A Common Man’s Perspective

The other day I was sharing with my friends that the strength of our country’s foreign policy can simply be analyzed by the experience of a common citizen’s visit to Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad, Pakistan. My office driver was telling me that before 1994 it was not an area with huge castle high boundaries and everyone could go there. He was telling me wonderful stories of hippies and foreigners whom he has been interacting with when he used to be a cab driver in Islamabad.

“We used to have one or two passengers for whole day and that would have earned enough money for us to spend a luxurious and healthy day”, he said.

I was picturing the past of whole area as “a wonderful and peaceful place to visit” while listening to his stories. Minutes later I was looking at senior citizens waiting for Shuttle Service on different road corners of Diplomatic Enclave. Those finely dressed men and women were standing by road side, waiting for bus as being common citizen they weren’t allowed to bring their cars inside the Diplomatic Enclave. Security concerns are rightly taken into consideration by concerned authorities but still revenue from Shuttle Service can be used by authorities to provide at least proper bus stops where our senior citizens can sit reasonably to wait for bus. How can we even expect the respect of Green Passport at foreign Airports when we aren’t able to negotiate the SOPs of consulates, embassies and Foreign missions residing in Pakistan to balance “respect element” for our own citizens? Hope to see some positive measures by Foreign Office, SP Security Diplomatic Enclave Office and CDA in near future to facilitate citizens in this regard.

By Raza Ahmed Sukhera

Rendezvous with Usman Mukhtar

Usman Mukhtar needs no introduction, being compared to Che Guevera, Johnny Depp for his mysterious looks..he set the internet and young hearts on fire when his sweetness videos went viral in contrast to his sexy black and white photo shoot. He has countless videos and short film productions to his name. (Listed at the bottom of this interview are some videos directed by the man himself).

W&S: Tell us about yourself

Mr.Usman: Well my name is Usman Mukhtar. I’m an actor/film maker, I’m a DC fan boy, comic book enthusiast. I am a proud mamoon(uncle) to three wonderful, wonderful kids.

W&S: Where is home?

Mr.Usman: Home is where family is . 

W&S: If you were to pick one moment that describes your entire past life, what would that be?

Mr.Usman: I don’t think any one moment can describe my entire life, every moment has its own value and importance. These different moments kinda shape up your life. That’s the way it is and I actually don’t think one moment would describe my life.

W&S: Tell us about your childhood?

Mr.Usman: Well I grew up in a house with elder sisters and my grandfather. I was a very naughty kid, took a lot of beating from my sisters and my mother. I was sent to a hostel at a very young age so I grew up in a military school

W&S: What kind of a student were you? What kind of grades did your parents always expect from you?

Mr.Usman: I wasn’t a very bright student and my parents expected really good grades, but I was a very mediocre kinda student, wasn’t very good. A lot of times I would get scolded by my mother, principal and all.

W&S: Most memorable childhood memory?

Mr.Usman: Well I was in boarding school and I would be there for 3 months straight. So when my mother used to come and get me, and I used to go home, I think that would be the most memorable memory of my childhood. You know Go back home and have some really yummy food

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W&S: You are known amongst your friends as?

Mr.Usman: I’m known amongst my friends as Joey, that’s what they call me.

W&S: You are sentimental about?

Mr.Usman: I’m sentimental about people who are close to me, who I absolutely, dearly love and care about. I’m also very sentimental about my comic books and good food.  

W&S: As a child, you grew up wanting to be?

Mr.Usman: Till about the age of 14, I wanted to be a cricketer but my family felt that it wasn’t the right direction and cricket wasn’t a profession. But I turned out to be a film maker instead.  

W&S: Favorite cuisine?

