Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Terrorism Part 1

Terrorism sweeps the country, the city, the lives and the dreams. We flee the country, those of us who can; we slander the city; we condemn our lives and we are afraid of our dreams. And we are so busy doing all these things to escape terrorism that, poor us, we don’t even stop to think what we are running away from.

There’s a brand-new hype around town now…more hyped than it ever was before. Terrorism seems to vastly affect our ‘cultural’ shows in Lahore now, whether they be the Rafi Peer Theater World Performing Arts Festival, or the cultural complex or whatever. Yes, these groups, which are just patriotically producing the necessities or our nation (o should that be in inverted commas too?), are being directly threatened by those extremely sick people who wear beards. At least, those are the people that are arrested if they dare to show their faces.

To clarify, the necessities mentioned above are:

1) Dance shows

2) Music shows

3) Tacky stage shows

But let me tell you what happened, what is happening and in all probability, would happen again.

Firecrackers.

That’s what happened. Outside the cultural complex, outside the Rafi Peer Theater Festival, and well, goodness knows where else. Intense terrorism, my friends, intense. And fully dramatized on that blasted channel Geo.

Forget the girls being raped and murdered every day. Forget the fact that America is bombing us every day. Forget the fact that the new black (but thinks, looks and speaks white) American President is silent on such issues being resolved. Forget that if we don’t know of Shakespeare we are ignorant but if we don’t know of Al-Ghazali it’s not too bad. For the cultural, spiritual, degrading colonization we’re living in. Forget the world outside our bubble. Look! Some people who get offended by the scantily-clad dancers on the LCD screen in the World Performing Arts Festival actually have the audacity to put firecrackers outside!

These people have gotten so much sympathy, so much coverage…because they deserve it! After all the odds, they went back and performed, and will perform again! Because their art is so much more important than lives in Waziristan y’ know. That’s why Geo dramatizes this and not that.

The lives of the non-elite, the non-monied don’t matter, of course. Your countrymen die by the million and all the elite, the newspapers, and the universities think about is how and when and where and what is that amazing new musical called Chicago? How brave of them to perform in smaller and smaller clothes and how nice of them to come to Lahore! After all, firecrackers are no small thing, because they have started hurting the dancers and singers now. Never the mind the generations of children killed by firecrackers in the past, not even to mention the jugular veins cut by the strings of Basant. No. We must celebrate our life, because we have the money and we have the channels. Why represent the poor? We have our tacky stage shows to perform. We are the brave ones to perform at such a time, and then flee the country as soon as we get a third-rate citizenship anywhere. We have to present the faithful dog-image to America so that it will give us citizenship. Poor, brave elite. Eight people injured by firecrackers versus a hundred thousand dead by the American bombings.

Bravo, Chicago, bravo…go, Chicago, go…you’re what we need, you’re it, you’re the man (or the two leading women)…our saviors the elite….save us…save us….

How we are Losing our Cultural Identity

Yesterday, I went through an appeal for donations in Dawn by Hassan Zaidi, the founder of KaraFilm. Mr. Zaidi has been instrumental in bringing international spotlight and global taste to Karachi in the form of Pakistan’s largest film festival which grew bigger and better each year until two years back. The security situation in Karachi had resulted in postponement of the event for two consecutive years while 2009 brought with it the worst of economic recessions to blame.

KaraFilm is not alone here; in Lahore, Peer Festivals’ much celebrated World Performing Arts Festival was blatantly sabotaged in 2008 when suspected blasts occurred at the venue of the event.

But the question is, is the security situation or availability of corporate sponsorships to be blamed alone? Isn’t our love for arts, culture, literature and our own aesthetic identity fading away. What was the last time you went out alone, or with your friends or family to an art exhibition, a lok virsa show or to any of the Alhamra concerts on ethnic music?

If we look around our immediate surroundings, and closely observe our collective pshyche, it would not be worng to say that we are rapidly loosing the artistic thought, the softer brain and the very essence of cultural identity. Today, the only entertainment considered entertainment is a Bollywood movie screening (at cinema or at home), a ‘western’ rock concert or in majority of the public’s case; cheap and vulgar theatre.

We may not realize this now, but in due time this realization will come and hit us hard when the damage to our unique cultural identity and the youth’s attitude towards it will be irreparable. And that would happen even without the help of extremist ideologies whether they be from the mullahs or the government.

We’ll lose it and never know when it happened unless our common perspective towards arts and culture changes; unless parents don’t feel undermined of their investment in children who opt for arts; unless we change our attitudes towards everything local and unless we do not support the only catalysts of revival i.e. our local artistes, the lok-musicians, the artisans and the craftsmen of our rich cultural heritage that spans over more than a couple of thousand years as well as welcoming and embracing international flavors in contemporary arts, theatre, music and film.

BAY RANG: A Documentary So Hot, No One Dares to Air

Some time back, around 2 or three years, I remember reading few books on suggestion from a very close friend of mine. we were discussing diversity at that time. That dear friend not only gave me a reading list but was kind enough to share two books with me. One was Taboo by Dr. Fouzia Saeed and the other was Between Chaddor and the Market by Jasmin Mirza. Book Review here

My first reaction was shock. yes, shock is the word that almost defines what i felt for days after reading those books. During my 8 years in corporate sector, I had an opportunity to live and work with people from different parts of the world. I attended training and seminars on issue of workplace diversity and gender issues. Even then this was too big a cultural shock for me to absorb.

