Ashfaq Ahmed An Unforgettable Man!

There are, generally, two viewpoints about Ashfaq sahab’s dramas. I must clarify here I am not discussing his short stories. One group believes Ashfaq sahab used to insert long lectures into his plays. The other populace says that he provoked questions in the society, through his plays – both can be right.

Ashfaq Ahmed died in September 2004. His last work on television was Zavia, a heart-to-heart talk with his audiences. That’s more like the style of the progressives, wasn’t it? I haven’t seen any progressive writer opening himself to the audiences like that in recent times. But, coming to his dramas, one must remember the fact that almost all great actors of Lahore TV during the late ’70s and ’80s worked in Ashfaq sahab’s plays, and most of them got their sterling reputations through these plays or Bano Qudsia’s plays, including Qavi Khan, Roohi Bano, Firdous Jamal, Khayyam Sarhadi, Uzma Gillani, Ali Ejaz, Shafi Muhammad, Aurangzeb Laghari and others, except for, perhaps Abid Ali, Mehboob Alam, Shujaat Hashmi et al, who hardly worked in his plays and serials.

Later, when artistes from Karachi started to work in Ashfaq sahab’s plays, they also performed admirably. I remember Shakeel excelling himself in Labbaik Labbaik which was one of the best of his plays. You could not but gush with words of praise for the writing genius of Ashfaq Ahmed in that play.

Hina Nasrullah New Set of Nuances

The charming Hina Nasrullah proved once again in Coke Studio this season that she is an A-class artiste in Pakistan. In fact, this time, she revealed a new set of nuances in her repertoire. Singing the cover of a ghazal legend like Begum Akhter, the songstress performed at her best, partnering in the number with the young and talented Amanat Ali, who created his own ripples. One has followed Hina for quite a while in Mian Salli’s haveli gatherings – a very popular music show from PTV. It’s been going on for years, conducted by Iffat Raheem and Mian Salli, himself. Ms Nasrullah has sung ghazals and geet there for quite a while now. It is her prowess with semi-classical tunes that one notes – the murkiyan and taans etc – and vocal finesse that came to fore in this current number, Chaa Rahi Kaali Ghata.

The Fizz vs The Aroma Gulp! Where’s Ad Ethics?

Last week, at a hi-tea, somebody remarked: why tea? Actually, if I got the gist right, the man in the grey suit – CEO of some firm – was diverting my attention to the famous beverage ad, which has been the centre of discussions in the parties, for some time now. “Nobody answered finally, why that beverage took a dig at tea?” he said. “I mean, a majority love tea in Karachi. In fact, they love it in Lahore, too! Couldn’t their message be delivered without the bottle clashing with the teapot?”

I was looking for a samosa, so I generally smiled, and turned to another table. But, come to think of it, the chap had a point there. After all, what has happened to the ad ethics, these days? I mean, what’s this fizz versus the aroma thing? Of course, commercial competition is a zalim cheez! But, both ads have the same message. If the bottle had just entered the ranks on its own, that would have been enough, but no. In one of its ads, an old lady is even shunned for having tea, and the beverage is preferred. The title number from the films is brilliant, and the action, too, are sensuous. Yet, they had to just cross their tea!

Humaira Arshad & Ahmed Butt The Raqam Will Remain The Same!

The situation is kasheeda! If it had been a lovers’ tiff, things would not escalate to the point of haq meher! But, no amount of patching up from the hubby is good enough for the begum. Even before the alaap, the lady of the house wants to rush to the balampat! Oh well, the crumbling edifice of the house can’t always be shored up by dollar bills. It needs some devoted duty towards the gharana. Unfortunately, in this time of globalisation, the done deals finish up in the treasure trunks. Because, if you look closely, there is a bala in the middle of glo-bala-isation! Actually, what happened was that the husband, Ahmed Butt seemed to be softening up a little after a long tussle. He argued with Humaira to forego the haq meher if he agrees to divorce her.

The film and pop singer, of course, refused to give up her right. Kir-kir-dhum! So, the taan tooti on the haq meher! She says she wants the exact figure… not one rupee less! My mind goes back to a 1973 black and white film, Ziddi, where Nannha says, “Maj ohoee aaey gee!” Munawwar Zareef says, “Aah! Maj ohoee aaey gee, kyunke o maj edi bebe naal keera kara kheldi rahee ae!” The raqam will remain the same, so what if the two parties part with a lifetime grudge!

Maula Jatt 2 More Stars Enter

After two years, it’s still hush hush in Lashari’s camp. I can tell you, the boys are waiting bechaini se, as to when the handsome Fawad Khan, with a gandasa, and a debonair Hamza Ali Abbasi, with a toka, meet head to head in the centre of the maveshi mela! Well, not exactly… sorry about that. Sheesh, I got too jazbati there. It’s not that kind of rivalry, not in this version; that’s what Lashari has been telling us all the while. Of course, those were the good old days of the Rahi-Qureishi tussle, during the ’70s and ’80s. In those days, Rahi would say, “O tu kawn ae, oey!” And Qureishi would say, in heavy decibel under his breath: “Tera piyo!” Those times have passed, no doubt. These are globalised times. So, the guys could be in Nizamuddin suits (don’t fret; a local tailor in Shadman Town!), sporting kalashins and uzis, chattering away on their mobiles, and ending up in Guantanamo!

But, the latest on Maula Jatt 2 is that they have signed Babar Ali and Resham, too, now. As for Babar, it could be the third factor: the Gujjar! Of course, Jutt and Nat are already there, but they could also be fielding Gujjar and Dogar, who also starred in later films of Maula Jutt.