautiful

What’s on your Ipod right now?

Phool khil jaingay

Favourite song to play on the guitar?

Wish I did but unfortunately I don’t know how to play the guitar.

Favourite song to play in the car?

Bulleya from Rangreza

What’s the best song to sing while you’re getting ready for a night out?

Namumkin from Pepsi Battle of the Bands

What’s the best song to put on when you are having a romantic night in?

I don’t know.

If Adele came up to you right now what would you say to her?


What’s the closest you have ever come to death?

Pretty close. When I was 13 I had a relapse of typhoid and it was pretty bad.

Biggest inspiration?

My father

What turns you off?

Bad body odour

If you weren’t an actor you’d be?

An architect

Favourite perk of the job?

To travel a lot

How did you make your first buck?

Making sandwiches at college

TV series you’d watch to back to back?

Game of Thrones

Song you’d listen to back to back?

Coke Studio’s Uss Rah Paar

First album you ever bought?

Bryan Adams

One thing you are really bad at?

Managing things

One superhero power you would love to have?

Mind control

Favourite fan moment?

It was when I was in London at Selfridges and I had people from across the border come and take pictures with me. Guess they’d seen Jaanan and were super happy to meet me.

Three qualities you want in your partner?

Adventurous, sporty, honest.

Advice to men with a broken heart?

Give it time, it will heal.

Relationship advice to a 15 year old Bilal?

Stay away

Craziest thing you ever did for a woman?

I flew to New York.

What would your ex-girlfriend be thinking right now?

I hope she is not thinking about MR (Mr. Right).

How many donuts are you able to eat in one sitting?

I don’t like donuts.

Favourite kind of cookie?

Double Dark Chocolate Dark from Ben’s Cookies, London

If you were a biscuit what flavor would you be?

Definitely dark chocolate

Who, in your opinion, is the best dressed man in the industry?

Fawad Khan

Who, in your opinion, is the best dressed women in the industry?

Mahira Khan

What song best describes your work ethics?

Born to be Wild

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you make for us?


What would your dj name be?

Dj Billo

Would you rather be giant or microscopic?


What’s your favourite colour?


Least favourite colour?


What’s the weirdest word in the English language?


What’s your favourite season?


How do you describe living in Pakistan?

Dangerous and unpredictable

What’s your favourite movie of all time?

Scent of a Woman

Favourite movie in the past five years?

Baby Driver

Favourite TV show that’s currently on?

Game of Thrones

Is this the strangest interview you’ve ever had?


Ghana Ali

Who should every one be following right now?

Dj Khaled

What’s the coolest thing in your wardrobe?

At the moment, it’s a Stella McCartney dress I wore to the Lux Style Awards.

What’s your favourite restaurant in Karachi?


What do you love on your pizza?


Favourite drink?

Virgin Mojito

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Dark chocolate

Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I don’t like sushi

Dogs or cats?


Best gift you’ve ever received?

My sister had this beautiful diamond necklace, which I ended up wearing to the Lux Style Awards. She gave it to me without ever wearing it. That was something very special to me.

Last gift you gave a friend?

I gave some makeup and a fragrance to my really good friend.

Jeans or trousers?

I like trousers more.

A person you want to have coffee with?

My sister

Who is Ghana Ali?

A born actress my mom used to say: “She is always acting. Dramay kar rahi hay.” (She is acting like a drama queen).” My parents were both working and I had a lot of time to be on my own and watch a lot of TV. I remember watching a movie with Katrina back to back and ended up cutting my own hair just like her.

Who gave you your breakfast this morning?

My best friend Waqas.

Any thoughts on Rangreza?

Am very close to the cast and crew of Rangreza, it is my family. Everyone has been nothing but nice to me. There were a few problems in the beginning but Munib, Urwa, Gohar and Bilal they have all been extremely nice to me and am super excited about this.

What does GT means to you?

I have spent good times with GT and by the way my original name is Ghana Tahir so GT is my nickname too!

Gohar Rasheed

Describe Gohar Rasheed in three words?


Risk taker


One thing you can’t live without?

People who I love I’m extremely close to them I can’t imagine my life without them.

What’s the coolest thing in this room?

The piano in the back

Favourite season?


What do you like to do in your extra time?

Dining out and watching movies

Favourite movie?

The list is huge. Gangs of New York, Fight Club, Scent of a Woman so yeah the list goes on.

Favourite movie in the last five years?

Punjab Nahin Jaongi

What’s a book you plan on reading?

My friend Bilal Lashari recommended The Kite Runner. Am really looking forward to reading that.

Iphone or Android?


Favourite food?


Do you have a tattoo?


Are you in love?

No, not atm.

Favourite solo artist?

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Favourite song?

I love all Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan songs.

If your life were a song, what would the title be?

How do you like me now by The Heavy.

If you could sing a duet with an actress, who would it be?

Saba Qamar

A historical figure you’d love to have coffee with?

Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah

What’s your favorite board game?


What’s your favorite country to visit?


What’s the last country you visited?


What country do you wish to visit?

Canada and I’d really like to visit Vancouver.

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Being a healer.

Is this the strangest interview you’ve ever had?

No, I’ve been through worse.

What does Rangreza mean to you?

Rangreza is my heart! I’m extremely attached to it. My character Waseem Wallay has become my better half I have been living with the character for the past 2 years.

How so?

I have emotionally invested in this character. I changed my appearance for Waseem Wallay and it eventually became a part of me.

