sami.saayer

Sami Saayer

A Dubai based Pakistani looking for excuses to write.

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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Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya: Another DDLJ-inspired Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya?

I am all for nostalgia. I am all for reviving things which have been lost to oblivion. That still does not mean you bring back Rana Navedul Hasan and make him Pakistan’s Test captain and then make him centre of your team’s imagery. ‘Tamma Tamma’ is not as old as Rana. It is, nonetheless, 27-years-old. The current generation has recently been fed with many a song from the 90s and 80s in almost every other movie. The most recent one being ‘Laila o Laila’ where Sunny Leone tries to save a sinking ship called Raees. However, Leone is no Zeenat Aman, just like Alia Bhatt is no Madhuri Dixit. Rest assured, the recent ‘Tamma Tamma Again’ is ...

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If we take out the romantic element, M S Dhoni could be considered an all-time great biopic

Not too long ago, Bollywood released a cricket biopic of a fallen star called Azhar (2016). Among other things that went wrong with Azhar, the biggest problem with it was the mockery it made of cricket. Even before Azhar, films like Kai po che! (2013) and Victory (2009) also struggled to show the sport the way it is played. Admittedly, it’s very difficult to make sports genre movies because you have actors playing the sport that may not be their strength. However, if you miss the basic laws of the game, there is a bigger problem than the actor. M ...

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Actor In Law: Manmohan Desai’s brand of cinema

Let me admit that I did not know who Nabeel Qureshi was before entering the theatre to watch Actor In Law. I did not watch Na Maloom Afraad (2014), primarily because of its eerily similar appearance to Hera Pheri (2000), until I watched it a couple of weeks back. Nevertheless, the trailer of Actor In Law was intriguing despite, yet again, giving a similar feel to that of Govinda’s Kyo Kii… Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta (2001), which was similar to Liar Liar (1997) of Jim Carey. I was intrigued because it’s not very often that you get a chance to see Om Puri in a Pakistani film. If Actor in Law was made 30 years ago, Amitabh ...

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Watch Azhar if you are a Mohammad Azharuddin fan, don’t watch it if you are a cricket fan

Bollywood has had its own share of fascination with biopics and sports movies alike, and most of the films in both genres have suffered from various problems. Biopics have suffered because of the glorification of the heroes, making them much larger than they actually were in reality. This is evident in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, The Dirty Picture or the countless Bhagat Singh movies. Even though Milkha Singh won accolades and awards across the country, the exaggeration in his character development was painfully evident. Sports films, on the other hand, have suffered from the lack of technical knowledge of the sport itself. Goal ...

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Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Communicating the secular message of modern India

I have to admit, I went to watch Bajrangi Bhaijaan (BB) with a lot of prejudice. I am not a big fan of Kabir Khan and have not liked Kareena Kapoor’s acting in any other movie than Jab We Met. I am not a Salman Khan fan either and despite that, I watch all his Eid releases on the first day. I had four hypotheses before going to the theatre and I had made an outline of the review I was going to write. Generally it’s a set template for a Kabir and Salman film. Nonetheless, my predetermined conclusion of BB ...

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Kick: Of course all laws of physics and science are defied… it’s a bhai film!

What Indian cinema fans feel about Salman Khan is somewhat similar to what Pakistanis feel about Shahid Afridi. We will never compare him with any other player of the world. We know he doesn’t have any clue about what he is doing most of the time and we still cheer for him. He fails more than he succeeds but we love him and want him to do well. I belong to a generation that was inspired by Salman Khan, or bhai as his fans would call him. Teenagers started going to gym, their fashion sense changed and their hairstyles varied with his new looks. I also ...

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Highway: So much more than a love story

I have the tendency to overanalyse an Imtiaz Ali film. I kept looking for Heer Ranjha in Rockstar and derived multiple interpretations from the coffee mugs of Love Aaj Kal. And then came Highway – an invitation card to find layer upon layer of symbols. Although a film that sounds like just another love story based on Stockholm Syndrome from a distance, Highway has a lot more to offer when you come closer; a lot more substance, a lot more feel. And definitely something a lot more important than a mere love story. The question is, is it even a love story in the first ...

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