Stories about immigrants

Brexit is a shambolic mess: Will its movie adaptation be the same?

Ever since the referendum took place in 2016, the shambolic aftermath of Brexit has been laid bare for the whole world to see. Following an agreed deal with European Union (EU) negotiators, Theresa May has faced a perilous journey trying to persuade her fellow party members that the deal, as it currently stands, is the best one for the UK. May has faced criticism from the opposition, a vote of no-confidence from her party members (which she survived), and countless to-ing and fro-ing from EU negotiators who are remiss about changing their stance on the Northern Ireland border or on ...

Read Full Post

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj: Brown voices are finally being heard

Over a month ago, Netflix released a new show called Patriot Act, a weekly political comedy led by Hasan Minhaj. The stand-up comedian rose to fame last year with his special, Homecoming King, which also won him a Peabody Award. However, Patriot Act is not your typical American late night talk show. There is no desk, no in-house band, no comfy sofas, no suits, and most importantly, no guests! What is perhaps similar about this weekly format is Minhaj concentrating mainly on a single subject each episode, but doing so while walking freely in casual attire on a diamond shaped stage with massive ...

Read Full Post

Crazy Rich Asians may not be Oscar-worthy but it definitely is as captivating as it is entertaining

As I walked into a packed theatre in Birmingham, Michigan one evening, I was somewhat excited to see so many local ‘white Americans’ and ‘African Americans’ gathered to watch a film about ‘Asian Americans’ aka ‘immigrants’. Our stories do matter, after all. Technically, I am also an Asian American; South Asian American to be specific. The movie Crazy Rich Asians is specified as a comedy, but according to my humble opinion, it is more of a comedic satire. A bold sarcasm on the handful of ‘brand conscious’, ‘wealth managed’ crazy rich people who are found not only in Singapore (where ...

Read Full Post

The diaspora of Naya Pakistan: The time is ripe for us to pay back to the motherland what is due

Some years ago, summer of 2012 to be precise, I hosted an informal morning tea for Maleeha Lodhi, and while discussing the upcoming 2013 elections, she said to me, “It is not the Pakistan that this diaspora may have left 20 years ago, it’s a different Pakistan. The public is more desperate, the crises are much more and the conscious awareness that every vote counts is on everyone’s mind.” Hence, to me, her statement implied that Imran Khan was going to be elected prime minister in the 2013 elections, but history tells us a different tale. Imran fell, and with ...

Read Full Post

“If I score, I’m French; If I don’t, I’m Arab”: Why France needs to recognise its “others”

As a Muslim French woman, my feelings regarding France’s victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup are quite divided. They are not divided about the game per se – the players undoubtedly demonstrated their brilliance on the field, and I do not see how I could be unhappy about winning the title again after 20 long years. Rather, I am sceptical about what changes this win will bring to individuals belonging to certain ethnic groups in this country, and to the Muslim faith in particular. Nothing major, I fear. Dear France, Congratulations on winning the #WorldCup. 80% of your team ...

Read Full Post

Cake: The tension between those who stayed in Pakistan and those who left for greener pastures

South Asians are an emotional people. We live and die by theatrics. Our visual and sound mediums are adored by worldwide audiences. Not just that, but we tend to weave emotional juggernauts into our everyday life, regardless of the situation. Given our emotional tendencies, more often than not, our cinema capitalises on tugging at our heart strings in order to make a hit movie. Such was also the case with the recent movie Cake. There have been dozens of reviews written about the movie in the local and international press, hence I won’t bore you with one more. What I do ...

Read Full Post

The Big Sick: An apt portrayal of Pakistan-US stuck in a culture clash

Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani began stand-up comedy in 2009 and quickly rose to fame as one of the funniest comedians in the business. His success with stand-up led to small roles at first, but soon enough he landed his own live-comedy show The Meltdown with comedian Jonah Ray on Comedy Central. It was quickly followed by a starring role on one of the most hilarious Home Box Office (HBO) comedy series, Silicon Valley. Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick (2017). PHOTO: IMDb Nanjiani is perhaps still best known for his role as the Pakistani software-engineer, Dinesh Chughtai on Silicon Valley. That is most likely going to change with the release of ...

Read Full Post

It’s time we stopped turning a blind eye to the racism and xenophobia that exists in Canada

I consider myself a very proud Canadian. I do. I love Canada with all my heart and soul, as utterly clichéd as that may sound. When my parents were thinking of immigrating ‘abroad’ – we lived in Saudi Arabia at that time – they kept insisting that we move to Canada. And they didn’t have a valid reason for it either; they just wanted us to move here, because everyone else they knew was immigrating in flocks to the United States. I guess they knew, in their hearts, that Canada was the better option. And it was; well, for ...

Read Full Post

Beth Jata Hon Mitti Pay Aksar: A tribute to our lonely wanderers

The outlook of the working class around the globe and Pakistan in particular has changed dramatically over the past 20-30 years. People are coming out from the comfort of their home towns and moving to bigger cities and foreign countries for jobs and education. But this comes at a cost; a large number of these people have to stay away from their families and friends for extended periods of time, and that changes a lot of things; from their personality to their lifestyle. Beth Jata Hon Mitti Pay Aksar (I Often Sit on the Soil) is a narration of such lives, something most the ...

Read Full Post

Why Modi is as bad as Trump

We are living in extremely dangerous times. Many of you would imagine I am referring to the election of Donald Trump, a xenophobic, misogynist, white supremacist, “nasty” man as the US president. I am not. I am referring to an even more terrifying phenomenon; which is our willing suspension of disbelief in election times. This is the very phenomenon which enables evident liars, of the ranks of Trump and back home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and team, to work up crowds with promises that any sane man would know are hoax, and get elected to office. And still worse, defeat the right ...

Read Full Post