What does GT mean to you?

You know being featured in GT was a huge deal, I remember I got featured once and I got myself into trouble (laughs) so yeah I’ve had great time with GT. I grew up with it!

Pakistan has a new heartthrob—the intensely charming and extremely handsome, Bilal Abbas Khan. Famed for those oh so beautiful eyelashes and his particular brand of smouldering innocence, Khan is a breath of fresh air. Starring alongside Sajal Aly in the popular drama O Rangreza, this truly versatile actor is sure to hit the big time. Bilal speaks to Afshan Shafi about his journey, romantic side and more

“The weirdest habit I have isbeing lazy and clumsy”

What has been your most favourite role to date and why?

My most favourite role to date (while I do feel it’s too early in my career to have favourites) is the one I am playing at the moment in O Rangreza, because this is the first time that I am playing a role that is completely different to my personality. This character is a sensitive and emotional boy who is completely opposite to my own personality.

If you had to choose a profession other than acting, what would it be and why?

No other profession to be honest. Since childhood I wanted to be an actor in theatre, television or cinema. This is my calling and I hope I am good enough to do this till the day I die.

Which actor is your greatest inspiration?

No specific actor. I believe every actor is an inspiration for new performers like me. However, I really admire the works of Nauman Ejaz, Al Pacino and Marlon Brando a lot!

On the set we learn from every actor and they inspire you to do better with each scene. It’s an evolutionary and learning process.

What kind of characters would you love to play in the future?

Oh there is so much to do for me in all genres. The wish list could just go on…

Would you ever like to play a role diametrically opposed to your public image?

I am lucky that I have gotten a role like O’Rangreza to play so early in my career. It’s really different from my real self to be honest. And this is the basic reason I got into this profession, to focus on the craft of acting and play diverse personalities every day.

What kind of contemporary actors would you compare yourself with? Or would like to emulate?

I don’t compare myself to any actor. Everyone has a different way of approaching a role respective to their career. I just want to focus on my own work.

Who are the most (local) talented actors of your generation in your opinion?

Feroze Khan, Ahad Raza Mir and Wahaj Ali.

Rapid Fire

Favourite perk of the job?

The ability to evoke emotion

Worst pitfall of the job?

Constant pressure

What’s the last thing you binge-watched?


The weirdest habit I have is…

Being lazy and clumsy

Most romantic thing I have ever done…

Yet to come (haha)

Hottest woman in Pakistan:

Mahira Khan

What is your dream car?


Love is…


A character I wish I had played is…

Raj Kumar Rao in Trapped

Classical Art or Modern Art?


What do you judge people for that you probably shouldn’t?

On how they easily judge other people

One thing I just won’t eat is…


Celebrity crushes local/international?

Mahira Khan, Angelina Jolie

Dogs or cats?

Neither (not really a pet person)

A historical figure you’d love to have coffee with?

Mohammad Ali

If you had one superpower, what would it be?


Sana still has her pink stuffed bunny from her childhood called bunny wunny!

Having faced some of the toughest personalities in Pakistan when she was working as a news anchor, Sana Bucha’s personality and her no-nonsense gutsiness has made her one of the most inspiring and dynamic women in the country. She recently made a mark as an actress by working  in the movie Yalghaar and we have heard there are many more projects underway. We love this actress and advocate who inspires us to embrace every ounce of who we are! Sana Zehra gets together with Sana Bucha for a quickie

Nickname that really annoys you…

Sana “Bitch”a

Sana still has her pink stuffed bunny from her childhood called bunny wunny!

Weirdest habit you have is…

I am so OCD, which is a problem for everyone because I want the cushion in place and I want the carpet proper so yeah, I guess that is a weird habit.

First thing that comes to your mind…

About Laikan?


About Botox?


Regarding the red carpet?




Favourite movie?

I love Ijazat, Peter Pan, Pulp Fiction, Legends of the Fall. There is not one favourite, I have many.

What would be a good theme song for your life?

I get knocked down but I get up again.

Whose brain would you like to pick?

Ahmed and Ijaz

Whose brain would you like to have had?

No, I want to keep my own brain please.

If you could be successful in another profession, which would you choose?


If you could commit one crime without being caught…?

I’d kill someone.

Sana still has her pink stuffed bunny from her childhood called Bunny Wunny!

Greatest work of art?


If you could invent anything?

A clock that moves really slowly

What colour describes you best?


What object best represents your personality?

You know those cuboids with different colours, I am that with different colours.

What period of history most fascinates you?


Worst work experience?


Change one thing about your childhood?

I wish my parents hadn’t gotten divorced.

Do you believe in magic?


Are you superstitious?

Yes, very

What would you like to be known for?

A good heart

If you could have witnessed one event in history?

I would really like to have seen Hazrat Khadija marrying the Holy Prophet (SAW).

If you could ask God one question?

Why do you continue to love me and bless me after all the wrong that I have done in life?

Single most valuable thing you’ve learned?

Ok, this is something really important and I just learned this. I thought professionalism and passion are the same thing. They are not. Please learn this early in your life.

The five most important things in life?

My parents

My husband

Good friends

A little bit of money

A purpose and meaning in life

If you could be reincarnated as someone you know?

My father

Reincarnated as an animal?

I’m so hyper and have so much energy that I think I’d be a good horse.

The most difficult question you could be asked?

Why don’t you love yourself?

Last time you cried?

Last night

Sana’s backup plan?

I have no backup plan.

