Archive for July, 2008

Coffee, anyone??

Gloria Jean’s Billboard

Introducing The Hub


If Metblogs is a city, hub.metblogs is the playground. We kept hearing from people that one of their favorite parts of Metblogs was meeting and interacting with readers and writers from other parts of the world, as well as getting requests for more ways that readers could be involved besides just posting comments. We thought about this for a while and decided that with a network like this, a giant community area where folks from all over the world could hang out, post photos and videos, talk with each other, form groups, play games, send messages, and do about a million other things was probably a pretty fun idea. The Hub is that.

If you have any tech ideas or suggestions join this group and speak up. See you on hub.metblogs!

Summer cinema excitement in full swing

Lahore and the rest of Pakistan gets to watch ‘Kismat Konnection’ in theatres from July 18. This Shahid Kapoor & Vidya Balan starrer is the second major Bollywood flick to release simultaniously in India and Pakistan following Priyanka Chopra & Harman Baweja’s largely unimpressive ‘Love Story 2050’. Both movies are a vivid sign of the boundaries between Bollywood & Lollywood thining as the former makes full intrusion into Pakistan’s film entertainment scene.

Kismat KonnectionLove Story 2050

And as if this was not all enough, for the more Westernized lot, Angelina Jolie’s ‘Wanted’ screens on July 25 while ‘Kung Fu Panda’ is already evoking rounds of laughter at the main screens.

Wanted the movieKung Fu Panda

Add to that Javed Sheikh’s long awaited venture ‘Khulay Aasman Ke Neechay’ for which enough pre-release buzz was created so much so that the movie even has a fully dedicated blog.  The movie itself was a decent effort according to the audiences.

Khulay Aasman Kay NeechayRamchand Pakistani

Finally, jewel of the year will be Mehreen Jabbar’s much inspiring ‘Ramchand Pakistani’ as it hits cinemas on August 1, 2008.

So, what are you up to this summer!

Places to watch:

Love Story 2050: Plaza, DHA Cinema, Sozo Gold
Kismat Konnection: Gulistan, DHA Cinema, Sozo World
Khulay Aasman Ke Neechay: Empire, Sozo Gold
Kung Fu Panda: DHA Cinema
Wanted: DHA Cinema
Ramchand Pakistani: Still to be announced

It is the Stock Exchange for the time being

Yesterday’s situation in Pakistan’s stock exchanges was no different from each day during the last four months that saw the markets plunge consistently resulting in the main Karachi bourse losing more than 30% of its value.

LSE protests
Protestors burning tires outside the LSE – Daily Times

Angry small investors went on rampage in the Karachi Stock Exchange demanding the closure of market for a few days to curb its slide. Scenes were a bit calmer in Lahore where a crowd protested outside the Lahore Stock Exchange building by burning tires and shouting slogans against the regulators and the big players.

This grim situation follows the failure of the new coalition government in tackling rising food & oil prices, electricity shortages and burgeoning trade & budget deficits triggering mindless inflation and depreciating the Pakistani Rupee to record lows against the US Dollar.

All this is happening when the country is facing a huge security threat on its western borders from the militants and NATO forces as its cities are no better safe from street-crimes, robberies and bomb blasts. Amidst all this lawlessness and chaos, our leaders seem to be least concerned when they are visiting their ‘families’ abroad leaving no person of strength and character in authority behind in the country.

I’ve never beeen pessimistic about my country’s situation but this has to be sorted. People in authority need, I repeat, desperately need to become serious in tackling the country’s problems. People in the north-west are Pakistanis, they need to be heard not bombarded upon; Balochistan deserves its gas-royalties and Sui itself should be supplied with gas; Thar coal should be exploited to create a mega-pool of electricity supply which can provide at least 20,000 MW of electricity by using only 2% of the reserves over the next 20 years.

Forget the judges, forget the president, yes, I mean it! Focus on the core issues, the main problems of the masses and the industrialists alike for poverty can only be elevated if industry flourishes.

Bring peace, bring food, bring prosperity, bring unity – only this is what has elected you guys to the seats of power and the failure in bringing what will pull you down. We have seen the violence at the Stock Exchanges; I’m afraid it’s not that hard to imagine when it comes to the streets soon…

Warning: Don’t look if you are hungry

so i went out shooting this weekend to try to take a few shots of landmarks ( i had kalma chowk / liberty chowk and a few buildings on main boulevard in mind ). I was surprised to see that NO street lights are on at these landmarks so i ended up taking pictures of food stalls at Liberty … tell me what you think …. (more…)

Bomb blast in Islamabad (another…), a Pakistani speaks about his (live) experience

Ali Trimzy, who is moving back to his beloved country Pakistan from US after staying there for more or less 10 years, writes:Today my belief in Allah’s power and what we call Qismat was re-enforced.

One of the things I learned while in overseas (is to stop when a traffic police man tells me to stop), literally saved my life.

I was on the other side of the road trying to make a U-turn when the suicide bomber hit the policemen in Melody chowk today. If I had not stopped because a traffic policeman signaled me to stop and told me that I cant make a U-turn, I would literally have been less than 5 feet from the suicide bomber. Luckily I stopped and being on the other side of the double road it placed a distance of around 20 feet between my car and the bomber.

