Stories published in May, 2017

Why James Comey’s dismissal is testimony of Donald Trump’s dirty hands

The past 10 days in the American political spectrum have been marred by one scandal after another. The latest controversy has been triggered by President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey. This ushered in a new sense of chaos into an administration that is less than four-months-old and has already had to face a fair share of outrage stemming from the Muslim ban and other controversial cabinet appointments and legislative actions. The firing of Comey has intensified a crisis of credibility with the Trump administration, and more importantly it has raised fears on possible obstruction of justice being carried out by the ...

Read Full Post

Did Chelsea win the title with little or no fight from their competitors?

On Friday, May 12, 2017, upon beating West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, Chelsea confirmed mathematically that Tottenham Hotspur will not be able to catch up with them, thus confirming their second Premier League title in three years. If I were a Chelsea fan, which I’m not, this win wouldn’t feel right for a number of reasons. Chelsea’s Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi (R) scores the opening goal during their English Premier League match. Photo:AFP This season built a lot of promise; it began with confirmation that six of the best managers in the world would all be plying ...

Read Full Post

Blade Runner 2049: An evolved extension of the original cult classic?

Welcome back to Los Angeles (LA). The year is 2049 and LA is as grey, rainy and full of neon as it was some 30 years back. The whole landscape might have evolved, but there is no mistaking the fact that this is the same world that cinephiles fell in love with from the Blade Runner. The official trailer of Blade Runner 2049 has recently dropped and the moody and atmospheric world building is exceedingly reminiscent of its predecessor, the original 1982 Ridley Scott’s cult classic which was based on Philip Kindred Dick’s 1968 short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It’s not just the visuals; the plot ...

Read Full Post

Sarkar 3 is nothing but disappointment, Ram Gopal Varma

Ram Gopal Varma is the same genius who gave the world stellar films such as Drohi, Rangeela, Satya, Company and Rann. However, over a period of time, his movies seem to be losing their grip and the audience has little or no interest left in his upcoming ventures. The Sarkar series has a niche audience and we are yet to determine what the third installment has to offer to its viewers. Background Sarkar 3 has some really great performers in the cast, namely Amitabh Bachchan, Jackie Shroff, Manoj Bajpayee, Ronit Roy, Yami Gautam along with Amit Sadh, Bajrangbali Singh and Rohini Hattangdi. Photo: IMDb Photo: Screenshot The plot Sarkar 3 begins 10-15 years after the previous installment. Vishnu’s ...

Read Full Post

India’s absence from the OBOR forum is testimony of Modi’s failed foreign policy

China hosted a massive two-day international event between May 14 and 15 in Beijing to formally launch its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, which plans to connect Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. More than 65 countries participated in the summit and nearly half of them were represented by their heads of state and government. World powers such as the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and even Japan too were in Beijing. Apart from Bhutan, which does not have any diplomatic ties with China, all other South Asian countries took part. However, the Narendra Modi-led Indian government decided to give it a miss in spite of China’s repeated overtures. Nothing can explain this self-inflicted isolation of India except PM Modi’s ...

Read Full Post

Roads and religion: How CPEC will pit Pakistan against itself

‘Exclusive: CPEC Master Plan Revealed’, read a headline this week in Pakistan’s daily newspaper, Dawn. Instantly, news outlets from across the world scrambled to analyse the text of the now-viral article and provided their own respective analyses of this said master plan. The two words themselves seem especially ominous, harkening to the devious plots hatched by cunning antagonists in the spy movies of old. The words, however, in many ways do justice to what was revealed. The plan includes details of leasing large tracts of land to Chinese companies for ‘demonstration projects’ in agriculture with similar concessions in land granted for the construction of ...

Read Full Post

When our commercials think domestic violence is funny, how can we expect society to take it seriously?

For the second time in only a few months, several of us (hopefully millions) are baffled with the ‘sense of humour’ of the artists and creative people of our country. First, the horrendous joke about child molestation at the Hum Awards, and now the extremely offensive TV commercial talking about beating up (dhulai kerdi) your wife. If you found the advertisement funny, then let me warn you, either this blog is going to alter your patriarchal (slightly misogynistic) mind-set or it will deeply offend you. In both cases, I hope it will start a healthy discussion as to why several people deemed it acceptable ...

Read Full Post

Dear JI, why do you fear the emancipation of women in Pakistan?

Recently, the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) chief, Sirajul Haq, made a controversial speech that sparked a debate. In the speech, Haq tried to compare western culture to Pakistani culture and trivialised it by claiming that it advantaged individuality over everything else. In order to make his point, Haq gave several examples. He stated that in the West, children don’t live with their parents or take care of them when they grow old. However, the statement which really made the headlines was the anecdotal “evidence” he gave that in the West, men don’t even buy their girlfriends ice cream and couples pay for things separately. It was ironic that the JI chief tried to ...

Read Full Post

In India, women’s safety is a promise no one can keep

It was Mother’s Day recently and we couldn’t stop gushing in our seasonal tribute about our love and gratitude for our parent. The rest of the day, we patted ourselves on the back and declared ourselves super mommies who deserved their day in the sun or rather the spa. But away from all the bleeding hearts and not too far away from the national capital, a mother spent the day watching her 10-year-old girl in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Days later, she continues to do so. There can’t be a bigger irony, because our declarations on social media don’t have a pulse on ...

Read Full Post

The Big Sick: An apt portrayal of Pakistan-US stuck in a culture clash

Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani began stand-up comedy in 2009 and quickly rose to fame as one of the funniest comedians in the business. His success with stand-up led to small roles at first, but soon enough he landed his own live-comedy show The Meltdown with comedian Jonah Ray on Comedy Central. It was quickly followed by a starring role on one of the most hilarious Home Box Office (HBO) comedy series, Silicon Valley. Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick (2017). PHOTO: IMDb Nanjiani is perhaps still best known for his role as the Pakistani software-engineer, Dinesh Chughtai on Silicon Valley. That is most likely going to change with the release of ...

Read Full Post