Stories about writers

House of Cards season 5 is drunk on the Underwoods and it’s time to go home

For a show that calls itself House of Cards (HoC), you’d expect its cards to start falling at some point. Maybe in the span of five seasons, 65 episodes and much screen time, you’d expect that to happen. But the Underwoods, it seems, never run out of their cards – with every snail-paced episode, the duo acquire more cards than Patrick Bateman collected in the entirety of American Psycho, advertently ending up being invincible. Spoilers alert! As disappointing as it is stagnant, the show is back to square one when even the world’s slowest elements are speeding up – Sahir Lodhi’s inability to ...

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“So, what’s Pakistan like?”

The old man had the most startling blue eyes, the kind that glittered in a wizard-like way. He was a contractual worker fixing some room in the building where I work, and I met him in the kitchen over my morning coffee. He asked where I’m from and widened his eyes. He didn’t comment on how good my English is, but how American my accent is (which I take no offence or pride in – it’s not the two years of Master’s in St Louis but all those American movies and TV shows I watch). And then he asked me ...

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10 Pakistani dramas from 2015 that everyone should watch

2015 was a year filled with lots of emotions, drama and masala for the Pakistani drama industry. We have a set of directors, actors and producers who have always made much applauded dramas, while on the other hand, we have a pool of artists who are always set to bring out taboo topics and make an impact. The dilemma to decide which of the dramas rightfully made it big due to its content and which were given overrated popularity for the love of cast and locations is still unanswered. I feel this confusion will always start a heated debate within the ...

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Aao Parhao – Jo Seekha Hai Wo Sekhao

As part of a remembrance to Robin Williams, I arranged a showing of Good Will Hunting and invited some school friends over. After the movie ended, one of them remarked on the critical role the protagonist’s teacher, Prof Gerald Lambeau (played by Stellan Skarsgård), a Fields Medal winner, and mentor  Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams) had in his development. “We didn’t have anyone as dedicated as them. Not even close.” I had to disagree and thought back to an incident back in March 1991. The phone rang and my mother picked it up. “Hello, is this the home of Sibtain Naqvi?” a lady asked. My mother ...

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10 things Pakistani and Indian drama industries need to do

Pakistani dramas are suddenly all the rage across the border yet again. Indian actors like Paresh Rawal, Kajol and Javed Jaffrey have praised them as a new channel, Zee Zindagi, is playing the best Pakistani dramas for Indian audiences who are happily lapping them up. There was always a cross-cultural exchange between India and Pakistan, but with the Pakistani film industry in the doldrums, and the Ekta Kapoor-style serials’ overwhelming popularity, it had become a one way street. Before this channel arrived, Indian fans, and indeed the entire sub-continental diaspora, used to watch Pakistani dramas over the internet just as we ...

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Bobby Jasoos: A volcano of talent… wasted!

Keeping the taste of Bollywood fans and critics in mind, director Samar Shaikh and producer Dia Mirza came up with a great formula for their new movie, Bobby Jasoos, one which they thought would be a hit movie. To understand it better, the formula is a mix between women-centric movies, like No one killed Jessica, Hate Story, Dirty Picture, Gulaab Gang and English Vinglish, and detective thrillers, like John Day, Samrat & Co., Kahaani, Mr Joe B Carvalho.  So what is the movie about? Bobby Jasoos is about Bilquis Ahmed (Vidya Balan), also known as Bobby Jasoos, who aspires to be a detective ...

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To George R R Martin and his fans: Calm down!

Being an avid fan of the Game of Thrones books and series, the latest headlines that have been circulating online via international publications had me in a spin. The headlines and the article content articulated how fans globally have been worried over George R R Martin’s health and age, and how that might result in him not being able to complete the series. Moreover, when is the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, going to be released? In an interview for the Swiss Daily, Tages-Anzeiger, Martin was asked to answer on the above speculations, and well, the answer was rather precise. It was the middle finger. As a ...

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Manto: A realist par excellence

Saadat Hassan Manto (1912-1955) is a name synonymous in the annals of Urdu literature. Considered among the greatest contemporary Urdu short story writers of the 20th century, he has left a legacy that stretches far and wide. Manto’s greatest gift was his ability to depict the reality of society with such ease that he would leave the reader mesmerised and in utter awe. His attention to minor details and his signature style of description was second to none. Manto was a realist and a puritan who hated hypocrisy in every given way. Manto was a household name for me, virtue of my mother being his daughter. The ...

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Books, cooks, schnooks and more at the Karachi Literature Festival ’14

The Karachi Literature Festival inaugurated in 2010 and in five years has become the leading cultural event in Pakistan. A literary spectacle. I throng in with an assortment of school children, aging grandfathers and what seem to be ramp models only to run into four journalists lounging at a table and discussing media studies at a local university. The conversation is stimulating but my eye catches a glimpse of a well-known writer. A quick chat and she’s surrounded by eager little fans. Another breezes past and announces that she is moderating a book launch and needs to meet the guest, a budding ...

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Calls to free Qadri are not reflective of PTI: Can we please stop the bashing?

It has long been apparent that any articles in regards to the PTI or Imran Khan seem to attract a disproportionate amount of interest and that is why it is always a popular topic for writers to take up. So it’s quite common to come across both pro and anti-PTI articles. But when I read the blog titled “Naya Pakistan, where Salman Taseer’s murderer is a hero”, I felt I had to respond because I personally found it to be highly partisan and inflammatory. Don’t get me wrong, I too condemn the statement by MNA Mujahid Ali Khan calling for the ...

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