Guilty pleasure?


Favourite toy growing up?

I still have it. It’s my pink bunny called “Bunny Wunny.”

Which economic policies would turn Pakistan into a growing economy?

Our economic policies are so inherently flawed. First and foremost, we need to set our priorities straight. Taxation is important of course. We need to focus on real life issues such as clean water, electricity, health care, etc. only then we can move forward.

Morning or Night?

Oh night.

What’s on your iPod right now?

Lots of artists and U2 for sure

Pop or Sufi?


Lipstick or Lip-gloss?


Favourite season?


Blow dry or air dry?


Diamonds or Pearls?


What does GT mean to you?

Globetrotting. I know its good times but for me its globetrotting.

They make music with the instruments they were born with — their voices!

Music is a passion, a fever for those who think of nothing else and reach out to the audience with their soulful voice. Emerging as the new vocalist with major star power, Romee Khan is creating quite a buzz in the music world with his powerful vocal cords and heart touching songs.

Born on June 18th 1996, this young supernova dove into the realm of songs and music at the tender age of nine. Romee is an enigma; a child star from an immensely talented and educated family. Despite the fact that he has been performing, creating and improvising almost since he was old enough to walk, Romee is as humble and down to earth as they come. He may have hordes of fans and photographers surrounding him whenever he steps out in public, but he is an intensely private man who lives with his family in London.

While still just a teenager, he created his own home studio to record his songs. Despite being comparatively new, he was signed by the big banner of T series for a recording deal. In 2013, he started releasing music and today he is trotting the globe and performing live in  popular shows, sharing the stage with icons like Mika Singh, Atif Aslam, Ali Zafar, Bohemia, Kamal Raja, Abhay Deol, Ali Azmat, Nargis Fakhri, Sonu Sood and many others. His recent performances with Tony, Sonu and Neha Kakarr in New Zealand and Australia were such a raving success that another USA tour is planned with them for November this year.

Romee is quickly climbing the ladder of success due not only to his powerful voice but also to his unique stage presence and charisma. He has achieved quite a few recognitions, like The Amazing International Singer award presented to him by the king of Indian music Buppi Lahri himself and Best International Singer presented by Nargis Fakhri. His performance with Sajid Wajid Musical group and Shilpa Shetty was commendable and soon we should expect to see him with the fabulous Sushmita Sen.

Romee is never satisfied. There are so many different avenues and so many different things that he wants to do and is excited about. From Philadelphia to Atlanta, from New York to India, he has performed for millions in packed arenas swaying to his hit  songs Rab di and Teri Yaad. Keep your eye on this fast rising star.

Fashion designer, Mona Imran last showcased her collection Goldrush at FPW 16 to positive reviews. Her signature look is a mix of rich golds and reds with intricate hand embroidery. Sana Zehra catches up with Mona in Karachi

What sparked your interest in fashion?

It’s my passion.

How has your work evolved over the course of years?

We all grow in terms of our work. The essence of my brand is modern cuts but staying true to our roots. We make wearable clothes for Pakistani women.

What is the biggest fashion mistake women make?

Overdoing makeup

What was the first break you got in your career?

My first bridal show

What is your source of inspiration?

I find inspiration in everything—books, music, nature.

Favourite place to find budget buys?


Favourite place to shop in Karachi and why?

Dolmen Mall Clifton, where all brands are under one roof.

If you’d choose to give any celebrity a makeover who would it be and why?

Anushka Sharma, she’s got a lot much to offer.

What are the must-haves a woman must have in her closet at all times?

Bags, a good watch, and of course, a sexy black evening dress.

Favourite all time designer?


If one is really stuck and don’t know what to wear, what would you suggest?

A black flared cocktail outfit with an embellished belt.

Item worth splurging on?

Chanel bag

Who is the most difficult celebrity you’ve worked with?

All celebrities think they deserve to be treated a certain way and have this totally over the top attitude.

Favourite vacation spot?


Have you ever been in love?

I believe everybody has fallen in love at some point.

Any fashion related message?

Shop till you drop.

Any styling advice?

Don’t style past your comfort zone.

What are the key trends for bridal and wedding wear for the upcoming season?



Trendy cuts

Long dresses

What are classic silhouettes that flatter every woman?

Well tapered and well finished

What trends would you like to see die?

Modern contemporary

What trends would you like to see more women experiment with this season?

From futuristic fabrics to tonal dressing, fashion is throwing some frivolous, and some revolutionary ideas our own way for the new season.

What do you hope to see more of from designers in bridal and wedding wear this season?


One shoulder

Hi-lo drapes

What does GT mean to you?

Old is gold.

Junaid Khan has been the lead vocalist of the band Call since 2003, a group known for its hard core, metal and rock music. Junaid has stood out with his strong vocals with songs like Sub Bhula Ke, Shayad and Hojanay De. Junaid has won several awards and to prove his talent even more he is also a successful actor and has worked in promising projects such as Tumhari Maryam, Jalti Rayt Par, Natak, Mujhey Rootney na Denay, Mata e Jaan, Nikkah and many more. Junaid chats with Sana Zehra

What are you doing right now?

I’m shooting with the awesome GT peeps along with the stylist Ethesham Ansari.

Favourite place on earth?


Favourite food?

Paaye and naan

Denim or Pants?

Slim fit pants

Collar or T-shirt?


One thing you can’t live without?

Cell phone

What is love?

Love is heaven.

What’s on your IPod right now?

