Tuesday, January 31, 2023

8 Pakistani stars on the rise

Pakistan’s fashion and entertainment industries have witnessed new faces in the past year. Lahore Herald names those most likely to launch ‘thousand ships’ These up-and-comers have talent and the gumption to make smart professional choices. Some debuted in 2021-22; others are older. They’re shining this year.

1: Junaid Niazi

Junaid Jamshaid Niazi A.K.a Junaid niazi

Model-turned-actor Junaid Niazi is tall and handsome. This “gym maniac” would rather be recognized for his acting skills. He chooses his projects carefully. Junaid Niazi started working at a software company in 2018 after completing his Master’s in Business IT in Australia.

Part-time fashion modeling. He weighed 100kg and “worked hard to get in shape.” Against body shaming. All that has taught him life’s biggest lesson: “You can’t appreciate success if you didn’t work for it.” First project: Mohsin Naveed Ranjha fashion show.

In the following years, he modeled for Fahd Hussayn, Hussain Rehar, and J. Junaid Jamshaid Niazi always wanted to act. Top drama and movie director Nadeem Baig recognized him and cast him as Yumna Zaidi’s love interest in ‘Sinf e Aahan‘ Niazi passed his audition. The crowd loved the supporting role. It landed him two projects with Hum TV: the Ramadan soap ‘Paristan,’ where he played the lad next door, and ‘Hasrat,’ directed by Meer Sikander.

2: Khushhal Khan

Khushhal Khan

Khushhal Khan has already won over renowned Pakistani couturiers like HSY and made many envious of his flawlessly sculpted jawline. This attractive and motivated lad from a small village in northern Pakistan was named best emerging talent at the Hum Style Awards last year.

Khushhal‘s acting debut came in Ahmed Sarym’s low-budget YouTube adolescent drama ‘Midsummer Chaos,’ but he astonished everyone with a guest appearance in Mahira Khan’s telefilm ‘Aik Hai Nigar’ as a producer. He capped the year with two back-to-back drama serials for Hum TV: ‘Qissa Meherbano Ka’ with Mawra Hocane and ‘Bey Basi’ opposite Alizeh Shah. Khushhal should do well this year. Asim Abbasi’s new Zee5 web series stars Fawad Khan and Sanam Saeed.

He calls working with these stars a “dream come true.” He’s grateful to filmmaker Abbasi for including him. Mutual respect: Abbasi praised “Baby K’s” “hunger to learn and outdo himself” in an Instagram post. Khushhal is excited about another web series, a thriller that will give viewers an adrenaline boost. A feature film in which he plays the lead — “a very enjoyable character” — and a short film, Gulabo Rani, directed by Usman Mukhtar, are also in the works.

3: Talha Chahour

Talha Chahour

Talha Chahour is a rising talent who must not disappoint his followers. His recent film, Haissam Hussain’s Jo Bichharr Gaye, was widely acclaimed. Chahour understands. No wonder he’s picking through the projects slowly. His narrative is movie-worthy.

Chahour Rahim Yar Khan actor ‘came in from the cold’ for ‘Jo Bichharr Gaye’ His portrayal as a modest, upright military guy from West Pakistan deputed in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in an exceptional situation left spectators rooting for Captain Farrukh in this semi-autobiographical play. Critics praised him for owning every moment, even with Maya Ali and Wahaj Ali.

Chahour wasn’t a rookie when he first acted. In college, he led an Urdu rendition of ‘Macbeth’ (with Ajoka). Five times, he performed with Ajoka in India. His alma mater, GCU, Lahore, hosted the Harry Potter fan film. Chahour’s screen debut came before ‘Jo Bichharr Gaye’ in Kashif Nisar’s PTV play ‘Farz’ (2017). “Destiny takes its path, and we can only plan,” he says.

4: Shuja Asad

Shuja Asad

Shuja Asad is a model-turned-actor with a particular, youthful appeal. At 27, he plays a youngster in producer-director Fahim Burney’s ‘College Gate’ In ARY’s current drama serial, ‘Pyar Deewangi Hai,’ he plays Neelam Munir’s doting fiancé with warmth and spontaneity. He lends innocence to even the grungiest fashions (see his first TV commercial with beard and a man bun).

Easily funny (his Nabeel Qureshi-directed TVC and the many videos with comedian Danish Ali come to mind). When he danced in Dino Ali’s ‘Main Aur Tum’ music video, you couldn’t tell he wasn’t a pro. Asad has been compared to Salman Khan from ‘Andaz Apna Apna’ (1994) and Moammar Rana from ‘Chooriyan’ (1998). Asad loves both artists and “wishes he’d been born in the 90s!” Anil Kapoor for “his extraordinary enthusiasm,” Leonardo DiCaprio for “his freak-out actions,” and Tom Hardy “because he’s Tom Hardy!” Asad might be Pakistan’s next darling, but he’d rather “play diverse characters” “I’m dying to exhibit my range,” he says. Asad will next appear in BNN-famous Murtaza Chaudhry’s untitled short film opposite Mashal Khan. “I’m pleased I got this project because I have some dramatic crying and falling-on-the-floor scenes,” he says with a chuckle. He’ll also appear in Sarmad Sultan Khoosat’s ‘Gumm’ and filmmaker Aabis Raza’s “horror-drama” Bandish.

