Stories about dance

Don’t hate me because I am beautiful

Azaan’s over. Everyone has gone back to their rooms. The street’s a mess. I smile as a jalebi floats in a puddle nearby. People rarely treat food with respect anymore. I take out a cigarette and begin to light it. Bloody cigarettes; they’ve started costing me more than my clients pay me to begin with! One of the girls, Razia, walks out the curtain-door and sits next to me. My lighter isn’t working again! Damn it! God bless Razia for handing me hers. We both stretch our legs over the stairs, lean back and take long drawls of our cigarettes. We barely ...

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Zumba: Who knew losing weight could be fun?

The typical lifestyle of a typical Pakistani housewife is, in one word, sedentary. Our movements are limited to settling into air conditioned cars and hovering about our servants’ heads as we tell them how to do all the work. So, what do we do as we begin to see size-zero heroines and start worrying that our waists are beginning to attain their own zip codes? You walk into a Zumba class. I went in with a friend, moderately confused and totally self conscious. What was I going to do? How was I going to lose weight? Would I walk out feeling ten pounds lighter ...

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Item songs and flirting with danger

Item songs have an interesting history. Our parents still remember item numbers such as, Eena meena deeka and Kaho ji tum kya kya khareedo gaay from the 50s for their catchy tunes, interesting lyrics and non-situational placement in films. The trend continued in the 50s with hits like Main kaa karoon Ram mujhey Buddha mil gaya and Honton pe aisi baat. These were songs with all the characteristics of a good item number except one – they were not cheesy. In the 60s, the situation began to change when sexual themes were introduced in item songs. Aa jaane-jaan, piya tu ab to aaja and Raat baaqi were called trendsetters in such content. The ...

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Gangnam Style: Are you doing it yet?

If you watch Pakistani television, you may have recently come across a very strange Zong commercial, which goes something like “Open Zong style!” However, if you browse the internet often, you might already know why I find this commercial to be an insufferable abomination. It is ‘inspired’, so to speak, by the very viral (and incredible) “Gangnam Style” ─ Korean pop/rap sensation Psy’s song video. I will talk about this displeasure of an ad later. Let’s talk about what “Gangnam Style” is first. “Gangnam Style” was posted on Psy’s official YouTube channel on July 15, 2012, and now has about 360 million views! It’s ...

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Naach: Lollywood dancing to the beat of success

I am a big fan of Pakistani movies, and I am not embarrassed in the slightest to admit to this. However, for the past few years – like a decade or so – I have not come across many quality movies in terms of script, performance and concept. Khuda Ke Liye, Bol, Yeh Dil Aapka hua and few other movies were technically sound and showcased strong scripts and some impressive performances. The rest,  and I say this with deep regret, were typical in that they offered no quality content to the audience. A few days ago, I was enlightened about the trailer ...

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“My family thinks I’m disgusting”

Transgenders are often forced to live under miserable conditions in Pakistan. Society does not accept them and they live as outcasts who are discriminated against in every field of life. This treatment extends not only to strangers but the family of transgenders too, who disown them and may even beat them till they are forced to leave their homes.  In this video we learn of the humiliation they are regularly made to suffer. People not only mock and ridicule them, they do not allow transgenders to study alongside them in school. Many eunuchs are, thus, forced to live a life of begging, ...

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Love mein ghum: Lollywood in a shiny, new package

A swirl of flashy colours and deafening screeching music, combined with gory action stunts, have defined Pakistan’s Lollywood cinema in the recent past. Weapon-wielding thugs and skimpily clad stout heroines have provided the dwindling cinema goers with a staple diet of grotesque violence and crude erotica. The phrase ‘revival of Pakistani cinema’ which springs up time and time again with a new release, seems to have been overused to the hilt Charged with the spirit of keeping the sinking ship of Lollywood afloat, the golden girl of Pakistani cinema, Miss Reema Khan, stepped into the director’s shoes coming up with ...

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Kalash: What we can learn from the lost civilisation

My family and I were fortunate enough to spend a few nights among the extraordinary Kalash last summer. This unique tribe is tucked away in the isolated mountain valley of Bumberet, hidden from the rest of the world. Legend has it that 2,300 years ago, when Alexander the Great and his army were pushing deep into South Asia, on their way to India in 327 BC, some of his men remained in the villages of Chitral. As a result the Kalash tribe of roughly 3,500 today consider themselves direct descendants of the Macedonian king. We began our journey along the Chitral-Dir ...

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TV ads: Is all the dancing really selling?

Products in Pakistan have not always been sold by armies of men and women dancing to uncoordinated perfection. However, recently advertising ‘charts’ have been hit by four choreographed entries: Tarang, Sooper, Warid and Chaika, which are running on all major TV channels night and day. Does dancing sell? Does this mean that singing and dance routines are what grip the Pakistani people and make them go buy brands? Or, does this simply mean that this is an idea that can be easily sold to clients by agencies? Agencies have developed a stereotypical solution for all marketing communication needs and forgotten the essence of ...

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Wedding bling: For the love of money

It’s that time of the year again. Fathers lament the drain of their pockets, mothers get teary-eyed at every glimpse of their daughters, designers smirk behind their overpriced outfits, tailors get threatening calls from customers, salons get overcrowded, caterers lie their way through fancy menus and it’s probably the only time of the year when choreographers and the “band baaja walas” earn a decent livelihood. It’s the wedding season, where we focus on every little detail but the real wedding itself. From designer clothes to custom-made jewellery, weddings these days are known for more than just a simple event celebrating ...

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