Stories published in August, 2015

Why are we banning Saif Ali Khan’s movies but not his commercials?

Over the past few years, Pakistan has witnessed a boom in its film and drama industry. This has come as a blessing for most young and struggling actors. Previously, our industry had a handful of skilled actors, the same faces, and barely any room for new talent, which proved to be quite mundane for the audience. Due to the mass awareness and globalisation, we’ve witnessed the mushrooming of numerous sitcoms starring new and fresh faces, such as Mawra Hocane, Osman Khalid Butt, Hareem Farooq, Adeel Hussain and the list goes on. It’s rather refreshing to see that directors and producers have taken it upon themselves to cast ...

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Rest in peace, Wes Craven: The king of horror has left the building

Horror movies have, for more than a century, featured concepts and scenes that startle the viewer. However, with time, I feel the genre seems to be losing its touch in terms of actually instigating fear. Contemporary horror movies tend to get distracted from the actual concept; it either gets dominated by needless erotic scenes or extreme bloodshed without any background. Wes Craven was one of the most prominent figures who kept the horror genre alive by giving us quality horror movies. For those of us who grew up watching his films know that his death is a major loss, not just for ...

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Hitman: Agent 47 – All fails when you miss your target

Hitman: Agent 47 is a movie based on the video game of the same name. The movie is directed by Aleksander Bach and is more of a reboot of the previous iteration released in 2007, Hitman. This time around, Rupert Friend (Homeland) dons the iconic black suit coupled with a crisp clean white shirt, a blood-red (befittingly appropriate) necktie and a signature barcode at the back of his neck. It is a story of a genetically engineered and cut-throat assassin cum killing machine eponymously known only by his codename – 47. Photo: IMDb Hitman: Agent 47’s basic premise revolves around Agent 47 stopping a ...

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Ashraf Chaudhry, slut-shaming is not ‘freedom of speech’

A country must be a mother. No other person could suffer so much at your hands and still call you its own. We may call Pakistan our mother, we may respect it as if it was our mother, we may even love it like our mother but is there a place for mothers, sisters, and daughters in this Pakistan? Is there no country for women? We are quick to stand up in arms when the sanctity of our adopted mother is called into question. We are often told, “The sovereignty of Pakistan must come first.” There was a similar visceral reaction in Pakistan to the ...

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The responsibility of being a famous celebrity in Pakistan

Saif Ali Khan’s Phantom (2015) was a sad excuse for a movie, much like Shaan Shahid’s Musalman (2001). Movies that play on the very jingoistic sentiment, which have led us into various wars and thousands of casualties, do nothing but betray their audiences who otherwise wish and need peace in the region. Pakistan was right to ban the film as a sign of protest. I would expect the same from India but India being a much older democracy has been far more disappointing. Not only did it ban non-political movies and dramas from Pakistan, but our artists like Shakeel Siddiqui and singers ...

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As a Pakistani, I support Faisal Qureshi

I came across Faisal Qureshi’s video in which he responds to callous and ill-informed comments by Saif Ali Khan, an Indian actor. Qureshi also addresses certain dialogues from the actor’s recently released movie, Phantom. I saw the video, read several comments on it, and a couple of articles criticising Qureshi for his approach and attitude in the video. I haven’t seen Phantom and so I chose not to comment. But when I saw the uncalled for reaction to Qureshi’s video by some apologist pseudo intellectuals, especially by a couple of writers/bloggers, I was compelled to respond. I am a patriot at heart and I love my ...

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Is it compulsory to hate India, America and Israel, in order to love Pakistan?

A few days ago, I was sitting by the Indus River in Jamshoro, singing a patriotic song. Moments later, I noticed a fisherman who burst into laughter observing me. When I asked him why he was laughing, he said, “Saeen where is this Pakistan this song speaks of? Here, I don’t have the money to send my children to school or even shop for Eid. That aside, women are continuously killed in the name of honour, children are raped and such brutalities are recorded then sold. People are murdered because they belong to different sects or religions, be it Shias, Ahmadis, Christians etcetera. There’s no tolerance in this society. Hindus ...

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God Help the Child: A searing and unflinching reflection of childhood trauma

Author Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She is an 84-year-old writer who has been writing novels over the past 50 years which are charged by a visionary power and have subjected a dark aspect of American reality to scrutiny. She is an epicist of African-American experience and her oeuvre has recorded the progress (or lack thereof) in the struggle for human rights of the people of colour in the United States. In most of her novels, Morrison has written about the sufferings of African-Americans at the hands of their counterparts, the whites, in the United States. However, the premise of her latest novel is quite different. ...

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Where is Al Jazeera’s journalistic responsibility?

Al Jazeera News Network was recently in the news for relatively positive reasons. A surprise, one must say. Their editorial on “Why Al Jazeera will not say Mediterranean ‘migrants’”, grabbed attention not only among global media consumers but also various renowned media networks – who published scores of commentaries appreciating the stand taken by the media outlet. In their policy editorial by Barry Malone, Al Jazeera’s online editor, wrote, “At this network, we try hard through our journalism to be the voice of those people in our world who, for whatever reason, find themselves without one. Migrant is a word that strips suffering people of voice. Substituting refugee ...

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Why there is a dire need for Sindh Food Authority

My father has always taught us the importance of the three ‘H’ in our lives. These are health, happiness and humanism — health, being right on top of this list. But sadly, not enough attention has been paid to this particular ‘H’ in our country. If we look at the state of our public hospitals and healthcare generally, it’s a gloomy image. We can’t blame the government for every wrong that is happening in our country. We ourselves don’t pay enough attention to the quality of food we eat or the hygiene levels of the restaurants we eat at.  As long as ...

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