In memory of Shashi Kapoor: When nostalgia meets fantasy

Carving Shashi Kapoor’s career is not an easy task. Despite the burden of the surname Kapoor, Shashi made his own identity in the industry with his less-than-perfect but contagious smile. Photo: Getty Not many would know his real name, Balbir Raj Kapoor; can you imagine him with such a heavy and stentorian name? On the screen, he was a tender enchanter and the boy-next-door. In every single film he was in, he would just blushingly smile with his crooked teeth showing and announc, “I am not Balbir Raj, I am just Shashi.” He lived under the shadow of Amitabh ...

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Pakistan’s fashion and advertising industries can learn a thing or two from Saheefa Jabbar and Shahnaz ki shaadi

I remember when I first noticed model Saheefa Jabbar. It was an ad on Facebook for Khaadi, and with her strikingly different appearance, she made, what were essentially ordinary clothes, stand out. With a close-cropped hairstyle, which is commonly known as the ‘pixie cut’, and a confident posture, she looked different and charming at the same time. Intricate embroidery, contemporary cut and subtle colours; all you need for a hip look.Pret Denim collection, now available in stores and online http://bit.ly/2rbTNH8#KhaadiPret Posted by Khaadi on Saturday, August 19, 2017 Her look was certainly an unusual option for an audience that is used to ...

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Our reaction to Muniba Mazari vs Khurram Shahzad is proof that in Pakistan, we’ll believe any allegation as long as it’s against a woman

It is almost frightening to see how we are left with only a few role models now. Some have died, some were killed, and others have their status hanging in between. Passing away is not always physical – sometimes heroes suffer what can be termed as a metaphorical death.  In Pakistan, our society is so strictly patriarchal that even having a female boss can be problematic, let alone a female role model. Working women will perhaps corroborate that it can be difficult for their male colleagues to accept a woman as their boss. Gossip about the boss is always stronger ...

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Terming liberals as “khoonis” only further exposes Imran Khan’s Taliban-apologist tendencies, lack of knowledge and right-wing mindset

I have always been genuinely interested in the Indian political discourse, particularly the way competing ideologies are framed. For example, in India’s political arena, the schism between right-wingers (largely represented by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)) and the liberal left has been growing. In India, despite electoral setbacks, the liberal left nevertheless has a very dominant presence in the media, which has enabled it to continue to stay relevant. Ironically, a huge constituency of the BJP is composed of the educated middle class who often justify their decision to oppose Indian leftists by terming them as “pseudo seculars” and “fake ...

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Pakistan has missed many opportunities regarding software development but ‘open source’ is too big to miss out on

The software industry took off in the 80’s. Individuals made fortunes and national economies grew stronger because of their software exports. The focus on developing resources and building capacity around software development has created thousands of new jobs in countries that are ahead in the technology arena. Pakistan, despite its vast human capital, could not benefit from the humongous growth of the software sector and didn’t capitalise on the potential. Many factors have contributed to the current situation; lack of vision, proper leadership or will to move forward ­– but the fact of the matter is that while the situation has improved ...

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India’s ongoing Padmavati controversy is engrained with ulterior motives

A 21st century movie based on the mythology of the 16thcentury about a 14th century queen has ruffled political feathers in India. The members of Karni Sena, a politico-cultural group of Rajputs, man-handled Padmavati’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, vandalised cinema halls, and openly threatened high intensity violence if the movie is released. The protesters allege that the movie distorts the Rajput history, glorifies a barbaric invader as a lover and a brave warrior. Rumours are galore that the movie shows a love affair between the Queen Padmavati and the invader Alauddin Khilji. However, the truth is far more complex than what appears on the surface. Eminent journalists like Dr Ved Pratap Vedic and Rajat ...

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Did Ahsan Iqbal and Imran Khan not get the memo about not using Twitter? Or was the ban only for the general public?

A bunch of religious hardliners taking over a country may seem like something a government may be able to control, but this being Pakistan, of course this wasn’t the case. After weeks of inaction, when the government finally decided to do something about the Faizabad protesters, it was to deploy the police, and unless one slept through Saturday, everyone is by now aware of the chaos that ensued following the government’s failed attempt at an operation. What undoubtedly added to the panic on Saturday was the fact that both social and electronic media were shut down by the Pakistan Electronic ...

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Comedy: Creating ripples by reviving improv comedy that Pakistan so desperately needed

Jennifer Hunter, while giving a TED talk at the Lake Superior State University two years ago, claimed that “improv comedy will change the world”. It is debatable whether the world has changed; nonetheless, improvised comedy has indeed altered the ambit of stage comedy. By following their intuition and not their conscious reasoning, improv comedians perform without any preparation whatsoever. Instead, they intuitively respond to the stimulus of their immediate environment – they listen to their audience, make a connection and just improvise. This form of comedy, while certainly very difficult, is perhaps a truer version of the genre itself. On ...

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Did you think Kamlesh’s “soluchan” was funny?

A video went viral a while ago, which means that you have probably heard of “Kamlesh” and his “soluchan” (solution) by now. For a while, it seemed like you couldn’t go anywhere without the jokes and the memes following you. The documentary on Kamlesh was being shared everywhere, yet for all the wrong reasons. I saw this video accidentally, and could not find a single reason to laugh. In fact, this is the first time I have heard the story of a “kachra chunnay wala” child (garbage collector), the likes of which one can see in Karachi all the time, ...

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In Pakistan, rape might go unpunished, but a movie on rape cannot

I recently came across the news regarding the ban on Verna, Shoaib Mansoor’s upcoming film, and was shocked, to say the least. Mansoor has played a monumental role in the revival of Pakistani cinema, delivering masterpieces like Khuda Kay Liye and Bol. Not only were both great films, they were also centred on very important issues that plague our society today. Bol highlighted the practice of having innumerable children in the name of religion, especially when you cannot even feed them, giving us the legendary line, “Jab paal nahin saktey, tou paida kyun karte ho?” (When you cannot provide for them, why do you give birth to them?) Likewise, the movie Khuda ...

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