sami.saayer

Sami Saayer

A Dubai based Pakistani looking for excuses to write.

Baaji is not a film – it’s a joke

The Pakistan cricket team had a terrible day against India in the World Cup. That was disappointing. Yesterday, I interviewed a candidate for a position and despite a great profile on paper, the interview was quite mediocre. That was also very disappointing. But both these disappointments combined, added with other top 20 disappointments I have had in the last 30 days, are still less than a quarter of the disappointment that Baaji was. Let’s face it, the trailer for Baaji did not turn the screen ablaze; however, there was still hope. Saqib Malik once directed Khamaj, arguably the best music video ...

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Laal Kabootar is a strong, well-made film but fails at being a trendsetter

Films such as Laal Kabootar have a much bigger responsibility to cinema, particularly for Pakistani cinema, which is going through an interesting phase of its life cycle. Pakistani cinema’s revival is over; it is now in the maintenance stage. I don’t think it will go down to the disaster that it was, but whether it grows further or not remains to be seen. In order for cinema to grow, all kinds of audiences have to start coming to the theatres; the kind who would watch Kahaani or Andhadhun over Thugs of Hindostan. If you go wrong in making a Jawani Phir Nahi Ani or a Na Maloom Afraad, there ...

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Rustic and audacious, The Legend of Maula Jatt is a risk that just might pay off for Pakistani cinema

At the time of writing this article, the trailer for The Legend of Maula Jatt (LoMJ) has already garnered around three million views on multiple accounts on Facebook, around one million views on YouTube, and more than a million views through different reaction videos. It has generated the hype it truly deserved. Anurag Kashyap was one of the first ones to tweet about the trailer, while the likes of Karan Johar, Alia Bhatt and Sonam Kapoor are full of praise for what they have seen. Maula Jatt is back and this time its @_fawadakhan_ https://t.co/bgkA3017C3 #TheLegendofMaulaJatt #MaulaJatt — Anurag Kashyap (@anuragkashyap72) ...

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Zero: Too many flaws and not enough ink

Newly released Zero, starring Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma in lead roles, reminded me strongly of Shahid Kapoor’s Mausam. Similar to Mausam, Zero has a strong premise.  However, the 20 subplots it takes to explore this subject in a lengthy 165-minutes narrative makes it a tedious watch. It is a film with a good heart but the body of the film has a more acute case of cerebral palsy than the lead character of the film does. Zero has a misleading title. It should have been called six. Or seven. This is the number of stories the ...

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From the moneymaker to the ‘accidental hero’, 2018 has been a booming year for our film industry

The year is almost over, and there is no doubt the ‘revival’ of Pakistani cinema continued in 2018. It would even be fair to say the so-called revival phase is over and the industry has stabilised to a degree. It should only go up from here, as our filmmakers have now understood the basic needs of the modern cinema going audience. While production values, music and the film treatments have significantly improved, the stories remain the weak link. However, this is a problem with most large-scale films, even across the border. Yes, there are still some black sheep insisting ...

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From Dil Dil Pakistan to Dil Dil Hindustan

They say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, which is partly true. Imagine a comedian friend in your group, making fun of the way you walk or the way you talk or some of your special behaviour. Everyone will have a laugh at your expense but you might still be able to enjoy it too. However, I am not sure if plagiarism (an obvious kind of “imitation”) is the best form of flattery. Imagine a music director or a writer spending hours and hours of their time on creating something original and someone casually takes it, rephrases or re-tunes it ...

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Sanju is not the best film by Rajkumar Hirani but it is still definitely worth a watch!

There aren’t many films that you want to review after watching the teaser. When I was approached about reviewing Sanju, in my head I was saying, “Are you kidding me, of course I’ll do it!” Also, in my head, I was sure it was going to set the box office on fire and define new benchmarks of how to make a biopic. And I was not the only one. Yes, there aren’t many films that carry as many expectations as Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju did. The challenge for someone like Hirani is how to surpass what he has already made and how ...

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Charismatic and heartwarming, ‘Cake’ is a dessert Pakistani cinema has never tried before

Admittedly, the trailer of the film Cake had a very Kapoor & Sons vibe. In the film itself, this vibe continues for the first 15 minutes or so. However, the resemblance soon fizzles out, and Cake presents itself as a dessert you have never tried before; an original recipe with perfect ingredients, making it a dish to savour. Cake is all about people fighting inner demons in the milieu of relationships, emotional dependencies, empathy, sacrifices and loss. Death, or a discussion about death, circles around the events in this deceptively intricate film, as it did in the case of Kapoor & ...

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In memory of Shashi Kapoor: When nostalgia meets fantasy

Carving Shashi Kapoor’s career is not an easy task. Despite the burden of the surname Kapoor, Shashi made his own identity in the industry with his less-than-perfect but contagious smile. Photo: Getty Not many would know his real name, Balbir Raj Kapoor; can you imagine him with such a heavy and stentorian name? On the screen, he was a tender enchanter and the boy-next-door. In every single film he was in, he would just blushingly smile with his crooked teeth showing and announce, “I am not Balbir Raj, I am just Shashi.” He lived under the shadow of Amitabh ...

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This isn’t the first time Shahid Afridi decided to retire, but will it be the last?

Recently, Shahid Afridi announced his retirement from international cricket. This is not the first time this has happened, and it’s probably not the last either. #ShahidAfridi1996: Debut2011: Retired2011: Came back2014: Retired2014: Came Back2016: Retired2016: Came Back2017: Retired — Umair Shahid (@UmairShahidK) February 20, 2017 FUN FACT: Shahid Afridi has announced retirements under three different US Presidents. — Abhishek (@absycric) February 20, 2017 However, what it does do is give me the opportunity to analyse the retirement process in international cricket and how different teams go about it. Let’s start with our favourite (not): India: They don’t retire. Not easily at least. Some continue to play until they break a ...

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