Living Your Dream Life

This interview I took when I was working in Geo TV in 2012. This interview was posted on Geovision website. I am sharing some chunks of the interview over here for my readers.

ayesha ehtesham 1“I believe that everything happens for a reason but if you really yearn something, it definitely comes your way,” says Ayesha Ehtesham, a renowned face in the news industry.

She is the most admired news anchor of the program. Unlike her presence on the screen that comes out as a strong and a confident person, there is a naivety in her personality off-screen.

Whether it was by coincidence or destiny, Ayesha joined the media industry during her university life. It was not a pre-planned decision, but as J.K. Rowling says: “What we are today is not a reflection of our abilities but the choices we make,” thus Ayesha is fortunate enough to make the right choice for her career.

During university days, she proved her ability as radio presenter in FM channel of University of Punjab Radio. However, before joining Geo News, she has not only worked as an associate producer in one of the former channels but a broadcaster as well.

She hosted a program known as Geo Extra that airs on Geo News. It is a one hour slot based on news and events where the style of the news is different from the other run-of-the-mill news presentation. Ayesha talked about the latest news by adding an extra zing to the news bulletins.

Geo Vision brings you up-close and personal with lovely Ayesha Ehtesham who believes in making the right choice at the right time.

MADIHA AKHTAR: Why you choose to be a news anchor?

AYESHA EHTESHAM: During my childhood days, a part of me always wanted to do something in front of camera though I never had any plan of being a newscaster, but it seems that my luck played its role. I had two options in my university life, the first was Clinical Psychology and the other was Communications. Interestingly, my fate chose the latter one for me and I accidentally bumped into this profession.

MA: According to you, three qualities that are needed to become a successful news anchor?

AE: Foremost one need to have sharp senses because a single mistake means you are out of the game; secondly confidence and finally knowledge. I believe that these are some of the significant components that a news anchor should possess.

MA: Do you think that looks are given more importance than knowledge for being an anchor…your take?

AE: Personally, I disagree from this statement. Before one could give importance to the looks over knowledge but after the inclusion of private channels, anchors are required to be well-prepared. However, there are two reasons of my disagreement; firstly you have hourly live news and breaking alerts one cannot survive until and unless one is not well-informed. Secondly, one needs to be camera-friendly – any sane person can lose confidence while facing camera, though for a newscaster you need to have confidence for your mental alertness.

ayesha 5MA: Who is your inspiration in anchoring?

AE: Faiza Dawood, former Geo newscaster Nida Sameer and Hala Ghurrani of CNN.

MA: Give one positive and negative point of being a news anchor?

AE: I think the positives are good package and limelight (giggle), whereas the drawback is the compromise of the personal lives.

MA: While doing live bulletins, did you face any mishap?

AE: There are several occasions when you come across funny or embarrassing situations; which include munching words during bulletins or doing lisping so on and so forth.

MA: Your most memorable moment while doing news bulletin?

AE: (Thinking hard) I guess it is yet to come!

MA: Any news that made you speechless or gave goose bumps? How did you recover yourself?

AE: Well, to be honest it’s not a good feeling at all to present bad news to the viewers, I really feel bad from inside. The assassination of Salman Taseer and the recent Malala issue – these were the times when I felt crying. But this is the job of us as anchors to control ourselves. At a glance, it might seem insensitive but this is a part of our job to avoid showing any lines of emotion on our face.

MA: What has been your favorite news that made your day?

AE: Once a batman entered a news studio where a presenter was sitting and giving her bulletin. She shrieked at the sight of flying creature, it was one of the news that really brings a smile on my face. My reason of amusement is because of my association with the profession. I am a newscaster, so definitely any news related to your contemporaries is hilarious.

MA: Among noted personalities at Geo News, who is your favorite one?

AE: Najam Sethi – he is the man of masses and his style of explaining things is very casual which I find it interesting.

ayesha 3MA: In our present lot of politicians, who do you think is the rational one?

AE: For me, Imran Khan all the way!