Somehow I was lucky enough to only have minor cuts and bruises while some really sharp pieces of metal landed inside my car and completely missed me.It was one of the most un-nerving experience of my life since Ojri Camp and also one of the saddest. I would really hope such events would stop in our country and as I fail to see what they achieve except for killing many innocent.

Why did I like Zibahkhana (Hell’s Ground)!!!

Ok. Let’s get the facts done first. Zibahkhana (for those who don’t know) is a horror movie (a slasher / zombie movie to be exact), made in Pakistan. Its tagline claims it to be “Pakistan’s first gore movie”. Time magazines describes it as “A horror movie on the doorstep of the Taliban”, while The Telegraph UK suggests “Beware, zombies wearing saris”.

Hell’s Ground, as it is titled in English, premiered at LUMS last year. Most of its cast and crew does not belong to typical Lollywood crowd. In fact the only “known” faces you will see would be actor Rehan who makes a comeback to silver screen after more than 30 years, and whose last famous role was that of Dracula in Pakistan’s very first horror movie “Zinda Lash” (The living corpse) in 1967 – Zinda Lash incidentally was recently rediscovered from “rusty old cans” in a film studio. The other known face is model Adnan Malik in a small cameo, although if IMDB is to be believed, the producers at one point of time were considering Indian actor Saif Ali Khan for this role.

To be exact, no zombies are wearing saris in this movie. Burqas yes… chappals too, but it appears that the dress of choice for most of the zombies in the flick was plain simple shalwar qameez. As a matter of fact, the movie features so many things “desi”, in a typical gore backdrop nonetheless, that at times “horror” takes a backseat to the sheer joy of watching something you can easily relate to. Dusty and deserted roads leading to outskirts of Islamabad, an old Khokha out of nowhere offering “deewane ki mastani chai”, featuring an eerie old man who claims that his chai is “world famous” as the likes of Queen Elizabeth, Lady Diana, Henry Kissinger and recently Angelina Jolie alongwith her “boyfriend” stopped by for the same. The background music frequently shifting to classic Punjabi tracks of 1980’s Lollywood films, a van that seemed to pop straight out of a studio in Lahore that made Maula Jutt and its contemporaries, a bunch of teenagers from urban Pakistani middle class, speaking half English half Urdu sentences (well the curses were almost always in English though), the broken limbs, flesh eating zombie from a village in hell, a Barri Bua exhibiting typical warmth for her children and then turning into a crazy revenge seeking menace, a forceful hitchhiker from a “peer’s tomb” who suddenly gets awfully thirsty, a dark foggy jungle described as “the road to the hell” – This movie has it all, and does pretty well with all of it.

So what exactly is Zibahkhana all about. If you put your logical, rational thinking hat on (which you should not be wearing all the time) Zibahkhana appears to be a low budget horror movie with some shockingly gore scenes. The movie is indeed low budget. The acting is somewhere between average and below average (with the exception of Rubya Chaudhry who acted brilliantly at times). Camera work is so so, story is very predictable and editing could have been crispier. But (and this is where you must take off that ugly looking logical hat for a while) all the above elements add to the “classiness” of the film, believe it or not. Zibahkhana, is nothing like your average blockbuster big budget entertainers. It’s a typical independent movie to the core. It’s different, very different, from what you would expect from our Desi cinema. And it certainly defies the logic that you need to have everything exactly where it belongs to make a good movie. Nothing in Zibahkhana seems where it belongs. The lighting, the acting, the props, the works, and yet it works out so neatly that you end up watching a fairly enjoyable thriller at the end of the day. (Note: not for a weak of heart)

For more info on Zibahkhana:



Actually somebody recently told me that the Famous Bundo Khan of Lahore, which is a great place to have great BBQ, is in fact the copy of THE ORIGINAL “Al-haaj Bundo Khaan” of Karachi. Well, it was something new (read shocking), i mean, i never knew that. Do you guys have any idea whats the real story behind????

The Thin Black Riding Hood

Thin Black Riding Hood

When you are covering yourself from intense heat and end up making a style statement :P

Share your personal solutions to the rising prices

Pakistan has been slipping deep into economic recession with record level inflationary pressures. During countless discussions with people, the reaction is always one of amazement as to how people can still cope with such high commodity and petrol prices.

I am keen to learn from the readers how your lives have been affected by the current price hike. I can appreciate most of us are the fortunate ones who make up the middle and upper classes of society with less impact than the disadvantaged. However, I have a personal story which goes to show the current situation is felt across all spectrums of society…

We all know the wheat shortage crisis last winter. At its peak, I experienced first hand the difficulty with which my household cook had to procure a bag of atta. If I recall correctly, it took him best part of the day to scour the city and eventually got hold of a bag. The surprising aspect of it all was that this took place in the most up market neighbourhoods of the city and my family didn’t have any financial constraints. I just wonder how people with less influence and money must have coped during the time.

It would be great to hear your experiences of dealing with the rising prices and how you have dealt with it – For instance, reduced non-essential car travel; eating less meat; eating out less; stopped buying new gadgets/clothes etc.

It would be nice if everyone could share their thoughts as I strongly believe some of your solutions will spread best practice and help others in adopting them and saving some of their own money.


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