Talk about the idiot box and the one person who has been a constant on the screen is none other than the notorious Ayyan Ali. Even though she has been sitting behind the bars for the last few months, Ayyan continues to attract television cameras every now and then.
The model with pale grey eyes is followed by TV cameras coming to and from the court as her money laundering scandal continues to make headlines on the various news channels of the country.
It’s quite a media circus each time Ayyan makes an appearance at the court and the model often tries to make the most of it. As they say any publicity is good publicity, Ayyan turns out in designer clothes (with an eyebrow raising décolletage mostly) and is followed by cameramen as she appears in the court since she was nabbed by the authorities while trying to fly to Dubai with over 500,000 US dollars in cash back in March.
Her arrest has triggered endless gossip in the Pakistani media with various news reports tying her to business tycoons and powerful politicians. Such is the media buzz around Ayyan’s case that I even saw one of the channels using computer graphics to make the model appear standing in a courtroom. The case is yet to be resolved which means we will be seeing more of Ayyan making her routine trips to the court. It would be better for the news channels to dig deep into this case and churn out some investigative reports instead of just coming out with flimsy stuff focusing on Ayyan and her trips to the courtroom.
Moving from Ayyan to Ali Zafar, the last we heard about him was not because of his music but because he’s busy beefing up! Yes, that’s true … Ali Zafar is currently undergoing a strenuous training programme in martial arts and kickboxing. No, he is not being hounded by fans, rather all this and lots more is being done in preparation for his next flick Deosai. He trains two hours daily at Mixed Martial Arts club and has a special protein diet. The star believes in nothing but the best and has hired one of the best trainers in martial arts and kickboxing in the world to help him get in impeccable shape.
“I started the prep a week ago and will keep going for another seven or eight weeks before we start shooting in August,” said Ali in a statement to media. The film will be shot on one of the highest plateaus in Asia and has some fast-and-furious action sequences. “We will fly down trainers and action directors from abroad,” he added.
Ali has great hopes from this ‘minglish’ action movie which is incidentally also his debut as a producer. And of course he will also be the main protagonist hence the tough physical regime.
Moving on to dramas, one that is a tad offbeat with a different story line is Jugnoo. The story revolves around the main protagonist Jugnoo (Yumna Zaidi), a simpleton who by twist of fate ends up marrying a good for nothing assistant at a production house – Ammu. Duped into believing that he’s amongst the top brass she thinks he’s her ticket to freedom – freedom from her aunts who are a constant source of grief and pain for both Jugnoo and her mother. Little did she know she had married a fraud. Ammu tries to induct Jugnoo in his business as a model but Jugnoo is averse to the idea.
It is around this time that she comes in contact with the well-to-do, young and amiable Zulfi and it seems finally lady-luck shines on Jugnoo. Zulfi is smitten by her and Ammu too has proved to be nothing more than an exploiter and user. And so Jugnoo breaks off ties with him and marries Zulfi.
A new chapter begins in the life of Jugnoo but it seems she is destined for struggle. Hers is a case of out of the fire, into the frying pan! While Zulfi is totally in love with his new bride, it is Zulfi’s dad Baba Sahib played by Rehan Sheikh who is something else altogether. He is absolutely against this mismatch and considers Jugnoo to be nothing more than a gold digger. In a bid to save his son, he comes to their house one fine day and strong arms Zulfi into leaving his bride behind and going with him. Zulfi, being an obedient son leaves with his father, but comes back later for his wife. By now it has been established that for Zulfi his marriage is no game and he is going to make all efforts to make it a success. Jugnoo too has never known such bliss and is in no mood to let go off her doting hubby Zulfi.
Penned by Amna Mufti and directed by Farooq Rind, the cast of Jugnoo includes Yumna Zaidi, Zahid, Rehan Sheikh, Ismat Zaidi, Leyla Zuberi to name a few.
And then we have the good old Rang Laaga and the inimitable Aashiq. We are now introduced to a third female in this saga Zhalay Sarhadi who makes an entry into Aashiq’s household as his second wife Neelam’s bosom buddy. Zhalay has just been through a bitter divorce and is in need of solace hence she heads to her friend’s house. All the old ladies of the family are apprehensive about Neelam’s decision to have a young and pretty woman in the house but Neelam is overconfident about Aashiq’s love for her and retorts to all concerned that Aashiq can never look at another woman. Can Aashiq really stay loyal to his two wives – Saima and Neelam? Stay tuned and the next few episodes will bring forth a surprising twist in Rang Laaga.
Talking about ladies, one of my favourite sportspersons Serena Williams made yet another successful trip to Paris recently. I’m talking about her convincing title-winning triumph at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros. The French Open attracted enough attention of sports fans in Pakistan. Personally, I was mostly interested in the ladies singles event and I must say that the finale involving Serena and Lucie Safarova was quite a treat. Serena, I gathered from news reports, was quite unwell ahead of the final but still managed to prevail over Safrova 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2. It was her 20th major singles title, the third most on the women’s list behind Margaret Court, with 24, and Steffi Graf, with 22.
The title clash was followed by the men’s final which was another memorable spectacle full of long rallies and stunning strokes. My interest in it was to see whether Novak Djokovic will finally complete a career Grand Slam but instead it was Stan Wawrinka who played the match of his life to win the coveted crown with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 victory. It was his first French Open in 11 attempts.
It was heartwarming to see the Roland Garros crowd applauding Wawrinka, the Swiss who has remained overshadowed by his more illustrious compatriot Roger Federer. The occasion, to me, would surely be one of the most memorable sporting moments of 2015 on television.