By Sonya Rehman
Featuring some of the most well-known Pakistani film industry trail-blazers this month, we collaborate with Tapu Javeri who has photographed the country’s leading and iconic celebrities for years. In this exclusive feature, Tapu shares with HELLO! Pakistan some of his photographs from his books: Tapulicious Volume I (published in 2010) and Tapulicious Volume II (to be published in February, 2013).
“In order to shoot Shaan for Xtra Magazine, I thought since it was a hot day in Lahore, what better to do than take a swim in the canal. We took Shaan to the canal only to find a crowd of hundreds of people behind us. I don’t think anyone has ever signed so many autographs as Shaan did that day.” – Tapu Javeri
41-year-old actor, Shaan, stands as one of the most well-known actor’s part of the contemporary Lollywood scene in Pakistan.
With his smoldering good looks and years worth of experience as a distinguished actor, Shaan truly defines the word ‘Hero.’ With both parents belonging to the local film industry (his mother was an actress, and his father, a Director), Shaan has acted in a plethora of local Lollywood productions such as ‘Bulandi’ (his debut movie), ‘Ghoongat,’ ‘Sangam,’ ‘Mujhe Chand Chahiye,’ and countless others. The diverse actor has also worked as a Script-writer and Director for a few Pakistani films. Directing movies such as the hit, ‘Guns and Roses – Ik Junoon,’ ‘Moosa Khan,’ and others, Shaan stands as a significant figure in Pakistan’s entertainment industry.
With a Pride of Performance Award presented to him by the government in 2007, and others (such as the Lux Style Awards and Nigar Awards), Shaan has grown as a thoroughly mature, prudent actor over the years since his introduction to the local film scene.
In 2007, Shaan teamed up with well-known Director, Shoaib Mansoor for the movie, ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ (starring Shaan, Fawad Afzal Khan, the model Iman Ali, and a guest appearance by Bollywood icon, Naseeruddin Shah). Shoaib’s film truly aided in reviving Pakistan’s cinema industry, and while some critics may disagree, the movie was a complete blockbuster, resulting in sold-out shows at local cinema houses across the country following its release.
Currently having acted in the to-be-released local production, ‘Waar,’ the debut film of Director, Bilal Lashari – Shaan will be featured alongside actors Shamoon Abbasi, Ali Azmat and Meesha Shafi. The action thriller which focuses on Pakistan, terrorism and the War on Terror is being greatly anticipated by audiences within the country; however a final release date is yet to be given.
While other Pakistani artists have flocked across the border for projects, Shaan not only remains unflinching in his patriotism towards the country, but also, fiercely loyal towards the renewal and restoration of the local cinema industry. And for that, he should be lauded.
“Reema has the most flawless skin I have ever seen on an actor. She is especially beautiful when without make-up. The B&W shot was done for a bridal shoot in 2002, the colour shot however was done for my book, ‘Dou Rukh,’ where I asked her to remove almost all her make-up and pose.” – Tapu Javeri
Having blazed through the local cinema scene since the 90s, actress Reema starred in her first movie, ‘Bulandi,’ in 1990 alongside Shaan. Infact, interestingly enough, both Reema and Shaan starred in the same production where they made their debuts as actors and continued to work as co-stars throughout their parallel careers.
But since then till now, Reema the actress has played many roles – and not just in acting alone.
Not only is she recognized as an artist who has contributed sufficiently towards Pakistani cinema, but the actress has also dabbled in Directing, modeling (primarily television commercials for multinational corporations), and hosting shows for the small screen.
But cinema truly does stand as the actress’s first love. From ‘Shararat,’ ‘Fire,’ ‘Sahiba,’ ‘Aag,’ and dozens more movies in which she has acted in, the soft-spoken actress with her with her shiny long locks and pretty features, went on to Direct and Produce her first film in 2006, called ‘Koi Tujh Sa Kahan,’ a movie which bagged an award for Best Film at the Lux Style Awards in the same year.
