Chilly, rainy winter? This besan roti and muzaffar will surely warm you up!

Pakistani winters always remind me of winters spent in my village, the simple life as I call it. No artificiality, no hypocrisy, just contentment. Since I have only ever spent time in a Punjab village setup, I can vouch for their sociability, entrepreneurial skills and of course the food! This is not to say other provinces do not have these characteristics,  just that I wish I can someday explore the unique elements they too are sure to have. Bringing our attention to the food, my mind recalls one village winter delight among many – besan ki roti (gram flour bread). Almost ...

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Move over, Pixar! Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has set new benchmarks for animated movies

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a superhero animated movie that pays the ultimate homage to the comic book of its namesake and ticks all the right boxes in the process as well. Miles Morales’ (Shameik Moore) rise from being a confused adolescent teenager to the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man has been exhibited with the best of animation. The story arch combines the 3D computer animation and comic book sensibilities and tendencies, and churns out a well-rounded package that seems different yet is familiar. The movie is a breath of fresh air among the vast sea of the same Pixar-esque animation style we ...

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12 entries that were definitely worth the long queues at Karachi Eat Festival 2019

Karachi Eat this time around was bigger and better when compared to previous editions. But was the food worth the massive crowds, seemingly never-ending queues and overall chaos one faces at a food festival in Karachi? No doubt, Karachi Eat this year was better managed (thank God for that huge parking space) but the space wasn’t utilised properly and the event seemed unorganised. The ground space from the park entrance to the actual festival entrance was left unoccupied where people were just hanging out. In our opinion, the unused space should have been utilised as there was hardly any walking space, ...

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With not much to offer, ‘Gumm’ sure knows how to lose its audience

It’s rare for Pakistani filmmakers to attempt something different in terms of making unique, unusual and off-track films. Luckily, Ammar Lasani and Kanza Zia have tried to offer something different to Pakistani cinemagoers in the form of Gumm. Gumm stars Sami Khan, Shameen Khan and Shamoon Abbasi in the lead roles. With a fresh star cast, unique storyline and not a lot invested in promotions, Gumm seemed to have almost everything it takes to appeal to audiences. The plot revolves around Asad (Sami) who regains consciousness after an accident. He seems to have completely forgotten what has happened to him and looks towards the ...

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Lacking poignancy, ‘What Will People Say’ could have been more nuanced and relatable

In her second movie, What Will People Say, Pakistani-Norwegian filmmaker Iram Haq tries to relay the experience of a teenager who is caught between the fairly conservative background of her family and the liberal atmosphere of the country she calls home. The film – which is apparently inspired by the director’s own life – is centred on the story of 16-year-old Nisha (Maria Mozhdah), who is a typical Norwegian girl when she’s out with her friends but forced to conform to her parents’ strict rules when she is at home. After being caught fooling around with her boyfriend in her ...

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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an interactive illusion of free will

Charlie Brooker’s anthology series, Black Mirror is known for exploring the dark side of technology with an appetite for the bleak and satirical. Each episode serves as a cautionary tale on how technology of today could be the end of us tomorrow, but what makes the show so intriguing are the increasingly creative and compelling stories that each episode is crafted upon. This time around, instead of a new season – which usually releases towards the end of the year – Netflix has released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. This is an interactive movie that staying true to the creative nature of the show allows you, ...

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Heartfelt and cheery, Mary Poppins Returns will take you on a magical spin down memory lane

It seems that a new era of modern musicals has started in Hollywood. Directors are experimenting with this cinematic form that accentuates song and dance sequences as a form of expression within the storyline. Box office hits such as La La Land (2017), Les Misérables (2012), Hairspray (2007), and The Greatest Showman (2017) are testimony to the fact that filmgoers love this genre. Another film in point, which has been very well received, is the recently released fantasy musical with an unconventional, escapist sort of realism – Mary Poppins Returns. Based on P L Travers’ children’s book series of the ...

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Mr and Mrs Jinnah: A story of love that wasn’t enough to save an ill-fated marriage

For the masses of the subcontinent (India and Pakistan), Sheela Reddy’s Mr and Mrs Jinnah tells the fascinating tale of a small yet poignant romance that some people might experience in life (if fortunate enough). The book explores some of the most vivid details of the lives of Rattanbai Jinnah (Ruttie) and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Jinnah’s political stalwart for projecting his career above communal rights, and the doomed marriage that ended in separation despite the unusual love that lived on. Colonialism and the pre-Partition history of the subcontinent still enthrall the minds of both the old and the young. Since the populations of both India ...

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Dull and unfocused, Bird Box is no better than a recycled mix of The Happening and A Quiet Place

Post-apocalyptic movies are a dime a dozen in Hollywood these days. For some reason, this seems to be the latest genre that Hollywood is intent on milking for every buck. Chances are, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all, particularly the post-apocalyptic movies that see a group of survivors (from basically every demographic) band together to fight off an evil force, as humanity faces extinction. Be it zombies, monsters, aliens, giant-sized insects or in the case of The Happening, plants. While there is nothing wrong with the genre itself, Hollywood’s approach to making mainstream post-apocalyptic blockbusters remains largely the same ...

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In Simmba, a half-baked message is buried deep under Rohit Shetty’s typical potboiler

Loosely based on the Telugu film Temper, the cop action saga Simmba is directed by Rohit Shetty, produced by Dharma Productions and Rohit Shetty Picturez, and stars an ensemble cast of Ranveer Singh, Sonu Sood and Sara Ali Khan. The film is about Sangram ‘Simmba’ Bhalerao, a poor orphan who aspires to become an unscrupulous police inspector. As an officer of the law, he unapologetically indulges in corrupt practices to have his pockets lined, as he believes that corruption and dishonesty are indispensable to live a perfect life. The film starts on a comic note and is mostly about fun, tricks and games, ...

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