It was a happening year in the world of art, entertainment and culture with a sprinkle of local movies, a handful of fashion weeks and busy theatres.
The food for soul, it spins the universe and yes, there is a song for every occasion. Some of the best music released this year was:
Ali Zafar: Pakistan’s uber-chic candy boy released his latest album Jhoom after a gap of five years. It also marked the launch of Ali Zafar’s own record company, Alif Records. Jhoom is a Sufi album and Ali Zafar’s best avatar to date. Released on Valentine’s Day, this album is all about love – spiritual or human.
Bumbu Sauce: A four-member (Master Jee, Colonel, Zakoota and Jeevay Lal) Rock ‘n’ Roll mad-at-heart band from Islamabad. After touring half of the world, their debut EP, was released as the band toured Pakistan in early 2011. Bumbu Sauce’s sound is unique and has transformed from an amateur school-boy band to a mainstream wicked cult.
MAD School: Nida Butt is a name synonymous with bringing foreign musical theatres to Pakistan. This Karachi based thespian is risqué and did what she wanted to. After performing some note-worthy musicals, she launched Pakistan’s first Music (M), Art (A) and Dance (D) School.
Noori: The day was May 6, 2011 and Karachi was buzzing with Noori’s ‘Big Surprise’ gig. The night came and the band performed after a gap of five years. The original line-up, Muahmmad Ali Jafri, Gumby, Ali Noor and Ali Hamza, reconciled and reformed Noori. This was surely a gig not to be missed.
Adil Omar: This young, super-talented, mysterious looking chap from Islamabad has been all over the web and has proved himself as Pakistan’s pride among the international rapper’s circuit. He released his first single, “Off the Handle”, featuring Xzibit and later the controversy struck “Paki Rambo”. In 2012, we hope to see his first album on the shelves.
QB: She came. She covered. She conquered. The powerhouse, Quratulain Baloch, often referred as QB in music circles, crooned Reshma’s “Akhiyaan Nu Ren Dey”, made the soft at heart weep and became a huge hit on YouTube. Then came Coke Studio with Jal and soon after, Sarmad Khoosat, roped her in for his critically acclaimed Humsafar’s OST.
Honourable mentions: Coke Studio was a regular event this year, then came a telecom sponsored Uth Records with some great talent on the show. Zoe Viccaji and Bilal Khan after wowing the crowds on CS, proved themselves once again after covering Strings songs for an international jeans brand. And the unforgettable Beyghairat Brigade, “Aaloo Anday” is what the nation will cherish for years.
Fashion Islamabad Fashion Week: Islamabad saw its first fashion week under the tutelage of Tariq Amin and TripleE, making it one of the most glamorous events in the otherwise sombre capital city. The event saw Nilofer Shahid, Kamiar Rokni, Ammar Belal, Rehana Saigol and Sanam Agha venturing into the niche Isloo market.
Style 360’s Bridal Couture Week: Focussing on emerging designers and models, this bridal venture by a private television network was a great step towards bridal shows. Maheen Khan, Zainab Sajid, Mehdi, Rouge and Deepak Perwani also supported this event with their bridal collections. Later in the year, an Autumn/Winter bridal week was also held in Lahore.
Karachi Fashion Week: Despite the lack of industry-insider support, TripleE left no stone unturned holding the KFW. The event turned out to be better than expected with choreography by Imran Kureishi, foreign media and buyers’ presence and an array of designers and makeup artists.
PFDC Fashion Week and Bridal Week: PFDC is backed by giant sponsors, fashion critics and journalists adore it. It is marked in social calendars with a lot of excitement. This year they held two successful shows, autumn/winter in Lahore and spring/summer in Karachi. PFDC also launched a new chapter with their Bridal Week, which was held in Lahore earlier this month.
Theatre Pakistan experienced a thrilling year in theatre. Although Lahore and Islamabad had their fair share of plays, Karachi hosted some of the biggest hits of the year.
Bombay Dreams: After doing rounds of his musicals in Lahore, Shah Sharahbeel came back to Karachi with this hit. Theatre enthusiasts and Bollywood maniacs flocked The Arts Council for this dream ride of over three hours.
SABZ: Umer Hameed of Hazaar Dastaan Theater Company brought this famous play to Karachi after having several successful shows in Lahore. Spontaneous, funny and full of talented actors, this Urdu play was indeed a total knockout.
Begum Jaan: NAPA Repertory Theater staged another classic this year. A fabulous set, a powerful cast featuring Nimra Bucha, Naila Jaffery amongst others, boasted of a strong storyline, spine chilling dialogues and amazing direction. This was a houseful on all nights.
Karachi – The Musical: After bringing The Producers, Chicago and Mamma Mia to Pakistani theatres, Nida Butt presented Karachi, a tribute to the people and the city that is Karachi. This musical not only swanked of its live music and singing, it was also a play with an original soundtrack with lyrics by Faraz Lodhi and composition by Hamza Jafri. This play will go to Lahore and Dubai in 2012.
Honourable mentions: BZ Productions debut creation Upbeatables: Watch the Beats Unite.
Cinema Pakistani box office saw several hit releases this year.
Bol: A Shoaib Mansoor flick, starring Humaima Malik and Mahira Khan in prominent roles, Bol did what was needed for the local cinema. It definitely brought back people to the cinema to watch a local production. The film opened with a grand premiere and saw several full houses along with several teary eyes leaving the cinemas.
Love Mein Ghum: Reema Khan’s directorial venture failed to rock the box office but showed this actress-turned-director’s love for cinema and Pakistan. Huge budgets, foreign locations, costumes by local designers (HSY et al.) and casting local talent as well as some Indian actors did take Pakistani cinema to heights and opened up new ventures for Pakistani cinema.
Honourable mentions: Bhai Log did create a good impact on the box office and got some brilliant reviews. Sons of Pakistan was also released in the last month of 2011.