Stories published in April, 2018

Do Meesha Shafi’s allegations hold no value just because Ali Zafar “looks like a decent guy”?

I remember spending a whole day during school trying to convince my friend how good-looking this new singer was. She disagreed. But as an 11-year-old, I was very persistent, because not only was he good-looking, he was also ordinary. A boy who spent his days making portraits of others at a hotel lobby, who then suddenly went on to be known as Pakistan’s very own Kishore Kumar. But she still disagreed. So I convinced myself that since she was not a Pakistani, she knew little about the country’s beauty. But that was 2003, and today is a different story. Fifteen years ...

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Money Heist: You just cannot stop watching it until it actually ends

Show me a person who claims he is not fond of a heist thriller, and I will show you a liar. For a genre that has extensively been covered on cinema, it somehow manages to keep attracting even the most hardened of viewers back to itself. I guess it’s our inherent love for easy money, and these heist-capers are the perfect visual manifestation of that particular fantasy. Spanish thriller La Casa de Papel is the latest player to enter this particular cinematic arena. It literally translates as the house of paper in Spanish, but for some inexplicable reason, Netflix decided to unimaginatively ...

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In the absence of proper governance, is Chief Justice Saqib Nisar Pakistan’s ‘saviour’?

Pakistanis are an opinionated people; from fruit vendors to domestic workers, all are as articulate in politics as any academic or political analyst. But these opinions vary, and they vary drastically on almost every major issue confronting the country. Be it Malala Yousafzai, Imran Khan or even kite flying, we hold extreme, polar opposite views on each matter.  The recent judicial activism of the Supreme Court, demonstrated by the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, is no exception. There are, as usual, two sides – one fervently supports the actions of the Chief Justice, while at the other end ...

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A tale of self-destruction: I am what they call a “functioning” alcoholic

It is 6:30am. I am up and feeling that terrible sensation in the gut. I look at my wife, who is sleeping peacefully, oblivious to the fact that I am up and about to indulge in my daily ritual. She knows, but does not know the extent to which this vice has engulfed me. I drag myself to the restroom of the other bedroom and see my reflection in the mirror. My face is summarising the story of my last 10 years. I am 40 but can be easily mistaken as a person of 50. The face which a decade ...

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Pixie Palace was her jail, and she was carrying a new prisoner

The white tombs that encircled the humble city of Kalazar were silent. Every single inhabitant was quiet. The leaves on the wych elms resisted the wind. And under the blue sky, a sparsely dressed ‘pixie’ wandered. She had been wandering for a long, long time; as long as her sane memory stretched. Unbeknownst to her, a little heart beat inside her womb, calling for attention. It was a faint, unwanted beat. The superior would have had her publicly shamed for renouncing the blessed beat. But how could they know? They had never wandered the white tombs, had never traded honour for ...

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Can the real American desi please stand up?

While Pakistani-Americans receive some notice in news because of their professional and social achievements, there are several amusing habits of desis which are hardly ever explored in the media. Noted writers like Kumail Nanjiani, Ayad Akthar and Mohsin Hamid have portrayed Pakistanis in America close to reality, but have missed some interesting facts about them. After living in the US for over a decade, I have observed several habits of American desis which distinguish us from other members of society. Mentioning them is not an attempt to stereotype all Pakistani Americans; it is, in a humorous way, my take on my ...

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Sheheryar Munawar goes from ‘bhaijaan’ to ‘jaan’ with Mahira Khan’s help in 7 Din Mohabbat In

Pakistan’s blooming film industry has branched itself out with multiple genres; from the family drama in Janaan by Azfar Jafri and Imran Raza Kazmi, to Shoaib Mansoor’s social drama in Verna. However, it goes without saying that our film industry has also given audiences a string of comedy films that left us in a fit of laughter! To name a few of the star-studded hits filmmakers graced us with, we’ve had Na Maloom Afraad and its sequel, along with Karachi Se Lahore, Jawaani Phir Nahi Aani, Actor In Law, and most recently, Parchi. Directed by Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, 7 Din Mohabbat In has been the talk of ...

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Nightmare come true: Is Trump preparing Syria to be the battlefield of WWIII?

The Trump administration is more confrontational toward Russia than Barack Obama was, Glenn Greenwald and Zaid Jilani wrote in The Intercept recently. There is certainly some truth to the statement, despite the fact Donald Trump has been regularly portrayed as an agent of Vladimir Putin, even before he was elected at the end of 2016. Never mind, for example, that Trump’s nominee to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, recently confirmed that, “A couple hundred Russians were killed by US forces in Syria earlier this year.” Pompeo wasn’t merely stating the blunt truth about an incident in February, in which US ...

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Motorcycle Girl will easily ride into the hearts of Pakistani women, but it may struggle at the box office

Adnan Sarwar, who debuted with Shah a few years ago, is back with another movie based on a true story. It is the story of the first female biker, Zenith Irfan, who travelled to Khunjerab on a bike all by herself. Motorcycle Girl is amongst the most awaited films of Pakistan; not just because Sohai Ali Abro plays the lead, but also because the movie is a tribute to women empowerment and tells the tale of how women can do whatever they set their minds to. Motorcycle Girl narrates the story of Zenith (Abro), who works in an agency, and because of ...

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Dear filmmakers, stuttering is a disorder, not a joke for you to cash on

Some days ago, I received a clip on Whatsapp of a scene from a Pakistani movie titled Lahore Se Aagay. The lead character, played by Yasir Hussain, tries to make the dialogue ‘funny’ by mocking the speech related disorder generally known as stuttering or stammering. Upon further inquiry, I discovered Hussain has played the role of a guy who stutters several times in his career. In another movie, Karachi Se Lahore, which is the prequel to Lahore Se Aagay, Hussain tries to seem hilarious by stammering to the character’s advantage. Though he believes his portrayal is empowering for those who stutter, ...

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