Stories published in September, 2017

‘Insidious: The Last Key’ looks like yet another spooky addition to a franchise that almost always delivers on the scares

If there’s one genre that Hollywood can’t get enough of, it is the horror genre. And understandably so, horror films are cheap to make, even easier to market and can almost always guarantee increasing returns, regardless of their critical reception. The Insidious franchise is one of the prime examples of this. Launched in 2010 by director James Wan’s Insidious, the franchise has accumulated $370 million worldwide with its three films. This is highly impressive because all three films had production budgets of $10 million or less. Insidious: The Last Key is the fourth and latest instalment in the franchise. And like the Conjuring franchise did ...

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Watch ‘Na Maloon Afraad 2’ for the entertainment movie that it is, nothing more

In 2014, Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza paired up to direct and produce Na Maloom Afraad and it proved to be an instant box office hit. It is the longest running movie in Pakistani cinemas since 2007, beating the records of Khuda Kay Liye and Waar. After three years, the duo returned to direct and produce Na Maloom Afraad 2, which was released over Eidul Azha. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the movie, it is important to applaud and appreciate the fact that two remarkable Pakistani movies, Punjab Nahi Jaungi and Na Maloom Afraad 2, were released in succession. This is a ...

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Is Sarahah just another way to put people in their place, without telling them it’s you who has done so?

It feels as though nothing under the sun will ever be new again. The movies are all sequels or reboots, the series all follow similar story arcs and the tech world is glutted with the same kind of boring distractions. The latest fad on our smartphones is a ‘new’ anonymous messaging application called Sarahah, and it promises nothing more. One makes an account, posts the link onto various social media websites that one is in the habit of using, such as Facebook, and your ‘friends’ can send you anonymous messages. Sarahah is essentially an honesty app that gives people the courage to ...

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Kim Jong Un’s impudence is merely food for internal consumption, not words to be taken at face value

In contemporary history, the memory of the 1953 Korean War has been somewhat overshadowed by the internecine World War II that concluded some seven years before it.   Over three weeks, a collective five million civilians and military personnel perished on both sides of the Korean peninsula, entire villages were destroyed and cities obliterated. Hostilities were first stoked when the then North Korean despot Kim II Sung invaded the South, postulating a reunification of the peninsula. The South Koreans, allied with the United States then as they are now, were aided by the first large-scale air campaign conducted by the US Air Force as well ...

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Gowhar, the nun-e-phol of Kashmir, and the ruthless killing machine that is the Indian CRPF

He was amongst the younger children. I remember him as a frail boy with prominent cheekbones. When he would smile, the dent in his cheeks would turn into a dimple. Whenever we would play cricket in the field and needed to toss, he would toss the bat up in the air with excitement and say, “Akh, ze, tra!” (One, two, three!) Being one of the younger children in the neighbourhood meant that Gowhar often got to play du taraf (both sides). For us, the older boys, children such as Gowhar were called nun-e-phol (a chunk of salt). It is an intriguing word in Kashmiri children’s vocabulary. ...

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India couldn’t beat us in 1965, can’t beat the stronger Pakistan of today either

In the early hours of September 6, 1965, India initiated an unannounced military offensive against Pakistan. General Jayanto Nath Chaudhry’s self-confidence had gone a “peg” too far. His famous dream of “drinking at Lahore Gymkhana” that evening was soon shattered by brave Pakistani troops. India did gain some territory, but ended up losing a lot more. Pakistan’s unexpected response and India’s heavy losses of men, material and territory brought the Indian confidence-plus-ambition down several notches and suddenly, negotiations became an option. The Tashkent Agreement ended hostilities and the (mis)adventure came to an end. It wasn’t the first misadventure and it certainly wasn’t to be ...

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Punjab Nahi Jaungi will make you feel the pangs of a love story and the pleasures of a romantic comedy

News of the recently released Punjab Nahi Jaungi instantly caused an equal and opposite reaction in my mind – I will not go to watch it. Why, you ask? Well, here are four formidable reasons answering your question: 1.The first reason was perhaps due to the very actor-producer Humayun Saeed who, in my personal opinion, did not qualify to be the silver screen ‘hero’. 2. The second reason being that Punjab Nahi Jaungi’s early poster was unveiled about two months prior to the movie’s release. It was not only in bad taste but also smelled of rotten romantic comedies. #PunjabNahiJaungi trailer is releasing tomorrow! ...

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Silencing the ink: Gauri Lankesh, a fearless journalist of courage

Gauri Lankesh’s Facebook profile picture that features Rohith Vemula, with the caption ‘Punish the culprits’, gives you an idea of the kind of person she was – fearless. Posted by Gauri Lankesh on Monday, January 18, 2016 The 55-year-old senior journalist was shot dead outside her residence in Ideal Home Layout in Rajarajeswari Nagar, Bengaluru, late yesterday evening. Not one to soften the blows Lankesh was known for her radical views and was gutsy about embracing ideologies that were not very compatible with the powers that be. She was not one to soften her blows using a velvet glove while her approach to everything in life ...

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Money, fame, respect and glory – it was all there for Sharjeel Khan, but it still wasn’t enough

It’s the last ball of the 22nd over. Pakistan is chasing a mammoth total against Australia in the fifth ODI at Adelaide. Sharjeel Khan is standing strong and handsome at 70 with Pakistan’s hopes of winning resting on his shoulders. Adam Zampa throws a tossed up delivery outside the off stump, Khan has a good look at it before he powerfully swings his bat across the line and sends the ball sailing over the wide-on boundary for a six. Sharjeel Khan pulls, Australia v Pakistan, 5th ODI, Adelaide, January 26, 2017. Photo: AFP The ball I just recalled could ...

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How Bollywood’s curtain call became a blessing in disguise for Pakistan

This has been a year of reformation and introspection for Pakistan’s entertainment industry. After India closed its doors to Pakistani artists in the wake of the Uri attack last year, Pakistani artistes – who were minting a heavy buck from the biggest culture industry in Asia, Bollywood – were forced to come up with a plan B. Nothing can compare to the attention and recognition a successful project in India can bring. In fact, a lot of Pakistani artistes still bank on that one short role (that nobody remembers) to enhance their portfolio. But as Junoon said in their song, “khwaab ...

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