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Actor, social media influencer and model Zeba Khan spoke about how an ad campaign opened up new avenues for her and the power of social media.

Noor Anand Chawla



The world may come to a standstill but the enduring attraction of the film industry and consequent stardom never fades. Even with the pandemic upon us, talented actors continue to pin their hopes on the big prize — recognition and fame for their acting ability. Actor, social media influencer and model Zeba Khan, who first set foot in the industry two years ago, has set her sights firmly on achieving this goal. In this candid interview with The Daily Guardian, she talks about her journey so far and her plans for the future. 

Q. Tell us about your foray into the industry. What has it been like till now?

A. My journey so far has been very exciting. I have learnt a lot about harnessing my training correctly and realised the traits required to succeed in this industry. All this led to my recent feature in an international ad campaign to spread the message of ‘No Smoking’ helmed by professional Bollywood technicians.  

Q. What are the skills that set you apart from others in this field?

A. I have done numerous acting workshops and learnt professional gymnastics from renowned trainers. I have also learnt horse riding professionally along with dance, martial arts and other fighting techniques.

Q. Did your role as a social media influencer come before you ventured into the film industry or afterwards?

A. I have always been active on social media way before my acting and modeling assignments kicked off. My most popular posts are my daily workout routines that are followed and adored by many of my followers.

Q. Which one do you prefer — social media or acting? What is a faster route to success these days, according to you?

A. I believe the fast pace with which social media is booming and evolving today, it allows people to show their skills to millions. These platforms can become a solid launching pad towards short films/feature films.

Q. Has it been difficult entering the industry without having a ‘backing’ or a ‘godfather’, so to speak?

A. In every field, it helps to have someone to back you or be your go-to person, especially during hard times, but as I said earlier, new age social media is evolving so much with audiences ready to embrace any kind of talent served to them. Hence, it is easier to show your work without backing.

Q. Have you faced any struggles or low points in your chosen career so far?

A. In the early stages of my fitness journey, it used to be difficult to create a strict regime and I would tend to slip up in my training routine. This would make me feel guilty and I would also feel physically and mentally weak and complacent. At such moments, it was tough to uplift myself. I would suddenly enter a zone where I did not like anything happening around me and tend to surround myself with negativity. Fortunately, I have overcome that phase now.

Q. We would love to know about some of your memorable moments. What is the biggest recognition you have received?

A. All the appreciation I have received across the globe on my No Smoking ad campaign made me feel great. I have been approached by many NGOs to help them spread awareness on this subject amongst the youth. I could see the positive results of this campaign through the amazing response I received. Right from its inception to the execution stage, this project allowed me to work with some of the best names in the industry. It was because of this campaign that I got a chance to showcase my acting skills on the big screen. Mainstream newspapers have also picked it up and that has been very encouraging. Currently, the campaign is under review by the Health Ministry of India, as they are planning to launch a pan-India campaign for spreading awareness against smoking. 

Q. How was the experience of working on this campaign?

A. It was an amazing experience and led to some interesting offers. Life is at an exciting phase at the moment. I am not rushing into any hasty decisions and carefully choosing the right projects going forward while concentrating on training harder.

Q. Was the pandemic difficult for you professionally? How did you ensure that you keep moving ahead in this tough period?

A. The pandemic hit everyone either professionally or on the personal front. The film industry suffered a lot during this time. Before the pandemic, I was working for 16 to 17 hours a day for seven days straight but due to the pandemic and lockdown, life came to a screeching halt which was difficult for me to handle. During this phase, I tried maximising my social media platforms by creating content related to staying fit at home. To my surprise, these posts caught the eye of many fitness enthusiasts who started following my content. So, in that way, I discovered a new avenue.

Q. What advice do you have for people who are aspiring actors — what is the one quality they need if they are to succeed in this industry?

A. Every year there are over 2,000 films produced in India in various languages, making the Indian Film Industry one of the biggest industries. India has been fortunate to keep producing some of the best talents which have represented us on the global front. I would only advise all aspiring artists looking to set their mark in this industry to remain patient and stay focused on their goals. Good work never goes unnoticed and someday they will see the desired results. 