Mr.Usman: I don’t have a favorite cuisine, I can almost eat everything but I can’t stand sushi, I don’t know how people have raw fish and I know its quiet a debate that it’s not raw but I can’t have sushi. I love desi, I love biryani, carrot halwa, I love junk food, love fries, pizza, burgers. I just don’t like really expensive food not because it’s too expensive but because you spend so much money on sushi and it doesn’t even taste good so those are my reasons. I’m a big food lover so I can eat absolutely anything apart from certain things that I don’t like.

W&S: Qualities you look for in people?

Mr.Usman: Loyalty, sincerity, sense of humor

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W&S: Would you call yourself an introvert or extrovert?

Mr.Usman: I’m an introvert, a big time introvert.

W&S: What do you do in your free time?

Mr.Usman: Well it really depends, if I’m around family then I like to spent time with them specially with my nieces and nephew. If I’m not with family then I like to spend  time playing a lot of play station, a lot of gaming, watching a lot of movies. 

W&S: Favorite vacation spot?

Mr.Usman: That would be Dubai. There is one place I would really like to goto, I’ve never had the chance to be there, I want to goto Iceland. It’s one place I really, really, really want to goto.

W&S: Tell us about Janaan and how did that happen?

Mr.Usman: Well Janaan…Imran and Hareem both are really good friends, Imran told me that there was this really interesting role and he asked me to do it, I heard about the character and really liked it. It’s a very different kinda character. So I was really interested in doing it so I said yes I’d love to. The initial script was kinda different, the character ended up being slightly different. So yes that’s how Janaan happened.

W&S: Tell us about the incredible team

Mr.Usman: Team is absolutely amazing, they are one of the most genuine, brilliant, amazing, funny, caring people on this planet. They are very, very, very talented people. I’m very fortunate to have worked with such an exceptionally talented lot. It was a lot of fun working with them. We have fun now too, we talk to each other once in a while. Amazing people to work with!

W&S: Who amongst your team was always up to mischief during the shoot?

Mr.Usman: I wasn’t there a lot at the set but I think Ali Rehman would be the one guy who was up to mischief.

W&S: Who are some people that have inspired you throughout your journey?

Mr.Usman: Firstly my grandfather, he is a big, big inspiration for me throughout my childhood. He is one of the reasons I am what I am. After that errrr…I have been inspired by so many people Martin Scorsese, Anurag Kashyap, and a lot of other people.

W&S: How did you get your start in the industry?

Mr.Usman: It was a very long time ago, there was Kara film festival happening, I was really young and I wanted to make a film and send it to Kara so I made the film and that’s ho I got into the industry. To be honest I don’t think that was how I started but it just somehow happened very organically, I wanted to make good movies in Pakistan because we had a film industry that was almost dead and you know, I just wanted to do my own work so it all just happened. I started doing one project after the other.

W&S: Tell us about “The ten ways to sweetness”

Mr.Usman: Actually Ten Ways to Sweetness happened afterwards. I was working at Kuch Khaas. God bless Poppy’s soul, she was the owner of Kuch Khaas, what a gem of a lady, I really, really miss her. She is not with us anymore but she was very supportive. She wanted to support every talented individual and help them come forward. I was heading the production department of Kuch Khaas, we had the task of completing the back log of events that we were doing that took place there and it was very long and boring as were constantly editing and compiling those event videos and updating the library of events. It was a very boring job and I wanted to do something fun so I had this idea and shared it with Poppy and Shahana (Deputy Director at Kuch Khaas). They both really liked the idea. I wasn’t supposed to be that guy who plays the sleezeball, it was someone else but they couldn’t make it on time as we were running out of time to get back and finish the back logs so I acted myself and we got done with the first video that was called sweetness, we uploaded it and the next morning we had about 25,000 hits, it went viral and everybody thought that we have to make this a regular thing and that’s when we started Ten Ways to Sweetness. It was an accident, we were not expecting it to go viral but it did!  

W&S: How was your first experience on stage/infront of the camera?