Ironically, I don’t have an IPod.

Favourite song to play on the guitar?

With Arms Wide Open by Creed.

Your go-to song to sing while getting ready for a night out is…

Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams

Song for a romantic night in?

Wicked by Chris Isaak

While in the shower you sing…

It’s My life by Bon Jovi

While walking down the street I hum…

Any song by Bryan Adams.

If Adele came up to you right now what would you say to her?

There is a lot of controversy surrounding her weight. I’d just tell her you are a great looking woman and you will look even more beautiful after losing a bit but I’m happy to see how proud you are of yourself. Positive body image all the way!

What is the closest you ever came to death?

I was going back from work and I was really tired and just as I was about to doze off at the wheel when all of a sudden for a brief second I closed my eyes and woke up again. Glad to be safe and alive!

Biggest inspiration?

Life in general.There is not one thing and not a single person, there are lot of things in this world like nature, people and events, which inspire me and I just collect the best out of all of them.

Pet peeve?

Diva attitude

If you weren’t a singer you’d be?

I’m an engineer by profession with an MBA. I was doing a 9 to 5 before this, so most probably the same routine.

Favourite perk of your job?

Doing what I love and pursuing my passion I think that’s the best part of what I do.

How did you make your first buck?

I was working at a call centre right after I graduated. Won’t forget that ever!

Last thing you binge watched?

South Park Season 16.

Song you’d listen to back to back?

Sun Yara title track of my play

First album you ever bought?

Junoon first album Talash.

One thing you are really bad at?

I’m bad at saying no at times.

Superhero power you’d want to have?

Flying! I won’t need visas anymore.

Favourite fan moment?

There was this lady who came up to me right after my concert and asked me where I got the surgery done from? I was a bit taken back and asked which surgery? She answered surgery that makes you look so good. (Laughs)

Three Qualities you’d want in your partner?




Advice to men with a broken heart?

Move on—-if your heart has just been broken, trust me there is someone else for you somewhere. It is absolutely that true couples are made in heaven. If you are single right now there must be someone somewhere for you for sure.

Relationship advice to a 15 years old Junaid?

Stress less. People come and go, such is life.

Craziest thing you’ve ever done for a woman?

I am not that crazy but yeah took a pirate boat ride and regretted it afterwards.

How many donuts can you eat in one sitting?

I absolutely love sweets! So 3 to 4.

Agree or disagree? Harry Potter was selfish as some people claim?

Thankfully I’ve never seen any of the films.

What do you do when a baby stares at you?


Favourite kind of cookie?

Chocolate chip

What’s best done slowly?


Best dressed man in the industry?

Fawad Khan

What do you think when you are alone?

Relax and unwind

Song which would describe your work ethic?

Tough one never thought about that one before. Here I am by Bryan Adams.

“I was going

back from work and I was really tired and just as

I was about to doze off at the wheel when all of a sudden for a brief second I closed my eyes and woke up again. Glad to be safe and alive!”

If we came to your house for dinner what would you make us?

Any type of eggs

What is at the edge of the universe?

The world is round. Yee haw!

If you leave the galaxy what will you find?


What would be your dj name?

Dj Khan

Would you rather be a giant or a microscopic?


One word for marriage?


One word for awards?

Only for the famous

On screen romance?

Of course!

One word on being human?


One word: Fahad Mustafa?

Very good performer

Advice: Sanam Saeed?

More onscreen presence please

Advice: Mathira?

She can learn a lot more dance moves other than just belly dancing.

Why is your band named Call?

Long story but basically it means a message.

Interview by Sana Zehra

Hair by Clippers for men

Stylist Ehtesham Ansari

Photography by Arsalan Bilgrami of a.bilgrami studio

Location: HSY Mansion

Outfits: Humayun Alamgir, Deepak & Fahad, Splash and Naushemian

Shoes by HushPuppies

Asad Siddiqui started his acting career while studying for his MBA, but dropped out of uni because he thought it wasn’t for him. Despite being related to the very famous Adnan Siddiqui, Asad, instead of opting for the short cut, took the longer route to success by Appearing in projects like Shaadi Mubarak Ho, Gumrah, Khuda Dekh Raha Hai, Meray Apnay, Shikwa, Dareecha, Mumkin, Baraat series, Joru ka Ghulam, Sanam, Zindaan etc. Asad recently got engaged to Zara Abbas and is head over heels in love. This charming young man sits down with Sana Zehra for a quick rapid fire

A nickname that really annoys you is…

Don’t really remember if I had any that could annoy me

The weirdest habit you have is…

I keep on walking in the room when I enter one.

My favourite toy growing up was…


The one film you’ve seen more than five times is…

The Godfather

A character you wish you had played?

Nawaz Uddin Siddiqui in the Bollywood film Talaash

You are always likely to be early/late?

On time, according to Karachi standards (pun intended).

The one thing you’d like to change about yourself is…

My impulsiveness

One thing you just won’t eat is…

Spare parts of animals

What’s your favourite place on earth?


What’s your favourite meal?

Grilled Red Snapper

Stone wash or tie-dye?

Stone wash

Plain or pattern?


Boxers or briefs?


What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

It’s not a thing. She has a name.

I can be anyone and anything

Who do you dream about?

I dream about giving the best of everything to my parents.

What’s the best thing about being an actor?

I can be anyone and anything.

What’s the worst?

Your privacy is gifted to the public.

What does love sound like?

