It's Recap Time!
2021 is gone, and now it's time to reflect and think about what happened previously and what I want to do in the coming year.
2021 has been kind to me, to be honest. It was a year of growth, a year of acceptance, and a year of clarity. It was also a year full of fun experiences.
Here are things that I really want to be thankful for from start to finish:
I was acted in a web series at the start of the year, which got released in December. So what a year. I played Munniya in Qaatil Haseenaon Ke Naam and it was so hush-hush that I only started talking about her now. She was a super fun character, and I'm using the hashtag #MunniyaOut with posts related to her.
QHKN was directed by Meenu Gaur and written by Meenu and Farjad Nabi. It featured an ensemble cast from all over Pakistan and was released on Zee5.
I have to say I can mark one checkbox off my bucket list for being an actor.
This year was particularly great for me musically as I finally mustered my courage and released a song about the last conversation I had with my dad, Legacy on Chinese New Year. It was also my parent's 33 wedding anniversary that day.
I also finally got onto Spotify this year so my previous singles, Hey You and Take Me Away sort of got a re-release. And then I released my next single, Burning and a day after my birthday I let Take Them All Down to go make some noise in the universe. I have one other song that's ready, but I'm going to release that a little later.
Burning is me telling myself that I can do anything if I put my mind to it, and about the importance of moving on.
Hey You and Take Me Away also got featured in a feature documentary called Safe Distance and I just can't stop feeling those songs!
You can check out Spotify and also give me a follow if you'd like. I'd appreciate that.
Finally! FINALLY! I made a film in 2020 and it got a release in 2021! AAAAAAAAH! A Cheeni Chronicles Film debut: Hijr | Separation. And what a journey. I didn't think I was going to become a filmmaker. I didn't think I was able to do it, but it finally happened, and hopefully, this is the push I need to make more films soon.
Separation debuted on a fellowship and festival that I designed at OLOMOPOLO Media and I just couldn't be happier. It starred Nimra Bucha, Fawad Jalal, and Arslan Khan and there were cameo appearances by Ajlaan Raza Sayani and Waqar Zulfiqar. I finally got to see my name on a big screen and while I watched under a full moon, I couldn't stop thinking about how proud my father would be. He always wanted to have my name as the main credit somewhere, almost became an inside joke for us. Separation has been officially selected in so many festivals and by the end of December 2021, has won 19 awards.
I cannot stop being grateful to the team behind Separation and it gives me so much confidence and trust in myself to go ahead and continue to write and direct films.
On top of that, I finally got to direct something at OLOMOPOLO Media. YES! After 7 glorious years! I got to work with the most amazing Sania Saeed, Samiya Mumtaz, Nadia Afgan, Fawad Khan, and Mina Malik-Hussain who read the iconic Pippi Longstocking stories which were translated into Urdu. I loved that Urdu speaking or learning children could listen to these wonderful and adventurous stories and because OLOMOPOLO is all about inclusion, we partnered with ConnectHear and had the videos Pakistan Sign Language interpreted. It makes me proud that I get to continue to work for the children of Pakistan not just from an educator's perspective.
In part of trying to get myself to learn filmmaking and the art of writing scripts, I also was selected to be a part of Goethe Institut's workshop with Sabiha Sumar helming the Episodic (Fiction) Writing for TV & Online Platform. I got to learn from her, Rachel Mathews, Jamila Wenske, and Imran Khan. I actually wrote a pilot episode for a web series. I'll be working on it a bit more in 2022, so I AM SUPER excited about it.
This year also had me be a part of 3 AMAZING festivals. 2 of them are film festivals where I designed the program for, Char Chaukay Bees (4x4=20) (ignore the math because it's all about synergy) and Europe Ki Aik Jhalak (A Glimpse of Europe) - The First European Film Festival. I also contributed as a curator for WOW Virtual Pakistan 2021, which is basically Women of the World festival that was done for the first time ever virtually and I even got to moderate a session live and do a live scavenger hunt with George Fulton and that was so much fun!
All Other Things
These are things I'm going to list down here:
I get to spend more time with Amel Ghani and Sarah Gilani (I LOVE YOU GIRLS)
I get to spend more time with Sanina Batool and made a new friend in Marium Khan (I LOVE YOU GIRLS TOO)
I get to make more music, like I said, I have one song ready for a release and another one's structure ready. Thank you Mobeen Zahid.
I finally get to go to a cinema! (If you haven't seen Spiderman: No Way Home, I'm not responsible for any spoilers anymore now.
Ali Asad Malik gave me a Pikachu Mega Construx. I still have to build it but I love that I have it now. Thank you Ali!
I got to reunite with my friends from high school.
I made new friends from the shoot for QHKN (helloooooo! You know who you are! Stop kicking my butt in chess pliss)
I got to take a breather, like a real one this time.
I had so many amazing conversations with friends like Raabia Qadir. She's an amazing writer and yeah here's a shout-out for her.
I conducted a session with some awesome girls from Balochistan called All the World's a Stage (Saari Duniya Aik Stage Hai) which taught concepts of characterization used in theater as a way of understanding our own selves. Hearing the girls' stories during this workshop was so heartwarming.
I got invited to talk about my journey on Red Bull Basement 2021. That was fun, I talked about my failures and how stories are super important in anything we do.
I got to perform after 5 years and for the first time in Karachi at Scrapfest. That was super fun.
I completed the first draft of a story I was writing. I might release it as a series of stories on my website sometime soon, let's see.
I learned to be more excited about life!
Oh, this one's a fun one. I made an alliance in some game, and so I lead this alliance and the people I met in that alliance have become great friends.
I think 2021 was a win for me. Here's to hoping that 2022 will be kind to me as well. And I hope it will be kind to you and bring you lots of great things.