An Interview with DJ Shahpara from Samaa FM

In the last decade Pakistan has witnessed a mushroom growth of TV and Radio channels. Despite the growing number of opportunities in media, there are very few people in Pakistan who have successfully branded themselves as Radio broadcasters in Pakistan. DJ Shahpara from Samaa FM is one such name, who has spent more than a decade in this field, and has made a name for herself. Team All about Pakistan visited Shahpara Salim at her residence. It was an interesting session that the team had with one of the most popular DJs in Pakistan.

We started off with the basic questions. In reply to the questions regarding her education and early career RJ Shahpara said that “I completed my matriculation in science, followed by an FA in arts. I had contemplated the idea of pursuing home economics yet somehow chose arts again and thus went on to paint and eventually completed my Masters in Fine Arts”. Joking, she said that “My family was against this and they thought if my drawing was not good enough, perhaps I would get over it and leave arts. They thought it was a waqti bukhar.” But her main focus in life had always been to be happy, she told us. “I have always done whatever made me happy. I even touched upon philosophy at one time.”

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Despite having decided not to pursue any more studies after her BA, she went on to do her Masters, after which she got her first job at an NGO. This was followed by her work for radio, FM 100. “Radio had always attracted me and this work was not just a job, it was actually fun.” One of the most experienced RJs in Pakistan in recent times, DJ Shahpara believes she learnt the art truly during her tenure at PTV. In 2004, she began working for PTV, being one out of the only two people shortlisted. However, three years later she resigned and during this time, she studied several courses of production and was appreciated for her work. The video of patriotic song “Tujhse Pakistan” which was sung by Maestro Hamid Ali Khan sahib and Raga boys was directed by Shahpara. This song won accolades for her.

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Shahpara then got married and she told us that she was faced with the usual dilemma of whether to work or remain a housewife. For 3-4 months, she chose the latter but after that her husband advised her to rejoin radio, which she did. “Then NCA was looking for a teacher who knew production and fine arts both. It was a rare combination but I fit right in.” Just like this, Shahpara joined NCA and is still currently teaching there. In 2012, Samaa FM was launched and Shahpara was approached. Her 1-4 PM show focused on a celebrity. This is where she made her mark.

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“Research is my thing. I take Radio broadcasting and the job of being a known RJ very seriously. Whenever I have to go on air, I know I have to have my facts correct. Everyone has a unique point to sell their ideas. I always wanted information to be mine.” And till today she works for Samaa FM. Upon being asked as to how she was able to manage so much work, she replied, “If you’re doing something that satisfies you, it’s always manageable”.

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Shahpara says that her being a woman never came in the way of her work. Before marriage, her father supported her and afterwards it was her husband. In fact, she claims to have worked much more after her marriage rather than before. “I never let any of my work become a burden for me”, she says. With reference to the problems that women usually face at work, she believes herself to have been quite lucky even though she was working in the media. “I had actually drawn a line which I didn’t allow anyone to cross, and if that did happen, that person would get a direct shut up call.” “I would say nothing has changed me in my life as much as motherhood. My child has changed me in an irreversible fashion. I now feel before everything I am a mother to my child”.

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For the coming generations she advises them to ‘prioritize’. “There are two paths that one can take when in the media. A short path, which is an easy short cut but ends your career as shortly, or the long way, which requires you to work much harder but yields a higher reward.” Speaking of priorities, Shahpara told us that her family relations matter to her very much. “I have always put the feelings of my parents before mine. My daughter is very dear to me. I have always wanted a sister. My brothers are a treasure to me.”

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Then we talked about something that interests everyone- food, of course. Shahpara says she loves to eat but the kind of food depends on her mood. Cooking, on the other hand, is what she enjoys greatly. “I have always loved baking. Cooking I enjoy too, but baking is simply what I love to do”. Other than that, she told us that she loves to travel.

When we asked her what was the point in her radio career where she realized that she was a ‘star’, she humbly replied that she does not believe in such realizations. Although she would not call herself a future planner as such, she does aim to work in the film industry, in the future. “I would love to direct a movie some day” she said. As a popular RJ from Pakistan or a DJ, people have approached me many times, telling me how they admire my work. I believe it is just the beginning. I am humbled by their response. It gives me more energy to look forward to better work in future. As a voice artist I have to do a lot more to deserve all this love and respect”.

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Her favorite musician is A. R Rehman and favorite on-screen personality is Aamir Khan. She admires singers such as Atif Aslam, Farhan Saeed, Fareeha Pervaiz and Madam Noor Jehan. Shahpara listens very regularly to Mauhit Chauhan. Kishore and Lata are the other two of her Indian favorites. She told us that she would love to come towards film production at some point because she sees a bright future for the Pakistani cinema.

After having some really tasty coffee (which was off course made by our dear DJ Shahpara) and some snacks, the team of All About Pakistan took our leave from the DJ. For a person belonging to media, we all believe DJ Shahpara is very simple and like-able. We wish her all the best in her future.

First Pakistan International Mountain Film Festival June 2015

Pakistan International Mountain Film Festival or PIMFF is a positive initiative for a country like Pakistan, which holds immense tourism potential.

Pakistan, International, Mountain, Film Festival, Wajahat Malik, TourismThis first Film Festival of its kind will be held in Lahore, on June 13-14, 2015. Where the Himalayas meet the Karakorams and the Hindukush, Pakistan is home to one of the most beautiful clusters of mountainous lands that inhabit any of the surrounding lands. Mesmerizing Glaciers glue countless sets of eyes to its contents and doesn’t seem to let them go anytime soon. In recent years, however, Pakistan has not enjoyed the tourism it once had, and with the development of the festival the region looks to regain those glory days. Pakistan International Mountain Film Festival is in fact an effort to remind the world about tourism potential of Pakistan.

