Feb 29, 2008

"There Will Be Blood".

Intense. Watchers beware. Have a strong stomach for bottling down the worst version of greed, eccentricity and the malaise that marks us as human beings. You must not watch this movie thinking of regular ideas and theories of aggression. You must appreciate the magnitude of what goes inside of those who are lusting after the perpetual ambition for more.

His performance is breathtaking and the director's use of silence and uncomfortable pauses is poignant, indeed. Well worth the watch for serious movie-watchers. If you want that extra fun weekend, keep this one away for a time when you can pay attention.

And here's Daniel Day-Lewis himself, on "There Will Be Blood":

"I was deeply unsettled by the script (of There Will Be Blood ). For me, that is a sure sign. If you remain unsettled by a piece of writing, it means you are not watching the story from the outside; you've already taken a step toward it. When I'm drawn to something, I take a resolute step backward, and I ask myself if I can really serve this story as well as it needs to be served. If I don't think I can do that, no matter how appealing, I will decline. What finally takes over, what took over with this movie, is an illusion of inevitability. I think: Can this really be true? Is this happening to me again? Is there no way to avoid this?"

Feb 27, 2008

Coming Up.

An interview with Ayesha Varsey.

Will definitely ask about her design philosophy, her extraordinary prices and her work ethic.

Stay tuned.

One of the Ultimate Dichotomies.

This is just sad.

My maasi - the woman who has been cooking and cleaning for our home for the past 19 years - has a step son who has just been admitted to Army Medical College and requires 1 hundred thousand rupees (less than 2000 dollars) to accept this admission. He now is 1 lac rupees short in making his future.

These people are farmers, belonging from Neelum Valley, whose harvest only works in June - so they cannot even sell the small amount of land that they possess.

His monthly fees is around 5k which my maasi says she will contribute to - but her husband demands that she go and ask for money from her relatives etc. to gather 1 hundred thousand rupees in order to put her stepson through college.

And an Ayesha Varsey bridal dress costs 2 hundred thousand rupees.

I don't even know who to blame any more.

A perfect description.

Despite the glory ... and the pomp and the show and the ornate gowns ....

Here's a hard-hitting look at the Oscars.

Brilliant article.

Feb 26, 2008

"Crowned and Dangerous".

A movie you'll probably never watch in a million years - but might end up watching to fill in a couple of free hours in which you want to distract yourself from the tons of assignments and papers you have to check.

One imdb user has very, very aptly put it as ...

"It was so bad I couldn't stop watching it."

That's exactly what this movie is in one line. Was it supposed to be a comedy, a dramedy, a thriller, who knows. A spoof of what goes on inside beauty competitions? Or about how life turns around for people out there to go for the gold? No one can tell - perhaps not even the producers themselves. Which, if you think about it, may be the real problem itself.

Don't watch it, keep your freedom hours free. However, if you're just into mindless entertainment anyway, I'm guessing this won't have an impact on your time table at all. And I'm going to be completely guilt-free and say that it didn't. Because every so often, stuff that is incomprehensibly stupid and bad-for-us, is often what we end up doing. So consider this weekend junk food. After all. I'm going to watch Taxi to the Dark Side next.

Feb 23, 2008

Selections from Faiz.

It all rings true. Somehow. All of it.

Hum ke thehrey ajnabi itni mulaqaton ke baad
Phir baney gay aashna kitni madaraton ke baad
Kab nazar mein aye gi be-dagh sabze ki bahaar
Khoon ke dhabay dhulein gay kitni bersaton ke baad
They bohat be-dard lamhay khatm e dard-e-ishq ke
Theen bohat be-mehr subhein mehrbaan raton ke baad
Dil to chaaha per shikest-e-dil ne muhlat na di
Kuch gilay shikway bhi ker latey manajaton ke baad
Un se jo kehne gaey they Faiz jaan sadqa kiey
Unkahee hi reh gai wo baat sub batoon k baad

