Stories about film industry

Good work appeals to the intellect and does not have to be a feast for the eyes – and ‘Parchi’ offers exactly that

Five of the most talented actors, Ahmed Ali Akbar, Hareem Farooq, Shafqat Khan, Usman Mukhtar and Ali Rehman Khan, star in the upcoming feature film Parchi. Good-looking, well-groomed and polished – to varying degrees, these actors are show business professionals. Hence, they understand the difference between acting and modelling and rely, almost exclusively, on their histrionic abilities when working as actors. Films and television shows are vastly different from fashion shoots and commercials. They rarely need good looks, clothes, jewellery and accessories. And they certainly do not require affectation, artifice and fake accents. Not everyone in the cast needs to have flawless ...

Read Full Post

Nothing and no one could have saved ‘Chain Aye Na’ from its unfortunate fate

In 1998, Syed Noor was on a high; his film Choorian had just released and went on to be one of the longest running Pakistani films showcased at a single screen cinema. He went on to become one of the few acclaimed directors in the Pakistani film industry. It makes you wonder then, how the same director, who delivered cinema greats like Larki Punjaban and Majajan, could stoop to releasing a film like Chain Aye Na. I don’t understand how the movie went so wrong, even though it had big names like Nadeem Baig and Atiqa Odho in the cast. Mustafa Qureshi or even the relations of Behroze Sabzwari, ...

Read Full Post

It’s 2017, movies like ‘Chain Aye Na’ stopped being funny and entertaining ages ago

Would somebody please, for the love of God, make this guy stop? Ever since this debate over the revival of Pakistani cinema has surfaced, I have been unable to wrap my head around the fact that these discussions invariably tend to feature a certain Syed Noor. The only reason these dialogues could feature this supposed icon of our not-so-iconic film industry is if we plan on telling our new age filmmakers that this is that one guy you should not emulate under any circumstances. But since Noor is still revered as a cinematic godfather-like figure amongst certain factions of the media, he took this as an encouragement ...

Read Full Post

India’s problem is not Pakistan; India’s problem is India

A self-confessed Indian spy was caught in Pakistan to be sentenced to death, so some people in Mumbai went to an apparel outlet and stomped on clothes that were made in Pakistan. Sometimes, facts can be more absurd than fiction. The store, the ever popular Zara, that carries clothes made in multiple countries, was accosted by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Hindu hardliners and Indian nationalists all in one, the party is known to take extreme stances on multiple issues concerning Muslims, cows, Pakistan, etcetera. The violence that the party usually propagates is interestingly in direct contrast with the glossy image India reflects to the world; the land of breakthrough ...

Read Full Post

Did India just say it banned Lipstick Under My Burkha because it was too “lady oriented”? Seriously?

The deliberate silencing of women’s voices is a universal phenomenon; only the extent of it differs in different parts of the world. In a country like India, where women face a multitude of challenges, a desperate re-writing of the dominant male-centric narrative is required. And what better medium in India than the film industry to challenge the dominant narrative? This is what Prakash Jha thought when he set out to produce his latest movie, Lipstick Under My Burkha. The film is a sexual comedy, revolving around four independent women who, tired of being shackled to misogynistic norms, decide to break ...

Read Full Post

Enchanting magical realism exists in La La Land

The winner of seven Golden Globes and receiver of 11 Bafta nominations, La La Land is an aesthetically created, romantic yet sentimental melodrama with catchy music and orchestrated dances – all expressed through the indelible characters of Mia and Sebastian.   Director and screenwriter Damien Chazelle’s musical drama shines with affection, emotion, and ambition. Set in present-day Los Angeles, its fast-paced romantic plot revolves around friendship, love, dreams, and veracity. It reconnoitres the ecstasy and sorrow of pursuing one’s dreams and tests the vigour of the duo’s rapport. One thing that’s striking about the story is the way it deals ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

The story behind my film, Maalik – From the horse’s mouth

Maalik is in the midst of a huge controversy; all kinds of motives are being attributed to my film and, although everyone is entitled to their own views, I thought a straight narrative from the one who knows Maalik the best may help. A brief intro before going further: I was born in Quetta and proudly call Balochistan my home. I am ethnically a Punjabi and my ancestral roots may be connected to a village near Nankana sahib in the district of Sheikhupura, near Lahore. Being a common man, I have little use for title, surname and caste and I have never used my ...

Read Full Post

Does the “Urdu problem” lie with Mah-e-Mir or us?

This Mother’s Day I took my mother out on a date to watch Pakistani cinema’s latest flick Mah-e-Mir. Luckily, it has not been banned as yet. I am not a movie buff per say, but I do end up going to the cinema every other week to take a break from reality. So, I hardly ever read movie reviews before watching movies. I like to watch a movie with a blank mind, having nothing to compare it with and judge it based on the entertainment value. I went in judging from the title that Mah-e-Mir would probably be based on the ...

Read Full Post

India and Pakistan both share the spirit of Bollywood

The recently released Bollywood movie Airlift, based on the evacuation of Indians residing in Kuwait during the Gulf War of 1990, has won much acclaim in both India and Pakistan. Rightfully so, for its brilliant cinematography, outstanding performances by all the artists (especially Akshay Kumar who has steered away from typically playing romantic comedy or action roles) and its excellent screenplay. The tragic scenario of a war zone and how it can take away everything you have is depicted in a heart-rending manner, along with how man’s survival skills are put to the test. The apathy of many politicians and bureaucrats, as ...

Read Full Post