Following the success of her first production, Reema was given the much-needed impetus to work on her second calling: a feature film by the name of ‘Love Mein Ghum,’ released last year, in the summer of 2011. Filmed at certain locations abroad, the actress’s second production featured Moammar Rana and herself (among others) in the lead. The movie created waves in the local entertainment industry given its overall packaging and star-studded cast, proving Reema’s prowess as a competent Director/Producer of the big screen and as a vital asset of Pakistan’s film industry.
“Baig Sahib is probably the busiest actor we have, and getting time with him was really tough. But with persistence and some contacts I managed to get him in my frame. Oddly enough, for someone who stands in front of a camera 24/7 he was extremely shy of the lens.” – Tapu Javeri
Light-eyed actor, Nadeem, is a Lollywood star and a living legend. Known principally for his roles in local feature films, the actor also has an extensive track record for working in dramas and tele-films for the small screen.
With a career spanning over four decades, Nadeem’s made his debut as an actor in the 60s in his first movie, ‘Chakori,’ where he starred opposite the actress, Shabana. The movie was a success, and the actor went on to receiving an award for Best Actor. Thus began Nadeem’s rising popularity as an actor on the local front.
Apart from acting, the actor also has a knack for singing, and interestingly, he wound up singing a duet for a song for his first movie, ‘Chakori.’
Since the 60s onwards, Nadeem worked in scores of productions such as; ‘Anari,’ ‘Talashi,’ ‘Aina,’ ‘Hum Dono,’ ‘Samaj,’ ‘Qurabni,’ and many more – productions which aided the actor in establishing his name in the industry, and as a result, bagging the Pride of Performance Award, countless Nigar Awards, accolades and, consequently, attaining the recognition as one of the most iconic, versatile male actors in the history of Pakistani cinema.
Nadeem also produced two local productions – ‘Mitti Ke Putle,’ and a Punjabi film called ‘Mukhra’ which did supremely well at the box office. However, currently, the actor is more focused on the small screen – vis-à-vis both acting and producing for Pakistani television.
Enigmatic with a rather down to earth disposition, Nadeem’s entry into the world of showbiz happened by accident.
On a trip to Dhaka (to meet his father who was posted there), Nadeem happened to meet the Director of ‘Chakori,’ Captain Ehtesham, who was not only open to the idea of young Nadeem singing a song for the film, but also, wound up giving the soon-to-be-actor his first, big break. Given the movie’s raging success, Nadeem by then, had jumped on board the colourful bandwagon that was Pakistani cinema. And the rest, as they say, was history.
“Meera and I have been working together since her first break in Sajjad Gul’s movies. The ‘Eve and the apple’ shoot was done for Xtra Magazine before her movie was even released. The white shirt shot however, is more recent. Both images created quite a stir when published. The latter was in fact censored when displayed in an exhibition in Karachi.” – Tapu Javeri
Whether you love her or hate her, the fact of the matter is this: Meera will live her life on her own terms, irrespective of how scandal seems to sniff out and follow the actress everywhere – from her personal life to her professional life.
Unapologetically haughty, Meera stands as the tragic-happy poster girl of contemporary Pakistani cinema, where she is continuously bludgeoned by local media for her fractured English, dramatic interviews, and over the top statements.
But perhaps that is what makes this talented Lollywood screen siren so very appealing and endearing. On the professional front, apart from acting for both the big and small screen – from Punjabi and Urdu feature films to TV serials, the actress was the centre of attention a few years ago in 2005, when she acted in a Bollywood thriller, ‘Nazar,’ written by Mahesh Bhatt and Directed by Soni Razdan.
The saucy movie created quite a bit of a ruckus back home in Pakistan as it featured our very own Meera locking lips with co-star Ashmit Patel. Be it her fleeting romance with Bollywood (acting in a sprinkle of not-so-great Indian productions), and the incessant media attention the gorgeous, curly-haired star seems to attract, the Pakistani entertainment industry has had a lot to gain from Meera’s presence in the industry.
For one, she’s incredibly photogenic, tireless vis-à-vis her work, is a great dancer (her Lux Style Award dances create much buzz in the local media), and is unabashedly confident when interviewed for print or broadcast outlets – where every local journalist has a field day poking fun at the actress by way of her quotes about her age and Meera’s declarations of her flawless beauty. Yet, while she may be in the news for all the wrong reasons, Meera remains unwavering in her stance about herself and her work. Perhaps more than her work, Meera’s thick-skinned confidence is commendable – much needed in a cut-throat entertainment industry such as in Pakistan.
