Stories about manto

Joker is a masterpiece in (almost) every sense

You would think that Joker has no earthly reason to exist as anything other than a gimmick aimed at making profits off a highly marketable property. However, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have elevated it into a politically conscious art piece that defies all expectations. Joker’s past The most important thing to understand about the Joker, is that he isn’t meant to be understood. He is, by design, a villain beyond comprehension. You are not supposed to put yourself in his big clown shoes. Joker, more ‘it’ than ‘he’, is an avatar of chaotic evil; a human-ish represenation of a gas cylinder exploding ...

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From a great writer to a great a leader: How Manto came to terms with Jinnah’s passing

On the 142nd birth anniversary of Muhammad Ali Jinnah today, a little-known piece by the great Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto is being presented for the time in its original English translation. This piece is part of Manto’s published but uncollected writings that are only recently seeing the light of day. Though there is little or no evidence that the great writer ever met the great leader, this piece – originally published in the Daily ‘Imroz’ just three days after Jinnah’s death in September 1948 – crystallises the raw emotions of a writer in the aftermath of a national tragedy ...

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In terms of script and execution, Mirzapur is far better than Sacred Games

Web series are a game changer for filmmakers and storytellers alike. After the popularity of Sacred Games on Netflix and Inside Edge by Amazon Prime, the latter is back with yet another web series called Mirzapur. The plot revolves around Akhanda Tripathi, also known as Kaleen Bhaiyya, because he deals with the buying and selling of rugs and carpets. Akhanda is a don who rules Mirzapur, quite literally. Interestingly though, his only son Munna Tripathi is entirely out of his control and constantly misuses his power and position, constantly landing himself in some sort of trouble or the other. One ...

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Banned Books Week: Rahi Masoom Raza’s fight to never stop swearing

This week (September 23rd-29th) is being celebrated as the Banned Books Week around the world, especially in the United States, where this tradition took inception during the Ronald Reagan era back in 1982. Concerned about violation of freedom of speech, rights activists raised the issue of banning books and their censorship, as well as the persecution of writers. Hence, it was decided that every year, the last week of September would be celebrated as the Banned Books Week. Perhaps it is no coincidence that International Translation Day falls immediately after Banned Books Week, on September 30th. At least for this humble scribe, ...

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Sex Aur Samaaj: Because a dialogue is important

Sex: that taboo word. Not only is it deemed sinful to discuss openly in more conservative societies, it is also about our own reflection and a repressed understanding of it. There is a compelling need to talk about sexuality as a normalised topic but due to rigid moral codes defined by religion or culture, an objective debate on this issue is not socially possible. In fact, there is an artificial silence about it because it is perceived as something dirty and sinful; a discourse to be refrained from unless one is legally recognised as a married person. Sex, indeed, is an ...

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Banning Pakistani actors or Indian movies won’t stop me from dancing to Kar Gayi Chul

Art is art. Art does not know a nationality or a region or a religion. Does a German heart move more than a non-German heart while listening to Beethoven’s symphonies? What if nobody outside France ever saw the Mona Lisa, or the Starry night was only seen by Dutch eyes? Art and artists belong to the world. Art is a reflection of the human condition, feelings shared by all of us universally. We all feel love, we all feel sadness, and we all feel loss. The world was moved by the picture of a dead Syrian toddler washed up on a Turkish shore. Statuses mourning the loss ...

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Actor In Law: Manmohan Desai’s brand of cinema

Let me admit that I did not know who Nabeel Qureshi was before entering the theatre to watch Actor In Law. I did not watch Na Maloom Afraad (2014), primarily because of its eerily similar appearance to Hera Pheri (2000), until I watched it a couple of weeks back. Nevertheless, the trailer of Actor In Law was intriguing despite, yet again, giving a similar feel to that of Govinda’s Kyo Kii… Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta (2001), which was similar to Liar Liar (1997) of Jim Carey. I was intrigued because it’s not very often that you get a chance to see Om Puri in a Pakistani film. If Actor in Law was made 30 years ago, Amitabh ...

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Boys will be boys but Qandeel was defiant – so she must be eliminated

The first video I watched of Qandeel Baloch was shared by a friend on his Facebook wall. She was clad in a skimpy grey dress showing off her voluptuous curves. Swaying suggestively and looking straight into the camera she said, “I’m 99% sure you hate me but I’m a 100% sure not even my shoe gives a damn about it.”

In one fell swoop she not only fully asserted herself as a sexual being – a space denied to women in our society – but cocked a snook at everyone unwilling to acknowledge her agency. I instantly fell in love ...

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“They started beating Aapi. Then they burnt her, right in front of my eyes”

A few days ago, I overheard my cousin talking to someone and saying, “Have you seen the news? Even CNN and BBC reported on the instances of violence that our women endure. Clearly it’s more serious than I thought.” I felt disgusted, not just at her remark, but at our mentality and reflection. It’s not news for us unless it reaches an international forum. It’s impossible to feel even a fraction of the pain Maria had suffered at the hands of her tormentors, but turning a blind eye to the incident is not just an insult to the victim but to humanity as well. This is still a ...

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Mor Mahal is great creative effort but not Sarmad Khoosat’s best work

You know when Jon Snow (although he knows nothing!), stands at the edge of the great wall looking down at the steely snow filled north, he is actually glaring at the camera. Duh! But he is not standing inside a studio. It is Iceland. It is a brutal -35˚C out there. Why go to such extreme lengths, you ask? It is all about authenticity. The Pakistani fictional production of the ‘Mor Mahal’ is a great creative effort by the brilliant Sarmad Sultan Khoosat as a director, but several things stand out to question its authenticity. The set designs are exquisite with ...

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