Mr.Usman: Man it was really scary! I’ve realized that the nervousness, and that feeling you get which makes you feel really scared going on stage for the very first time, its still there! If I’m doing a play today, I would still feel the same way, it hasn’t changed. But that changes as soon as you are on stage, 5 minutes down and you start loving the energy that you get from the crowd. I think stage is one of the most amazing mediums for an actor. I’ve always had fun on film and never been nervous and I’ve always had a very natural approach when I’m doing a scene, it’s fun! But theatre/ stage is a completely different experience. It’s exhilarating, it’s more real, I don’t know how to explain it.

W&S: Favorite director of all time?

Mr.Usman: I have a few Anurag Kashyap, Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Terantino.

W&S: A website or blog you often visit, or a magazine you swear by?

Mr.Usman: I’m an addict to reddit.com. I visit it a lot, there is a lot of rumors and spoilers and stuff about the upcoming superhero pop culture, all those films and stuff. So that is a website I often visit.

W&S: How would you describe your signature look and what is it about your style that sets you apart?

Mr.Usman: My signature look would be the homeless guy look. I’m just kidding! I’m very comfortable with my shorts and t-shirts. I’m very happy with a grown beard, medium length hair. I’m not very big on fashion and I try to stay casual all the time. When I have dress up as per the requirement of any occasion I do but otherwise I’m very happy being comfortable and easy in my shorts and my t-shirt. Looking like a homeless guy sets me apart.  



W&S: Your favorite song of all time?

Mr.Usman:  I can’t stand electronic music, I don’t know what that is about. I’m a very big fan of ACDC, Rolling stones, Iron maiden and all those timeless bands which we grew up with. Two of my favorite songs are not from these bands though. One of the songs that I absolutely love is called Pioneers by Bloc Party and the second one is World Spins madly on by the Weepies.


W&S: What did you grow up listening to?

Mr.Usman: I grew up listening to Junoon, Awaz, Vital Signs, Jupiters, other bands like Iron Maiden, Sting, Metallica. There was a phase in my life where I would listen to a lot of Nsync, Backstreet boys so I listened to all of this when I was growing up.

W&S: Your favorite movie of all time?

Mr.Usman: Well there isn’t one, the Godfather trilogy is one of my favorite trilogies, Scarface, Superman the first one with Christopher Reeve. Schindler’s list is another film I really like. Raging bull and the Rocky series is also on my favorite’s!

W&S: Director that you would like to work with?

Mr.Usman: Mehreen Jabbar, Jami, and I would really like to work with Shoaib Mansoor sahab. I would love ti work with Anurag Kashyap if he ever keeps me in any of his projects.

W&S: What’s your take on selfies?

Mr.Usman: I think once in a while its fine just making it part of your daily life, making sure that your life revolves arounds seflies wherever you go is kind of weird..to me..I feel it makes you really superficial, I cannot relate to people who do that a lot. Feels like you are living in your own little bubble, the way you think that this is it. So I agree with taking it once in a while but not otherwise.

W&S: What do you think is vastly overrated?

Mr.Usman: I think sushi is vastly over-rated. One of things that I don’t understand,  it shouldn’t be so popular amongst the young generation and also the middle aged people but they tend to love sushi these days. Its more of a fashion statement than anything else. I’m pretty sure that people don’t like sushi but they just have to have it because they are under peer pressure. I think sushi is really overrated and that’s well my opinion.

W&S: Most memorable moment during your Janaan journey?

Mr.Usman: Actually the most memorable moment during Janaan’s shoot wasn’t when I was acting, I actually shot one of the scenes in Janaan which was an entire fire sequence where the school is on fire. That was the most memorable moment for me because it was done on such big scale. We lit everything on fire. Other than that the most memorable thing during Janaan’s journey were the promotions and the time we all got to spend with each other. That was a lot of fun. I think that is something that we will keep with us for the rest of our lives. The bond we shared, the fun we had during the promotions, it was completely out of purity of our hearts, it was just a very natural chemistry that all of us shared. That is very special to me.

W&S: What is that one thing you wish you had designed?

