Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

This is an ‘Islamic’ republic: You can’t sit next to your wife!

If you thought that of all the places to eat in Pakistan, McDonalds would be relatively safe from extreme behaviour, falsely made in the name of religion, sadly, you would be quite wrong. Unfortunately, I just found this out the hard way, and in an incident that left a worse taste in my mouth than the culinary abortions the burger joint had on offer. Just yesterday, a little after midnight on Sunday, my wife and I, coming back from a friend’s birthday party, decided to stop at Karachi’s newest McDonald’s restaurant at Defence Phase 1 for some Diet Coke. Rather ...

Read Full Post

Neil Armstrong: Never the showman, always the astronaut

Ask any serious sci-fi fan, and they will tell you that the most compelling piece of science fiction has a strong element of plausibility. If you can suspend your disbelief long enough to believe that the fiction you are consuming is within the realms of possibility, then your imagination’s immersion within that universe is likely to be deeper. In that sense, science fiction fans have much to thank the people at NASA for, who in bringing about the moon landing, unshackled the gates of imagination for the minds of countless, including myself. Although I was born 11 years after American astronauts ...

Read Full Post

Batman shooter: Mentally ill, not a terrorist

If you are a Muslim, or have Muslim friends, chances are that you’ve seen the gem above doing the rounds on social media websites like Facebook, where the caption states that had Holmes been a Muslim, he would have automatically been labelled a terrorist by the American media. Heck, you only have to visit video coverage of Holmes’ violent shooting spree on YouTube, or read the news reports on websites like CNN, to find random comments from outraged Muslims asking why he wasn’t labelled a ‘terrorist’. But let’s just backtrack a little, in case ...

Read Full Post

At Espresso: Religion on a caffeine high

So the other day I went to pray at a local mosque, when I realised that it was time for my coffee, which I religiously consume at regular intervals throughout the day. Naturally, I asked the local Imam how I could find a deliciously hot cup of Joe in the premises, when he politely told me that I was out of luck since I was in a house of prayer, and not a coffee shop. My love for the beverage clouded my judgement, and I initially thought he was jesting. When I tried to make things easier on him by ...

Read Full Post

Saving Face: A masterpiece documentary

With a runtime of barely 40 minutes, Saving Face is short for a documentary, but it has the might to touch the soul with the potency of a powerful full length feature. Directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, this 2012 Academy Award winner for ‘Best Documentary (Short Subject)’ is a glimpse into the lives of several acid attack victims in Pakistan, their tormentors, and the good people fighting to help them find some light in the haunting darkness of their situation. One of these Good Samaritans is Dr Mohammad Jawad, a ...

Read Full Post

No one wants to tour Pakistan

As someone who has watched Pakistan play cricket on numerous occasions overseas, as well as in Karachi, I can tell you the experience is enormously different at home. Overseas, the seats are comfortable, the stadiums in pristine condition, the crowds well-behaved, the food non-threatening and no eyesore security grill to separate the playing area from the spectators. At home, the seats will put your rear to sleep, the biryani is spicy enough to make you wish you brought antacid with you, and the frighteningly energetic crowd is so loud that you can’t speak to the person next to you without the aid ...

Read Full Post

10 things I hate about being a Pakistani gamer

For many in Pakistan, video games are still in the same category as children’s cartoons – which I still watch, by the way. But for hardcore gamers, video games can be a form of art that aside from providing entertainment, can also stimulate one on an artistic and intellectual level. Personally, I’d like to see a child perfectly execute a bomb disposal with zero casualties in the tactical shooter, Rainbow Six, or lead their nation to world domination in the strategy game, Sid Meier’s Civilisation. Also, I’d love to see a child frag me in an online shooter, like Battlefield. Okay, ...

Read Full Post

The Hunger Games: Stimulate your mind

If the best games stimulate the mind and the body, then The Hunger Games belongs near the top of the pile. Adapted from a novel bearing the same name by Suzanne Collins, this first installment in a trilogy is a superb dramatic action film, which engages the grey matter on various levels, thanks to its rich depth in characterisation, as well as a subtle multi-layered narrative. Set in a dystopian future in North America, things start with 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who feeds her little sister Primrose (Willow Shields), and her widowed mother (Paula Malcomson), ...

Read Full Post

Contraband hits and misses

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur, Contraband is an unremarkable heist movie, which features little in the way of action, and instead tries hard to build tension with narrative. The film stars Mark Wahlberg (Chris Farraday) as a former smuggler, who has given up the crooked life to live honestly with his wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale) and children. The movie shifts into second gear when Chris’s brother-in-law Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), who also happens to be a smuggler, is forced to dump his consignment of drugs from a cargo ship in order to ...

Read Full Post

Top 5 video games of 2011

5. Mortal Kombat: FATALITY! Available on the PS3 and Xbox 360, this notoriously gory fighting game returned to its 2D roots this year, in what turned out to be one awesome game. Not only is this ninth instalment in the Mortal Kombat franchise fun to play with friends over the internet or by sitting side by side, but it also features a very good singleplayer campaign, with a storyline fleshy enough to have Mortal Kombat fans salivating. In fact, the narrative is so good that many critics found MK9 to be the best at storytelling in 2011. Now who would have ...

Read Full Post