Stories published in December, 2016

The force reawakens with Rogue One

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story rests perfectly within the confines of the larger Star Wars universe genre and its related mythos. Directed by Gareth Edwards of the Godzilla (2014) fame, the movie includes a strong female protagonist, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), in the lead role, a first for the Star Wars franchise as well. Also, a first among a series of upcoming stand-alone movies from the Star Wars universe, Rogue One in its own capacity is an enjoyable movie and hits all the right notes when it comes to paying homage to its pedigree and lineage amongst other things. Set amongst the backdrop of the original Star Wars movie that started it all, Episode IV: A New ...

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In Karachi, beggars help muggers and the police can’t follow the law

I saw him 20 years ago, perched on a stool outside the Sulemania Mosque in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. He had no arms and no legs, and was fair complexioned like most of the western tourists that throng Istanbul. I will never forget the huge smile he gave me when I dropped a coin in the box held by a little boy standing next to the stool. Behind him on the wall, hung the license issued by the government allowing him to make a living through begging. Perhaps such licenses are issued to beggars and those who beg without a license are ...

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I am a Pakistani and I admire the prodigy that is Virat Kohli

I woke up early for the third day’s play of the fourth Test between India and England at Wankhede Stadium to see Virat Kohli getting to his double century. And of course, it followed with a typical Kohli celebration; a rather mature and modest celebration for a comparatively great achievement. I wanted to see it and when he flicked Adil Rashid to get to his double century, I gave him a standing ovation, albeit in front of the TV. How did it all start? How could I love someone who’s from India? How dare I admire someone, no matter how classy or brilliant he is, if he’s from India? How could I? [caption id="" ...

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Arresting 12 people for not standing for the national anthem is very alarming, India

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chain” This famous line from The Social Contract, a powerful treatise written by the 18th century French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, was an attack on the prevailing monarchical system in Europe. The book played an inspiring role in the French revolution while establishing individuals as a sovereign entity. Today, it is the same sovereignty of the individual which is under siege in democratic India. Currently, the political leadership is trying to contain individual freedom and intrude into the sovereign rights of the citizens in the name of nationalism and patriotism. The latest ruling of the Supreme ...

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Will Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ be just another glorified World War movie?

Faux-clever and quasi-mysterious to some, while pseudo-intellectual and cine-snob to others; irrespective of the amount of criticism levelled at Christopher Nolan over the years, we can all agree that The Dark Knight-famed filmmaker is one the most famous people alive. Whenever probed for a favourite director, most of the film students I teach would invariably come up with Nolan. Now whether that is a real reflection of his work or simply a by-product of his popularity is up for debate, but what we cannot deny is the cine-cult status that Nolan enjoys. So whether you like it or not, an early peek into ...

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When the martyred children of APS woke this nation up from its dead slumber

Tragedies unite nations, a lot more so than celebrations. Tragedies dissolve differences that divide us as we are emotionally forced to focus on one event rather than on each other. For the citizens of Pakistan, the Army Public School (APS) massacre of December 16, 2014 was that defining tragedy. As a nation, we had become numb or I dare say apathetic, to the killings of our fellow Pakistanis as long as we were not related to them. The extensive target killing of minorities in Pakistan hardly brought a noticeable moment of sorrow for most. APS changed all that. The images ...

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A letter to my abuser: You took advantage of me and made me believe it was my fault

Hi, I hope this letter finds you in good health. I know I’ve been avoiding you for quite some time now. Even when we’re at the same place at the same time, I act like I don’t know you’re there. But isn’t that funny? How I’ll always greet you sincerely, but try my best to avoid you for as long as possible? I can’t look into your eyes. I’m sure you’ve noticed. Why? Because I remember everything. I remember how aggressively you asked me to look straight into your eyes as your hand went inside my shirt. I stood there, unable to move, ...

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Aditya Chopra’s ‘Befikre’ is even worse than his ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayengay (DDLJ) is an all-time classic for all, especially for the 90’s generation who can’t hear anything bad against the movie. DDLJ’s overwhelming success made Aditya Chopra one of the most prominent filmmakers of Bollywood. The success that followed after is owed to his luck and strong casting sense. Movies like Mohabbatein which featured Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Ashwariya Rai is one such example. Unfortunately, Chopra’s third attempt, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, received below average/mixed reviews. After an eight-year hiatus, Chopra is back in business with Befikre. This movie, featuring Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor, is all about being carefree and carpe diem. Dharam (Ranveer Singh) ...

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Can Babar Azam prove to be Pakistan’s Virat Kohli in the near future?

Two stalwarts of Pakistan cricket, Misbahul Haq and Younis Khan, are about to retire from Test cricket. The cricket team is still struggling to find quality batsman who can fill in the enormous gaps left by these two star players. In this doom and gloom, young Babar Azam is a ray of hope for Pakistan cricket. Babar can prove to be a real asset for Pakistan, as he has the right technique and temperament for the game. Babar was in Pakistan’s ODI Squad for more than a year and in his short career he has achieved feats and laurels that many people can only dream about. Babar ...

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Why can’t we have Pakistani bands, DJs, and solo artists with massive fan bases in our own country?

Pakistan is home to a large population. It is harbouring so many talented musicians, some who we may never hear of, and Coke Studio hits. Then why is our music-loving population either humming Bollywood hits or songs from the Billboard Top 40 chart? This is because there is a lack of opportunities and exposure for local artists. Pakistan only has a handful of record labels that are famous for not promoting “unknown artists” and for taking away all creative control from the performer. One prime example of this is the now discontinued Fire Records that at one point managed every mainstream Pakistani artist with any notable fame. ...

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