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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - The UAE, a place which is always teeming with the energy of fast-paced living is home to numerous nationalities. On the occasion of Pakistan's Independence Day, we connected with some prominent Pakistanis residing in the UAE who have made their mark in the field of entertainment and performing arts, to know their plans for Independence Day.
Putting someone on the spot and asking them to pull off a standup comic act would be a nightmare for many but for Salman, this is what keeps him alive. Trust him to bring the house down with his wittiest one-liners or facial expressions. Being able to perform in two languages has brought him more opportunities in the UAE including working on a French movie to being on a TV show with veterans like Farida Jalal and Talat Hussain.
Salman shares that he is an 80s kid so he has a retro style of enjoying Independence day. "There is definitely a lot of Junoon, Vital Signs and Nusrat Fateh Ali in the background as I take some non-Pakistani friends out to try Pakistani cuisine (sometimes for the first time for them!). And while as a comedian sometimes I spend too much time making fun of things back home, our Independence Day is a nice time to sit back and be grateful as well as thinking about ways to give back."
Asad Raza Khan
If you are into theatre and live performances then Asad Raza Khan is a name you cannot miss. A Dubai resident for over seven years, Asad splits his time between his corporate job and his passion which is acting. Asad has to be given credit for making the comedy more mainstream in this region. He was recently seen chatting away in the show Comedy Adda Season 2, the most watched TV show to be locally produced in the UAE. On stage he has been part of many shows including two locally written plays Howzat and Just Like That. In fact, while you are reading this, he is probably rehearsing for his show White Rabbit Red Rabbit happening now at Junction Dubai. "This year celebrating Pakistan Day will be different due to the current times. I will wear green, contribute to social causes (both artistically and financially) back home, and be on stage with my international performance White Rabbit Red Rabbit under strict safety measures and dedicate my show to Pakistan."
Surani calls himself an 'accidental' theatre artist. A few years ago when he randomly joined an online social group that was looking for potential actors, little did he know that he will end up on stage in front of a live audience. He remembers that his first ever dialogue was limited to two words 'What! Horse'. But as all great things start with humble beginnings, Saleem soon landed a lead role in a Gujarati play.
The 14th of August holds a special place in his memory as that is the day he landed in the UAE five years ago. "We used to look forward to visiting the Pakistani Consulate for the flag hoisting ceremony but this time we shall attend that virtually. I will also be teaching my young one to paint the Pakistani flag," shared Saleem.
Habibullah is a true funkar and a man of many talents. He gave up his corporate job and followed his passion which includes performing arts, photography and Urdu poetry recitations. His rendition of Jaun Elia, Allama Iqbal and Pitras Bukhari's work in the UAE is still remembered by many. He has worked in several local and Pakistani productions as a model and actor and will also be seen in a Hollywood project called Beneath the sea of lights. You may catch few glimpses of his work on the instapage called 'Zer Zabar Paesh'.
Habibullah has just been blessed with a new addition in his family and he plans to celebrate the independence day with his family indoors.
Dubai-based photographer and writer Durdana Farid penned the home-grown Urdu-language theatre production called Raffu. The play explored a wide range of emotions through an unconventional form of storytelling with Urdu at the forefront. She plans to celebrate the day with other Pakistani Expats, arranging desi themed gatherings. She shared, "This year, due to the severity of the aftermath of Covid-19 we do plan to work on helping Pakistanis stranded here and do our share in sending these distressed country fellows home."
Music knows no boundaries and Rabeal Ali's fan base is testament to this phrase. A well-known vocalist who is based in the UAE, Rabeal performs music gigs at prominent spots in Dubai. His fans say that his voice is the voice of heartbreak. He is a huge fan of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parveen and Reshma to name a few. While the music of those stalwarts will remain as a benchmark there is no doubt that this young singer is trying his best to make a mark for himself in live singing. If you pass by a jam packed café and hear the sound of cheering audiences, chances are that Rabeal is performing inside. He has already made his plans for the 14th of August. He is going to be spending his time with friends from his community and he is sure that the evening will end on a high note with national songs.
Schumaila Hussain and Faraz Rizvi
An established name in the field of music, Schumaila Hussain wears multiple hats. She is a singer, composer and runs a music studio along with her husband Faraz. One great example of her remarkable flair for music can be gauged from the soundtrack of drama serial Muqabil, which she not only sang but also composed. Hussain has also held a solo musical gig in Dubai where she paid tribute to legendary artists like Madam Noor Jehan and Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Faraz is an ace guitarist and the duo have a band called Mastam. Currently they are composing music for the upcoming Pakistani film Senti aur Mental and compositions for Jaun Elia's poetry. The couple will be hosting a few friends over their place to mark the Independence Day celebrations.
Sadiq Saleem is a Dubai based entertainment writer. He may be contacted on www.sidsaidso.com
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