It sounds like L O V E. Laaaavvv 🙂

Who is the best kiss you’ve ever had?

I would like to keep my rights to this one.

Who runs the world?

Not Beyonce

What’s on your iPod right now?

I’ve never had an Ipod. Can you believe that?

What keeps you awake at night?


What makes you go to sleep?

A long tiring day.

What’s your favourite song to play on the guitar?

I play the guitar and I love playing acoustic. In fact, I am composing one of my own songs too.

Qurram Hussain, or Q as he’s popularly known as, is a Canadian musician with roots in Karachi; he’s a member of the popular band JoSH, a Montreal-based South Asian band that’s a favourite amongst bhangra lovers because of its fusion music of Punjabi folk with Western pop. Qurram, the official brand Ambassador for Gibson Guitars, has just released his new hit song Aaja Na in collaboration with Maria Unera, as well as the trance track Kama. Q tells Sana Zehra how he makes music

Biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Biggest risk was going into music full time and I believe that paid off so I’m OK with that.

Accomplishment you’re most proud of?

I think in entertainment you have to stick with it every day and constantly come up with new ideas. I’m quite proud of that.

What potential do new singers have to make to make a change in the world?

All artists have a unique connection with everybody that they touch emotionally through their art whether it’s music, etc. Singers in particular have a strong following, They get to have a voice, so if they want to be the instruments of change these are great people to look up to.

If you could play any character in any movie what it would be?

It would be a romantic lead with Deepika Padukone or a villain.

What’s your favourite TV show?

It changes quite often. If I had to name one, it would be The Office (British version).

What’s the best piece of career advice you got?

Don’t give up! It’s a cliché, but it’s true.

No is not an option.

Something good will happen.

  • l JoSH is amongst the leading Bollywood/South Asian bands in the world and has collaborated with leading international recording artists worldwide. l JoSH is amongst the leading Bollywood/South Asian bands in the world and has collaborated with leading international recording artists worldwide.
  • The band’s second album, Kabhi, won four international awards, while the third album Mausam won six international awards.
  • JoSH became the first international band to be chosen to perform in Coke Studio, Pakistan in 2009.
  • In 2006, JoSH remixed Maneater and Promiscuous Girl with the popular international artist Nelly Furtado, and got world wide acclaim for it.

What are you doing right now?

I’m doing an interview for GT magazine and we’re also doing promos for Aja Naa with Maria Unera.

“I love that my roots are in Pakistan. People consider me a Canadian musician but in reality, I’m as Pakistani as I can get!”

Is there any one book that you’ve read as an adult that you wish you could share with your younger self?

That’s interesting. Well, I think things happen at the right time.

To be honest I don’t think that I would have appreciated something as much, had I read it or absorbed it sooner. There is a time and place for everything. So no!

How did you start believing in your own work?

That’s a tricky one. If I’m really having a good time making a song, for example, then I think I’m doing something right.

Have you ever been offered a movie?

I’ve only been offered one role and it was really very bad part so I said no. I don’t get many offers to do movies.

If you post a picture and didn’t get enough likes, would you delete it?

No, I’m okay with not many likes. I’m not a like-fiend.

What was your last Google search?

It was for Aja Naa. I wanted to see who was talking about it and what was being said.

Would you rather be with Angelina Jolie or Nargis Fakhri?

Nargis Fakhri

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever made your assistant get for you?

Can’t share that here. (Laughs)

What would be your room service order on a regular day?

These days it’s very healthy, silly salads and all that kind of stuff but what I would rather it be just like biryani, nehari and four parathas. Unfortunately, I’m trying not to do that these days.

Would you ever wear Kanye West’s Yeezy collection?

Yeah! I wear Kanye West’s Yeezy collection.

If you could play any person live or dead who would it be?

That’s a toughie. I would either be playing Slash or I would be playing some sort of villain.

There’s a saying; “boys rule or they drool.” Which one do you believe?

They do both. I think there is a time and place for drooling and a time and place for ruling.

Spanks or no thanks?

No thanks. Be positive, be yourself.

What’s your I’m so tough I could beat up the rock song?

Animal by Pearl Jam.

What does GT mean to you?

GT means Sana Zehra. (Laughs), Good times. It’s always fun, casual and weird questions. (Laughs)

Maria Fatima Unera Qureshi, a half Pakistani, half Philipina singer, has recently dropped a romantic duet Aaja Na with Qurram Hussain. In the past, she has worked with big names in the industry including Cornetto Pop Rock and Nescafe Basement as well as in stage productions such as The Lion King and Grease. Singing since she was in high school, Maria dreamed of a music career. She promised her late mother that she’d quit music if she didn’t make it big in three years and worked hard to fulfill her ambition. Maria tells her story to Sana Zehra

Maria what’s your story?

Oh gosh! My story is super long. (Laughs)

I’ve been singing since I was a little kid; I realized it when I was sixteen years old that I wanted to be a musician. My mother was a Filipina and my father is Pakistani and I think music is in my blood.

When I turned eighteen I realized this is what I really wanted to pursue. I went to my mom and asked her if I could drop out of school and pursue music because I used to jam around in random cafes, street jams and people used to enjoy it. She made a deal with me that if in three years I was not successful she would send me to boarding school. She was a cadet and she wanted me to be one too.

I agreed to the terms of our agreement; I truly worked my butt off to make my dreams a reality and ended up getting signed up with Nescafe Basement. That is how working in the music industry.

What was your first major record deal?