Kab yaad mein teraa saath nahin kab haath mein teraa haath nahin
Sudd shukr ke apni raaton mein ab hijr ki koi raat nahin
Mushkil hain agar haalaat vahaan dil bech aayen jaan de aayen
Dil vaalo kochaa-e-jaanaan mein kyaa aise bhi haalaat nahin
Jis dhaj se koi maqtal mein gayaa VO shaan salaamat rahati hai
Ye jaan to aani jaani hai is jaan ki to koi baat nahin
Maidaan-e-vafaa darbaar nahi yaan naam-o-nasab ki poochh kahaan
Aashiq to Kisi kaa naam nahin kuchh ishq Kisi ki zaat nahin
Gar baazi ishq ki baazi hai Jo chaaho lagaa do dar kaisaa
Gar jeet gae to kyaa kahanaa haare bhi to baazi maat nahin

ham paravarish-e-lauh-o-qalam karate rahe.nge
jo dil pe guzaratii hai raqam karate rahe.nge
asbaab-e-Gam-e-ishq baham karate rahe.nge
viiraanii-e-dauraa.N pe karam karate rahe.nge
haa.N talKhii-e-ayyaam abhii aur barhegii
haa.N ahal-e-sitam mashq-e-sitam karate rahe.nge
ma.nzuur ye talKhii ye sitam ham ko gavaaraa
dam hai to madaavaa-e-alam karate rahe.nge
maiKhaanaa salaamat hai to ham surKhii-e-may se
tazziin-e-dar-o-baam-e-haram karate rahe.nge
baaqii hai lahuu dil me.n to har ashk se paidaa
rang-e-lab-o-ruKhsaar-e-sanam karate rahe.nge
ek tarz-e-taGaaful hai so vo un ko mubaarak
ek arz-e-tamannaa hai so ham karate rahe.nge

Feb 22, 2008

Where are your ten steps?

Feb 17, 2008


Pakistani nerve will never fail to surprise me.

We won't do anything productive but we'll find enough brains to come up with slogans catchy enough to write on the back of buses, rickshaws, and in this case, schools.

Lo and behold. This is what was spotted on the wall of one of the schools in P.E.C.H.S.

On the big blue board, written in white is, "The first of its kind in Pakistan". Chances are ... if you have to write on the board of your school that you're the 'first of your kind' in Pakistan ... you're probably just fitting the stereotype in a slightly novel way.

Well, maybe they've got tiny elves and fairies and leprechauns that teach the kids their alif, baas and taas, but I don't think it's quite likely - since it seems like yet another bungalow-school that has opened up with inter-pass teachers and M.A. pass principals - or better yet, principals with B.A.s and fathers or husbands with M.A.s or a hefty bank balance that made them open the school in the first place.

I don't have any problem with gutsy advertising. I just have a problem with shooting off your mouth when you have got absolutely squat to prove for yourself.

Feb 16, 2008

Fantastic Artwork.

A girl called Licia has sketched these pictures and she is pretty darn good at it.

This is great for all House-fans and everyone else who loves good sketches.

"The Darjeeling Limited."

Starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzmann, this movie is the story of three brothers off to find spiritual meanings in life in India and alongside encounter the stuff human beings are made from. If you're into the off-the-wall genre with that subtle humor and goofy yet sensible happenings, you'll enjoy it. If not, it may just fall into yet another cliche. Which won't be fair to movie. So watch it only and only if you have the taste for it.

Feb 15, 2008

"Jab We Met".

DISCLAIMER: I did NOT watch it on 14th Feb on Geo, if that is what you may think, because I can never be that lame, sorry.

On a critical note, I thought it was a lovely chick flick and am really glad that even though Bollywood HAD to show the heroine dancing in the rain in at least ONE scene, it was a good watch, and the dialogs were not "Main tumharay beghair marr jaoongi" and the fact that she loved the hero didn't occur to her until she heard the train leave were interesting aspects. I liked this change in the romantic-movies' genre and this is quite possibly the best I could like Kareena Kapoor in. It also helps that Shahid "Kapur" is a cutie.