5: Jannat Mirza

Jannat Mirza was a star before Lollywood showman Syed Noor cast her in ‘Teray Baajray Di Raakhi’ This attractive, soft-spoken girl gained fame on Tiktok, where she has the most followers of any Pakistani, and YouTube, where she films her daily life. Every time she vlogs about her longtime friend turned fiancé Umer Butt love-bombing her, her views soar. Butt is a Tiktoker.

Jannat Mirza

Both Mirza and Butt were given leads in Mahira Khan’s online series, ‘Barwaan Khiladi,’ but Mirza declined because she was in Japan visiting her sister, while Butt declined since she wasn’t a part of it. Later, they appeared in Shazia Manzoor’s Dil mod de music video. Mirza says she passed on Hum TV’s ‘Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Tha’ because she “didn’t want to start in a negative character.” Kubra Khan’s win is history. Mirza, a multitasker, is studying fashion design. She enjoys traveling. She’s from Faisalabad and says it was fun shooting in Lahore. Khalid Khan (of ‘Kaali Kaali Zuflein’ fame) performs qawwali next. Several acting projects are in the works, but she “wants to keep it quiet for now.”

6: Zaviyar Naumaan Ejaz

Zaviyar Naumaan

Zaviyar Naumaan Ejaz is a showbiz oddity. Zaviyar wanted to go it alone despite his famous TV actor father. He wanted to do everything himself. He avoided boy-next-door roles in favor of complicated characters like Hikmat in Hum TV’s ensemble play ‘Sang-e-Mah’ and a mature role opposite Mawra Hocane in ‘Qissa Meherbano Ka’ Both serials are large productions, especially ‘Sang-e-Mah,’ starring Kubra Khan, Hania Amir, Saania Saeed, Samiya Mumtaz, Omair Rana, and Atif Aslam. Naumaan Ejaz plays Zaviyar’s dad. Zaviyar’s skill shows in every frame he shares with acting titans. His charisma helped him diversify.

Hum TV’s ‘Weham’ is a supernatural thriller. Zaviyar studied business management in Canada before performing in Pakistan. He portrayed the prince in “The Little Mermaid” in junior high, but his parents made him focus on education. Zaviyar was overweight. “I weighed 105kg.” I was told to lose weight if I wanted to act. I embraced it as a challenge, and five months later I was 75kg,” he adds. On set, he felt comfortable. “I was thrilled as the cameras and lighting were set up.” Everything was overwhelming!” Zaviyar isn’t star struck, partly because he was never exposed to the industry: “Baba (father) never let us watch TV,” he explains. “I didn’t know who was who save for Baba’s contemporaries. This helped me focus on my craft without feeling intimidated by others.” Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Pankaj Tripathi are his heroes. “Look how they change with each role! It’s what he saw his father do, so he wants to do the same.

7: Hamza Sohail

Hamza Sohail

Hamza Sohail: Critics often attribute a star child’s performance to genetics. Hamza Sohail’s scene-stealing role in Hum TV’s ensemble piece, ‘Badshah Begum,’ currently drawing to a close, makes you forget that his father, Sohail Ahmed, is a renowned comedian, actor, and talk show host. He alone achieved achievement. Hamza has an MBA from London and thinks he’s succeeded “alone.” Its ‘downside’ was that he had to work for his dream launch. He “left up a nice life in Lahore, traveled to Karachi, contacted production studios, auditioned, was turned down, and was eventually employed as second AD by Dawar Mehmood.”

Hamza returned to Lahore after the outbreak to meet TV director Kashif Nisar. “I said I’d help. Hamza alleges he was instead offered a role. So came ‘Raqeeb Se’ Hamza was noted in the drama serial despite not having a prominent role. Next, he appeared in ARY’s ‘Main Hari Piya’ as a supporting character. But he considers them “learning phases.” Today, he’s “receiving numerous offers and being diligent because your decisions matter.” Next, he stars in ‘Breaking News’ opposite Amar Khan for Green TV. Hamza doesn’t think he should be funny because his father is. “Everyone has strengths, in my opinion. As a performer, I’m only learning my skills and flaws. He’s particular about how he looks in shoots and on magazine covers. He declares, “I’m staying.” “I have no backup plan.”

8: Jamal Yousaf

Jamal Yousaf

Jamal Yousaf considers himself “filmi” despite appearances. People tell him to channel Shah Rukh Khan. Yousaf, one of Pakistan’s best male models, has acted in a drama serial for Aur Life channel called ‘Dil e Benaam’ Next, he played a romantic part in ‘Rishtay’ It’s a production that will always be meaningful to him, he says, because it’s his film debut. He concedes these aren’t the industry’s largest ventures, but “that’s how it works for someone with no ties.” Nepotism is inevitable.” He persevered. From his college-level fashion show win to ads with top Pakistani brands, he “always groomed himself while creating contacts.” His accent and delivery were improved. He’s self-employed in Islamabad real estate. But he wants to “make it big”

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