First major deal was with Nescafe Basement. I did two seasons of the show, and in my second season we had an all-girl band song that went crazy viral. We sang John Newman songs, which he himself shared online with his fans.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

Jeez! I don’t know. I think I would be a doctor. You know how Filipino moms are they either make you nurses or doctors or teachers.

Best career advice you ever got?

My mom is my biggest inspiration and she told me never put yourself down. As it is people will try to bring you down because the world is cruel. I often think of her words.

Most gracious response to a rejection or to a career setback?

Maria: I’ve been told that life goes on and whatever happen, happens for a reason so yeah.

Most difficult career decision you ever made?

I was always into English music. When I was working on my first proper Urdu song Aaja Na I would ask Qurram if I’m pronouncing the word OK.  Shifting from English to Urdu was daunting and I didn’t know how people would respond. So far so good!

Favourite perk of the job?

You get to sing for thousands and thousands of people. The audience sings along with me. It’s the best feeling ever.

Worst part of being into music?

No sleep

Change you’d like to see in this music industry?

Appreciate more, criticize less.

Who do you admire the most?

I admire my mother not because she is my mother but because she really pushed me to be better. When she made the three year deal with me, it was not to scare me but to motivate me and push me to follow my dreams.


What was the last thing you binge watched?

The new series 13 Reasons Why

What song would always make you cry?

Tears in heaven

What song would you want to be played at your funeral?

Jeez! I don’t know, nothing really.

What was the first album you bought?

Interesting! I listened to my mom’s collection of albums of Ray Charles, Tony Bennett and Perry Como. So I really didn’t buy my first album.

Lipstick or lip-gloss?


What should every woman try once in her lifetime?


How would your perfect day end?

My perfect day would end with music.

Name one thing you are exceptionally good at?

I don’t want to brag but I think I can sing.

One thing you are really bad at?

Speaking in Urdu

Superhero power you’d want to have?

I’d like to fly please.

Something nice you did for yourself recently?

Not for myself but in the month of Ramadan I donated a lot.

Beauty essential during those cold winter days?

I don’t know maybe I will just sit in front of the heater.

3 qualities in a partner




Advice to women with a broken heart?

One piece of advice would be: don’t let anyone try to bring you down.

Have you ever been in love?


Craziest thing you did for love?

Nothing! If it’s worth then just go for it.

What would your high school boyfriend say about you now?

Shit, man! Shouldn’t have let her go.

What is your favourite Disney princess?


What does Gt mean to you?

Fun, man! I’m having so much fun.

“My mom is my biggest inspiration and she told me never put yourself down. As it is people will try to bring you down because the world is cruel”

The Aleph Review, a literary anthology launched earlier this year by Mehvash amin, Showcases the work of Pakistani writers and artists. this vibrant and well put together compendium of poetry, prose and experimental works offers an original perspective on South Asian writing. The team take Afshan Shafi (also a contributing editor on the Review) on their editorial journey

What was the experience like putting together Vol 1 of the review? Were there any revelations or surprises during the editorial process?

Mehvash: Exhilarating, trying, enervating, tiring, uplifting – the first issue was all that and more.

There were some really serendipitous moments, as when Taufiq Rafat’s son Seerat Hazir gave me a thin college magazine, circa 1968, with his father’s seminal essay Towards the Pakistani Idiom in it.

The surprise: how genuinely good some of our young writers are.

Ilona: Putting together this particular issue took a long time. There were various obstacles—not a lack of good writing, as from the beginning we received excellent submissions, but financial and also physical as our publisher and chief editor broke her leg in the early stages of the project.

Mehvash Amin—Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

“All of us are poets”

Despite all the delays, we discovered that even established, senior writers were enthusiastic about submitting their work to The Review. This included local as well as diaspora writers, and artists, since art is and will continue to be an integral part of our publication.

Mahboob: The meetings, the process of reading some excellent pieces of prose and poetry, the anxiety over publishing, and then the exhilaration of finally holding The Aleph Review are going to have a bearing on how I view literature from this point onwards.

Ilona Yusuf—Associate Editor

“Many people are unfamiliar with the development of Pakistani poetry in English from Partition onwards”

I have always been fascinated by the choices which Pakistani writers in English have to face, and the risks they take. To be a part of such choices revealed more complexities than I had anticipated.

What do you think are the greatest strengths of the Review?

Mehvash: I wanted to archive the works of some of our excellent bygone authors, while looking to the future with fresh, raw writing.

I think we managed the first with the excellent collection of essays by and on Taufiq Rafat, and the new writing that we published in spades, from screenwriting to poetry to fiction, is there for all to appreciate.

Ilona: I feel that the essay and poetry sections of the review are its greatest strengths. Both sections comprise work by senior as well as young writers. The essays include memoir, academic and personal pieces. Besides this, a set of short, pithy interviews give the reader insights into our new novelists.

Mahboob: The Review combines the old with the new.

However, we have not tried to sell old wine in new bottles.

By including both established and relatively unknown writers, The Review has laid the foundations for future anthologies in which more and more young writers would find space to be recognised.

Mahboob Ahmed—Contributing Editor

“We have not tried to sell old wine in new bottles”

What, in your opinion, distinguishes Pakistani writing from other international writing? Can you identify any particular themes?

Mehvash: Well, I would hope that it is not the tired subject matter of bombs and fundamentalism.

I would hope that it is that our writers are good, indeed excellent, even if they are treating universal themes.