Mr.Usman: Green arrows costume in arrow the series, I think I could’ve done a much better job than the people who did it. Its just that he is not like that in the comics and tat really annoys me.

W&S: Any particular assignment you would have wanted to take up?

Mr.Usman: I would have loved to be a part of Dobara Phir Se. I saw the film and I really liked it. I even told the directors Mehreen and Hareem people that I really wanted to be a part of it. Such a good movie, a new wave of cinema coming out of Pakistan. It’s a very good film. I wanted to make a film on this character “bloody Nasreen” who is a Pakistani super hero created by a very talented guy Shahaan Zaidi. I really wish I would’ve gotten a chance to direct the movie. But unfortunately someone else is making the film and I wish them best of luck.

W&S: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Mr.Usman: Hopefully above the ground.

W&S: Tell us about your upcoming projects/work?

Mr.Usman: Well I’m not allowed to say anything right now. I’m doing two features which I’m not allowed to reveal anything about. One of the shoot starts in Mid-Feb and the other one starts later

W&S: Final words of inspiration for upcoming talent?

Mr.Usman: I want to say this to everyone who is reading this that believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher. Do what you want to do, don’t come under peer pressure, society’s pressure, doing something that they want you to do. Do what you feel like doing. Do what you want to do. You don’t want to look back 30 years from now and think that you could’ve been someone else but you chose the wrong path. Just be who you are!

You can find Usman on:

Instagram: theusmanmukhtar

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mukhtarfilms

Youtube: usmanmukhtar

Snapchat: baraboda11

Twitter: baraboda11

Thank you very much!

Enjoy these videos!








From The World Of Fashion!

What is fashion?

We asked people and this is what they had to say about it…

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Natasha Zafar:
 Anything that makes u feel yourself.

 

14908417_10209061262422579_7646506527321110497_n   Mehr Ispahani: Fashion is a prevailing style, especially in clothing, hair, makeup, footwear, followed by people and that becomes a fashion statement.

15137508_10153981440136720_1777479631099344371_o   Saba Esam Khattak: Fashion is not always outwards. For me, it has always been how I feel about something on the inside, in sync or not with how I am. Following trends is fun, but nothing beats the feeling when you carry something that defines your personality. You walk an inch taller, you play your smile, you let the wind catch the breeze, you enjoy the sun cast shadows on your face. To some, you still might not LOOK beautiful but you wouldn’t neither mind nor care because you FEEL beautiful. And THAT makes all the difference. Fashion says: Me too, style says: ONLY me!!

15338873_10157851381355174_2091753197977272291_n   Zeynab Zafar Ahmed: Fashion is an expression of self, It’s an art. One that can be perceived in various ways and only those who truly understand the language of Fashion, can really appreciate its various forms.

14729376_1214976571859032_5433622015822108169_n  Maha Usman: For me fashion is any trend that makes me comfortable in my skin; something that gives more meaning to my personality.

11949424_10154127504652995_5399186319257303203_n   Ummara Akhter: Fashion is all about feeling amazing by different looks and acceptance in society.

13627177_1122022117841233_7672160129043733649_n   Duria Ali: Fashion is something that’s comfortable and trendy at the same time.

13996326_1677158289269053_2383882902754605448_o   Roger Frances: Fashion is your personality translated into your wardrobe

14720447_1566971713329105_8424067775222942701_n   Taghreed Wasim:  For me fashion is what i look good in, i wont follow a trend just because its THE thing, i will follow it only if I feel it looks good on me !

15241919_1171943206222218_1191616980661588889_n   Mary Imran: It’s the ongoing trend with the present time ..but for me everything I see is not fashion ..everything that suits me is fashion. .

15179099_1183546751731339_1635899874906661286_n   Iyla Hussain: Fashion is an expression of self.

