My Karachi with Team Janaan

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.

The Trio - Ali, Armeena, Bilal
The Trio – Ali, Armeena, and Bilal

Native or visitor?

Bilal:  Native

Armeena: Visitor

Ali: 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

A crabbing boat at Kemari - crabbing is Bilal's quintessential Karachi experience
A crabbing boat at Kemari – crabbing is Bilal’s quintessential Karachi experience


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



Fave restaurant

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.


Go-to salon/spa

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


Chocolate wontons with green tea ice cream at Fuchsia


Worst memory

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.


Janaan – an all out entertainer


Best Memory

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.

Essential luxury

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.

Armeena Khan
Armeena Khan

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.”

Bilal Ashraf
Bilal Ashraf


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

Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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