Stories about film

Mommy: A whirlwind of emotion

Mommy is the fifth film written and directed by the ever talented Québécois filmmaker Xavier Dolan. The film won the Cannes Jury prize in 2014 and received a wide release last year. And yet again, his skills as a storyteller just leave me at loss for words. Anne Dorval plays the role of Diane Després, a widowed mother who now has to raise her troubled son Steve (Antoine Olivier Pilon) on her own. Along the way, Després is aided by her neighbour Kyla (Suzanne Clément) and together, they all form a special bond. Shot in rare 1:1 aspect ratio, Mommy projects an ...

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Why Good Morning Karachi fails to rise and shine

Good Morning Karachi, for Pakistani cinema, is amongst the few unconventional, path-breaking movies that we’ve come across in recent years. The reason is very simple; Good Morning Karachi is a female-oriented film with a female protagonist. Unfortunately, except for this bit, there is little else that is extraordinary about this film. So far, the movie has received mixed responses based on different factors. Perhaps an exploration of this movie is required. Before we begin, however, let me clarify that this film is not the Pakistani version of Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra-starrer Fashion (as many may insinuate). The entire movie is based on Rafina (Amna Ilyas), who belongs to ...

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PK – A movie buff’s delight!

PK has undeniably been the most anticipated movie for the last few years. Apart from Aamir Khan’s fans, even film critics have been waiting to see producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s and director Rajkumar Hirani’s combination of magic. PK revolves around a wide-eyed, rebellious yet innocent stranger in a city who goes by the initials of PK (Aamir) and the people he meets whilst exploring the new city. His journey starts from the middle of Rajasthan where he befriends a man named Bhairon Singh (Sanjay Dutt). Bhairon makes PK feel right at home but eventually, PK has to move on with his journey ...

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Govinda giving us a ‘Happy Ending’

Saif Ali Khan’s re-entry was a success back in the early 2000s. The hero who had fallen flat in the 90s was seen in a completely new light in movies like Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, Dil Chahta Hai, Hum Tum, Salam Namaste, Kal Ho Na Ho, Race and Love Aaj Kal etcetera. And in movies like Omkara and the likes, he overshadowed anyone else who may have been in the film with him.  Unfortunately, nowadays I feel Saif Ali Khan’s performance is a bleak reminder of the hero he was in the 90s – none of the movies he is doing have any nostalgic value or cinematic value nor ...

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I – It’s the taking part that counts

A muttering, foetal Katniss Everdeen confronts us from within the dark underbelly of District 13 in the opening shots of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I catapulting us into an unequivocal new era for The Hunger Games saga. From these first scenes, the tone is set for a grittier exploration into the dirty tactics of war and the casualties suffered by those unwillingly swept up in its path. Set predominantly in the subterranean world of District 13 – once thought to have been annihilated by the Capitol – now the nucleus of Panem rebel activity, Mockingjay Part I is quite literally a world apart from the pageantry and spectacle ...

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O21: Comically bad?

Perhaps the most impressive thing about O21 is that it was made at all. Aside from the fact that this bi-lingual Pakistani film boasts a talented cast of both Pakistani and foreign actors, and is helmed by filmmaker Jamshed Mahmood Raza, aka Jami – who here has directed his first feature length film – O21 also takes a risk by featuring a narrative that avoids all the cliché-ridden trappings of a Pakistani film. A bigger risk, however, is the pacing of the film, which at times is so slow that it makes the deliberately paced cinematic Steven Kubrick classic 2001: A Space Odyssey seem like Usain Bolt running on angel ...

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When a rape victim is ‘Outlawed in Pakistan’

Outlawed in Pakistan won an Emmy this year for Pakistan and this is a triumph that must be celebrated on many levels. Pulitzer Centre grantees Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann spent five years in making this 45-minute-long short film, exposing the inherently flawed justice system of Pakistan. It’s another addition to the success spree of alternate filmmaking in Pakistan, two years after Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won an Academy award for her documentary. It’s also an endeavour to bring forth the severe violation of women rights and how women, from extremely opposite social and economic backgrounds, work together to empower women all ...

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Why Fawad Khan is so ‘Khoobsurat’!

Jutt and Bond was where most of us first saw Fawad Afzal Khan. He was a skinny, lanky, clean shaven guy with bangs. Soon after, we were surprised to see him as the lead singer of Entity Paradigm (EP), a Pakistani nu metal band, with his husky, soulful voice and that pained musician look. That was when we, the female population of Pakistan, said to one another, “Hey, this guy’s not bad looking.” But little did we know that he would soon be making waves and creating magic on TV and the big screen. By frequently featuring in commercials, a few songs and TV serials ...

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Mary Kom: A punch in the right direction

When you think of movies under the Sanjay Leela Bhansali banner, you think of epic romances, of the colours blue, grey, and black, of love and passion, and women dancing in the most extravagant of lehngas. But the last thing you would expect from a Bhansali movie is a story about a young girl trying her luck in the patriarchal field of sports. This is why the movie Mary Kom was pleasantly surprising. But Mary Kom coming from a big production house is not why I liked it. I liked it because of the following reasons: 1) It is a biopic. This kind of cinema is really inspirational and it ...

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Tamanna: A step in the right direction for Pakistani cinema

There has to be something about a movie where a Pakistani audience sits silently in cinemas, where mobile texting and chatting during a movie is the norm otherwise, and watch two lead characters dominate the story in a single location for 83 minutes. Billed as Pakistan’s first ‘Film Noir’, Tamanna is definitely in a league of its own in the context of Pakistani cinema. Prominent film critic Taran Adarsh raised an important point upon release of the film Barfi!, “You don’t formulate movies (like Barfi!) targeting its box-office potential or its commercial prospects. You create such films for its passion of cinema.” This statement applies to Tamanna as ...

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