My Karachi with the Cast of Janaan
Janaan is one Pakistani film that we’re really looking forward to. Starring Armeena Khan, Bilal Ashraf and Ali Rehman, Janaan is a romantic comedy set in Swat and Islamabad. The trailer looks simply fantastic, with stunning scenery, beautiful cinematography and a gorgeous cast. We met up with the cast in Karachi and asked them to show us Karachi through their eyes.
Native or visitor?
Quintesssential Karachi Experience
Bilal: Crabbing – there’s nothing like going out on the water and then eating freshly cooked masalaydar crabs in the sea air.
Armeena: You tell me! I guess it would have to be either Hawkes Bay or Espresso
Ali: Fez night at Sindh Club – I’ve never actually been but I’ve heard a lot about it
Who do you let your hair down with?
Bilal: My Dad – he’s the ultimate person to chill out with
Armeena: My mum – she’s my best friend
Ali: My best friends – Bee Khan, Asad Saifullah Khan and a few others I can be myself around.
Ultimate Desi Food Joint
Bilal: Barbeque Tonight – I know a lot of people say Kolachi but you can’t beat BBQ tonight
Armeena: Kolachi – their Peshawari Karahi and Malai boti is unmatched
Ali: Nawab on Zamzama – their food is stupendous
Bilal: Espresso is one of my all-time faves – whether it’s for breakfast, coffee or a proper meal. They’ve got a great menu and they’re so consistently good.
Armeena: It feels like I’m always working when I’m in Karachi so I don’t get to eat out nearly enough but I like Xanders, Sakura and Mews. The coffee has to be good because I feel like I live on coffee
Ali: There are so many great places in Karachi – Okra, Café Flo, Pompeii, Fuschia.
What would you do if you were Governor for a day?
Bilal: Is Governor really a powerful position? I’d rather be Chief of Army Staff if I really wanted to bring about change
Armeena: I’d clean up Karachi –just getting rid of the piles of rubbish at every corner would make such a big difference to the city.
Ali: I’d make shooting dog illegal. Instead I’d open dog pounds and create jobs.
Bilal: I don’t really have one but I couldn’t do without my physiotherapist.
Armeena: Well I can really recommend Nirvana in Islamabad but I don’t really know about Karachi
Ali: I’ve never been to a salon in Karachi
Best dessert in town
Bilal: Nando’s chocolate cake and salted caramel cupcakes from Pane Amore
Armeena: I’m not really a dessert person
Ali: Chocolate wontons with green tea ice-cream at Fuschia
Bilal: Having 17 people break into our home and hold us hostage for 7 hours while robbing us. The worst thing is that some of our staff, who had been with us for many years, were involved. When it happens to you in your own home, that’s the worst thing ever.
Armeena: When I was a child visiting Karachi, a car hit ours from the side and our car rolled over. We were incredibly lucky not to be hurt badly.
Ali: A friend and I were pulled over by a rich Saeen and his gunmen and threatened at gunpoint.
Bilal: Promoting Janaan with the rest of the cast, watching films with them and hanging out – they’re such fun to be around. We’ve also met some amazing people all around Karachi and had some incredible new experiences, particularly our first morning show.
Armeena: Sitting at Espresso, sipping coffee by myself and having people look at me as if I was a weirdo!
Ali: My best friends wedding – Pakistani weddings are such fun and Karachi-ites really know how to have a good time.
Bilal: Family – I couldn’t do without mine
Armeena: Family – nothing else matters.
Ali: Yes, they’ve nailed it. Family is the only essential luxury.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given
Bilal: My Dad has always told me, “Never surrender, never give up”
Armeena: Break your mirrors early
Ali: My grandfather always said, “They will laugh, let them – but make sure the next time you try, you’re the one laughing.”
What are you up to these days?
Bilal : We’ve been promoting our new film Janaan, which is out on Eid ul Azha
Armeena: I play expat Meena who come from Canada to attend her cousin’s wedding. As if culture shock wasn’t enough, Meena finds out her family is plotting an engagement with either of her cousins Daniyal (Ali Rehman Khan) or Asfandyar (Bilal Ashraf).
Ali : So play this cool dude from Islamabad boy, Daniyal while Bilal is an arrogant Pathan Asfandyar.
Bilal: Janaan is an all-out entertainer with a heart. It’s got romance, comedy and action and it’s a film that you can enjoy with your family. It’s a story that people can relate to and shows that Pashtoons aren’t all terrorists, they’re just like the rest of us. I’m sure people will recognize the situations and characters from their own lives