30 May-05 June, 2015

The new quarter for drama serials has taken off commendably. Quite a few noteworthy plays have been introduced this month that will continue to be featured in our fortnightly column Telemix.
It seems all the channels have finally realised that there’s cut-throat competition in this genre hence all of them are busy whipping up interesting drama serials. One such play that recently caught my eye was Surkh Jora starring Azfar Rehman and Sonya Hussain. With an offbeat storyline, it’s not your typical love story. Penned by Uzma Karam, it has been directed by Syed Khurram. Surkh Jora takes off on a happy note as Sonya Hussain (Abiha) is all dressed up for her mehndi amidst much fanfare when Azfar Rehman (Roman) starts acting strange. He wants the nikah to take place on the same day; has reservations about Sonya’s dressing and jewellery and this is when he gives off vibes of being mentally unstable. Sonya is a bit unsettled by Azfar’s unreasonable demands but considers them to be last minute jitters. However, she is in for a rude shock for soon after her wedding she finds out Azfar cannot stand the colour red. It enrages him and he reacts uncontrollably. Red seems to be associated with some tragedy in the past that continues to haunt him. An instance of which is when Sonya gets ready on their honeymoon and turns to Azfar sporting a perfect red pout; he lashes out aggressively scaring the living daylights out of Sonya. Such is his red-phobia.
In Surkh Jora we are also introduced to Sonya’s twin sister who is a fun-loving extrovert. Then there is the mysterious Anaya and Syed Yorguc – friends of the couple who had been trying to prevent their marriage but could not do so. Anaya, too, is a mystery who is out to seek revenge for something that has left her bitter. To find out what makes Azfar a psycho and Anaya a bitter person; how will Sonya react to her unreasonable husband and his insane demands, watch Surkh Jora in the coming weeks. The cast of the serial includes the likes of Laila Zuberi, Naila Jaffery, Irfan Khoosat to name some.
The list of Pakistanis who are rushing off to Bollywood keeps on getting bigger and bigger. And the latest to jump the Bollywood bandwagon is none other than the impish VJ-turned-model/actress Mawra Hocane, who is all set to embark on her debut Bollywood film in India with some of the movie’s songs to be shot at the picturesque South African city of Cape Town. It’s said that the beautiful Mawra is already on her way to the location to start work on the project. Rumours are rife that she might be paired with Indian chocolate hero Ranbir Kapoor as on a recent morning show she confessed her love for Ranbir who in turn is said to have tweeted about her beauty and the fact that he was looking forward to meeting her. Chances are Mawra would already have met her heartthrob in Mumbai… now let’s wait and see whether he is also her co-star!
Seems like the Hocane sisters plan their career moves together – first as VJ, then model and actor and finally the big screen! While Mawra is off to Mumbai for her Bollywood debut, Urwa too is busy working on her filmy career. She debuted in the Pakistani flick Na Maloom Afraad, and is now working in another film with co-stars Bilal Ashraf and legendary musician Ali Azmat. Previously model Iman Ali was said to be playing the lead; however for reasons unknown, she is no longer part of the project and Urwa is now playing the lead. The movie is under production currently and is said to hit theatres in 2016.
At Cannes this year, there were two Pakistani girls who made their presence felt with Baat Cheet. Written, produced and directed by Rayika Choudri, the short film stars accomplished TV actor Sarwat Gilani and Joshinder Chaggar in leading roles.
Abdullah: The Final Witness written, produced and directed by fiction writer and novelist from Balochistan Hashim Nadeem, author of the novel and TV drama Khuda Aur Mohabbat which starred Imran Abbas Naqvi and Saadia Khan has also been shortlisted to be screened at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival. Abdullah: The Final Witness is based on an incident which took place in Quetta May 17, 2011. The incident, known as Kharotabad involved the killing of five Russian and Tajik citizens, both men and women, at the Kharotabad check post by Frontier Constabulary (FC) who claimed the five were terrorists. The incident was filmed by a journalist and footage was aired on TV channels who reported that the five victims were innocent citizens. The chief justice of Pakistan at that time took suomotu notice of this incident, and a commission was asked to prepare the Kharotabad Inquiry Report, the findings of which have never been made public with the case remaining unresolved. A key witness of the killings was murdered in Quetta in December 2011. The film stars Hameed Sheikh, Sajid Hasan, Imran Abbas and Saadia Khan. Abdullah is the only feature length film to make it to Cannes, as the other two Saffaan Qadir’s Holiday and Baat Cheet are in the short film category. Hashim Nadeem, has written over 27 telefilms and 11 drama serials and has garnered international acclaim for his novels Khuda Aur Mohabbat and Bachpan Ka December.
Talking of accolades, Pakistan’s cricket chiefs have managed to earn some by finally managing to convince Zimbabwe to tour our violence-hit country for a brief series. Having arrived on May 19, Zimbabwe became the first Test-playing nation to visit Pakistan in more than six years. Pakistan had become a no-go zone for international teams after Sri Lankan cricketers were ambushed by heavily armed terrorists in Lahore back in 2009.
Needless to say that Zimbabwe’s arrival triggered quite a media frenzy with almost all news channels doing non-stop stories on the tourists as well as the much-awaited series. The fact that the reporters weren’t allowed access to the Zimbabwean cricketers because of tight security forced them to do stories like what the players had for breakfast at their hotel and things like that. Now that’s what we call trivial!

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