‘Beautiful thing’: Mohsin Naveed Ranjha, designer to Pakistan’s glitterati, finds fame in India

Pakistani designer Mohsin Naveed Ranjha talks to Arab News Pakistan in Lahore, Pakistan, on January 17, 2024. (AN photo)
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Updated 22 January 2024
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‘Beautiful thing’: Mohsin Naveed Ranjha, designer to Pakistan’s glitterati, finds fame in India

  • Pakistani designer Mohsin Naveed Ranjha has designed clothes for Bollywood stars Ranveer Singh and Janhvi Kapoor
  • His creations are known for their traditional designs rooted in Eastern heritage, craftsmanship and bold color palettes

LAHORE: Renowned Pakistani fashion designer Mohsin Naveed Ranjha, whose bridal couture has gained popularity over the years in both his country and India, said Pakistani designers are popular across the border due to the shared culture and “attachments” that the people of the two nations enjoy. 

Pakistani fashion designers have garnered critical acclaim both domestically and internationally over the years. Known for their ability to fuse the traditional with the modern, they have collaborated with international celebrities and taken part in global fashion shows to showcase their products. 

Ranjha has treaded on a similar path ever since he founded the Mohsin Naveed Ranjha Studio in 2014. The brand offers an array of choices for both men and women in bridal couture, formal wear, and ready-to-wear clothes. Ranjha has designed dresses for Pakistani and Indian brides and even collaborated with Bollywood celebrities Ranveer Singh, Janhvi Kapoor, and Karan Aujla. 

His dresses are known for their traditional designs that are rooted in Eastern heritage, craftsmanship that involves intricate embroidery, and bold color palettes. 

For Ranjha, however, the key to success in the world of fashion lies in originality or as he says, “finding your own personality.”

“Finding your own personality, your own identity is the most important thing for any design studio,” Ranjha told Arab News recently.

He finds his in lotuses, elephants, peacocks, flora and fauna, key themes from the subcontinent’s Mughal era. 

“We try and stick to those themes because I think those are our [artistic] roots,” Ranjha explained. 

 

 

After pursuing his bachelor’s degree in fashion and textile, Ranjha founded his brand’s first outlet in Gujranwala in 2015. Fast forward eight years, he has opened outlets in Lahore, Karachi and even New York. The Pakistani fashion designer now has his sights set on branching out to London. 

In his quest to achieve something substantial in the world of fashion, Ranjha had his fair share of struggles though. His first batch of dresses was a “spectacularly bad one” that encountered a lot of flak.

“It had two to three pieces that were according to my choice, two to three pieces that were according to the market trends and two to three pieces were what I felt the media liked at the time,” Ranjha recalled.




The picture uploaded on December 5, 2023, shows a model posing for a picture, wearing a dress from Mohsin Naveed Ranjha's 2023 "Shaadi" collection. (@mohsin.naveed.ranjha/Instagram)

His first shot at professional fashion design may not have been the ideal start Ranjha dreamed of but he does see the silver lining to it. Ranjha disliked his first collection but also realized that the ones he had designed in line with his tastes and choices, were the ones he disliked the least of the lot. 

“That night I decided that as long as I stay in this industry, I will only create designs that I personally like,” he recalled. 

As his products created a niche for themselves, Ranjha found international recognition when none other than Bollywood superstar Ranveer Singh collaborated with him. Singh wore Ranjha’s brand for the cover of Filmfare, Bollywood’s veritable gospel for film-related news. 

“The Ranveer Singh thing, I never imagined something like that could happen,” Ranjha said. 

Singh’s stylist Nitasha Gaurav followed Ranjha on Instagram, and the two got to talking. Filmfare and Singh got on board soon after. 

“It was an amazing experience,” the designer said about working with Singh. “First there were the mood boards, then the sketches, then we showed them [our ideas] and they approved things,” he said.




The picture shared on November 28, 2018, shows Pakistani designer Mohsin Naveed Ranjha (right) posing for a picture with Indian actor Ranveer Singh. (@mohsin.naveed.ranjha/Instagram)

That collaboration was the major break he needed. Ranjha became an established brand in the world of fashion and in 2022, got to work with Bollywood diva Janhvi Kapoor. The actress, who is the daughter of the late Bollywood legend Sridevi, carried a tea pink outfit designed by him for a magazine shoot. In February 2023, Ranjha became the designer of choice for Indian rap sensation Karan Aujla and his wife, Palak Aujla.  

“[Aujla] is a very dear friend, we made four looks for him for [his] different wedding events,“ Ranjha said. “I love his music.”

The designer admits some people complain his dresses are too expensive, though prices for different items vary. The cheaper, unstitched collections are priced around Rs. 30,000 ($107.32) to bridal prices that can go as high as Rs. 500,000 ($1,788).

Ranjha, who has designed dresses for various Indian brides over the years, feels Pakistani designers are popular in India due to the shared culture and heritage that people of the two countries trace their roots from. 

