Stories published in March, 2018

Intense and daring, Al Pacino’s ‘Paterno’ brings to light the aftermath of a child sex abuse scandal

The sporting world has been rocked by several scandals of late, with controversies such as doping and match-fixing in various fields making headlines around the globe. One of the most appalling episodes, however, which shocked fans of American football, came to the fore in 2011 when news broke of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. Former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was indicted for child molestation spanning over a period of a decade-and-a-half, whereas long-time head coach of the team, Joe Paterno, was accused of being involved in the alleged cover-up of the crimes. The latter is now the subject ...

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Why did Modi not receive Justin Trudeau himself with his customary hug?

As liberal democracies and countries that don’t have grating disagreements on international affairs, India and Canada should have historically shared a cordial relationship. Since the turn of the century, with India’s ties with the US strengthening and a certain geopolitical convergence emerging, India and Canada had sought to transform their relationship to a strategic partnership.   However, as Justin Trudeau’s recent visit to India has shown, this relationship has been and continues to be strongly influenced by the Sikh diaspora in Canada. Reports suggest that the disagreements with the visit began with the planning of the trip itself. While the Indians wanted a short trip focused on ...

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The Pakistan Army and Iran: A new dawn or a message for the Saudis?

The Pakistan Army has been drawing closer to Iran under its new chief, General Qamar Bajwa. Is Pakistan moving out from under Saudi Arabia’s orbit? Something quite remarkable happened with regards to Pakistan’s defence diplomacy recently – Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa, made an official trip to Iran. It was the first visit by a Pakistani army chief in almost three decades. General Pervez Musharraf visited; not in his capacity as head of the armed forces, but rather as a president attending a regional summit. Similarly, General Raheel Sharif visited in January 2016, but it was just for a couple of ...

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Intriguing and intricate, Red Sparrow is well-crafted and different from today’s spy thrillers

There’s no denying that in recent decades, the spy film genre in Hollywood has shifted drastically towards the slick, fast-paced and action-heavy fare of films, like Casino Royale, The Bourne Ultimatum, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and the most recent Kingsman movies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, since these are all films that have represented the very best of the spy genre as well as the action genre in the past decade. But in the 70s and 80s, spy films had a very different look and feel, and were perhaps more interested in the boiler-pot suspense and intrigue rather than the action and slickness. Red Sparrow, the ...

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If Sridevi gets more coverage than Syria, that is your fault, not the media’s

Pakistanis are a dissatisfied nation. On a superficial level, they care a lot about issues affecting the Muslim world and want to highlight the injustices being faced by Muslims all over the world. However, this concern usually seems to be a reaction to attention received by other issues. Take for instance, the two recent incidents that occured simultaneously and divided opinions yet again. On the one hand, Syria was being bombed; hundreds of civilians killed as a ceasefire was ignored and hospitals were under attack as well. On the other, Bollywood superstar Sridevi breathed her last, and the events surrounding her death ...

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If you don’t ask why…

I request a reply. Dad, please tell me, Why Is the earth not flat? Oh, I don’t know that! Why do bears hibernate? Well, that’s out-of-date! Why is the sun so hot? I’m sorry, I forgot!   Where do the trade winds blow? Come on, you should know! Do you know how TVs work? Let me call Mr Burke! Or how the seasons change? That’s out of my range!   What is the sense of smell? Quite difficult to tell! The capital of France? No, I don’t stand a chance! The speed of light? Your science teacher might!   Any clue of aerosol? It’s quite hard to recall! Any Indian folklore? I knew one before! The length of lunar years? I’ll break into tears!   Why a panda bear hides? The cause of ...

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Veerey Ki Wedding is the worst wedding film of the season

Sometimes filmmakers tend to bank on projects having similar names to attract viewers, be it in India or Pakistan. This occurred recently in Pakistan, where a horror film called Pari was released a full month before the Indian version of the same name. We witnessed the power of the curse of the same name when Pari’s trailer received millions of views on YouTube, only for everyone in the comments to wonder, “where is Anushka Sharma?” Similarly, Indian filmmakers have come up with Veerey Ki Wedding and managed to release it before one of the most awaited films of 2018, Veere ...

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Why is a Pakistani man’s masculinity so fragile that he can’t handle rejection and resorts to murder?

The scariest possibility of simply expressing your lack of interest in a man may result in – wait for it – your death. Yes, you read that right! This is not even an exaggeration. For many though, this won’t come as a surprise considering the fact that in Pakistan, people reside with extremely conservative mindsets, not to mention the deeply rooted patriarchal cultural that exists here. The misogynistic norms are heavily supported, defended and backed up by this very patriarchal culture. They are contrasted in such a way that gives leverage and power to men to entirely silence (read: ...

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Did you just call me a “bhangi”?

It happened again; this time in a closed setting with a small group of people. We were just a bunch of colleagues having fun, most of who will probably have a good laugh and forget about it in within the hour. But will I forget it so soon? My past experiences, the history of which is entrenched into my memory, remind me that perhaps this will not be so easily forgotten. I believe the last time something like this happened was back in school, during my O’ levels; then too, between a group of friends. I don’t seem to remember ...

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Dear India, you can #BanPakArtists all you want – we will soar regardless! Love, #PakDontCare

On February 22, 2018, the Federation Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) unanimously agreed to ban Pakistani artists and technicians from working in films and TV serials made by Indian producers in any language. This decision was of course made in light of growing tensions and the deteriorating relations between the two countries as of late.  Every country is entitled to take action based on their political reasoning, and justify it through patriotism. If India wants to do so as well, so be it; it has the right to do so. However, once again we see that art too has been ...

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