Q. Any exciting projects you are currently working on or planning for the future?

A. Yes, I am working on a couple of music albums in Hindi and Punjabi and I am also in talks for a few films. Just taking one step at a time. The release of the No Smoking music video campaign in movie theatres pan-India is also in the works.

The interviewer is a lawyer who pens lifestyle articles for numerous publications and her blog She can be reached on

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Lifestyle & Entertainment




MUMBAI: Actor Ayushmann Khurrana, who is also a singer, has once again swooned viewers with his voice in his wife and filmmaker Tahira Kashyap’s latest film ‘Quaranteen Crush’.

Taking to Instagram, Ayushmann shared the song’s video and revealed that he composed and wrote ‘Kinni Soni’ along with his college friends — Sameer Kaushal and Gurpreet Saini.

“Wrote and composed this butterflies inducing song with Sameer Kaushal and Gurpreet Saini for Tahira’s lovely short film #QurantineCrush which comes under #FeelsLikeIshq. Loved collaborating with my college friends after so long. Felt like we were back in college during our late night jam sessions in Chandigarh winters,” he posted.

Singer Jonita Gandhi has given English vocals to the song. “Thank you Jonita for the angrezi vocals,” Ayushmann added. For the unversed, ‘Quaranteen Crush’ is a part of the just-released Netflix anthology ‘Feels Like Ishq’. The short movie revolves around the concept of a teenage crush and friendship during the pandemic.

Tahira even posted a short note on Instagram thanking Ayushmann for giving her ‘Kinni Soni’ song. “The song we were waiting for #kinnisoni..An integral part of my short #quaranteencrush that is a part of #feelslikeishq. This song really inspired me to create some magical moments between nimmi and Maninder on their terrace! Thank you @ayushmannk for giving me the song, thank you @s_a_m_k28 and @ghuggss for creating magic with it and thank you @jonitamusic for the mesmerising vocals, and thank you @gazaldhaliwal for this sweet script,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, on the film front, Ayushmann is busy shooting for ‘Doctor G’ in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The movie also stars Rakul Preet Singh and Shefali Shah..

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MUMBAI: Prabhas’ most anticipated film ‘Radhye Shyam’ has finally got a release date. It will arrive in theatres on January 14, 2022.

On Friday, Prabhas took to Instagram to share the update with his fans. “Can’t wait to watch my romantic saga, ‘Radhe Shyam’, which has a brand new release date — 14th January, 2022 worldwide,” he wrote.

Along with it, Prabhas shared a new poster of the film, wherein he can be seen all decked up while walking on the streets of Europe.

For the unversed, ‘Radhe Shyam’, a multi-lingual film, is helmed by Radha Krishna Kumar, and it features actor Pooja Hegde as well. Pooja, too, expressed her excitement about the film’s release date as it is debuting on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti. “Woke up to this surprise. Sakranti has been lucky for me..fingers crossed for this epic love story,” she wrote on Instagram Story. ‘Radhe Shyam’ is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Vamsi and Pramod.

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MUMBAI: Seems like Deepika Padukone is asking for silence on the sets when she is at work as for the first time on Thursday she shared a BTS picture from her shoot for director Shakun Batra’s untitled next.

Taking to her Instagram handle, Deepika shared a picture from her untitled next, which appears to be the first glimpse of her character from the movie. The superstar could be seen dressed in a cozy sweatshirt and pants. With her hair tied in a high bun, Deepika could be seen busy while reading the script of the film.

Sharing the picture, she wrote, “Shh…Work in progress.” With the post hitting the photo-sharing platform, over three lakh fans liked it and many left red heart emojis.