“You know, people find attachments [across the border] in many ways,” he said. “People who live in India or Pakistan have relatives or forefathers [on the other side] so there’s still that connection. 

“It’s a beautiful thing.”


Peshawar residents, led by PTI lawmaker, storm grid station to restore power amid heatwave

Updated 25 May 2024
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Peshawar residents, led by PTI lawmaker, storm grid station to restore power amid heatwave

  • The electric supply company says the protesters ‘forcibly switched on nine high-loss feeders’ in the area
  • It mentions losses due to power-theft, non-payment of dues, lodges police complaint against the lawmaker

ISLAMABAD: Residents of Peshawar in Pakistan’s northwest, led by a provincial lawmaker from former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, stormed a grid station on Saturday and restored electricity themselves to protest prolonged power cuts amid scorching heat.
Power outages are not uncommon in Pakistan during the summer months when the demand on the national grid spikes sharply due to the widespread use of air conditioners and desert coolers. These seasonal surges often lead to prolonged power outages, which fuel public discontent, particularly during the intense heatwaves that have swept across Pakistan in recent years.
While the blackouts can sometimes be part of the official load management strategy, Pakistani authorities have also pointed to power theft in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a significant issue, occasionally leading to complete shutdowns of electricity.
“If our electricity is cut off, everyone’s electricity will be cut off,” Pakistan’s Geo TV quoted the PTI lawmaker Fazal Elahi as saying after the incident.
The Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) said Elahi and other protesters entered the grid station and “forcibly switched on nine high-loss feeders” in the area.
“Losses due to power theft and non-payment of dues on these feeders are more than 80 percent,” it added.
Local media also reported that PESCO had filed a police complaint against the PTI lawmaker, who said protesters were only demanding their rights.


Jofra Archer stars as England beat Pakistan in second T20

Updated 25 May 2024
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Jofra Archer stars as England beat Pakistan in second T20

  • Skipper Jos Buttler, who smashed 84 off 51 balls, was the star of the England batting
  • Babar Azam praises Pakistani bowlers but says that the team could not finish well

BIRMINGHAM: Jofra Archer claimed two wickets on his long-awaited return to international cricket as England beat Pakistan by 23 runs at Edgbaston to move 1-0 up in the four-match T20 series.
England captain Jos Buttler won man-of-the-match after he smashed 84 off 51 balls to set the hosts a target of 184.
But it was Archer’s return that caught the eye as he made a case for selection in next month’s T20 World Cup in the United States and West Indies no harm.
The fast bowler has been beset by elbow injuries since his starring role in helping England win the 50-over World Cup in 2019.
On his first international appearance for 14 months, and first on home soil since 2020, Archer bounced back from an expensive first over, which went for 15 runs, to finish with two for 28.
“I thought Jofra Archer was brilliant,” said Buttler. “You could see his emotion taking wickets for England again but we need to temper those expectations because he’s not going to be the same straight away.
“I’m really pleased with the whole bowling group.”
Muhammad Rizwan was removed in the first over by Moeen Ali and Reece Topley took three wickets for 41.
Buttler was the star of the England batting with three sixes and eight fours.
He was ably supported by 37 from Will Jacks and Jonny Bairstow’s 21 but England failed to build on the platform given to them by their skipper.
Five wickets fell for just 25 runs as Pakistan battled back with Shaheen Shah Afridi the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-36.
“We got them to a par score, our bowlers bowled very well and we had our moments when we were batting,” said Pakistan captain Babar Azam.
Fakhar Zaman’s 45 from 21 balls gave the Pakistan chase some impetus, but after he departed the pace of Archer, Topley and Chris Jordan ripped through the tourists’ tail with four balls to spare.
“We didn’t finish well. We had a small partnership, myself and Fakhar but we didn’t get any other 40 or 50 partnerships that England did,” added Azam.
England lead the four-match series 1-0 after the first match was washed out on Wednesday.


Pakistan’s investment body to set up six country-specific desks, including one for Saudi Arabia

Updated 25 May 2024
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Pakistan’s investment body to set up six country-specific desks, including one for Saudi Arabia

  • SIFC reviews progress related to trade and investment with friendly nations in a meeting presided by PM Sharif
  • The meeting also evaluates progress on the privatization of state-owned entities, instructs timely implementation

