Why has the state failed to ensure the release of ‘Zindagi Tamasha’?

A few years ago, India got embroiled in a senseless controversy over the movie Padmaavat. Before even seeing the movie, some hard-line elements had decided that the movie contained “intimate” scenes between the revered Rajput Queen, Padmavati and Allaudin Khilji, a Muslim ruler hated by the right wing Hindu ideologues. According to them, the movie hurt Rajput “honour” as it supposedly desecrated the revered Rajput queen. The film’s director, Sanjay Leela Bansali, who was also physically harassed at the sets of the film, had to clarify several times, including through a YouTube video, that the film praised the Rajputs ...

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Should Faisal Vawda be given the boot for his eccentric antics?

Just when you think Pakistan’s politics could not get any more embarrassing, some politician will decide to surprise you by stooping to a new low. Recently, Faisal Vawda, the federal minister for water resources decided to place a military style boot on the table during a political talk show in an attempt to theatrically mock the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Admittedly, politics does involve a certain degree of theatrics the world over, but in Pakistan, it is purely melodramatic. Issues of genuine significance are rarely discussed and most politicians do little more than point fingers, accusing each other of being ...

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The Dua Mangi case: A glimpse into our society’s rotten morals

Are my clothes speaking to you? Listen closely: Do they tell you where I’m from? What I like? What I desire? Do they say, yes? Does my tanned skin scream to be touched? Does the curve of my neck seem ever so welcoming? I’ve grown up surrounded by this very narrative. The Pakistani vernacular is etched with log kya kehengay – embedded with the notion that my body, if hidden, says no and if exposed, draws the male gaze towards me. But the problem with the male gaze is simply that it does not stop. Not for a fully clothed body, not ...

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Hamza Ali Abbasi: The born again Muslim

A few days ago, actor Hamza Ali Abbasi shared a video on social media to announce his decision to quit show-business and pursue a form of Islamic activism instead. In the viral video, Abbasi narrated his personal journey stating that he went form being an atheist to a devout Muslim. Adopting a ‘philosophical’ tone, he spoke about his early youth and quest for understanding the “existential” questions which occupied his mind. He discussed how he had initially become an atheist because he had been unable to find satisfying answers to those questions at the time, but, later on, an engagement with science ...

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Does the Pakistani media industry have the guts to boycott Khalilur Rehman Qamar?

I had once been one of the most avid viewers of local television content. Gradually though, I stopped following most local dramas and became very selective about what I chose to watch – but given that my job is related to digital media, I do have to keep an eye on the latest developments in the film and drama industry. Every other day, I find celebrities complaining about the vile comments that people make on their social media profiles, mostly judging them, assassinating their characters and even slut-shaming them. I have always felt for them and wondered why our ...

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Dear India, congratulations on your space mission. Sincerely, a Pakistani

On September 7, 2019, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) failed to maintain contact with the Vikram Lander when it was only 2.1 kilometres away from touching down on the moon. Mission Chandrayaan 2 was over for now. This was India’s second attempt to land on the moon after Chandrayaan 1 in 2008. The aim of this space mission was to become the first spacecraft to land on the moon’s South Pole. Nevertheless, the loss of contact meant India’s bid to become the fourth country to land on the lunar surface after Russia, America and China will have to wait. Space ...

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Is our solidarity with Kashmir conditional?

As I drove around Islamabad to reach my office on Defence Day, I saw a myriad of posters around the capital. They all communicated the same message: Pakistan is the bastion of Kashmiri interest; hence, Kashmir belongs to Pakistan. The hashtag ‘KashmirBanegaPakistan’ and retweets from Kashmiris who supported this message flooded my Twitter feed. Some of my friends even posted about their interactions with a few Kashmiris, after which they had concluded that all 14 million Kashmiris wanted to be a part of Pakistan. While the logic did not quite make sense, I could not help but wonder about this ...

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Living in online filter bubbles

On December 4, 2009, Google’s corporate blog released a post that did not receive much fanfare or attention but made sweeping changes in the landscape of the internet bringing about a paradigm shift in its nature. The post’s headline said ‘Personalized Search for Everyone’. This meant that since the very next day, Google would use 57 signals to guess our identity and produce search results on that basis. A race to know as much as possible about you has commenced amongst not just Google but all internet giants. Behind the sites we visit, there is a huge new market of ...

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Trying to understand Hamza Ali Abbasi’s ‘halal platonic’ relationship

A couple of days ago, the news about actor Hamza Ali Abbasi marrying fellow actress Naimal Khawar Khan broke out. I was extremely excited upon hearing the news because, in my opinion, they make one of the most photogenic and beautiful couples. With his Robert Pattinson-like looks and prodigious acting talent, Abbasi is one of the most famous television stars and perhaps the only male actor to truly rival Fawad Khan in terms of popularity. Khan is also a gorgeous woman and her performance in serial Anaa shows a lot of promise for the future. However, then my attention was drawn towards ...

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A nightmare for the LGBTQ community, there is a lot going wrong with ‘Adam’

Every now and then, efforts are made by filmmakers to produce a movie representing the LGBTQ community as accurately and unbiasedly as possible. However, very few of these movies fulfill their aim while also being politically correct. Adam, based on its namesake novel, is a prime example of this case. Released recently on August 14th, the film has already managed to garner quite a lot of criticism, a trending hashtag against it and a petition to boycott it. Marketed as ‘one of the most exciting LGBTQ films of the year’, Adam is, in fact, a classic exemplar of what exactly a ...

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