News Buzz

March 2022

Pakistani Girl Wins Oscar Nomination

Laraib Atta, the daughter of folk singer Attaullah Esakhelvi, bagged an Oscar nomination for her work on ‘No Time to Die,’ a James Bond film.

Laraib Atta, a young visual artist made the nation proud after her team landed Oscar and BAFTA nominations for their work. Her visual effects team bagged nods in ‘Best Visual Effects’ category at Oscars and BAFTA for the latest Bond film. Laraib started working in Hollywood at the age of 19 and has been a part of some great projects such as Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Marvi Returns

Ghazal Siddique, popularly known as Marvi for a PTV drama serial of the same name from the 1990s, has recently returned to Pakistan after almost a decade. Ghazal is now interested in re-entering the showbiz industry with a bang as either a host or an actress.

Around 2008, Ghazal left Pakistan and shifted to Canada, leaving showbiz to focus more on her married life and her son’s brought-up. She remained completely off-screen despite being one of the most admired celebrities of Pakistan, before reaching out to her fans once again through her YouTube channel in 2020. Although she did many serials before and after that, such as ‘Woh Kaun Hai’, ‘Ujaala’ and ‘Anjaane Raaste,’ but gained unparalleled success with ‘Marvi’ and is often even referred to as Marvi instead of Ghazal.

Copyright Outreach Initiative

The Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan, commonly known as IPO-Pakistan, has launched a rigorous Copyright Outreach Initiative to protect film and TV copyrights.

Under the initiative, meetings and workshops are being held, inviting actors, directors, producers, musicians, writers and other stakeholders from film, drama and music industry. They showbiz fraternity has demanded IPO-Pakistan to streamline the copyright registration process and bring it in line with the needs of the modern times. The commitment and demand by the artiste community and stakeholders relating to the film industry came during a Copyright Outreach Initiative of IPO-Pakistan recently held in Lahore.

Chinese film ‘Shadow’ screened in Pakistan

Chinese film “Shadow” was recently screened for the public in cinema in Islamabad.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad jointly hosted the film screening, which was attended by dozens of people from different walks of life. “Shadow,” directed by Zhang Yimou, is a martial arts film set in China during the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280) that tells the story of a “shadow” man — a body double for royals and aristocrats. The film made its world premiere at the 75th Venice International Film Festival in 2018. In 2020, Pakistan’s military action-romance film “Parwaaz Hai Junoon” hit Chinese cinemas, getting attention and praise from viewers.

Another Step Towards Digitalization

HBL, Pakistan’s largest banking network, is going to adopt the Temenos’s core banking platform to provide domestic and international operations with a cutting-edge banking experience.

HBL will onboard over 25 million of the Bank’s clients onto Temenos’ open platform for composable banking. The platform will accelerate the Bank’s services across all segments, markets, and channels. HBL clients will have an enhanced user experience in the form of increased reliability, security and a modern platform that will enhance the HBL’s digitalization journey.

Book on History of Performing Arts launched

Written by Shazia Anwer Cheema, the book titled “An Introduction to European Theatre – History of Performing Arts from Greek Period to 20th Century” has recently been launched.

Shazia is a Prague-based columnist, writer, and foreign affairs expert, who writes for national and international media. She did her MPhil in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University in Denmark and is currently registered as a PhD scholar of Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University in Prague. The book is written on the history of European theatre from the Greek period to the 20th century. It covers the journey of visual and performing arts as well as philosophical movements spreading over 2500 years.

Going Green

Engro Energy Limited, in collaboration with the Sindh government, is going to set up a Renewable Energy Park at Jhimpir to power industry at Port-Qasim and Dhabeji, starting with a supply of 400MW by early 2024.

The initiative will reduce the electricity cost of industrial consumers and will also help the government to deliver on its commitment of increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix to 30 percent by 2030. Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Engro would be responsible for building the first hybrid solar photovoltaic and wind park, whereas the Sindh Transmission & Dispatch Company (STDC), and the Directorate of Alternate Energy (DAE) would be responsible for laying the transmission network and facilitate the provision of required land for the project.