Speaking about the film, apart from Deepika, Shakun Batra’s yet-to-be-titled film also stars Siddhanth Chaturvedi, Dhairya Karwa and Ananya Panday.The actor also has an impressive line-up of projects in the pipeline including ‘83’, ‘Baiju Bawra’, ‘Fighter’, ‘Sanki’, ‘Pathan’, and ‘K’, which is the Indian adaptation of Nancy Meyers’s 2015 hit Hollywood film ‘The Intern’, and will also feature megastar Amitabh Bachchan and ‘Bahubali’ star Prabhas.

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MUMBAI: ‘Bell Bottom’, which was earlier scheduled to release on July 27 and was postponed due to coronavirus pandemic, will now arrive in theatres on August 19.

On Thursday, Akshay Kumar, who is the lead actor in the film, took to Instagram to share the news of the change in the film’s release date. “Mission: To entertain you on the big screen. Date: August 19, 2021. Announcing the arrival of BellBottom,” he wrote.

Akshay even treated his fans with a new teaser of the film, wherein it is written that ‘Bell Bottom’ is inspired by true events. Directed by Ranjit M Tewari, the movie also features Lara Dutta, Vaani Kapoor and Huma Qureshi.

‘Bell Bottom’, which is touted as a spy thriller, is bankrolled by Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani, Deepshikha Deshmukh, Monisha Advani, Madhu Bhojwani, and Nikkhil Advani.

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Murtaza Ali Khan



The celebrated Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai extensively wrote about freedom of speech, femininity, class conflict, homosexuality, and expression of female sexuality: The subjects continue to be as relevant today as they were when she first started out in the 1930s. The early phase of her writing career was marred by an obscenity trial where Chughtai had to defend herself in the Lahore Court in the year 1944—an incident which led to much controversy and uproar. The obscenity charges were leveled against Chughtai for a 1942 Urdu short story published in the Urdu literary journal “Adab-i-Latif”. Titled “Lihaaf” (aka “The Quilt”), the short story explores the theme of homoeroticism. Interestingly, Chughtai wasn’t put on trial alone. Another legendary Urdu writer was put on trial for obscenity alongside her. If you haven’t guessed it already, the writer was none other than Saadat Hasan Manto. Chughtai has given a detailed account of the trail in memoir “Kaghazi Hai Pairahan” (“A Life in Words: Memoir”).

Rahat Kazmi’s period drama film “Lihaaf: The Quilt” which is being streamed by Voot Select as part of Voot Select Film Festival, a direct to OTT Film Festival, is not just a retelling of the story of “Lihaaf” as one would expect, but it also focuses on the aforementioned obscenity trial. The story begins when Chughtai, living in Mumbai, is summoned by the Lahore Court. Considering the charges of obscenity to be totally preposterous, Chughtai refuses to sign on the orders at first. She just cannot believe that the Lahore Court has actually put her on a trial for obscenity for a story like “Lihaaf” that makes no direct suggestion to any sexual act. Everything in the story is so subtle that it’s all up to the reader’s interpretation. That’s the exact argument that her lawyer makes in the court. Chughtai is essayed by Tannistha Chatterjee who never misses a note during her brilliant performance. The part of Manto is played with a refreshing playfulness by Shoib Shah who ensures that the controversial writer isn’t presented as totally humorless like was the case with Nawawuddin Siddiqui’s Manto (as good as the portrayal was) in the Nandita Das film.

The fact that Chughtai’s works continue to be as relevant today as they were several decades ago proves that our society hasn’t evolved much. Burdened by the weight of centuries old patriarchy, the women are still fighting the same fights, over and over again. Now, “Lihaaf” remains the most popular of all of Ismat Chughtai’s stories. While at the time it’s mostly received attention for its suggestion of lesbianism, it also deals with the solitary life of a neglected wife in the feudal society. Chughtai’s thought-provoking short story is considered to be a landmark not just in Urdu literature but also in modern Indian literature which continues to see sex and homosexuality as a taboo.