Shaista Sirajuddin has said: “Beware of the foreign publisher…” She meant those who decide on those typical tropes of violence and religious bigotry and done-to-death clichés (like the muezzin’s cry) as Pakistani tropes. We must not allow that.

Ilona: That’s a difficult question! In prose, I would say that the over-riding theme has been of politics, and in the recent past of history, sometimes related to contemporary events. These themes are explored in the novels of Kamila Shamsie, Mohammed Hanif, Sorayya Khan, Hussain Naqvi and Nadeem Aslam, among others.

Shadab Zeest Hashmi’s work takes a different tangent exploring the way in which cultures overlapped at various points in history.

Mahboob: Pakistani writing is, admittedly, somewhat less mature when compared with other international literatures — Indian, African, and Latin American — which are currently the focus of literary inquiry in the world.

However, the Pakistani writer is uniquely placed in his proximity to the changing socio-economic and political world order. Pakistani writing in English is particularly alert and responsive to the globalisation of literature, as well as the need to root such literature in the here and now of the indigenous.

Afshan Shafi—Contributing Editor

I believe that Pakistani writers’ engagement with the themes of loss and fear generated through ever-increasing religious intolerance, and their adherence to promoting tolerance and pluralism in spite of this, are the great strengths of Pakistani writing.

The editorial board of the Review consists entirely of poets. Do you think the poetic sensibility of each of the editors served as a constraint when selecting work from other genres? Or the inverse?

Mehvash: Yes, all of us are poets. I think for the coming issue, some of the editors are going to try their hands at prose, and we have a new kid on the block who writes prose, Hassan Tahir. I think we are all good at sniffing out good writing even if we are largely poets by definition.

Mahboob: I think it was limiting in a way, particularly in the poetry section itself. We do not ascribe to similar schools of thought about poetry. So, we did not agree on several things, particularly on the relative merits of some of the submissions. However, what that has ensured is that the poems or other pieces we have chosen are of a quality that surpasses the normal level that one would find in other places where Pakistani writing is published (for example, in journals and university and college magazines).

Please tell us more about the choice of Taufiq Rafat as the cover feature? How important is the act of revisiting the work of local literary figures and why?

Mehvash: Oh, hugely, hugely important. How do you create a literary landscape if you are not aware of who has come before you? No one writes in a vacuum.

The Aleph Review will always have a section archiving the work of poets and writers gone by.

As for Taufiq Rafat, not only was he a personal mentor, but an excellent poet. I think for Pakistani English writing, he is probably one of the first names that comes to mind.

Ilona: In my conversations with young poets, and even readers of poetry, I’ve come to realize that many people are unfamiliar with the development of Pakistani poetry in English from Partition onwards.

In this context, revisiting the work of local literary figures in various genres is important for writers of the future; they need to be conversant with the evolution of local literature in English, whether they choose to adopt the tone, theme or style of a particular writer, or to disagree and develop their work in a different direction.

Rafat’s importance lies in his efforts to steer poets away from the English canon, towards imagery rooted in the poet’s own experience and surroundings.

Mahboob: I completed my MPhil thesis on the poetry of Taufiq Rafat at Punjab University, and it was the first attempt to analyze his work. So for me this choice was special on a personal level. Given the inherent bias in favour of British and American literature in many of our older English departments, it becomes frustrating to meet students who do not know anything about the very rich tradition of Pakistani writing in English. This is compounded by the fact that several incompetent administrators deliberately hand courses in Pakistani literature to faculty members without any expertise or interest in Pakistani literature. That is why we must revisit our senior generation of writers, and keep highlighting their importance and contribution.

What kind of work do you aim to showcase in the future? What can we expect from Vol 2 of the Review?

Mehvash: We already have some amazing contributions. I don’t want to give anything away, but we are working on a fabulous theme, which will give The Aleph Review 2018 an intense undercurrent – all I am willing to reveal right now!

Ilona: We will continue to focus on creative non-fiction; the graphic novel or story; and to our range of essays we will add food, food memoir, and travel.

Translation has gained a new significance, particularly in the West, where collaborations between writers and translators who are poets or writers themselves, have made for very successful translations. We now have several excellent translators, whose work will be featured in this issue.

Mahboob: I would like to see more young writers finding this platform for publication.

A young mother struggling with work-life balance, impresses Risham Khan with her dedication and effortless charm

As a young girl growing up in Karachi, Sophia Kasim Kasuri lived in a joint family and was almost always surrounded by lots of children. She organized fun play dates with her cousins and enjoyed her early years to the fullest.

Little did she know that her innocent passion for children would turn into something so extraordinary. Now a 38-year-old, Sophia is the leading early childhood education expert in Pakistan known for bringing the global phenomenon of ECD (Early Childhood Development) to the country.

I met Sophia on a humid August afternoon at her office in Gulberg, Lahore. As I made my way through the guarded gates and metal detectors, I found myself at the core of the Beaconhouse Head Office. Sophia’s right hand woman, Quratulain, walked me through the massive maze-like building. “I haven’t seen the entire place in my six years here!” she said as she led me up the stairs to the Gymboree lounge.

We enter Sophia’s office: a comfortable, contemporary space decorated with flamboyant pop art on the walls. When asked about the artwork, Sophia jokingly tells me she stole it from her husband, who loves collecting art and found these pieces in Koh Samui, Thailand. Sophia is decidedly casual – her hair down framing her face, just the perfect amount of make up and wearing cotton pants with an orange blouse that match the Gymboree logo. “I never thought I’d have this much orange in my wardrobe,” she says playfully.

