Monday, September 18, 2017

British-Pakistani Actor Riz Ahmed Makes History by Winning Emmy

Emmy award wins this year by British-Pakistani Rizwan Ahmed and Indian-American Aziz Ansari make the duo the first South Asian men to win the prestigious television academy award . It's the equivalent of Oscars given each year by the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA).

Riz Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed, an actor, rapper and activist also known as Riz MC, won his Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for HBO’s The Night Of.  The show tackles issues of racism and Islamophobia in the United States.

Riz has seen a meteoric rise starting with films like 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist', ‘Four Lions,’ ‘The Road To Guantanamo’ and more recently the Star Wars Anthology film ‘Rogue One’. In April 2017, Ahmed was featured on the cover of Time magazine as one of its 100 most influential people in the world.

Riz was born in London in 1982 to British Pakistani parents who had migrated from Karachi in 1970s. He is a great grandson of Sir Shah Muhammad Sulaiman, the first British Indian to become the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court during the British Raj. He is a graduate of Oxford University with a degree in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics). He later studied acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

“It’s always strange reaping the rewards of a story that’s based on real world suffering,” Riz said in his acceptance speech at the Emmy's award ceremony. “But if this show has shown a light on some of the prejudice in our society, Islamophobia, some of the injustice in our justice system, then maybe that’s something.”

In addition to Riz Ahmed and Aziz Ansari as award winners, the Emmy Awards show also featured Pakistani-American Kumail Nanjiani, the star of "The Big Sick", on the red carpet.

Although Riz has begun “inching towards the Promised Land,” he still gets stopped and searched before boarding a plane every time he flies to the U.S., he wrote. One person’s win does not fix “a systemic issue of inclusion,” Ahmed told the Washington Post backstage after the Emmys. “I think that’s something that happens slowly over time.”

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Mohsin H. said...

He's so darn good! I dont watch shows on TV but my daughter who's currently completing her last year at Georgetown Law, was interested as it's about the judicial system in the country, and she has a vast interest, being a conscentious budding legal professional, with tons of compassion! So, during her last couple of weeks off, I was able to catch a few of the episodes woth her and he was great!

I am so glad that these young men and women of the country of our origin are making waves! Kudos to them.......there's hope!!

On another note, check this out:

Fantastic achievement! The Hult Prize is sponsored, in partnership with Clinton Global Initiative, by Hult Intl Business School, a truly global university with campuses in Shanghai, Dubai, London, New York, Boston and San Francisco, where I teach Finance related courses as an adjunct. In addition, they now own the prestigious Ashridge Exec Education Center in the U.K. where I had the privilege of being a guest speaker earlier this year.
Congrats to the young Pakistani group of students! Proud moment, indeed.

Pakistani-American students win $1 million award for Roshni Rides - The Express Tribune

Vishal said...

He is a really good actor. If you haven't watched the 8-part TV series, I totally recommend it.

Majumdar said...

Brof sb,

This is offtopic but I have disturbing news for you. India has beaten Pakiland in the multidimensional poverty index.

Pakistan's score as per OPHI2017: 0.230, percentage of poor 44%, intensity of poverty 52%
India's score: 0.191, percentage of poor 41%, intensity of poverty 46%


Riaz Haq said...

Majumdar: "Pakistan's score as per OPHI2017: 0.230, percentage of poor 44%, intensity of poverty 52%"

Here's an excerpt of UNDP MPI Pakistan report published in 2016:

"Applying this (OPHI MPI) measure to data from the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) survey for the 2014/15 period, we found that the country's Multidimensional Poverty Index stands at 0.197. This indicates that poor people in Pakistan experience 19.7% of the deprivations that would be experienced if all people were deprived in all indicators. Secondly, it must be noted that the MPI is a product of two essential components: the poverty “headcount” and the “intensity” of deprivation. Using the same data from the 2014/15 PSLM survey, the country's multidimensional poverty “headcount ratio” was estimated at 38.8% of the population. This means that 38.8% of the population of Pakistan are poor according to the MPI. The average intensity of deprivation, which reflects the share of deprivation which each poor person experiences on average, is 50.9%."

"Over Time Since 2004/05, multidimensional poverty has continuously declined in Pakistan. The MPI fell from 0.292 in 2004/05 to 0.197 in 2014/15, while the poverty headcount ratio fell from 55.2% to 38.8%. The intensity of deprivation also declined over the same period, falling from 52.9% to 50.9%."

