Zainab.Imam

Zainab Imam

A journalist, on a hiatus to pursue a Masters in Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Gender parity advocate, urban policy enthusiast. She tweets @zainabimam (twitter.com/zainabimam) and blogs at gulaabjamun.wordpress.com

Student of the Year: A trip down memory lane

 It is the mash up of the year but still somehow manages to be its own film.  Karan Johar’s Student of the Year (SOTY) will remind you of at least four films: Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Main Hoon Na and Aisha. There’s also a bit of Rang De Basanti somewhere (rich father constantly putting down his eccentric son) and Dostana (gay principal; gay editor). However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing when a film is as entertaining as SOTY and has the vintage KJo feel to it without being a tear-jerker. Contrary to popular perception before the film’s release, SOTY is not a souped-up version of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. In fact, it ...

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Why Heroine is a let-down

I must begin by lamenting the fact that I blew off most of the Pakistan versus Bangladesh World T20 match to go watch Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine. Yes, the emphasis is on Bhandarkar, not lady lovable Kareena Kapoor. I have been a Bhandarkar fan since Page 3 and, with Fashion, he demonstrated to an extent that he was capable of working with bigger names like Priyanka Chopra. However, the director is really just a star of multiplex cinemas and disappoints with Heroine. When you make a film with a super-duper star like Kareena Kapoor, everything else must also match the glamour and ...

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Why Rajesh Khanna was Bollywood’s first superstar

Superstars have a persona so larger than life that we seem to forget that they are but mortals and they too will depart from the world like every other human being. It is the end of an era. On Wednesday, Bollywood’s original superstar Rajesh Khanna died at the age of 69 in his Mumbai residence after prolonged illness. As the world grieved his loss, the phrase “Bollywood’s first superstar” became the buzzword for all the obituaries in local, Indian and foreign media. “I understand that he was a big, big star but how is he the first superstar?” asked a Bollywood aficionado friend of mine. “What about ...

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Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu: Not everyone has to fall in love

If there’s one film that will immediately launch a heated debate between boys and girls, it is Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu. Imran Khan plays the role of Rahul, a 25-year-old nice guy who has recently lost his job as an architect in Las Vegas and whose only real ambition in life is to please his parents. The parents, played by supremely-talented actors Boman Irani and Ratna Pathak-Shah, are a business couple who love their only son and have provided him a luxurious life. They are, however, perfectly comfortable with imposing their ...

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Agneepath: Why remakes are worth it

They say you shouldn’t redo a role that Amitabh Bachchan has done before. And if the role is the character of Vijay Deenanath Chauhan in Agneepath, then the only thing you should be redoing is mulling over your decision to replay it. Hrithik Roshan went through that process of thinking and then rethinking some more, and as a Bollywood fan, I am grateful that he decided to take up the challenge. He did justice to the character of an angry young man whose sole purpose in life is to avenge the death of ...

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From Osama to Qaddafi: Grieving for the rest of the world

Pakistanis are one of the most compassionate nations in the world, it seems, for whenever anyone dies anywhere in the Muslim world, a group of Pakistanis will gather to pray for the departed soul. However, there is a special requirement to qualify to be prayed for in Pakistan: you must have killed and tortured thousands and be recognised as a tyrant the world over. A case in point is that of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, for whom not only funerals in absentia were organised, University of Punjab students even held a competition to pay tribute to ‘Sheikh Osama’. Admittedly ...

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Making sense of the Sarfraz Shah verdict

On August 12, history was made. A paramilitary soldier, standing trial in a civilian court, was sentenced to death for extrajudicial murder in Karachi – the city that lives under the watchful eyes of over 10,000 Rangers. This verdict has not only criminalised an unlawful killing but has also declared that an act of terrorism is just that, even if the perpetrator is a security official. This anti-terrorism court has upheld “the rule of law”. However, the judgment – and the precedent that it has set – has, at best, received a mixed response. One section of the people, although without outrightly ...

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Sorry to annoy you but it’s my right

After a recent poll by Thomson Reuters Foundation stated that Pakistan is the world’s third most dangerous country for women, many men moaned. What else do you women want, they say, looking at their women colleagues who earn as much as them and get the same perks and privileges. Here is what we want: a realistic view of the acute problem of discrimination against women in our society. Even if we do not talk about sexual and domestic violence that Pakistani women are routinely subjected to, there is still a long way to go to address the chauvinistic attitudes that remain ...

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Guns are a problem, not a solution

Pakistani journalists have been allowed to carry guns to protect themselves. This brilliant solution has been offered by none other than Interior Minister Rehman Malik who has, in the past, offered many such pearls of wisdom, particularly over the unabated spate of target killings in Karachi. There is evidence enough that journalism is one of the most dangerous professions in Pakistan. In a recent statement, the Committee to Protect Journalists has ranked Pakistan the tenth most dangerous place in the world for journalists to work and, according to the International Federation of Journalists, five journalists have died in Pakistan in ...

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Afridi, as I see him

Two bloggers face off on Afridi’s controversial resignation – were his actions justified or did ego get the best of him? The Pakistan Cricket Board had it coming: Zainab Imam Someone had to go against them and who better than Shahid Afridi – Lala to his fans – who not only says he has public support and doesn’t need anything more, but also behaves like it. Many believe that Afridi has a personal agenda against the board which is why he, loved and hated for his mercurial temperament, has taken the bull by the horns. They point to the day he announced ...

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