Stories about artists

The untold story of what made ‘Among the Believers’ an Emmy-worthy documentary

In the summer of 2014, I was living in New York when I met Hemal Trivedi. She told me she was making a film about Pakistan and wanted me to join her and the other director, Mohammed Ali Naqvi, to help them craft the narrative authentically. I had seen dozens of films about Pakistan that were made by foreign filmmakers and honestly, most of them were horribly inaccurate. I felt it was a story worth telling which is why I decided to take the job. The first step of editing any documentary is to familiarise oneself with the raw footage by ...

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Why are places like Espresso and Dolmen Mall so averse to live music?

I’m standing at Alexanderplatz in Berlin, hearing music from three different directions coming from street artists who have set up their hats. One plays under a bridge, another next to a shopping district and a third outside a beer hall. I’m not sure which one to listen to when I get an urgent e-mail from Marium Kamal. Marium is an artist and a fine arts teacher who, in her free time, manages Shikari; a small indie duo who play only original Urdu and English songs in Karachi. I met her and the band quite cosmically at a coffee shop on my ...

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The struggle has paid off – the Pakistani film industry is finally awake

There is certain redemption in resurgence. A feeling of hope and of renewal, of things starting anew, of setting the old wrongs right. Pakistani cinema has come up by leaps and bounds in the last few years. From a struggling franchise engulfed in out-dated ideas desperately clinging on in order to survive and become a booming industry reminiscent of the golden days and a slight peek into the wondrous possibilities that lie ahead. Pakistani cinema has finally arrived and as a keen devotee of this resurrection it is apparent that the film industry is here to stay. Although the current situation resembles ...

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Remembering Shakir Ali: One of Asia’s greatest painters

Today marks the hundredth birthday of one of Pakistan’s – and according to the equally legendary Intizar Hussain, Asia’s – greatest painters, Shakir Ali (1916-1975). 2016 is deservedly being celebrated as Ali’s birth centenary year and the occasion should not only refocus attention on the enduring legacy Ali has left behind in his works inspired by modernism and the progressive tradition, but also in the form of Lahore’s National College of Arts, whom Ali single-handedly transformed into an institution of excellence. Photo: www.vaslart.org/ Ali is also singular in that, unlike his other legendary contemporaries Abdur Rahman Chughtai, Sadequain and Gulgee, his students ...

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This is how Pakistan fights terrorism everyday

It is a given that life and everything that pertains to it is in a constant state of change. Furthermore, it silently urges all the material and immaterial to be subject to that change. As individuals, with every second and experience, we adapt and find ourselves ever evolving just the same. With this notion in perspective, it is equally evident that the aesthetic of art has evolved as well, for what once was associated with the beautiful, is now just as closely tied to the disturbing and the chaotic. But how and why has that sensibility evolved? ‘Aesthetic’ is anything that ...

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The responsibility of being a famous celebrity in Pakistan

Saif Ali Khan’s Phantom (2015) was a sad excuse for a movie, much like Shaan Shahid’s Musalman (2001). Movies that play on the very jingoistic sentiment, which have led us into various wars and thousands of casualties, do nothing but betray their audiences who otherwise wish and need peace in the region. Pakistan was right to ban the film as a sign of protest. I would expect the same from India but India being a much older democracy has been far more disappointing. Not only did it ban non-political movies and dramas from Pakistan, but our artists like Shakeel Siddiqui and singers ...

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When copying designs becomes a norm in the fashion world

Committing plagiarism under the guise of inspiration seems to be the new norm for fashion designers these days. And Pakistani designer Nida Khurram is no different.  Keeping in mind the latest trend of digital print clothing, Khurram utilised modern-day patterns and illustrations in her Pret Summer Collection 2015 that was showcased at Fashion Pakistan Lounge in Karachi on May 30, 2015 and it will run till the stock lasts. Khurram, who was previously associated with the Asian Institute of Fashion Design (AIFD) and famous for her western collections and motifs, revealed while talking to The Express Tribune, “I’ve been really inspired by fashion illustrations ...

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As we bid adieu to American Idol, the legacy lingers on

The American singing competition, American Idol unfortunately meets its finale this year. Created by Simon Fuller based on the British series Pop Idol grasped my attention since its very first season in 2002. Being a fan of the idol platform, American idol had me glued to the screen for at least nine consecutive seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t missed any season over all, but the anticipation decreased significantly as Simon Cowell left the judges panel. I mean, I’m a fan of Jennifer Lopez, but only as an artist, not too sure about her as a judge. Simon Cowell and ...

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Everything I hate about the Pakistani fashion industry

If you are a young struggling female journalist in Pakistan with big dreams of reporting stories that matter, you will probably spend a few years reporting all the stories that don’t matter! Among all those literary masterpieces you pen will be an array of pieces on: Designers who have made it big Designers who have not made it big but have a great PR agency The 4363778 lawn launches Fashion “weeks” that are three-days long You will get to meet loads of glazed out designers and hear them talk about a lawn jora like it’s the cure for cancer. You’ll learn to thoosofy the words “sartorial”, “quirky”, “edgy” and “aesthetic” in every headline. For instance: “Designer (insert Bawani, Hashwani, ...

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Will Patari.pk be successful in a country like Pakistan?

I like to listen to music, just like anybody else. And like a lot of people out there, I crave a musical atmosphere where I don’t have to listen to Bollywood music blaring out the speakers all the time. And it makes me wonder, whatever happened to the Pakistani music industry? Did it just die? Are we not good enough? Has everyone abandoned it? In this social media and gadget-infested world, it is not hard to find answers to these questions. I have had discussions with famous artists about it, talked about this on television and even had drawing room discussions about ...

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