And from 2017 report that you cite, income poverty (7%) and destitution level (20%) in Pakistan is significantly lower than in India (22% income poverty, 23% destitution) :

Ravi K said...

i see that even bangladesh has beaten pak in poverty elimination.

Riaz Haq said...

Ravi K; "i see that even bangladesh has beaten pak in poverty elimination"

Bangladesh's income poverty level of 20% is about 3 times Pakistan's 7%.

Still, Bangladesh has done better than India.

Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq said...

Five Pakistanis Who Have Taken Hollywood by Storm

1) Kumail Nanjiani
From stand-up comedian to actor, Kumail has already got a few designations under his belt.
The Silicon Valley star took it to the next level and carved more than a mark by writing and acting in The Big Sick – a biographical account of his love story with his (now wife) Emily Gordon. He recently appeared on SNL too – and man, what a speech!
If that wasn’t enough, he will be starring alongside professional wrestler John Cena in his next venture. What more could you want?
2) Faran Tahir
Son of veteran Pakistani actor Naeem Tahir, Faran may not be considered a household name yet but he is definitely familiar to millions around the world. You may recognize him as Raza in Iron Man (2008) or Captain Robau in Star Trek (2009).
The international artist has been a Hollywood insider for over 25 years now and has guest starred in many TV series and films. His debut appearance was in Disney’s The Jungle Book in 1994 as Mowgli’s father. You can currently watch him in the hit American TV Series Scandal.

3) Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, this charmer needs no introduction. She’s earned a couple of Oscars and six Emmys for her work as an activist and film-maker, shedding light on profound issues surrounding women inequality.
She is all set to add another feather to her cap as she recently announced her next project, Look But With Love – Pakistan’s very own reality film series directed by herself.

4) Sameer Asad Gardezi
You can thank this man for the hysterical one-liners in the Emmy-winning hit series, The Modern Family.
The Pakistani-American screenwriter has worked for many big networks including Universal, Nickelodeon and ABC, and is also the recipient of the Writers Guild award for his exceptional writing skills. Sameer is currently writing for his next project, The Goodwin Games.

5) Dilshad Vadsaria
Troublemaker Rebecca Logan in the much-admired TV show Greek, is played by Pakistani actor Dilshad Vadvaria. The Karachi born star was also part of the regular cast of hit TV series, Revenge. Way to go girl!

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani filmmaker is Hollywood’s youngest producer

After having already served as the executive producer of the Nicholas Cage and Elijah Wood starrer – ‘The Trust’ and now with ‘The Terminal’, slated for release in late 2017 starring the incredibly talented Margot Robbie in post-production, Habib Paracha bears the title of the youngest Pakistani Hollywood producer.

Habib Paracha is an industrialist, food connoisseur and has most recently added the film producer feather to his cap. Having titled himself a global citizen, Paracha says he is an entrepreneur first. Having his work lauded by many contemporaries in Hollywood, notably his friends James Maslow, Eric Roberts and one of his dear mentors Quincy Jones, Paracha’s journey into filmmaking started off as an experiment and he has been honing it ever since. Having established his footing as a capable and robust new addition to the Hollywood scene, Habib has now set his sights on showcasing Pakistan to his western counterparts.

“I love Pakistan. Pakistan will always be home. I want to showcase my country in all its grandeur to the wider global audience because Pakistan has so much untapped potential which is not available for the world to see. I want to be one of those individuals who make it happen.”

Habib Paracha spends his time between the States and Pakistan and is an alumnus of the esteemed Karachi Grammar School, and Boston University – Habib has most recently launched his new Thai-fusion themed restaurant – ‘Pan Asia’, in Karachi.

Riaz Haq said...

Habib Paracha — one of the few Hollywood producers from Pakistan

Habib Paracha is one of the few producers from Pakistan who is representing the country in Hollywood. His advent into production happened by chance but he is fast making a name for himself with productions starring Nicolas Cage, Elijad Wood and Margot Robbie.

Speaking about his journey Paracha said, “Around four years ago, I was in the US when a few of my friends asked me to meet some people in Los Angeles as they thought I’d be a good fit in the film/ production industry.”

After his debut as executive producer for The Trust in 2016 starring Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood, Paracha’s Terminal released in the United States on May 11.

An avid movie aficionado since his early years Paracha says watching movies is still one of his favourite pastimes today.

