‘Exit West’ and ‘The Golden Legend’ could be Pakistan’s literary game-changers

This is a strong year for Pakistani fiction. Two excellent novels, ‘Exit West’ and ‘The Golden Legend’, by two excellent novelists, Mohsin Hamid and Nadeem Aslam, have been published to great critical acclaim. Another, ‘Home Fire’ by Kamila Shamsie, is forthcoming in August and is already being endorsed by a plethora of writers. Historically, the Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world, has been won by Indian writers five times. No Pakistani writer has won it and only three, including Aslam and Hamid, have been nominated. This year, with two strong and worthy contenders, Pakistani writers have a great chance of featuring on the long ...

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Why Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is the war film the world needs today

In one scene in Dunkirk, a young boy lies on the floor of a boat, struck, hurt and unmoving. His friend whispers to him that he needs to get better, because he requires help on deck. The boy replies that he will not be able to help. Because he can no longer see. The war in Dunkirk, comprising of terse battles from the sky, land and water, is in itself like a blind, unseeing force. Blind in its senselessness and blind in its fury. Christopher Nolan’s superb and unusual movie is a metaphor for the blind chaos that war is. Movies often play ...

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‘Tis the season to mango it up, with these sweet, delicious and easy desserts!

It’s that time of the year again when we find ourselves replacing wholesome meals with the indulgent sweetness of mangoes. A delicious variety of Langra, Sindhri, Anwar Ratol, Chaunsa, Desheri, Himsager and Sammar Bahist, to name a few of the desi aams (mangoes) are readily available in Pakistan. These mangoes become a delicious addition at breakfast, lunch and dinner. In his book ‘The Last Mughal’, William Dalrymple quoted the following, defining our love affair with mangoes aptly. “For Mirza Ghalib, the late evening was the time for indulging in mango related pleasures, especially the exquisitely small, sweet chaunsa mango, a taste he shared with many other discerning Delhiwallahs, past and present. At one gathering, a group of Dehliwallahs were discussing what qualities a good mango ...

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War for the Planet of the Apes isn’t nearly as intelligent, interesting or exciting as its prequels

War for the Planet of the Apes serves as the third and final instalment in the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy, which like most rebooted blockbusters of the present has looked to offer a bleaker and more serious version of its old, campy predecessor. Set a few years after the events of the last film, War for the Planet of the Apes follows the ape leader Caesar (motion-captured by Andy Serkis) and his primate community hidden in a dense forest, wanting only to be left alone in peace. However, a group of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson) are still raging against the repercussions of ...

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A Bolly-musical combo doesn’t sound quite appealing, but Jagga Jasoos proves otherwise

After three long years in production, Anurag Basu’s directorial Jagga Jasoos finally saw the light of day. First things first, this film is different from other Bollywood movies because it is a musical. Bollywood and musicals doesn’t sound quite right, but Jagga Jasoos proves otherwise. With Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif as the main cast, it created quite a buzz even before the promotions began. This was partly because of the delay and also due to Kapoor and Kaif’s publicised break up. The film, which has opened to mixed reviews, earned over Rs8.57 crore on its first day. Jagga Jasoos features Kapoor as Jagga, a young boy on a quest to find his ...

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Cars 3: Not a masterpiece but still a marked improvement from Cars 2

Over the last two decades, Pixar has impressed the world by releasing some terrific films, such as Finding Nemo (2003), Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008), Up (2009), and the Toy Story series (1995 – present). But while many of the studios’ adventures rank among animation’s finest offerings, there have been a couple of missteps that have received a more lukewarm reception. Among its less imaginative efforts is the Cars franchise, a series that tells the tales of anthropomorphic vehicles. Although it may not have struck a chord with the critics, Cars has still been a monetary success, thanks to massive merchandise sales. The lucrative merchandising has led to the continuation of the series, which now gives us its ...

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Baby Driver is a classic case of ‘different is not always good’

Okay, first things first. I am not a big fan of angrezi gaanay (western music), so as far as this review is concerned, anything I say hereafter should be taken with a huge sack of salt. Having said that, I found Edgar Wright’s latest fare Baby Driver to be extremely pretentious. It reminded me of that showy kid at college who was always trying a little too hard to act cool. This car chase musical is a bizarre hybrid of La La Land and The Fast and the Furious, and Wright is typically known for these kinds of hybrids. His earlier genre mashups include the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy which had gore and ...

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Spider-Man: Homecoming: Predictable yet apt and entertaining

Marvel Comics’ superheroes have been ruling the summer box office for nearly a decade now. What started with the first adventure of Iron Man in 2008 has since turned into the most successful franchise in movie history. The Avengers have become a cinematic behemoth as more superheroes have joined the folds of the mighty collective over the years, and have altogether produced more hits than misses along the way. The latest adventure in the series takes us on another journey into the world of Spider-Man. A superhero which has already been the subject of two prior series, and is now getting another reboot in the shape of the ...

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After English Vinglish, Sridevi blows us away in the work of art that is Mom

Sridevi’s Mom has been one of the most anticipated films of 2017. It was discussed amongst movie goers for multiple reasons, some which included Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s look and dialect, Akshaye Khanna’s (sort of) comeback, and the involvement of two Pakistani actors, Adnan Siddiqui and Sajal Ali. After the hit movie English Vinglish, let’s find out if Sridevi was able to recreate the same magic on the big screen. The storyline follows Devki (Sridevi), who is a biology teacher at a school. One of her students includes Arya (Sajal Aly), who also happens to be Devki’s stepdaughter. It is evident they don’t share a strong bond, since Arya maintains a cold attitude towards ...

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Transformers: The Last Knight: Given its convoluted plot, I was actually rooting for our planet to cease existing

There are movies that are lame, silly, or even downright horrible, and then there is Transformers or ‘Trashformers’ as I like to call them. Take the worst movie experience you’ve ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you’ll still be nowhere near the abomination that is the film franchise based on Hasbro’s popular toys. You might wonder why so much hatred for these metallic humanoids, when there are hundreds of lousy flicks being made left, right and centre? My simple and immediate retort is that these obnoxiously loud sci-fi action films based on mecha-robotic beings are nothing like any of your typically bad cinematic fares. ...

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