Stories published in March, 2018

When “bhai sahab, cigarette hai?” became the anthem of the PSL Final

Like most cricket fans excitedly preparing for the return of international cricket back home, I was also looking forward to going to the National Stadium to watch the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), where last year’s champions Peshawar Zalmi were up against the storming Islamabad United. The security was tight, the functioning was strict, and as the Sindh government could not afford any mishaps, they tried their best to pull the edge of each string to ensure no serious problems arose on the big day. This is precisely why each attendee was checked at least three times on their way in. After going ...

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‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ – Even robots fighting aliens cannot save this mediocre sequel

Most people are likely to not have much of a memory of watching Pacific Rim. It came out in 2013, and was a glorified B movie at best, which probably had the simplest and easiest pitch ever made to a movie studio: giant monsters versus giant robots. However, Pacific Rim had a key factor working in its favour. A factor elevating it from the kitschy and forgettable B movie fare it could have been, to an original, stylish and genuinely fun piece of B movie mania (the differences may seem minor, but they were stark). This factor was the influence of writer/director Guillermo ...

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When PSL came to Karachi, and the city felt alive again

Not too long ago, the city of Karachi was the hub of fear. Residents constantly feared for the law and order situation, and people would think twice before stepping out at night. The festive nature inherent in the spirit of Karachi only made this situation tougher, as in light of growing terror, the festive mood and the lights of the city slowly faded away. Years ago, when the doors of the National Stadium finally closed as well, the people of Karachi eventually forgot what it feels like to turn the lights back on.   Until now. It definitely felt more like ...

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Only in Pakistan can your child get an ‘A’ without learning anything

Over the past few years, the policy on education has taken centre stage in Pakistan. There is now debate over reforming the curriculum of madrassas, as they have failed millions of students who have, and continue to receive, their education in these religious seminaries. However, it is not just the madrassas that need reform, but also the ‘elite’ private school system. I have been teaching part-time in Karachi’s private sector for almost a decade, and it is blatantly clear that the current system has failed miserably. Be it private universities or schools, few understand or are interested in the purpose of education itself. The ...

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With wisecracks that stop at nothing, the trailer for ‘Deadpool 2’ will leave you in splits

It was only after the movie had spent 12 years in development hell that we finally got to watch Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool on the big screen. Yes, like everyone else, including Reynolds himself, I am disregarding his appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. As it turns out, Deadpool was a huge hit and became an even bigger sensation than the X-Men series. Some people also believe that 20th Century Fox went ahead with Logan, an R-rated affair, because Deadpool was such a big hit. The film released in 2016, and as it happens with superhero movies, Reynolds is going to be donning the red ...

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With blatant hatemongering like ‘Punish a Muslim Day’, Brexit has changed Britain for the worse

Ever since Britain’s exasperated populace announced its wish to leave the European Union (EU), there seems to have been a blanket approval given to racists to harass, intimidate and scare Muslims and other ethnic minorities in an attempt to put ‘Britain first’. A sizeable increase in attacks against Muslims was reported soon after Brexit occurred, and this increase seems to show no signs of abating anytime soon.  The latest hate-fuelled incident involves a highly offensive and problematic letter put through the letterboxes of individuals in various communities of the country, calling for a “Punish a Muslim Day”. The main ethos of the letter is to instil fear ...

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“Dua karo iss dafa beta ho” – Is being a ‘beti’ really the curse it’s made out to be?

Being the fourth daughter my parents were blessed with, I always used to ask them if they had ever wished I had been born a boy. I spent a lot of time wondering if, after having three girls, they were disappointed to see yet another daughter instead of a son. To my relief, my parents always responded to this question with a resounding ‘no’. Rather, they would get surprised and question me instead on the kind of nonsense that fills up my brain with questions such as these.   It is true that I have never felt loved any less by ...

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Heartening and poignant, ‘Hichki’ is a reminder that Rani Mukerji is one of the Bollywood ‘greats’

Rani Mukerji’s interesting new movie Hichki hit the theatres recently, and if there is one thing I’d say about her, it is that Mukerji has still got it! This is her first movie in four years, as she was last seen playing a leading role in Mardaani (2014), and yet she is the scene-stealer! If anything, the break proves that despite spending a few years away from the big screen, she still has the acumen to deliver a performance reminding us why she is one of the ‘greats’.  Directed by Sidharth P Malhotra and produced by Maneesh Sharma, Hichki focuses on Naina ...

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Winning the 2018 elections with Zardari and PPP, or saving his party’s ideology – what will Imran Khan choose?

The election, or as some experts satirically call it, the “selection” of the relatively unknown candidate as the Chairman of the Senate, has jolted the political landscape of Pakistan. It is now clear that those who removed Nawaz Sharif – right or wrong is a different matter altogether – are going to use all the tactics at their disposal to prevent his political comeback. The objective in the Senate election has been achieved brilliantly by both, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). They have been brought together in a surprising alliance, despite Imran Khan’s tall public promises of never shaking ...

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How could Gul Bano’s own father ruin her life?

The day was bright, the sun blazing and a sweet smell of blossom swayed in the air. The village of Charbagh was witnessing the beginning of summer. Gul Bano’s elaborately styled reddish brown hair and her emerald green eyes glinted in the sunlight. She wore a green shalwar kameez that matched her eyes, and a white dupatta enhanced by gold and silver threads, to complete the look. Father had told her they were going to meet someone important today. She had asked over and over again who this important person was, and why she had to go meet him, but ...

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