The story of “Lihaaf” is told through the point of view of a small girl who is temporarily left by her mother to live with Begum Jan. The screenplay of Rahat Rahat’s film, co-written by Sonal Sehgal and Rahat himself, assumes the young girl to be none other than Ismat Chughtai herself. Begum’s depressing life after marriage to a Nawab in the 1920s Agra is intercut with Chughtai’s obscenity trail in the Lahore Court. Begum’s husband is much older than her. He is highly respected by those around her for never having any affairs with prostitutes—a trait that most Nawabs are notorious for. But it is soon revealed that it is because of his attraction to younger men. Meanwhile, the lonely Begum gets ill but is saved by Rabbo, her masseuse, who is very skilled with her hands. When the young Ismat Chughtai is left at Begum Jan’s place by her mother, she begins to make some interesting observations about Begum Jan and Rabbo. At night, she gets petrified by the great shadows formed by the exaggerated movements of Begum Jan’s quilt. Also, she is perplexed by Begum Jan’s mood swings and odd behavior when Rabbo goes away to stay with her family for a few days.

The film’s co-writer Sonal Sehgal, who previously worked with Rahat Kazmi on ‘Mantostaan’, also essays the complex part of Begum Jaan. As part of her preparation, Sehgal cut herself off from the world as she wanted to feel the Begum’s pain and loneliness. Begum Jaan is a victim of her circumstances as well as a perpetrator of crime against the helpless young girl. During the shoot, Sehgal requested the entire cast and crew to leave her alone as she restricted herself to her hotel room at all times except during her takes. And it shows on the screen. Mir Sarwar is also superb in the role of the Nawab. To his credit, Kazmi succeeds in bringing the story of the same sex relationship between a noblewoman and her masseuse back to life in all its glory almost eight decades after it was first published. Here is a film that needs to be watched.

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Remember those Monday mornings when you dressed up, put on your makeup, and rushed to work? It feels like a chapter from one of your old history textbooks, doesn’t it? The pandemic has changed our lives in ways we never even imagined—and our relationship with the world of makeup is no exception. From dolled-up Friday nights to recent Netflix binging in pyjamas, we indeed have lost a lot of our makeup items; and the worst affected is none other than our precious lipstick!

According to various reports, the sale of lipsticks saw a steep decline in 2020, as people conveniently skipped the one makeup item that was concealed under the mask. Even if we might use lip balms or an occasional lip gloss for a work call, we have pretty much said goodbye to red and pink shades of lipsticks.

However, before you completely give up on your favourite and expensive lipsticks, here are some tips shared by Chaitra Krishnan, makeup expert, Stylecraze telling all the lovely ladies- how to repurpose your lipsticks and still use them in areas that are not covered by your mask!

1. Eye makeup products undoubtedly do better than lipsticks, and this is where we can incorporate our lipsticks. Liquid lipsticks work as amazing eyeshadows and eyeliners if you have got the right brushes to apply them. They dry up super quickly and are almost smudge-free. If you feel like going for a blended, smokey eye look with a bit of colour, then use your creme lipsticks. Keep in mind, it is extremely important to check the ingredients in these products to make sure they are safe for your eyes. A patch test is also recommended to avoid any allergic reactions.

2. Another task your lipsticks can carry on successfully is colour correction. Did you know your orange/red lipstick is an extremely good colour corrector and can help cover your dark circles, acne scars, and uneven skin tone? If you own unusual but always stylish lip colours like green, those can be used to colour correct redness on the skin. So, get your favourite makeup sponge and blend the lipstick well in areas that need to be covered up, and layer the colour with a medium-to-full coverage concealer or foundation.

3. If you feel sad about your everyday mellow brown lipstick gathering mould inside its case, it’s time to give it a makeover! Brown lip colours are extremely useful when it comes to contouring and highlighting, provided they are easy to blend. Liquid lipsticks should not be used for this task since they’re difficult to blend. This way, you can highlight your forehead area and jawline to make your face look attractive even when you are wearing a mask.

4. Apart from all of these, you can always use up your lipstick as a cheek tint for a natural blush look. Don’t forget to blend it well. Pro-tip is to always use your fingers to spread the shade on your cheeks.


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