MA: Other than you, who is your favourite anchor in Geo TV?

AE: Danish Anis Sheikh-the attribute of being involved in every show is commendable. The peppiness and an interactive style of his anchoring are his strong points.

MA: Are you a planner? Do you have any goals?

AE: I am not a planner, I live at the moment. Though my goal is to excel in the field of media and I am just hoping for the best.

MA: How has been your experience working with Geo?

AE: So far, it’s been a good journey. In my opinion, Geo is one such organisation that provides you a family environment to work at your comfort.

MA: To your fans, what you want to say?

AE: Nothing is impossible, yes nothing is! I never thought I would land into news anchoring, but destination paves its own way. It’s not impossible to achieve what you want; the only means is to have a firm belief on God and one’s ability.

 

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Talib Haider: “News is my passion”

This interview I took when I was working in Geo TV in 2012. This interview was posted on Geovision website. I am sharing some chunks of the interview over here for my readers.

talib 2The passion of doing something new every other day landed him in the field of Journalism. A go-getter by nature, Talib Haider is a television journalist and a news presenter who loves every bit of his job.

Haider has joined the broadcast industry of Pakistan since 2004. Initially he started off with the business and finance news coverage; his specialty in business studies was the main support for his in-depth knowledge about the subject. There are lots of achievements under his belt.

In the span of time, he got an opportunity to be a part of special news coverage which varies from USA elections (2004 and 2008), UK general election (2010) to live reporting the aftermaths of Balakot and Muzzarafabad districts after 2005 earthquake. Apart from Business news, he had also co-hosted cricket world cup (2007) and football world cups (2006 and 2010).

Haider also presented main news bulletins featuring political, current affairs, sport, business and local news at Geo News.

With his suave demeanor and a twinkling passion in his eyes, Geo Vision brings you up close to Talib Haider who believes in planning ahead in his life.

Madiha Akhtar: Why you choose to be a news anchor?
Talib Haider:
Any job in a news channel is extremely dynamic, be it a producer, editor, reporter or a presenter. One has to be ahead of the clock, ‘all the time’. News presentation is just one end of it which viewers get to watch. I love it because of the very nature of the job; providing information to people. And doing something new every day, every hour, every minute feels extremely rewarding.

MA: How did you enter the field of news anchoring?
TH:
I guess it was something that developed on the job. As a business graduate from Institute of Business Administration (IBA), one of my strengths is presentation which helped me in getting into this field. Also, interest in the news and better general knowledge provided me off the screen support. But it was the curiosity of knowing everything that was undercurrent, which really developed my journalistic skills.

MA: According to you, three qualities that are needed to become a successful news anchor?
TH:
Firstly knowledge, secondly one should look presentable and lastly voice of the person. Two skills are pretty much; however, possessing three is a bonus.

MA: Who is your inspiration in anchoring?
TH: Jeremy Paxman, Larry King and Riz Khan.

talib 3MA: Give one positive and negative point of being a news anchor?
TH:
It is good to tell news to the viewers but the drawback is likewise; informing people about bad stories as well.

MA: While doing live bulletins, did you face any mishap?
TH:
Being a newscaster, it’s one of the essentials to avoid being emotional. However, we are not inhumane and of course sometimes it’s hard to control your emotions. I remember once there was a terrorism activity because of which many innocent children were killed—while giving the news, the female newscaster started sobbing continuously therefore I was called in immediately. But she was crying so badly that just by looking at her, my voice also got choked during the bulletin.

MA: Any news that made you speechless or gave goose bumps? How did you recover yourself?
TH:
Every day, all stories are important and can make any person speechless, yet we survive. There are some which when we think about, do make us speechless for some time though. For instance, the decisions of sacking of the Prime Minister by Supreme Court of Pakistan or the death of Osama bin Laden or the crash of Air Blue plane in Islamabad.