Road Safety Coalition

Coordinated by the International Road Federation (IRF) and supported by Total Energies Foundation, the Indus Motor (IMC) together with a group of leading private sector companies in Pakistan, have entered into a partnership to use their combined knowledge and expertise to reduce road fatalities and injuries in the country.

Rooted in the belief that one road crash victim is one too many, the initiative aims to mobilise and federate private sector stakeholders to support road safety efforts in Pakistan and to substantially improve road safety via hands-on, impact-oriented and scalable activities. Besides Pakistan, IRF has already launched a private sector coalition in Tanzania this year and is currently working on the launch in Morocco. According to WHO, most road crashes occur in developing countries where road transport constitutes one of the leading causes of death.

50% salary raise for employees

GO, the fastest growing oil marketing company in Pakistan, has recently announced a pay raise up to 50% for its employees. The decision was made by the GO management in response to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s appeal to the corporate sector to raise employee salaries.

As a result of the initiative, it is expected that all frontline workers associated with GO, will earn at least Rs. 30,000 every month. Bearing the incremental costs of this 50% salary hike, GO will also work with its dealer partners to make sure that the initiative is devolved across the GO retail network and will expectedly result in higher earnings for more than 100,000 people.

‘Procol Harum’ singer dies at 76

Gary Brooker, the frontman of 1960s rock band ‘Procol Harum,’ has died of cancer at the age of 76.

The London-born singer led the band throughout their 55-year history, co-writing and singing their most famous song, 1967’s A Whiter Shade of Pale. He was appointed an OBE in 2003, and A Whiter Shade of Pale was honoured by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Although “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was both its first and biggest hit, and the band steadfastly avoided showmanship, Procol Harum sustained a five-decade career. It recorded and toured steadily until 1977, and it regrouped sporadically in lineups led by Brooker to continue making albums until 2017.

Design with a Bang!

Ali Haider, a globally-acclaimed fashion designer, has landed in the Pakistani fashion industry with a bang.

Of late, the distinguished designer posted his fashion film featuring models Sachal Afzal and Sadaf Kanwal, wearing dazzling ensembles. Launching his premier campaign in a big way, Ali Haider gave the country’s fashionistas loads of high fashion sensations, while daring to be bold as well as bright in a world, ruled by monochrome monotony and tedium. Launching his first-ever collection in Pakistan, the artist is known for making eye-catching designs, which are ingenious, imaginative and fearless in their style. In doing so, he has put up an alluring but vast array of clothing for men and women. All the best, Ali Haider!

DiCaprio Has a New Role

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has bought an equity stake in a French brand Telmont.

In February 2021, LVMH’s Moet Hennessy bought a 50% stake in rap star Jay-Z’s Armand de Brignac champagne brand. The Telmont champagne house was founded in 1912 and French drinks company Remy Cointreau, whose rivals include Pernod Ricard and Diageo, bought a majority stake in it in October 2020. Historic luxury brands around the world have struck partnership deals with celebrities in their bid to lure younger customers, with Jay-Z’s pop star wife Beyonce already involved in the Ivy Park sportswear brand. DiCaprio is one of Hollywood’s most famed actors, winning an Oscar in 2016 for his role in movie “The Revenant”, while his other hit films have included “Titanic” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

‘America’s Lost Talent’

Jane “Nightbirde” Marczewski, a singer who was a contestant on “America’s Got Talent,” died at age 31 after battling cancer for four years.

In August, Marczewski withdrew from the 16th season of the competition show after sharing on Instagram that her health had “taken a turn for the worse” since auditioning — an announcement that came after a viral performance of her original song, “It’s OK.” Shortly after her emotional departure, the Ohio-based singer returned to the show virtually to give an update on her condition. The performance earned her the Golden Buzzer, enabling her to advance.