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21 Feb

Bachaana: Can someone save the helpless woman…again?

  There is a line in the trailer of the movie, Bachaana, which goes something like this: "Larki Pakistani ho, ya Hindustani, larki larki hoti hai." We aren't entirely sure what the writers meant when they wrote this dialogue for Mohib Mirza's character. Is it trying to strengthen friendship between Pakistanis and Indians by claiming that nationality doesn't matter? Or is it trying to say that a woman is weak and helpless, no matter what country she comes from, and deserves to be saved?   While the movie is yet to be released, there are certain expectations from the movie based on what we've heard and seen in the trailers. The movie is based around two strangers: the 'hero' is a Pakistani man who...
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1 Jun

Syed Noor ‘movies’ in a new direction

The veteran director talks about Bhai Wanted, the new age of cinema and why Shaan is still the country’s biggest star.    Syed Noor's vital statistics are interesting. He’s been in the movie business for 44 years. Since 1998 he has directed and released around 30 films, half with Shaan as the main lead and only three without Saima. He is back in the director’s seat this year, recently signing up Shaan Shahid for Bhai Wanted, their first notable film together since the Punjabi film Sharika was released in 2012. Sharika didn’t make much of an impact on Pakistan’s evolving cinema dynamic but with Bhai Wanted, Syed Noor looks forward to bringing almost four decades of experience in filmmaking to directing a...
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30 Jan

Grease Lightening…don’t miss it!

Watching Grease Lightening at the Arts Council in Karachi delighted me and simultaneously troubled me. While it was magnificent to see the depth of talent - from Sanam Saeed, Ayesha Omar, Ahmad Ali and the very young Parishae Adnan (Amir and Huma Adnan's talented daughter) - it was, in equal parts, frustrating to witness the state of the auditorium, the condition of the stage and the overall lack of facilities. The stage does absolutely no justice to the months of hard work and commitment that Nida Butt and her team put into each of their productions. Having seen Singing in the Rain in London (where it actually rained on stage) amongst other stage productions abroad and then seeing all the glamorous...
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17 Mar

Zindagi Gulzar Hai 16

The story in Zindagi Gulzar Hai is progressing at snail’s pace – I think everyone following it wants ‘the wedding’ to happen - however there are moments in every episode that make the speed acceptable. One can allow concessions in pace because the performances are great and the messages that lie between the lines are important and relevant to women in Pakistan today. In this episode that message points at social disparity and the importance of post, position and class when building relationships (Murtaza is inching his way into Rafia’s life because his daughters are all well-settled and successful) and in proposing new relationships. It’s Zaroon’s mother who brings out the status difference between both households and deems marriage between...
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3 Mar

Lend us a ‘foreign’ hand, will you?

We love to complain about ‘outside influences’ in our cinemas, our TV screens and our music but it’s high time to introspect and fix what’s wrong within. (Published in Dawn Images on Sunday, March 3 2013) The horror! The horror! The shock to see a well-known Indian face on a Pakistani billboard is absolutely scandalous. Reality check: these celebrity faces wouldn’t be so well-known if we, as a nation, weren’t so deliriously besotted with Bollywood! Indian films are released in our cinemas, Indian and Turkish TV serials are put up on our cable channels and Indian songs blare at our weddings where we dance the nights away with Radha, Munni, Sheila and Chikni Chameli. Then why the hue and cry over a...
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2 Mar

Zindagi Gulzar Hai 14

Sanam Saeed and I at Cafe 44, where I interviewed her for Herald recently. Photo: Mallika Abba Finally, an episode devoted purely to Kashaf-Zaroon interaction, with very little of their family woes as interruption. This episode took the story forward with a proposal that we could have guessed was coming. Where and who it would come from was a complete surprise though, and it took Kashaf by surprise as much as it did us. Meanwhile, the moral lesson of the story continued to interweave itself through the drama. Posted in Badin, Kashaf is well endorsed with a lifestyle that she could only have hoped for a year ago. We remember the times when she would walk miles to...
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24 Feb

Zindagi Gulzar Hai: 13

The drama inches ahead in this episode, leaving us a little frustrated with the pace but also giving us more time to ponder upon the message that must infiltrate our minds more than the obsession with the Kashaf-Zaroon love story. One of the cast members, someone I bumped into several weeks ago, confirmed that they would get married (we already know that, right?) and added that there would be no predictable romance. Kashaf and Zaroon will not stop quarreling. Perfect. Now all we have to do is wait. Meanwhile… “We were not inflicted with miseries by society but by our own father.” Kashaf, who has been posted somewhere in Interior Sindh, sums up her inability to forgive her father. She says she...
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8 Feb

An informal chat with Sanam aka Kashaf these days

Met Sanam at Cafe 44 today and she was as down to earth and focused as she was when she started out. From Roxie Hart to Kashaf Murtaza she has shifted gears effortlessly. The industry needs more like her. Why do you think Zindagi Gulzar Hai works? It works because it has Fawad. It works because his fans have their heart throb in it. Plus, my character is a very difficult person and it intrigues them to see him struggling. What do you like about your character? I like that she’s afraid of nothing. She is very conscious of herself, as any girl in her situation would be, but she’s a bold soul to attack her circumstances and her father the way...
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