MA: What has been your favorite news that made your day?
TH:
I love the time when Pakistan cricket team wins any match or especially the stories in Eid – these are some of the stories which beams my face with joy while reading the news. The recent ‘save’ by the PIA pilot of flight PK787 going from Karachi to Islamabad carrying 167 passengers where the left engine stopped working but luckily, the pilot landed the plane safely.

talib haider 1MA: Among noted personalities at Geo News, who is your favourite one?
TH:
Kamran Khan because of his well-researched news analysis with focus mainly on the News.

MA: Other than you, who is your favourite anchor in Geo TV?
TH:
Danish Anis Sheikh; he is versatile and can present different formats.

MA: Your most memorable moment while doing news bulletin?
TH:
When Captain Wasi of MV Suez was released from the Somali pirates and he didn’t arrive in Pakistan yet; we arranged a telephonic conversation between Captain and his family especially his daughter; it was an extremely emotional moment.

MA: Are you a planner? Do you have any goals?
TH: I have always planned in life; otherwise it will be like driving on a road with no destination. Even after two masters in business and journalism, I want to study further.
I plan to do research to help mankind (haven’t decided which field). I also plan to write what I have learned in life, met people with great wisdom yet many do not know about them, and also share my travel experiences through my writing.

MA: How has been your experience working with Geo?
TH: Amazing, amazing, amazing. I love Team Geo, there are good days, bad days, yet every day is extremely dynamic. Each day is a new day with new challenges. Every person gives his/her best which is the best in the industry; so if you want to be the best and continue to be like that, this is the place.

MA: What you want to say to your readers?
TH:
A person’s goals are mainly divided into career/money, social/family, and dream /to be something/someone or to achieve something etc. Try to correctly define what you want to do in life and go for it. If you continue on the same path as you planned for a few years; you will or will be very close to achieving it.

 

Reality Over Fantasy

This article has already been published on Geo Vision website. I wrote this article for the website and now sharing a few chunks over here on my blog so that my readers can read. This was a different drama of its time produced by Pakistan Television Industry. 

682581_home_banner“People make a world of their own fantasy, especially girls,” says Zanjabeel Asim Shah the writer of the drama serial ‘Saat Pardon Mein’ (SPM).

Media make stars and ordinary people idolise these superstars. These fans not only follow them blindfolded, they are so crazy that they may even go to any extreme for a mere glimpse of their most loved celebs. Some admirers fantasise spending time with their icons; a dinner date or a ride at seaside is just few to name.

There are some unusual fans that fall in love with their favourite celebrity; nevertheless the scenario gets quite weird if someone is not allowed the outside exposure to the world. Thus, at this time what one will do in this case?

saatAsim opines that a girl more likely to fall in love with the characters of the actors; at times they are so much obsessed in their love that they forget about the reality and this is actually what you will also witness in this serial.

However, every drama is made for a reason; either to portray a particular aspect of the society or to entertain. The reason of SPM is to bring change for the viewers in terms of creativity and presenting a wide canvas, says Noor-ul-Huda Shah, the Project Head of SPM.

She states that Geo TV is a trendsetter channel and it is the only channel that tries to work on content no matter how strong it may sound. There is a dearth of genuine writers but the narration of Zanjabeel in this drama is phenomenal, says Shah.

She further reveals that by this drama, she wants to break the trend of cheap dramas that have destroyed the taste of viewers; her main priority is to give a good drama to the audience.

Moreover, Yasir Nawaz, the director of SPM says, “My motive to direct this play is firstly because of Noor Appa who narrates a story in a way that I cannot resist the temptation and secondly, it has a substantial message.”

x1080-iqrThe hardest part is the delicacy of the subject which needs to be treated well but in order to hook the viewers, the serial has certain entertainment punch that adds a filmy mood to the drama, elaborates Nawaz; in fact it is the demand of time.

Basically, the story revolves around an unusual fan, Darakshande Badar (Sohai Ali Abro), a name so unique but an ordinary girl, who belongs to a small town of Bahawalpur. She is madly in love with a famous drama actor Ahsan Murad (Meekal), who is charming and adorable as chocolaty stars need to be.

x1080-uqDDarakshande lives in a conservative environment where she faces restrictions from her big brother and father. This is one of the reasons that she has made a world of her own fantasy where only love blossoms and everything is sweet and simple, and to win her love she will break all the barriers by running away from her home as well.

