Stories about cinema

Pashto films are destroying Pashtun culture

“Khandani Badmaash, Bewaqoof, Sharabi, Wehshi Badmaash, Ujrati, Charsi, Dama, Mastay Jenakai, Gandagir!” No, I am not abusing you. I am only naming a few of the famous films Pashto cinema has produced over the year. What is even more astonishing is that Pashtuns are known for their distinct code of conduct called the Pakhtunwali, which is quite different from what these movies depict. The Pashtun culture is an amalgamation of different elements which include the family structure or joint family system, the melmastia or hospitality, the jirga or tribal council which makes all important decisions, ghairat or the concepts of honour and courage and the satar or area of the ...

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Waar: Pakistan’s stark reality or hope for the future?

After the release of Waar’s trailer online I found myself being annoyingly corrected about how to pronounce the movie’s name. I’d invariably call it ‘War’ in front of Urdu lovers who would tell me it was Waar, meaning ‘to strike’. However, my friends at school would chuckle at me when I called it Waar and insisted that it was ‘War’.  As irritating as this was, there is an even more infuriating phrase I am certain you have heard when people discuss local ventures including films. Just like a worn-out bandage no longer covers or protects a scar, you’ll find this phrase invariably attached to discussions about new initiatives ...

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Lamha: A progressive step in Pakistani Cinema

Released internationally as Seedlings, Lamha is the fourth Pakistani film to hit the cinemas this year. I should admit that I do not usually watch films like Lamha as I prefer madcap comedies and optimistic films more. However, watching Lamha the other day reminded me of a wonderful Mexican film, Amores Perros, which has certain qualities in common with the new Pakistani film.  One of the many narratives in Amores Perros involves a married couple who are clearly going through a rough phase. In Lamha, instead of showing a Pakistani drama type shouting match, the director explores the tension between the ...

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Shuddh Desi Romance: Fairy tales exist, with or without marriage!

Three days into the release of Shuddh Desi Romance (SDR), most of the Bollywood viewers (irrespective of whether they have seen the movie or not) know that the film circles around the theme of cohabitation, or live-in relationships as more commonly known. Most of these people have also formed opinions about the movie and its concept, which leaves little room for me to address the movie in. After all, what can I say? Everything has already been said! Frankly, to me, SDR is not about love or relationships at all. Strangely enough, it makes me want to take a good look at ...

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Ayub Khan and the Pakistani film industry

A leading film-maker once asserted to me that Pakistani cinema had actually thrived through the advent of Ayub Khan’s military rule. This thought is part of the broader belief amongst some quarters that the dictatorship eras have provided a certain amount of socio-economic growth and development for Pakistan. Interestingly, for film, this has never been the case. In fact, Pakistani cinema has always been built through the efforts of dedicated individuals who, despite the lack of structured support and resources, developed methods through which some sort of a film culture could develop. This culture was, in fact, undermined by the ...

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Batman vs Superman: Please don’t mess this up, Zach Snyder!

As compared to Marvel’s well-oiled presentation at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), the official announcement by filmmaker Zach Snyder for a sequel to Man of Steel seemed just a little hastily put together. In the end though, the lack of refinement mattered for little, as Snyder, in one nerdgasmic move, upstaged the rival company’s presentation on their sequel to the highest grossing superhero film of all time. That’s no mean feat, especially considering that Man of Steel (MoS) earned mixed reviews, and in terms of box office exposure, earned nearly a billion dollars less than The Avengers. As you may be aware, last weekend, Zach Snyder surprisingly ...

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Ghanchakkar versus Raanjhanaa: Is our censor board confused?

It’s not every day that we, journalists, get enough time to spare for a day out at the movies. So, when I finally got the opportunity to watch Ghanchakkar (not really top on my list) with a group of friends, there existed a moment of sheer excitement, more so because after weeks of working tirelessly, I could just relax on the business-class lookalike luxury chairs at Cinepax’s Gold Screen hall and enjoy a movie to its fullest. Now, for those of you who haven’t watched the movie yet, Ghanchakkar is a far cry from Bollywood’s masala, borrowed-from-the-south potboilers like Dabangg ...

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Pakistan’s film industry is not dead… yet

I don’t remember watching a Pakistani film growing up. I was way too busy being smothered by Shahrukh Khan’s movies that everyone back then just had to watch — with the entire family. People would memorise lines, know the dance steps of each song by heart and would fantasise about Bollywood happening to them in real life. It never did. When Pakistan came out with films like Khuda Ke Liye and Bol, the content was too ‘heavy’ to appeal to the masses. Critics called the plot convoluted. The treatment contrived and termed the subject matter as just way too overwhelming ...

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Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: Let the badtameezi begin!

With the music of the Ranbir-Deepika starrer Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, music director Pritam brings to us one of the most widely anticipated soundtracks of this year. There are still two weeks left for the May 31 release but the buzz around the film has already reached fever pitch. With Ayan Mukerjee at the helm, the film is expected to have a certain amount of youthful energy and breeziness to it (remember Wake up Sid?) and the music has been a success so far. Moreover, through one of the highlights of the soundtrack we are able to see the variety that it offers. The album utilises the ...

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Why Chambaili is a must watch

 1. Ehteshamuddin: The theatre actor and director, who has also tried his hand at television, is definitely the highlight of Chambaili. He is a perfect fit for his role at Musa, the idealist journalist-poet who leads his friends to stand up against an influential politician and his son. 2. Dialogues: Extremely well-written lines, particularly for Ehteshamuddin, are really the icing on the cake. The Urdu is crisp and clear, unlike the terrible language we hear on TV nowadays. There is no mixing with English, neither is there the Bollywood influence. The dialogues are so good that they manage to make an impression ...

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