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif instructed Pakistan’s top investment facilitation body to set up six country- and region-specific desks, including one solely focused on Saudi Arabia, while presiding over a meeting on Saturday that concentrated on progress related to economic collaboration with friendly nations.
Last year, the country established the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), a civil-military hybrid body designed to oversee foreign financing, to help overcome its prolonged economic turmoil that has forced successive administrations to seek financial assistance from global lenders and close allies.
Pakistani officials have primarily focused on Gulf countries since the inception of SIFC, briefing governments and businesses about investment opportunities available across various economic sectors in their country, including areas like agriculture, mining and information technology.
Following the announcement of a $10 billion investment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during Sharif’s daylong visit to Abu Dhabi on Thursday, Pakistan expects to receive substantial investments from the region.
“The prime minister has announced that the SIFC will have a China desk, a UAE desk, a Saudi desk, a Qatar desk, a European Union desk and a United States of America desk,” Federal Minister for Information Attaullah Tarar told the media after the meeting.
“The prime minister has formally announced these six desks to promote trade and investment,” he added. “It was a historic meeting whose fruits will become visible in the coming days.”
An official statement issued after the meeting said the SIFC appreciated the recent upsurge in trade and investment related engagements under government-to-government and business-to-business frameworks, directing concerned ministries for efficient follow-ups.
It instructed the participants to make every effort to transform the commitments received from friendly countries into tangible projects and economic dividends at a fast pace.
The meeting reviewed progress on the privatization of state-owned enterprises, expressing satisfaction over the ongoing process and urging the timely accomplishment of various milestones in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.


British-Pakistani opera singer receives royal honor for recording national anthem post-coronation

Updated 25 May 2024
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British-Pakistani opera singer receives royal honor for recording national anthem post-coronation

  • Saira Peter says she is privileged to contribute her voice to British government’s public events, citizenship ceremonies
  • She also recorded ‘God Save the Queen’ in 2018 and received acknowledgement and gratitude of Queen Elizabeth II

ISLAMABAD: A British-Pakistani Sufi Opera singer, Saira Peter, announced in a video message circulated on Saturday she received a letter of appreciation from Buckingham Palace for recording the British national anthem, “God Save the King,” following the coronation of King Charles III.
The British king’s coronation took place last May at Westminster Abbey in London. The event brought leaders and high-profile personalities from around the world and marked his official accession to the throne after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022.
Upon receiving the recording, performed in the soprano vocal range, the highest of the female voice types in classical singing, the king sent Peter a letter conveying his good wishes and sincere thanks for her public services.
She also received a signed photo card from him and Queen Camilla.
“I want to share with all my followers how excited I am to receive a letter and card of appreciation and gratitude from His Majesty King Charles the Third,” Peter said in the video, where she mentioned she was Pakistan’s first opera singer. “This arrived in response to my civic service of recording the British national anthem, ‘God Save the King.’”
“Being British-Pakistani, I feel so privileged to contribute my skill and voice to the British government’s public events and citizenship ceremonies,” she added.
Peter informed the British national anthem was recorded at the request of UK Government offices at Hastings Town Hall in East Sussex. The recording is now used across her adopted country for official government events.
Previously, she recorded “God Save the Queen” in 2018, making her the first Asian and the only Pakistani officially invited to undertake the task. Peter also received acknowledgment and gratitude from the late queen.
Born in Karachi, the opera singer told Arab News during her visit to Pakistan last year she used to sing in church choirs and began her Western classical journey, learning from Paul Knight, a disciple of Benjamin Britten, in London in the early 2000s after her family moved there.
Peter’s father, Zafar Francis, pioneered the Noor Jehan Arts Center in London, which was opened by British superstar Sir Cliff Richard in 1998.
She is the director of the performing arts center and teaches both Western and Pakistani classical music there.
She said her work in Britain was projecting “a positive image of Pakistan.”


Skipper Jos Buttler the bedrock as England set Pakistan 184 to win T20

Updated 25 May 2024
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Skipper Jos Buttler the bedrock as England set Pakistan 184 to win T20

  • Buttler smashed 84 off 51 balls, but his team failed to build on that and lost 5 wickets for 25 runs
  • Shaheen Shah Afridi took 3-36, as Pakistan try to build on their 2-1 win against Ireland this month

BIRMINGHAM: England captain Jos Buttler smashed 84 off 51 balls as the hosts set Pakistan a target of 184 to win the second T20 international at Edgbaston on Saturday.
Buttler was ably supported by 37 from Will Jacks and Jonny Bairstow’s 21 but England failed to build on the platform given to them by their skipper.
England were 144-2 with five overs to spare before Bairstow departed.
But five wickets fell for just 25 runs as Pakistan battled back to give the tourists a chance of chasing down the target.
Shaheen Shah Afridi was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-36.
Jofra Archer will form part of the England bowling attack in his first home international appearance since 2020.
Fast bowler Archer has been beset by elbow injuries since his starring role in helping England win the 50-over World Cup in 2019.
However, the 29-year-old’s return could be a timely boost ahead of the T20 World Cup in the United States next month.
“Excited for Jofra, long road for him but looks great and looks fit,” Buttler said before the match.
Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan have been included for Pakistan, who are looking to build on a 2-1 series win over Ireland earlier this month.
The first T20 of the four-match series was washed out on Wednesday.
England: 1 Jos Buttler (capt/wk), 2 Phil Salt, 3 Will Jacks, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Moeen Ali, 7 Liam Livingstone, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Jofra Archer, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Reece Topley
Pakistan: 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Saim Ayub, 3 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 4 Fakhar Zaman, 5 Shadab Khan, 6 Azam Khan, 7 Iftikhar Ahmed, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Mohammad Amir