Interestingly, the name of the leading character in the drama is rarely heard so why Darakshande? Some names are attached to you for life long, says Asim and this name reminds me of the small girl which inspires me to write this story.

Sohai Ali Abro is the leading face of SPM, and she is doing it first time as main lead. It is not easy to find Darakshande, states Nawaz, we had several auditions after which Abro was selected. She is novice and choosing her was a big risk, though he believes that she has done better and he is satisfied with her performance. Seconding Nawaz, Shah also adds that Abro is the breath of fresh air in the drama.

This is not only the story of crazy fan, there is also an interesting angle to the story and that is Ali Khan who plays the role of Badar Suleman. On the surface, he is a famous producer and friend of Ahsan in the serial but deep down inside, he imagines himself to be a female who is confined in a man’s body.

hqdefaultTransgender is not accepted in our society and many people are against the idea, says Asim. She maintains that it is more or less related to our perceptions, and sometimes considered as a disease.

Doing a role like this needs a lot of guts, it is a very sensitive character, and no one can do better than Ali Khan, emphasises Nawaz. He also adds that Ali Khan was purely chosen on the basis of his acting skills, and there is no other reason of his selection.

“The role of Ali Khan is not a conventional one; and therefore we wanted a performer who can play the role well,” states Shah. Besides, she points out that Ali has an ability to carry the manly looks along with a slight touch of femininity easily.

For Asim, both Nawaz and Shah have high hopes and consider her to be a strong drama writer in her coming days. Asim is happy with the end product and for the viewers, she says that life is not a bed of roses, therefore following fantasy is ridiculous.

Furthermore Nawaz mentions that issues are not shown to ridicule any one, it’s just a reality and he urges people to see in a positive light.

Shah aptly says, “Viewers need to change the perspective towards dramas for the development of society and instead of hiding behind the cover of fantasy, it is more important to see the issues in real picture.”

 

Muhammad Junaid: “Love To Engage With People”

This interview I took when I was working in Geo TV in 2012. This interview was posted on Geovision website. I am sharing some chunks of the interview over here for my readers.

muhammad-junaid1Tall and impeccably dressed, he is currently one of the popular faces of Geo News who comes to your living room every other day. He does not like to be called Micheal Jackson, the other reason of fame among his fans for his resemblance to late pop singer. His charismatic persona is felt when he is around, he speaks his mind and inspires you by his eloquent speech. In the race of broadcasters, Muhammad Junaid is a breath of fresh air!

Born in Lahore, with a graduation degree in Journalism and Political Science, later trained by veteran broadcaster Poonam Sharma, Junaid joined Geo News on October 2009 after which there was no looking back. His potential to put on a congenial appearance even while reading heart-wrenching news is commendable. In short span of time, he has already proved himself by achieving a place in some of the top-notch news-casters.

Geo Vision provides you an opportunity to know more closely about your favorite news-anchor Muhammad Junaid who is in his own words; ‘love to relate with people’

Madiha Akhtar: Why you choose to be a news anchor?
Muhammad Junaid: It was coincidence or it was destined to be; but I love to connect with people and my job defines who I am.

MA: How did you enter the field of news anchoring?
MJ:
After my studies, I joined the field as Associate Producer but it was actually a screen test that turned out to be a path changer in my career. During training period, it was Poonam Sharma, who discovered my talent of an anchor and rest is just history.

MA: According to you, 3 qualities that are needed to become a successful news anchor?
MJ:
For me, they are (a) Sound knowledge (b) confidence and (c) ability to face the challenge.

