Stories about Oscars

Bollywood is a cartel which has been thriving on plagiarism and nepotism

I realised what a waste of time Tubelight was only after wasting nearly three hours of my life watching it. I searched for reviews of the movie to see if I was the only one who thought along such lines. While searching for video reviews on YouTube, I came across a young movie critic’s review. This review pointed out that Tubelight’s storyline was extremely similar to a Hollywood movie called Little Boy. Thus, apart from being a terrible movie, it turned out to be a distasteful copy as well. During the 40s and 50s, movies with strong scripts and innovative storylines were being produced. ...

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Blade Runner 2049: An evolved extension of the original cult classic?

Welcome back to Los Angeles (LA). The year is 2049 and LA is as grey, rainy and full of neon as it was some 30 years back. The whole landscape might have evolved, but there is no mistaking the fact that this is the same world that cinephiles fell in love with from the Blade Runner. The official trailer of Blade Runner 2049 has recently dropped and the moody and atmospheric world building is exceedingly reminiscent of its predecessor, the original 1982 Ridley Scott’s cult classic which was based on Philip Kindred Dick’s 1968 short story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It’s not just the visuals; the plot ...

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Denzel Washington versus Casey Affleck: And the Oscar goes to… No!

You win some, you lose some. But there are some losses that hurt more than most. Ask Denzel Washington for instance, who had a really hard time accepting his defeat at the recent Oscars. Washington’s displeasure was pretty evident on hearing Casey Affleck’s name being announced as ‘Best Actor’, but an awkward smile was just the start. From then on, it went from bad to worse.  When the Manchester by the Sea star got on stage to give his acceptance speech for his first Oscar, the two-time Academy Award winner was unable to erase the scowl from his face. Washington then concluded his show of anger by shaking his head from ...

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Sully: Clint Eastwood can simply do no wrong

Clint Eastwood is no stranger to showing his love for American heroes, or at least people who satisfy his definition of an American hero. And that’s something that’s best reflective of the latter part of his career with films like Flags of Our Fathers (2006), J. Edgar (2011) and American Sniper (2014). And something he continues to explore with his 35th film behind the camera: Sully. Based on the remarkable true story of the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’, when on January of 2009, Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger successfully landed a US Airways plane on the Hudson River, after an influx ...

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This Independence Day, it is time to let go of Quaid’s 14 points

In 1929, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave the Muslims of India his 14 points, in response to the Nehru Report which was published in 1928 as a memorandum outlining a proposed new dominion status constitution for India. These 14 points became the cornerstone of all our SSC and HSC Pakistan Studies examinations in post-independence Pakistan and every youngster to date has read and memorised these points. However, I have always wondered why learning these points were so imperative. Are they still valid today? Surely not. They were a rebuttal to the Nehru Report, outlining what Muslims of India demanded from ...

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The dirty old men of Pakistan

In the world we live in, there is no dearth of pious men who believe that most of the world’s problems can be fixed by giving their women a little thrashing. And this business of a man’s God-given right to give a woman a little thrashing has brought together all of Pakistan’s pious men. A few weeks ago, Pakistan’s largest province passed a new law called the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act. The law institutes radical measures that say a husband can’t beat his wife, and if he does he will face criminal charges and possibly even eviction from ...

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Azealia Banks and our obsession with her attention-seeking “hairy curry scented Punjab” tweets

My niece is a huge ‘One Directioner’ (is that what they are called?) and was heartbroken when the boy band lost one of its key members, Zayn Malik. We insist on a special connection with this young musical icon on account of sharing a nationality and probably having a Zain for a classmate or a Malik for a neighbour. This gives us the inalienable right to judge him of course; from his tattoos to the racy lyrics of his new singles. “Haw Haey! Larka haath sey nikal gaya!” (The boy is getting out of hand!) He should thank his lucky stars he isn’t a ...

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Why Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy made A Girl in the River

Last night I had the good fortune to attend the first Pakistani public screening of the Oscar winning film A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. I also conducted a Q&A afterwards with the film’s director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, who’s been dealing with a lot of controversy in Pakistan for the film’s subject matter and its global success. The movie’s about a young woman who survived an honour killing and lived to take her would-be killers – her own father and uncle – to court. Did Sharmeen make this film for western consumption, as a “transaction” as feminist writer Rafia Zakaria puts ...

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Why is diversity at the Oscars even a topic of discussion?

It’s nearing the time of the Oscars again where actors gear up to receive their awards based on their acting skills. Only this time around, on February 28, many of the African American actors will be boycotting the event. The leading boycotter in front of the line is none other than Jada Pinkett Smith who has been pretty much doing all the talking for her usually very outspoken husband, Will Smith. She claims that far too many ‘white’ folks get awards, while the African Americans stay behind. Thus she urges (read: intimidates) black Americans to boycott the Oscars this year. [fbvideo ...

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If you’ve seen The Pursuit of Happyness, you’ve seen a better version of Joy

Let me get this straight right from the outset, some amongst us will always find a tale compelling where an underdog succeeds in the end despite the numerous odds , no matter how ineptly it’s told. And then there are others like myself who some will find a supposedly inspirational story about the manufacture of a mop dull if it is badly told, no matter how popular the lead cast is. For a movie that is supposed be uplifting and inspiring, Joy ironically is pretty joyless. This is a sort of film where you will have to decide for yourself. ...

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