Stories published in November, 2017

‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is an unremarkable, conventional and lifeless adaptation of one of the most renowned classics

In an age when cinema and filmmaking is arguably at its biggest, it is surprising that the ‘whodunit’ seems like a genre from a bygone era. While television shows like Twin Peaks, Sherlock and the latest Riverdale have continued to reinforce the classical construct of the genre increasingly well and creatively, only a handful of films, in recent times, have tried to bring the genre back to life. This, again, is surprising because nothing gets ‘butts in seats’ like a good, old-fashioned murder-mystery with a twist. Director and actor Kenneth Branagh likely feels the same way, which can only explain why he decided to adapt Agatha ...

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Do you take antibiotics for a seasonal flu or viral infection? If yes, then you’re as ignorant as the doctor who prescribed it

We are living in strange times. Even though human innovation is surpassing all odds, we are moving backwards with antibiotic resistance and climate change. The discovery of antibiotics brought a new era in medicine that enabled us to save lives by treating the diseases that were once untreatable. But bacteria have fought back, evolving into superbugs, resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics. Last year, while visiting Pakistan, my five-month-old daughter had a sore throat, flu and fever, which are symptoms of a common seasonal or viral infection. It is not a serious infection and includes common diverse illnesses such as ...

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Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and more – everything about ‘The Post’ screams spectacular!

Tinseltown’s fascination with the Vietnam War has manifested itself in many guises over the years. Right down from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, all the way up to Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, with Tom Cruise’s Born On The Fourth Of July and Robin Williams’ Good Morning Vietnam positioned somewhere in between – almost every imaginable genre has been covered by nearly all the major directors and actors. It was thus only appropriate that one of the greatest living filmmakers of our time got in on the action too. With the release of the trailer for The Post, it is now time for Steven Spielberg to traverse the oft-travelled trail from Hanoi to Hollywood. ...

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Farewell, Saeed Ajmal! You made sure the world remembers you as the ‘bowling magician’!

Epic. Magical. Defiant. Compact. Witty. Mighty effective. Actually, when one comes to think of it, words simply cannot describe what this man was in his prime days. As a crazy cricket fan, reminiscing those times when the magician himself bamboozled the opposition with his variety of epic spin-bowling is one way of satisfying one’s own self. Whenever I turn on the TV set, flip through channels and happen to run into highlights of a match featuring him, I stop. I just have to, every single time. The magic Saeed Ajmal was able to produce with just his fingers was simply mind-boggling, ...

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My feminism does not teach me to hate men

I was waiting to board a bus to Boston to attend a Model United Nations (MUN) conference, when one of my fellow teammates enquired about my undergraduate major. I excitedly and proudly exclaimed, “Gender, sexuality and women’s studies!” Considering that I was the only women’s studies major among the many political science majors, I took pride in that little piece of diversity that set me apart from the rest. Surprised at my response, she asked me, “On a scale of one to 10, how big of a feminist are you?” Assuming that she was joking, I let out a laugh, until I saw a serious ...

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Why it is important for MQM-P and PSP to resolve their differences and form an alliance… again

Last week, the media was abuzz with the developments regarding an electoral alliance between Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Pakistan faction (MQM-P). Leader of MQM-P, Farooq Sattar, claimed in a press conference that the two parties would fight the coming election under “one name, one party and one manifesto”. However, within 24 hours of the press conference, amid news of serious rifts between MQM-P’s top leadership, Sattar announced his resignation from politics. However, in a manner remarkably reminiscent of his former leader, Altaf Hussain, he took back his decision after “insistence” of his party colleagues and “persuasion” of his mother. Apparently, the ...

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This Is Us: A refreshing break from the usual senseless bombast

For as long as I can remember, I have had an intense aversion for family dramas – a genre which happens to be all the rage in our part of the world. While I was never a big fan of the category, it is no coincidence that my dislike for it proportionately grew with the rapid proliferation of local entertainment channels. The more ‘saas-bahu’ garbage they churned out, the less tolerant I became of the genre itself. Until one fateful day, it all changed.    Well you see, like loads of other people, I have a habit of always having ...

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Kathmandu: The city of dogs, falafels, singing bowls and unexpected magic

While reading about the countries where one can get visa on arrival, Nepal suddenly caught my attention. Nepal is both affordable and beautiful, which was exactly what I was looking for. A switch went off in my mind and I became ceaselessly preoccupied with my upcoming travel. I didn’t know then that this trip to Nepal would leave a lasting imprint on my mind. The same way I did not know that the spicy topping on my favourite enchiladas, from the best café in Kathmandu, would forever hold my taste buds. Before I departed, I already secured a confirmation email ...

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Other than cricket, Pakistan is failing at every sport that it excelled at in the past

Sports in Pakistan – which have always had a turbulent history – hit a new low recently when Muhammad Waseem, the sole international boxer we have at the moment, declared that his upcoming fight might be the very last time he would be representing Pakistan. It is indeed a sad day for an already sports-deprived country when top talent is forced to change teams due to years of constant neglect. Waseem wouldn’t even be the first person in the history of his sport to do so. He is following in the footsteps of Syed Hussain Shah, who won a bronze medal at the 1988 Seoul ...

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‘Downsizing’ seems pretty wacky, even for a science fiction movie

Ever since his 1999 sophomore break-out feature Election, filmmaker Alexander Payne has been slowly ascending to ranks of one of the truly great filmmakers of our time. With the release of each film, Payne has shown remarkable command over crafting authentic and introspective character studies of seemingly ill-fated guys that act as dramadies. All of this is set in the backdrop of small-town America. However, with his seventh film, Downsizing, Payne is making his first foray into science fiction with a film that seems very much outside his realm and usual body of work. The wacky premise imagines a world where people – ...

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