MA: Do you think that looks are given more importance than knowledge for being an anchor…your take?
MJ:
I do not find myself good-looking, but that does not matter a bit because my job is to speak and speak well! It used to happen previously but in the recent times, you cannot be a news-anchor if you have no knowledge. It’s important for a broadcaster to have a worldwide awareness and of course know-how of the past events for the reference. The trend has changed with the challenges associated and if one only relies on looks, they will not be able to survive for long in the field.

junaid 1MA: Who is your inspiration in anchoring?
MJ:
Anderson Cooper, Riz Khan and from Pakistan, Talat Hussain all the way! These are some of the anchors that have inspired me.

MA: Give one positive and negative point of being a news anchor?
MJ:
For me, the positive point is that I can relate to people and my journalism is actually a way to connect with the masses. The drawback is to deliver news that people do not like to listen as it’s painful for instance suicide bombing, killing etcetera, though they don’t know that sometimes it is hard for me as well to read but I have to deliver no matter what are the circumstances because at the end of the day this is my job!

MA: While doing live bulletins, did you face any mishap?
MJ:
Yes, there was one such blunder which was embarrassing. I had to talk to former DG ISPR to gather information on any incident, during the call; I made a grave mistake of fumbling the DG rank. He was actually a Major General and instead I was calling him Major for 3 to 4 times which my control room also noted.

MA: Your most memorable moment while doing news bulletin?
MJ:
‘Long March of Lawyers’ in 2009 was one such coverage that I felt proud to lead. I was appreciated for my work and it was a day of achievement—one of the best moments which still lingers in my mind.

MA: Any news that made you speechless or gave goose bumps? How did you recover yourself?
MJ:
Nothing, so far but there was one time when I had a lack of concentration while I was giving the details of some survey; I felt really bad because I was unable to say anything and my job is to speak otherwise you are kicked out.

junaid 2

MA: What has been your favorite news that made your day?
MJ:
When Nasim Hameed, a Pakistani athlete won the title of fastest runner in South Asia, it was just great feeling.

MA: In our present lot of politicians, who do you think is the rational one?
MJ:
I can’t comment.

MA: Other than you, who is your favorite anchor in Geo TV?
MJ:
Danish Anis Sheikh.

MA: Are you a planner? What goals you want to set now?
MJ:
I do make plans, I think where I am today is just a starting point and my aim is to excel in field of broadcasting. Moreover, I want to earn respect through my profession and also want to be known as authentic journalist.

MA: How is your experience working with Geo till yet?
MJ:
One of the best experiences of my life, where I have learned a lot by facing challenges and major happenings that has been great so far.

MA: To your fans, what you want to say?
MJ:
Believe in yourself, never try to be over-confident and over-ambitious because humility is one of the keys to success.

 

Altamish Jiwa: A Man Of Few Words

This interview I took when I was working in Geo TV in 2012. This interview was posted on Geovision website. I am sharing some chunks of the interview over here for my readers.

jiwa 2Casually dressed with a pleasant smile on his face, he updates viewers with recent happenings in the world of sports. His firm conviction, sincere passion and love for sports earn him recognition over a short period of time. A lively person by nature, Altamish Jiwa is one of the few sports anchors whose enthusiasm and passion for sports is reflected through his anchoring.

There is a saying, “You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing,” so it’s not wrong to say that Jiwa is one of the fortunate ones whose passion becomes his profession.

Jiwa joined media in 2005 as an intern at a business channel. His inclination towards sports leads him to the position where he is currently present now. As a sports anchor, he gets an opportunity to take exclusive interviews with the biggies of sports including the Tennis Maestro Roger Federer, world-class Boxer Amir Khan, Former World no.1 Tennis player Ana Ivanovic, the Giant killing Sweden’s Robin Soderling and many others.

May 2011 is the year when he made his way to the Geo News as a sports anchor. Here in this channel, he started off covering many local talents through his show. His lists of accomplishments continue to grow; recently he has also covered the T-20 world cup in Sri Lanka which proves a big boost to his professional career.

Despite his achievement, he hasn’t let success go to his head. He is humble yet energetic and his love for sports is his forte. Geo Vision brings you a light chit-chat with dynamic and ingenuous Altamish Jiwa who believes that whatever one strives to do in his life, it’s purely the will of Almighty.