“My mother-in-law is a doer. I remember this (a music class for kids) as a casual discussion between the two of us. She took it up immediately and then there was no shortage of guidance and direction from her. It just felt so easy to do”

Sophia’s beauty does not go unnoticed; her perfect features and enchanting green eyes make it hard to look away. What’s more captivating than her beauty, however, is her effortless ability to make everyone around her feel comfortable and included.

Sophia moved to Lahore from Karachi at 21, after she married Kasim. At the time, she barely knew anyone in the city. She didn’t have much on her plate, and decided to get a few friends together for a casual music class with their children.

Sophia brought up the idea with her mother-in-law, entrepreneur and educationist Mona Kasuri, who urged her to take this up as a project. “My mother-in-law is a doer. I remember this as a casual discussion between the two of us. She took it up immediately and then there was no shortage of guidance and direction from her. It just felt so easy to do”. And there began the story of Sophia Kasim Kasuri, who would later go on to win the award for Woman of Inspiration as a Trendsetter Educationist in Pakistan.

But how did it all begin? How did Sophia decide to introduce the ECD program in Pakistan, a concept alien to the country? It started with a trip to the US where Sophia stumbled upon a Gymboree center, a platform that encourages the emotional, social and physical development of young children aged 0-5.

She loved the idea and started something similar with The Early Years program. But there were challenges aplenty. A few years later, she got in touch with Gymboree about franchising in Pakistan. A couple of trips to the US and some hectic training sessions later, she successfully opened the first Gymboree center in Pakistan.

She talks about Gymboree with a passion. Her eyes light up as she excitedly describes all the different programs. Frustrated with the flaws that lie within our education system, Sophia says, “Asians are very academically oriented. We are obsessed with grades, we are obsessed with teaching our children ABCs and 123s. But the question is, is this all that is important? Or is the rest just as important too? We emphasize play – but play should be done in an academic way as well. That is what we do at Gymboree. We don’t try to structure play, instead we try to create an environment where children are able to bring in their own creativity.”

I steer the conversation towards her family life. Now a mother of three, Sophia spent 21 years of her life in Karachi, a city quite different from Lahore. Reminders of the Karachiite within reveal themselves involuntarily – like hiccups.

“I’m still adjusting to Lahore. I feel like a misfit. People I once knew in Karachi and met regularly, I now see once or twice a year. I feel like I am somewhere in between. I used to travel back and forth a lot initially, but with my kids at school, it’s hard to just pick up your bags and leave.”

She loosens up as she goes on to talk about her home, fashion, children, and favorite vacation spots. Sophia spent the summer vacationing in London with her in-laws, and then visiting her sister in California. “When I travel with just my husband, we like to go to new destinations. However, when we’re travelling with our children, we don’t want to experiment so it’s easier to go to predictable places.”

As a family, whether abroad or in Pakistan, the Kasuris love swimming, binge eating (ice cream and Italian food). Sophia has some elaborate interests too. “I’m a very girly girl. I like clothes, I like jewelry, I like shoes … I love shoes. Everything, actually … it’s a bit of a problem!”

Sophia’s inviting personality makes it is easy to forget that she comes from one of the most prominent families of the country. I am taken by surprise when the seemingly guarded entrepreneur opens up about her work life balance and says, “I feel like a mess (funny of her to say because her neat office, organized schedule and manicured nails give me the opposite impression) I am constantly confused. When I’m at home with my kids, I keep thinking of whether I have forgotten something about work. When I’m at work, I keep thinking of my kids. I kind of feel like I am all over the place. It’s easier to get myself together when the children are at school. I organize myself during that time.”

Sophia’s life gets hectic, managing her children with her busy work schedule isn’t an easy job. But it’s one that she does with finesse. She confesses, “I don’t know how people maintain a work life balance. I’m still figuring it out. I’m still struggling.”

Actor Muneeb Butt has worked in a mixed bag of TV shows, some forgettable like Halla Gulla,  others memorable like AikThiMisaal, Tum Yaad Aye and the one airing currently Ghairat. this green-eyed hunk has not only been creating buzz for his acting skills, but also recently got engaged to actress Aiman Khan. Sana Zehra sits down for a one-on-one with him

Did you pay retail for what you are wearing right now?


If you tweeted something and it didn’t get any likes would you delete it?


What was your last google search?

Hairstyles of 2017!

Would you rather be Tom Hanks or Tom Hardy?

Tom Hanks for sure

What is the weirdest thing you made your assistant do for you?

Find me a solar fan

What’s your room service order like when you travel anywhere?

Anything, really. I’m not finicky.

Would you ever wear anything risqué?

Absolutely not

Would you ever try out directing?

No, not for me

Why is that?

Because whenever I’ve given direction a thought, I have felt like acting is way easier than directing.

If you were a casting director, would you ever cast your best friend?


You just got engaged to Aiman Khan. Congratulations! What is life like now?

Nothing different TBH (to be honest). Same!

If you could play any person alive or dead, who would it be?

Alive: Imran Khan (actor)

Dead: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (qawwali maestro)

What is your favourite quote?

Look in the mirror that’s your best competition.

Boys rule or drool?

Boys rule!

What would you tell your 12-year-old self?

Pay attention to school and less play time please.

What is your favourite rock song?

Rock on!

What does GT mean to you?

Good times!

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