“The two images of Babra were taken about 10 years apart, yet she never ages. The Marilyn image was shot for an editorial shoot called ‘Babrakadabra’ in 1992. With Nabila’s make-up and Babra dressed up as a whole array of Hollywood legends. The second image was shot in 2003 with Mubashir Khan’s make-up. Babra is very unassuming in person, but lights up in front of the camera, like a true starlet.” – Tapu Javeri
The elusive beauty, Babra, with her baby face and pixie features, the actress started out modeling for local television advertisements back in the day. And it was through modeling that she immediately began getting noticed for her striking good looks.
But it wasn’t just her beauty which led her to immense success – Babra was a marvelous actress to boot as well. Modeling eventually led her into the world of acting for Pakistani television and cinema, catapulting Babra to fame.
In 1974, the then young Babra starred in her first ever feature films; ‘Intezar’ and ‘Bhool,’ which culminated in an assortment of Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto and Sindhi movies that the actress worked in from the 70s till the 90s.
She has worked with some of the most well-known Pakistani actors of the big screen – Waheed Murad, Muhammad Ali, and others, churning out over 100 movies in her career of over two decades. From ‘Shaani,’ ‘Mera Naam Hai Mohabbat,’ ‘Shabana,’ ‘Salakhain,’ ‘Manzil,’ ‘Daman,’ and many others, Babra currently remains away from the spotlight, having made her name in the local entertainment industry.
And unlike some of her contemporary peers, Babra has always remained intensely private about her personal life. Graceful and self-assured, the actress has rarely ever been embroiled in smutty controversies or unpleasant, sordid scandals. The local media has been good to the actress, because Babra has played her cards well vis-à-vis dealing with Pakistani media, staying clear of controversial issues and, let’s not forget, her amazing image reinventions over the years – making the actress stand as the epitome of elegance, well-respected in the local entertainment industry.
“This picture was shot at the Malaysian LSA’s where Veena really was the star of the show.” – Tapu Javeri
Even though she has been associated with the local film industry for a couple of years, actress Veena is perhaps better known for her brilliant parodies on the popular Geo TV show, ‘Hum Sub Umeed Say Hain.’
However in 2010, Veena’s fame skyrocketed after her appearance on the fourth season of the hit Indian reality TV show, ‘Bigg Boss.’ What followed were item numbers and acting roles in a few Bollywood movies such as; ‘Gali Gali Mein Chor Hai,’ ‘Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya,’ and ‘Daal Mein Kuch Kala Hai,’ and more recently, the Kannada version of the Bollywood movie, ‘The Dirty Picture’ along with a feature film called ‘Supermodel’ which stars Veena in the lead, opposite actor, Ashmit Patel. Infact, the latter film is already creating quite a bit of a buzz currently, given Veena’s bawdy photoshoot for the production.
Like Meera, Veena too, has been wrapped up in a fair share of controversy as well. For one, her nude photoshoot for a magazine called ‘FHM’ (the Indian version) where the seductive actress was featured undressed with ‘ISI’ penned across her upper arm. The actress, however, vehemently claimed that the photoshoot was a complete sham, and accused the magazine for tampering with the pictures. Veena had claimed that at the time of the photoshoot, she was covered.
And then, there was the charade of a show, ‘Astaghfar,’ broadcast on Hero TV during Ramadan, this year, which had people talking about and poking fun at. While the intention of the production may have been serious as it carried with it a religious undertone, one rather hilarious episode went completely viral. The particular episode featured Veena and a guest Moulvi who dealt with a live caller who was apparently possessed by the devil. The episode came across as far too scripted and silly, and was given immense coverage in the local press. Yet, controversies aside, one cannot ignore the fact that Veena is a brilliant actress. Besides, she’s a terrific conversationalist and handles interviews with charisma and finesse. If Bollywood is currently where the actress seems to be finding fame and fortune, then so be it.