Madiha Akhtar: Why you choose to be a Sports anchor?

Altamish Jiwa: It was a mere coincidence. My news-editor in my previous channel was the one who motivated me towards the profession of anchoring. After which there was no looking back.

Nevertheless I love what I do right now, and frankly speaking nothing excites me more than being close to ‘World of Sports’.

MA: How did you enter this field?

AJ: I joined media during my university days. One of my professors in my university was the one who forwarded my resume to the News channel. Although I never had any plan to enter the media industry, but I guess something are meant to happen and here I am!

MA: According to you, what three qualities are needed to become a sports anchor?

altamish-roger-federer-e1356378170340AJ: Firstly, one should have an immense love for sports. Secondly, passion for what one is doing. And finally, one needs to be super energetic. I believe it’s significant for a sports anchor to possess at least the above mentioned attributes, or else it can become quite boring for the person and viewers as well.

MA: Who is your inspiration in the field of anchoring?

AJ: Ali Mustafa, a Pakistani journalist and an anchor to whom I look up to. He is brilliant at whatever he does. Then a person whose work inspires me is a CNN anchor and correspondent Jonathan Mann.

MA: Give one positive and negative point of being a sports-anchor?

AJ: Everyday I feel upbeat at work because I am doing something what I love. Having said that, the drawback is obvious; you don’t get to enjoy the thrill of the game or be a part of any action, as you have to do your job. Moreover you have to act neutral and cannot show your inclination towards a particular player.

MA: While doing live shows, did you face any mishap? What was it?

AJ: Yes, there are many things that may go wrong in a live show. Once I forgot the correspondent name and though it was an embarrassing situation but as we say; ‘To err is human’. And what makes it apart is to not show any lines of fret on your face rather carry on with your work calmly.

MA: Your most memorable moment while doing shows?

AJ: During my career, I got an opportunity to meet the Tennis ace Roger Federer and fortunately also had an one-on-one interview with him. It is one of the best moments of my career because I really admire his game.

MA: Do you think that is there any scope for sports anchor in Pakistan?

AJ: Previously there was only one channel and in those times one might see very few people opting for the sports beat. However, as the media is evolving day by day, more and more opportunities are created for the budding talent to take up the career professionally. Though still more awareness is needed for recognition among the masses but I believe something is better than nothing.jiwa 3

MA: Do you think that looks are given more importance than knowledge for being an anchor…your take?

AJ: For me, I think there should be a balance of both presentation and knowledge.

MA: What has been your favorite news in the field of sports that made your day?

AJ: I used to host a segment ‘Local Sports’ on Geo News where I covered our local athlete. It was a great feeling to see our local talent doing something good in sports and as a sports anchor, bringing any news of their small or big achievement to the limelight made me happy.

MA: Who has been your all-time favorite sportsperson?

AJ: Roger Federer all the way! Even though he is a big star but he does not throw any tantrums. Personally I found him a very humble human being.

MA: Other than you, who is your favorite anchor (sports/entertainment/weekly) in Geo TV?jiwa 5

AJ: Danish Anis, Fatima Saleem and Marium Ismail—what I like about all three of them is their presentation which is very lively and exciting. Besides they are fun to watch.

MA: What are your goals for future?

AJ: I want to pursue my career in the field of sports and do something extraordinarily good. Furthermore, my plan is to switch on to the production side.

MA: How has been your experience working with Geo channel?

AJ: I am happy to be a part of TeamGeo. The organisation has given me an opportunity to cover the T20 world cup in Sri Lanka which became a life-changing experience for me. Most importantly I am grateful to Almighty Allah who has provided me a great platform to progress.

MA: Your message to readers!

AJ: Don’t come for the glamour! A person who truly enjoys sports and has a passion for it, this field is for them. Therefore if you want to join the media as sports journalist, be here for the right reason because it’s a great profession to be in…

 

jiwa quickie