The Finance and Operations Management major told that he did not have any experience in the film industry before Nicolas Cage starrer The Trust.

However, after making a name for himself in Hollywood so quickly, he says the number of scripts coming his way have also multiplied.

“I think with two completed titles and two more currently in the works I’m one of the bigger Pakistani producers in Hollywood.”

Although he worked with the same people for his first two projects (The Trust and Terminal) in the US film industry, Paracha shared that he is working with different people for his next two projects.

Currently, Paracha is working on two upcoming Hollywood movies, The Last Full Measure starring Samuel L Jackson and Ed Harris expected to release later this year and Strive slated for release in 2019.

Besides film production, Paracha is an industrialist, entrepreneur and food connoisseur with business ventures in Pakistan and abroad. He told he divides his time 50:50 between Pakistan and America.

"When I’m in Pakistan my focus is largely on the businesses here and any new ventures which I may pursue. When I’m abroad I focus on films," he said.

Shifting focus to the recently released Terminal which was directed by Vaughn Stein and features performances by Margot Robbie, Mike Myers and Simon Pegg, Paracha said, "I got involved [with Terminal] in 2016 over a lunch with Margot Robbie and Tom Ackerley in LA. Subsequently I flew to Budapest in June 2016 and spent a few days on set working with the director, cast and crew. It has been a passion project because the cast involved has been so great."

Terminal follows the twisting tales of two assassins carrying out a sinister mission, a teacher battling a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor and a curious waitress leading a dangerous double life. Murderous consequences unravel in the dead of night as their lives all intertwine at the hands of a mysterious criminal mastermind hell-bent on revenge.

Paracha attended the world premiere of the film in the US last week and the film is set to premiere in the United Kingdom in the last week of June.

On which of his films he is more proud of, Paracha said, “Of the two that are completed Terminal is one that I’m particularly proud of. It’s the way the film has turned out. From the lighting to the effects and the chemistry of the cast on screen.”

Delving into details regarding his upcoming projects, he revealed, "Terminal and The Trust are both based on fiction but the next project The Last Full Measure is based on a true story so I’m really excited about that and I feel it will really connect with audiences.”

When asked if he would be venturing into the Pakistani film industry, Paracha said, “I am looking to do projects in Pakistan but I have not set a fixed timeline for them as yet. I am using my current opportunity to learn as much about the process so that I’m better trained and able to leverage the skills into production in Pakistan.”

The Hollywood producer advised all Pakistanis, in every field, film and otherwise, to work diligently and honestly for what they want to achieve.

Riaz Haq said...

Disney+'s 'Ms. Marvel' Finds Star in Iman Vellani

Marvel Studios has found its Ms. Marvel.

Newcomer Iman Vellani has nabbed the role of the teenage superhero, who will headline her own Disney+ series before appearing on the big screen in Marvel films.

Marvel had been testing actors throughout the summer and had landed on Vellani by late August or early September, sources say. The Canadian actor hails from the Toronto area and a year ago took part in a Toronto International Film Festival committee that helped highlight films that speak to teenagers. She focused on Hala, a film centering on a Pakistani American teen pulled between her family and life in the West — themes that are echoed in the Ms. Marvel comics.

"We want stories from different genders and different countries and different people," Vellani said at the time.

Disney+'s Ms. Marvel centers on New Jersey teenager Kamala Khan, who broke ground in 2014 as Marvel's first Muslim character to star in her own comic book title. Her comics are known for exploring Kamala's identity as a Pakistani American living in a religious family while trying to find her own way.

Ms. Marvel is from head writer Bisha K. Ali and will be directed by Bad Boys for Life filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, as well as Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a two-time Oscar winner in the documentary short category, and Meera Menon, who has directed episodes of The Walking Dead, The Punisher and Titans.

Actor Kumail Nanjiani, who stars in the upcoming Marvel film The Eternals and who was born in Pakistan, welcomed Vellani to the Marvel family Wednesday.

"I just saw they cast Ms. Marvel and legit got teary eyed. Congratulations Iman Vellani! Your work is going to mean so much to so many people, myself included. I can’t wait," Nanjiani wrote on Twitter.

Ms. Marvel is one of a number of shows Marvel Studios has lined up for Disney+, including WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which originally was set to bow this year and recently resumed production. Meanwhile, Tom Hiddleston's Loki was partially completed before the coronavirus shut it down.