Wonder Woman is just another run-of-the-mill superhero movie with hyper-feminist overtones

Another month and yet another superhero movie hits the theaters. Okay, another superheroine movie if you are hell-bent on being such a pedant. Oh and by the way,Gal Gadot, this larger-than-life female character, is a former Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer. Why is that even relevant, you might ask? Well for starters, we as a nation have this strong aversion to all things Isareli, and secondly, one of our brotherly Muslim state Lebanon has banned the screening of Wonder Woman on accounts of Gadot serving time in the Israeli military, who lest we forget are responsible for the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people. Okay now just to be absolutely clear, ...

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Date shake, hummus, bite-sized sandwiches and peri bites – what more can one want for iftar?

Once again, I’m reminiscing about UK times. Iftar was an exorbitant affair. We used to open our fasts in the campus mosque where different groups of people, usually from the local community, used to host iftars. The menu was different every day, and in addition to desi pakoras, jalebis and samosas followed by qorma, biryani or pulao, we got to experience different dishes from around the world. They ranged from Malaysian satay and lemang to Arabian Margoog and Kabsa. Rooh Afza was of course the staple drink, the undisputed favourite transcending all cultural barriers. In Pakistan, we are experiencing long ...

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The Forty Rules of Love taught me that we’ve been asking ourselves all the wrong questions

It is a well-known belief that God speaks to His people through the strangest of things. You could be sitting quietly, minding your own business, and out of nowhere emerges a sign that seems to be God sent. Or if you were me, you would have been walking around the airport bookshop, waiting for your delayed flight, and by sheer luck found a book peeking at you through the shelf. Generally, I don’t judge books by their covers, or their titles, but this one was different. I fell in love with Elif Shafak’s ‘The Forty Rules of Love’ the moment I saw it. This was despite ...

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Nothing can save ‘The Circle’ from its circle of destruction

With the advent of information technology, the debate about privacy protection has raised numerous questions concerning law, policy making and moral principles. The disclosures of Edward Snowden have proven that privacy threats are genuine. The internet and social media are also being frequently used for global electronic surveillance programs.  The 21st century cinema is thrilled to cover stories of global scandals and the risks associated with the use of advanced technology. The various techno-thrillers and sci-fi dramas, with near-future science imaginary tales have already covered plentiful digital conspiracy and apocalyptic stories. The Spectacular Now (2013) and The End Of The Tour (2015) famed film director and screenwriter, James Ponsoldt’s latest venture is also about ...

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Hong Du Noodles: Is this what good food is supposed to look and taste like?

Here’s what might happen when you walk into Islamabad’s curious new food joint on Hilal Road, F-11. You’ll find a grand total of two tables bathed in yellow light, in a space enclosed within quirky green, neo-oriental wallpaper. Both of these tables are occupied by Chinese patrons. One of the parties may immediately vacate their seats on seeing you, and offer you their table. You realise that these are the owners and operators of this proud family business. Seated at the table, which is neither lavish nor comfortable, you may ask to see a menu. There is no menu. The Chinese owner/chef/waiter, in a faded green ...

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15-minute recipes for a scrumptious and easy sehri: Spicy daal and fried qeema

The month of Ramazan is just a couple of days away, and for Muslims around the world, it represents patience, compassion and self-restraint. Oh, and of course thirst and hunger. Naturally, all this demands a fulfilling sehri to help us survive the long summer days we’re about to experience. I still remember the good old days when Ramazan used to fall during winter. The roza used to last for mere seven to eight hours – something that seemed never ending back then, but compared to these summer rozas, seem miniscule. One of the best Ramazans I spent was when I had gone for my Masters to the UK. Sehri used to ...

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‘Aadhay Adhooray Khawab’: Exploring the death of creativity through education

Shahid Siddiqui’s ‘Aadhay Adhooray Khawab’ is like a tangible dream you can hold in your hands. You are a part of a chain and a constellation of dreams, only if you believe in the beauty of the imagination. This novel is a dazzling critique of educational practices in Pakistan. It distinguishes itself from other contemporary Urdu fiction through its content, diction, and style. The story follows the journey of a devoted teacher, Saharan Rai, who is selfless and gallant, and uses his heart and soul to fulfil his dreams. This is where it gets interesting. Rai’s dreams are universal and he illustrates the same desire that many ...

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Half Girlfriend fails to even half-impress the audience

Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Wake Up Sid (2009), and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) were some of the few memorable coming-of-age Bollywood movies and my favourites too. Half Girlfriend, directed by Mohit Suri, had to be a coming-of-age movie as well, but it did not live up to its expectations. The movie will prove to be quite a disappointment for those who have read the book written by Chetan Bhagat. Arjun Kapoor plays Madhav Jha, a boy from Bihar while Shraddha Kapoor plays Riya Somani. From the beginning of the movie, it is quite evident that both characters are poles apart. Where Madhav can’t even construct one coherent sentence in English, Riya speaks fluent ...

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‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ is too busy, too long and marginally entertaining

The fascinating tales from the life and times of King Arthur have been the subject of various big and small screen works. The latest cinematic foray inspired by the intriguing folklore of the British leader comes to us from director Guy Ritchie, who explores the origin and rise of the legendary ruler in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The film is a frenetic big-budget adventure that isn’t nearly as captivating or exciting as it should be but still manages to be marginally entertaining. The action commences as the power-hungry Vortigern (Jude Law) betrays his brother, King Uther (Eric Bana), ...

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Sarkar 3 is nothing but disappointment, Ram Gopal Varma

Ram Gopal Varma is the same genius who gave the world stellar films such as Drohi, Rangeela, Satya, Company and Rann. However, over a period of time, his movies seem to be losing their grip and the audience has little or no interest left in his upcoming ventures. The Sarkar series has a niche audience and we are yet to determine what the third installment has to offer to its viewers. Background Sarkar 3 has some really great performers in the cast, namely Amitabh Bachchan, Jackie Shroff, Manoj Bajpayee, Ronit Roy, Yami Gautam along with Amit Sadh, Bajrangbali Singh and Rohini Hattangdi. Photo: IMDb Photo: Screenshot The plot Sarkar 3 begins 10-15 years after the previous installment. Vishnu’s ...

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