Renowned actor, director and academic, Navid Shahzad launched her debut book “Aslan’s Roar” with a reading from the publication at a star-studded evening in Lahore.

Published by Sang e Meel Publications, Pakistan; ‘Aslan’s Roar’ is a handsome four hundred page research work which discusses the symbiotic nature of television and culture while positioning present-day media narratives and fiction amidst powerful trends influencing contemporary TV myth-making. Arguing for the possibility of a ‘middle way’ for Muslims positioned between seductive modernity and tradition through a study of Turkish and Muslim identities as represented in western and nonwestern film and TV narratives.

The book examines the Turkish TV industry in detail and makes a case for the rise of a Muslim hero as a counterfoil to the prevailing dominant image of the western hero. The book has received critical appraise with Arundhati Roy’s literary agent terming it as ‘brilliantly written,’ while noted Pakistani poet and author, Harris Khalique described it as a ‘remarkably insightful work on the emergence and growth of Turkish TV drama.’

The book launch featured an introduction to the author by former FBR Chairman Salman Siddiq who spoke about his onetime mentor at Punjab University’s Department of English Literature with much appreciation. This was followed by a reading which gave the attendees an insight into the text’s perspective and subject matter.

Well known for her perfect enunciation, dialogue delivery and expression Navid Shahzad’s reading was a treat for the audience which included former Punjab Governor Shahid Hamid, Alhamra Arts Council Chairperson Muneeza Hashmi and her illustrious sister Saleema Hashmi, one of Pakistan’s foremost artists Ijaz ul Hassan, former Aitchison College Principal, author and well known historian Fakir Syed Ijazuddin and renowned Punjabi poetesses Sarwat Mohyuddin and Anjum Qureshi.

Academia was represented by several educationists such as the Lahore Grammar School Director’s Nighat Ali and Sultanat Bokhari, as well as Musarrat Salamat of Salamat School System and Dr Taimur Rahman, Associate Professor LUMS.

The distinguished audience further comprised of well-known former beauracrats such as Syed Naseer Ahmed, while the business and health sectors were represented by the CEOs of Imperial Cinemas Syed Rahmani and Azam of Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Lahore. The event was also attended by artists including Shahnawaz Zaidi, author and educationist Mira Hashmi, actors including Fawad Khan and Adeel Hashmi who lent a special flavour to the evening with their presence.

About the launch of the book, Navid Shahzad said, “the event was a marvellous but humbling experience. Old friends and new came to listen, share and celebrate. In many ways, the evening was reminiscent of a Lahore that appears to be vanishing. Talking about books, music and the arts was a special feature of this magical city and this evening has inspired me to have such events on a fortnightly basis. I plan on calling it ‘The Salon Series’.”

With the prestigious Pride of Performance award bestowed upon her by the Government of Pakistan, the Fatima Jinnah Award by the Government of Punjab, gold and silver medals by Pakistan Television and the coveted Diamond Jubilee Purse awarded by the Punjab University for a first-class first in MA English Literature; Navid Shahzad is an iconic television, theater and radio veteran and is one of the pioneering names associated with Pakistan Television. As an academic, she taught drama and poetry at the University of Punjab for three decades before moving on to Pakistan School of Fashion Design, where she served as Principal. She played a vital role in setting up Pakistan’s first liberal arts Beaconhouse National University, where she also served as a teacher of Performing Arts.

Deeply interested in literature, media studies and music, the indefatigable Navid Shahzad has finished writing a film script and is currently working on another book while reading scripts for her next film and TV ventures.

Aslan’s Roar is available nationwide at Liberty Books, Variety Books in Lahore and Mr Books and Saeed Book Bank in Islamabad. The paperback version will shortly make an appearance on digital platforms such as Amazon and Kindle.

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