Can people living in the same city  be so different and isolated in their values? Can all of this still be happening in modern times? Questions, questions and more questions I was left with. The adventure boy inside me wanted me to check out the Mohalla first hand. And I did. not once but three times but in none of those trips, I was able to verify the detailed descriptions of the sub-culture as defined in the books.

First trip was during day time and second one was in Moharram, so the bazaar was not open and all i saw was just the shops and ordinary people. I was impressed with the architecture of inner city though.  In the last trip, I got a glimpse of reality. It was at perfect time. 1 A.M. and I saw the same visuals as described in the books and as you will see in the documentary below. Since, I went alone, I did not dare to enter any of the so called “Office”.  Only few friends know what happened that night.

This documentary came as a surprise. It verified the contents of the books above and contains real truth about the people who frequent these tawaifs. the interview of the police office in charge is really interesting. This documentary was originally made for TV One but they did not dare to air it. so some one published it on internet. It is a real eye opener. It shows a face of our society, no one even wants mention. Download and save this as PTA might ban these URLs too. as it contains some politically radioactive content. Here is the excerpt from the blog where I originally found the links to these Youtube.com videos.

These book can be bought from here or here, both books were published by Oxford University Press and thus they should be available at FerozSons on The MALL.

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QoS: Catch Bond before it’s late

DHA Cinema has been playing the latest 007 flick, Quantum of Solace, since 14th of November with only a few cinegoers buying a seat at the cinemas. Today, I finally got a chance of rushing to catch a show before it is taken down under other Bollywood heavy weight releases this winter.

Quantum of Solace at DHA Cinema

Quantum of Solace at DHA Cinema

Well, QoS has everything a Bond movie should have in addition to the increasingly human element and emotional aspect that Daniel Craig brought back to the agent’s character earlier with Casino Royale and now in QoS. There is a deadly car chase right in the beginning, hard hitting fight scenes, killings, Bond’s revenge of his dead love, a Bolivian co-agent and stunning international locales.

So before the corporates decide to stop sponsoring the 3/4 empty house shows; do not listen to any negative reviews, just go and watch it with your family and friends. Believe me, on the big screen, you won’t be disappointed with Daniel Craig as Bond at all.

Upcoming releases

Upcoming releases

Other movies ‘now being shown’ include Abhishek, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra starrer, Dostana and Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor’s fun-flick Golmaal Returns while the new ones lined up for releasees include Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Hellboy‘s latest sequel and Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif starrer Yuvraaj.

The screen is set on fire for the winter!

25th World Performing Arts Festival @ Al-Hamra

Al-Hamra Lahore 2008

Al-Hamra Lahore 2008

The 25th World Performing Arts Festival will kick off at the Alhamra Cultural Complex on November 13 and would host drama, puppetry and music performances from 300 foreign delegates and 500 local artistes from across the country. The 10-day long festival  has brought together 16,000 artistes from 85 countries that would allow the locals to experience a variety of art forms.

First ever Lahore Rally held @ Ravi River Banks

Lahore rally was held on the bank of River Ravi from under Sagian Bridge to the bridge on Motorway and back to the starting point. It began at 8 am and continued till 5 pm with 60 racers from across the country participating. The racetrack was of 9.5 km. Sindh Minister for Food (Nadir Magsi) won the race.

Lahore...

Lahore...

Lahore...
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(FREE) Twenty20 Cricket in Lahore

Qaddafi Stadium Panorama, originally uploaded by MKZee.

Yes, the RBS Twenty20 Cup started yesterday in Lahore. Pakistani national team players are part of all teams. I enjoyed the match between Islamabad and Peshawar last night, with my friends, under the lights with healthy crowd and music.
Best thing is, it’s free and all you need is to bring in your National ID card to get into any game. I advise you to bring your own drinks/snacks to enjoy during the game. It was great to see many people in groups and with families.
Thirteen Regional teams divided into four groups will participate in this tournament. A total of 18 Matches will be played at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore, Bagh-e-Jinnah Lahore and LCCA Ground Lahore. Top team from each group will play the semi finals and the winners of semi finals will fight for the championship in the final. The Champion team of RBS Twenty 20 Cup 2007-2008 will participate in the Champions League in India in December.
Eleven matches of the tournament will be held in the Gaddafi Stadium and will be aired live on Geo Super. The First match at Gaddaffi Stadium will start at 1 pm, Second match will start at 5 pm and the last match will start at 9 pm. Semi Finals on 7th October will start at 5pm & 9 pm while the Final on 8th October will be played from 7pm to 10 pm.

Schedule for today 5th and tomorrow 6th of Oct matches: Click here

FINALS Twenty20 Cup Schedule (Free Entry with National ID)

7-Oct- Tuesday

First Semi Final Gaddafi Stadium Lahore 1700 PM
Second Semi Final Gaddafi Stadium Lahore 2030 PM

8-Oct- Wednesday

FINAL Gaddafi Stadium Lahore 1900 PM……………………..Enjoy !!!

Shoaib Akhtar is part of this Twenty20 Cup in Lahore.

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

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:

IMDB
Time
Telegraph

City FM89 presents: World Music Day Concerts

Hello All,

Got this in my email today .. seems to be great … The Lahore concert features: Akash , Simt (excellent band), Axed, Lagan, 2d, Salahuddin, Zeeshan…

Should be a great show this saturday at Alhamra Hall 1 6 pm …

World Music Day Concert Poster

Who else is planning on coming ??? I’m going to be there definitely …

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