15283937_1471302216231013_867235118825485821_n   Zeeshan Arif: Fashion is everything…that makes u look different…classy…provided you know well how to carry yourself and you yourself are confident that this makes you look great. I would say…everybody who is experimental these days is called fashionable…but one has to consider that decency should be there…ALWAYS!!!

12799250_10153439109878907_3609656072799572817_n    Uruba Khan: Fashion is expressing your mood and culture through clothing. It can be day to day clothing or special occasions but it tends to reflect your personality and mood.

15241201_10154536981850358_2569659834595813498_n   Maha Dania Qazi:  Fashion is a seven letter word like the days of the week. Like each day is different, fashion may be diverse in different parts of the world. Fashion can also be unifying in terms of bringing together people following a common trend. Fashion is fun, frivolous and meaningful. It’s not any one thing.

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Fashion is what you are offered four times a year, Style is what you pick out of that fashion, It’s what you make of it once you’ve learned what to accept and ignore based on what looks good on you.

Fashion is part of our daily lives. Its an ever evolving way of expressing who you are and how you feel today. Even people who claim not to follow any trend, wake up each morning and pick clothes they want to wear according to where they are going, who they are going to meet, what defines or suits them. Its’s always there! The clothes, accessories, shoes, bags etc that hit the market are according to the latest trends of course and we all buy them.

Speaking of fashion, we are bringing on board someone who certainly knows her way around it. She is like a breath of fresh air straight from the stunning valley of Hunza. She has a versatile sense of fashion, is an educationist by profession,  plays football, sings, dances, is fond of dogs and polo matches, loves shopping, a big foodie,  has a contagious smile, and of course who can deny the warmth of her chirpy personality. She is a fashionista in its true sense and she will be speaking ‘fashion’!

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We welcome Farwa Hussain to our Wings & Strokes family! She will be writing about what’s hot, what’s not..style, colors, trends, do’s and don’ts and alot more.

Keep visiting to know about all that the fashion world has to offer.

Signing off
W & S

Recipe: Shawarma

Hey everyone! Our food expert has something special for you all today. Something that is loved very much in Middle East and parts of South Asia. Yes! She is bringing you the classic shawarma.

(Please note that all her recipes are tried and tested so you can be sure of the taste)

Let’s get started  🙂

You will need: 

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Chicken 1 kg boneless
Salt: 1 tsp
Red chilli powder: 1tsp
Red chilli flakes: 1/2 tsp
Black pepper: 1/4 tsp
White vinegar: 2 tsp
Oil: 1/2 tsp

Method:
Mix all ingredients well with chicken (cut into cubes) and set aside for 30 minutes for all the flavors to blend in well. Then take a wok, fry the chicken till its nice and tender.

While your chicken is soaking up the flavors, its best to get your salad ready for filling, here is what you will need:

Cucumber: 1
Orange carrot: 1
Vinegar for dipping.
Cut the cucumber n carrot into thin slices and soak in vinegar for a while.

Now for the mayo sauce:
Egg: 1 large
Garlic clove: 1 piece
Green chilli: 1
White vinegar: 1/2 tsp
Black pepper: 1/4 tsp
Chinese salt: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Sugar: 1/4 tsp
Oil : 1 cup

Method:
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend well. When the ingredients form a thick paste, slowly add in the oil making sure that it helps the mixture get thick and fluffy. Turn off the blender, your paste is now ready for the shawarma.

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Now there are two ways of serving this classic, much loved shawarma. Take pita bread and spread the paste evenly over it. Now mix the chicken with vinegar-dipped cucumber and carrots and roll it all up nicely. Make sure you have butter paper with you to wrap it up before you can enjoy it.

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Another way of eating it is in the form of a shawarma platter. Take chicken, cucumber, carrots and mix them all well. Take a dish and lay out the chicken along with Pita bread cut into halves. Serve the paste with it to bring out the flavors. For those of you who enjoy the flavor of garlic can add a bit more to the paste and please your taste buds.

Hope you guys like it!

Regards

Anum Sohail