Stories about Oscars

Why are we being cut off from independent Pakistani films?

In the last few months, screenings of movies with a strong Pakistani connection has surged in the United States. It has been culturally very exciting and rewarding to watch these fantastic films and afterwards attend interactive sessions with their directors and crew-members.  Saving Face, These Birds Walk, Without Shepherd, The Waves, Night Life, Lamha (Seedlings), The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Zinda Bhaag, Torn, Wounds of Waziristan, Good Morning Karachi and Anima State were presented at different film festivals in the United States. A few also went into commercial distribution. While movies like Waar and Main Hoon Shahid Afridi did create a buzz in the Pakistani cinema market, most of the internationally released movies were overlooked by the mainstream Pakistani media. What ...

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Argo: Essentially not a true story

Having already won accolades at the three major American film industry guild awards, the Golden Globes, as well as at the British Academy Film Awards, it wasn’t surprising that Ben Affleck’s Argo took home the top prize for Best Picture at the 85th Academy Awards. But although it wasn’t unpredicted, it was quite a bit disappointing, especially for fans of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. Personally, I had been hoping for an upset in favour of Ang Lee’s film, especially after he had earned the naked golden statue for Best Director earlier that night for his enchanting cinematic adaption of ...

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Michelle Obama had no place at the Oscars!

Ben Affleck created magic in the shape of Argo, a movie that deserved an Oscar this year, not because it was political but because it has all the essentials of an excellent movie. Along with a good script, the direction was brilliant, the cinematography was spot on, and above all it showcased a very good display of acting. The thriller is adapted from the book “The Master of Disguise” by CIA operative Tony Mendez and Joshuah Berman’s article “The Great Escape” . It is the story of the Central Intelligence Agency rescue of six US diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The role of ...

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Get the look: Oscars 2013

The Annual Academy Awards is about fashion as much as it is about great cinema. It is a grand fashion show where stars dress to impress. Just because you did not attend the Oscars, doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun. Local designers on the pulse of fashion are second to none when it comes to glamour. If you have an upcoming special occasion, let A-list actresses inspire your style. Here are 15 of my favorite looks. Getting the look means keeping it simple, elegant and modern. Safia Abbas’ silk gown channels Amanda Seyfried’s gorgeous Alexander McQueen gown with a halter neck, crystal beading, ...

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Lincoln: Steven Spielberg’s new oscar-contending masterpiece

To get right to the point Lincoln was a great movie. What made it so? Well therein lays the romp. Time and Memorial writers have vainly tried to measure the chalice of greatness from comparisons to Greek mythology to the use of words that are rarely entertained by the common man’s diction. My belief is that the explanation lies in simplicity. What is it that garners tones of reverence and sparks the flame of excitement when an audience sees the “directed by Steven Spielberg” credit flash on a screen? It is his uncanny ability to tell a story. The bedrock of his success ...

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Saving Face: An Oscar for mediocrity?

In February, when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s Film, Saving Face, on acid burn victims won an Oscar, I was sceptical. Accolade seemed to focus on how great it was for Pakistan to have this honour – and whenever people get jingoistic, you know that the core may be hollow.   Frankly, there are two reasons why the film won the Oscar: excellent public relations work, and choice of topic that fits the western narrative of acceptable ways to talk about Muslim women – as victims of patriarchal religious violence without any emphasis on the larger socio-economic context in which this violence ensues and whether there are ...

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What the Oscar means for Pakistan and Iran

When the name Asghar Farhadi was called out as the winner of the prestigious award in the category for Best Foreign Language Film, for his film ‘A separation’, I immediately texted my best friend, who happens to be Iranian, congratulating her, while doing a little dance of happiness for a fellow Muslim country’s achievement. Many of my Muslim friends also updated their statuses, even though they were not Iranians. However, when Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s name was called for Pakistan, in the category Best Documentary, Short Subject for her film “Saving Face”, my entire Facebook feed flooded ...

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The Oscar conundrum

Pakistan’s first Oscar moment was momentous, to say the least. That one of our own was blessed enough to walk in front of the best of the best of the world cinema and claim her place within their ranks is a testament to the resolve of the Pakistani spirit, and an ovation to our limitless talent. At the same time it has been mired in the fact that it does portray a side that we would rather brush under the carpet. There is some truth to both sides of the story. To walk up and be awarded the golden statue, which ...

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Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, you are my role model

As I sat waiting for the award for ‘Best Documentary, Short Subject’ for which Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy had been nominated for her documentary Saving Face to be announced, my stomach tied itself in knots. Having interned with Sharmeen last year, and worked with her on “Saving Face”, I was inspired by her. I frantically texted my friend Anushka (who had been Sharmeens’ assistant last year) who was as nervous and excited as me. The thought of Sharmeen at the Oscars was overwhelming and we had a strong feeling that she would win. We felt anxious, almost sick, but we knew that we were not alone. There was an entire ...

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