Should we be worried about Disney incorporating a gay character in Beauty and the Beast?

The inclusion of a gay character in Disney’s latest flick, a remake of Beauty and the Beast, has outraged many conservative Christians who believe that Disney is trying to push a “harmful sexual political agenda, one that offends the deeply held beliefs of countless parents and families”. Franklin Graham, a right-wing evangelical preacher marred in controversies, recently wrote on his Facebook account, “(Disney is) trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children—watch out! … I hope Christians everywhere will say no to Disney”.

Graham’s Facebook post has been shared nearly 95 thousand times at this ...

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Are Pakistani dramas losing the plot?

I am a closet drama viewer. There I said it. I am even part of a WhatsApp group that discusses and disses with equal panache anything on either side of the border and beyond. I don’t exactly recollect when this love fest started, perhaps it was as a child in my hometown Jalandhar in Punjab where we would excitedly catch an erratic signal from across the border telecasting the black and white drama Sona Chandi or maybe the reception was so blurry that we couldn’t really tell any colours! Then came ‘Tanhaiyan’ followed soon after by the iconic ‘Dhoop Kinare’, which we ...

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Karan Johar, Kangana Ranaut and male privilege

There is no doubt about Karan Johar’s immense talent. He sees Bollywood from a unique eye that captures its essence as well as its soul – what he creates on the big screen is nothing short of magical. In a gargantuan $4.5 billion industry like Bollywood, Johar and Dharma alone stand at $200 million. Johar combines the idyllic with the marketable. He is truly a dream merchant – whether it is when Shah Rukh Khan runs towards Kajol in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor dance at a wedding –Johar has a unique eye and an ...

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Wear red today

Indeed, today is the day to celebrate women. For those of us who are lucky enough to wake up to our mothers’ presence, we are aware of all the work they contribute to the house. Whether it is by showing love to their children, getting all the house-hold related chores in order or by making sure that there is always food on the table, mothers have always remained at the centre. In our society, being a mother is possibly one of the most unappreciated jobs. Historically, women were respected for raising children since there was no alternative option to full-time mothering. However, they ...

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Season six of Girls is a game changer. Here’s why.

The first thing that struck me about season six of Girls was how it wasn’t about the girls anymore. The show was no longer about the undeniable bond between four girls that stood unwavering through time. In the very first episode, Hannah (Lena Dunham) says to Paul-Louis (Riz Ahmed) – having him in the episode was enough for me to like it – that she only knew her friends by what they didn’t like. How odd is it to not know what your friends like? How odd is it to relish in that fact? She smirks as she says this and man, ...

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Did India just say it banned Lipstick Under My Burkha because it was too “lady oriented”? Seriously?

The deliberate silencing of women’s voices is a universal phenomenon; only the extent of it differs in different parts of the world. In a country like India, where women face a multitude of challenges, a desperate re-writing of the dominant male-centric narrative is required. And what better medium in India than the film industry to challenge the dominant narrative? This is what Prakash Jha thought when he set out to produce his latest movie, Lipstick Under My Burkha. The film is a sexual comedy, revolving around four independent women who, tired of being shackled to misogynistic norms, decide to break ...

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It isn’t hate speech for Yiannopoulos to say “feminism is cancer”, it’s just how he feels

In May of 2016, Ben Shapiro resigned from Breitbart News because it was a “propaganda outlet for Donald Trump”. That same month Shapiro posted a joyous announcement on social media, saying that his wife had given birth to their second child. With infinite gratitude to God, we're overjoyed to welcome to the world our new baby boy, who arrived at 10:30 this morning! — Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 8, 2016 In response, Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart mainstay Tweeted: “Prayers to Ben who had to see his kid come out half-black. And already taller than he is!” The Tweet included a photo of a black infant. ...

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Denzel Washington versus Casey Affleck: And the Oscar goes to… No!

You win some, you lose some. But there are some losses that hurt more than most. Ask Denzel Washington for instance, who had a really hard time accepting his defeat at the recent Oscars. Washington’s displeasure was pretty evident on hearing Casey Affleck’s name being announced as ‘Best Actor’, but an awkward smile was just the start. From then on, it went from bad to worse.  When the Manchester by the Sea star got on stage to give his acceptance speech for his first Oscar, the two-time Academy Award winner was unable to erase the scowl from his face. Washington then concluded his show of anger by shaking his head from ...

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“The media has needed Trump like a crack addict needs a hit!”

Remember the time when Donald Trump’s chances of winning the elections were as promising as minorities in Pakistan gaining equal rights? A year ago, no one could have imagined that Trump would win the 2016 Presidential Elections. But win he did and I believe the media, in its quest for ratings, played a crucial part in mainstreaming him. I used to be an avid reader of  The New York Times, and during election season, all I would see were stories either covering one of his many erroneous claims (in a bid for ratings), or magnanimous praises for Hillary Clinton’s “pragmatic” politics over the “idealised” politics of Bernie Sanders. Bernie was ...

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Do Pakistan’s leaders care more about extravagant weddings than the well-being of their own citizens?

Imagine this: The lights danced on the ceiling and in her eyes. There was silk, chiffon, satin, velvet… all of it – their touch as light as water. Scores of boxes arrived from the jewellers filled with bright diamonds, gold as shiny as the sun, ocean-blue sapphires, scarlet rubies and emeralds as green as lush green leaves of an oak tree. There were glittering shoes, wafting smells of sumptuous food samples beckoning, piles of gift bags sharply wrapped up and more. Saleha hid behind her mother, staring at everything in pure awe. Her mother Jannat was an old cleaning lady who was a trusted servant of this ...

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