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Pakistan International Mountain Film Festival, also known as PIMFF, is the event which will accomplish such a rise in tourism very quickly. To be held at Alhamra Arts Council Lahore the film festival will look to enjoy a massive crowd of people who support tourism. Put into action by Eyebex Films along with Punjab Government, the festival will attract the crowds Pakistan once had in the past. This event will be the first annual festival in existence. Such an event garners attention worldwide and will be recognized by a multitude of entertainment groups.

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In all, 80 countries have submitted well over 500 entries for the screening. Selected entries are to be featured at the festival. With over 32 of these entries selected to participate the outcome has already been labeled a huge success. Before the event is screened, it is widely known that sellout crowds are expected on ground. Also featured at the festival will be countless discussion forums, non-commercial but related films, and an unimaginable selection of photographic exhibition proportions.

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Established by Eyebex Films out of Islamabad, the festival will include a variety of different features to grace the big screen. These include tourism films of the ages, travel documentaries of very high quality and adventure shots which will imprint the beauty of Pakistan. Wajahat Malik, Managing Director of Eyebex Films and Maryam Cheema the Festival Director, form an all important team whose goal is to bring in the well deserved travel attention from across the world.

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The International Mountain Film Festival is of the purpose of generating tourism to the area which has seen little of late. The festival looks to make those aware of the past struggles as well as the beautiful land that still captivates the masses. Tour operators will be on site to take select few through the travels of the ages. Photographers look to capture an image of the land previously not captured.

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Pakistan International Mountain Film Festival is one of the few festivals in existence presently. The only other significant competition is that of Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival residing out of Asia. The festival already operating for years has been successful in bringing in countless crowds to its many showings for the purpose of growing awareness of their own mountainous plots and inspiring film adaptations. Pakistan has now taken the leverage of the standings bringing such a development to the mountain cliffs. Pakistan International Mountain Film Festival looks to gain the spotlight from which past successes have been available, and the stage is set.

An Interview with Farida Khanum

Farida Khanum

Farida Khanum. While driving through the busy streets of Lahore on a Saturday, I was trying to prepare myself for my meeting with the legendary Ghazal singer herself. As it happened, it wasn’t easy to get hold of her. With time and age, she has been very selective in the people she meets. It took me a while to get hold of her contact numbers, and to feel that courage which let me dial her number for the very first time. “Ma’am Farida Khanum baat ker rhe hein?” “Ji mein bol rhe hon” When the first time I talked to her via phone, it was as if I have had known her since ages (While driving to and from work, I listen to her melodious voice on an almost daily basis, so for me she is pretty much a regular part of my life). While driving towards her residence, I was thinking about all these things, breathing deeply to prepare myself for the moment when I will be in the presence of Malika-e-Ghazal. To be honest with my readers, I was not sure what to expect. Women in performing arts can be too plastic for my liking. Will she be the same? And within my heart I was hoping that it will not be the case. After talking to her a few times via phone, I was sure it will not be the case. Farida Khanum, Malika-e-Ghazal, will not be a disappointment, I told myself before ringing the bell at the entrance of her bungalow. Read more..

Samina Baig, The Youngest Pakistani Woman to climb Everest

Samina Baig

Samina Baig, born September 19th, 1990, was the first Pakistani native woman to climb Mount Everest. She also climbed and reached the summit of Mount Everest at the young age of 21. On top of this crowning achievement, she was the first Pakistani woman to reach the top of the Seven Summits.  Samina Baig could be considered a rising Pakistani star due to documentaries made about her achievements, interviews on the internet, and much more. As far as involvement in the Pakistani tourism industry, Samina Baig contributes in her own way. Samina Baig’s dream was always to plant the Pakistani flag at the peak of Mount Everest. Read more..

Popular TV and Film Actresses of Pakistan

TV Actresses of Pakistan

Following is a list of TV and Film Actresses of Pakistan. If you follow Pakistani celebrities keenly then you must know few of these talented Pakistani celebrities. Read more..

Rising Pakistani Film Star, Mohib Mirza

Mohib Mirza, Pakistani

Mohib Mirza has been in multiple serials, television shows, films and commercials. He is most recognized from his work on Aag TV’s sitcom, Ishrat Baji, where he played the main character. Mohib’s other most noteworthy achievement which led to his stardom was when he hosted Pakistani Idol. Mirza was not always a Pakistani film star however, because it was not until he graduated from St. Judes in North Nazimabad Town that he realized he wanted to be an actor. Read more..

List of Urdu Authors and Poets from Pakistan

Ismat Chughtai

Pakistan has a rich literary background and is a home to numerous talented Authors and Poets. Here are a few Authors and Poets from Pakistan. Read more..

Famous TV and Film actors from Pakistan

Adeel Hashmi

TV and Film actors from Pakistan are the essence of Pakistani television drama serials and cinema. There have been some amazing actors that marked their importance in the industry and are still loved by critics and audience alike. Read more..

Pakistan needs to play a role at UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

Pakistan needs to play a role at UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

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Fuel Saving Cars in Pakistan: Top Five

Fuel Saving Cars in Pakistan: Top Five

Considering the fact that fuel prices keep on rising, in recent years people have developed a liking for fuel efficient cars in Pakistan. Fuel saving cars are in higher demand in Pakistan now.  According to Carmudi the following five cars qualify as the fuel efficient or fuel saving cars in Pakistan.   Read more..

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