Stories about writer

Bewakoofiyaan: ‘Practically’ perfect

For a good movie, subject matters a lot. Bewakoofiyaan might look like a usual love story at first glance but it’s actually a very well-penned and well-conceived movie. This does not mean that the movie has nothing to do with romance; the plot, in fact, is based on romance but it also talks about the other things associated with romance in today’s ‘practical’ world. The story revolves around Mohit Chadhdha (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Mayera Sehgal (Sonam Kapoor), new-age practical and career-oriented sweethearts. Both try to build their lives around career stability, well-stocked bank accounts and better market positions. Photo: ...

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48 Laws of Power: A con man’s guide to the big bad world

When I first read Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, I found it difficult to decide whether the writer was being pragmatic or just plain evil. Take these two ‘Laws of Power’, discover each man’s thumbscrew (Law 33) and pose as a friend, work as a spy (Law 14). The wickedness of what Greene is suggesting will shock some, while others will appreciate the practicality of the book. Greene himself has said that he does not consider himself a genius, just a realist. In an interview with Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian for an article, he said, “I believe I described a reality that no other book tried to ...

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How to write an article on Pakistan (for the foreign press)

Dear journalist, blogger, columnist or on-again, off-again writer, congratulations! You have chosen to cover Pakistan in an article aimed at a global audience and (fingers crossed) paid for by a foreign news service/agency. Your guide awaits you below – check off your game plan and repeat ad nauseum. STEP 1: Choose your topic A: I want to write on terrorism, the impact of the US exit from Afghanistan, drone attacks, the tribal badlands, ‘Nuclear-armed’ dangers and Pakistan’s foreign policy in general. Pros: I can be an expert on all the above thanks to Google and many hours of spare time. Cons: There is ...

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Writing versus editing: What’s your pick?

As a writer and editor, I have a tough time deciphering what I like doing more: writing something from scratch, with my name under the headline, and the promise of a growing readership? Or ripping someone else’s work to shreds and rebuilding the story. Writing is like making a dish from scratch (not reporting, where you basically state facts): you choose the ingredients and the recipe. You are responsible for the end result. The credit is yours as is the criticism. But editing is like fixing somebody’s half-cooked dish. You can renovate it, rebuild it. You can add a ...

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Imran Khan is the target of your Goebbels’ vendetta!

Apropos to the excessively grandiloquent, wastefully voluble and patently frivolous attempt The Express Tribune has been part of subjecting Imran khan as prime target of its Goebbels’ vendetta. Now, what shall I say about The Express Tribune? The blog has started to give me an impression as if its raison d’etre is to have a unifocal soliloquy on publishing literally anything against Imran Khan without realising how ludicrous the writer may sound or implausible the publisher. If I were to describe The Express Tribune in a nutshell, I think I’ll marginally settle for this definition: Camelot of an erudite savant ...

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Manto doesn’t let you forget

My first ‘experience’ of Manto’s work was with his short story ‘Khol Do’ – a deceptively simple tale set in the turmoil of pre-partition Pakistan that artfully depicts the horrors that ensued from and during mass migration.   I use the word ‘experience’, rather than encounter or stumble upon, because there is absolutely no way that you chance upon Manto’s work as one does a pebble in the path, kick it aside and calmly move on. Any human being that feels simply cannot be unmoved by Manto’s work. Akin to the brazen persona that Manto possessed, he consequently inspired either deep ...

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Sights and sounds at the Karachi Literature Festival

Foreign correspondents like conjuring the “books, not bombs” angle to justify the expense of flying down to Karachi to hear a bunch of people talk about politics and their books (in that order). But at this year’s Karachi Literature Festival there were bombs everywhere. Pervez Hoodbhoy led a discussion on bombs of the nuclear kind, Ayesha Siddiqa lobbed a few verbal bombs in Anatol Lieven’s direction for not nursing sufficient hatred for the Pakistan Army while Mohammed Hanif even dropped the deadliest bomb of all: the F-bomb. I began my annual pilgrimage to the Karachi Literature Festival by making a mental ...

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Manto: Still relevant, still cherished

January 18 marked the 57th death anniversary of Saadat Hassan Manto, the greatest and most controversial short story writer ever produced by Urdu literature. Manto jumped into the realm of Urdu fiction in the early 30s. In the wake of the Progressive Movement, when all writers inclined towards realism were ardently following the ideology of the movement, Manto was the only exception. He was a movement unto himself. With his unique treatment of the subject, and psycho-analysis of human behaviour, Manto turned the whole course of Urdu fiction, which until then was mainly under the influence of Prem Chand’s realism and ...

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Thoughts on Khayaban-e-Nowhere’s birthday

This week, Khayaban-e-Nowhere turns one. Some of you will applaud while others (particularly a segment of The Express Tribune’s online readership) will repeatedly smack their foreheads against a wall, wondering what the state of Pakistani English newspapers has come to. But we will come to that in just a bit. Khayaban-e-Nowhere has in its one year covered a strange multitude of topics. The great thing about Khayaban-e-Nowhere is that it has absolutely no particular regimen, plan or focus. It is essentially a writing space for anything under the sun. When you write about pretty much anything you begin to see ...

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The last cloud of a storm

Mansha Yaad, who had been writing short stories, surprisingly passed away in Islamabad this week. Here in Lahore the next day, Hameed Akhtar, fed up with his painful ailment, too, decided that he had had enough of this world. Mansha Yaad was in the mid-spring of his writing. He had published a lot of short stories that earned him plaudits from lay readers as well as critics. Emboldened by the approval, his pen appeared to have grown more fluent. But who can rein death? All of a sudden it ambushed Mansha. Call it providence and be resigned to it. Everybody who ...

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