So overall, a nice, cute, watchable flick. Because I did not lose interest.

Feb 14, 2008

Important Matters.

Okay, first things first.

Valentine's Day is a bunch of crap. And I say this for many reasons - socio-economic idiocies and psychological basis of such behavior being among them. So puh-lease, all the people who are 'celebrating' this day by squabbling over who got a redder outfit than the other, get a life and start thinking about people who are living on less than two dollars a day and people who are still happy without the schmuckiness of Valentine's Day plaguing their brains. It's all okay for fun and games and jokes, but if you plan on taking all this hell more seriously than your relationships, you've got another thing coming.

Glad I got that out of my system.

Secondly. People who have been visiting this blog from all over the world.

Honestly, I don't know why y'all are here and what you read here, because most of what I write is only to satisfy my need to babble, and think that yeah, people read the babble, and if they find it crazy or stupid, they will have no idea who I really am - so it's a win-win situation.

Thanks to the marvel that is called information technology, I am now aware that my silly little blog has had over 500 visits in the past two months and from all - literally ALL - over the globe!! Greece, Spain, France, Singapore, Bahrain (someone was searching for Institute of Professional Psychology from the Batelco server - the coincidence of it all!), India and the US. It's mindboggling. Someone even looked for a story I wrote called "Dare" in Young Times that was published 6 years ago. As a writer, sometimes when you write things, you wonder if they have had any impact on readers - especially since, in my opinion, I write in a very comment-non-friendly way. And that story was a loooo-ooo-oong time ago. Nevertheless. I'm glad someone still remembers that foolish old story and came here looking for it.

So for all those strangers who come and read this ... I have to say I wonder at you being here. In an age of self-preservation and dog-eat-dog selfishness, you surely show a glimmer of human connection.

Doesn't make me spin on my heels to become the irrepressible optimist - but shocks me. Nonetheless.

And for that one reader.

I am still waiting for your comment.

Feb 13, 2008

Speak to me, Pythia.

An article I found lying somewhere in my inbox. I think I wrote it two years ago. And writers are usually very happy when what they write ages ago still makes sense to them in the present.

I can assure you it's not the happy case here at all.

I've always thought that believers in soothsayers or oracles are the ones with the weakest of faiths. It is my experience that when we falter, the going has gotten real tough and all, we move on to a blind leap of faith, we want to believe in a higher order.

Because when everything was going fine and peachy, there wasn't much need to believe in a grand existence or the possibility of knowing someone more powerful than us. There isn't much fun in finding out the why of it all if all you see is good and green. So what happens when the cookie crumbles, the fat lady sings and the tough gets going? (including other equally cheesy idiomatic, idiotic phrases, which, personally, don't quite CUT it, if you know what I'm talking about)... You look up. You see the sky and wonder if there's someone up there seeing something more than you could see.

Whether it's the earthquake that struck us last year, or the explosion that took place yesterday, I'm awonder so as to what to believe in. I firmly believe in a Higher Existence. I firmly believe in God. I firmly believe in the superiority of His creation and the miracle of existence. What I don't understand is the fine print. Why? Mainly because the more I read it, the more I get confused and the more I get confused, the more I want a Pythia.

What's the fine print? It's that between good and bad, between yes and no,between hell and heaven, between obedience and transgression lies the questionable aspect of perception. A six and a nine. A maybe. A what if. A why.

Like how a clause of self-defense can get you out of capital punishment.Like how some people can justify suicide bombing. I know these examples are far apart in comparison, if you look at it technically. But you know what? Sometimes these technicalities bring you much closer than you think. It's all about a six and a nine. Meat and poison. Perception. That's what matters, right?

My only issue with one of my favorite psychological approach, Existentialists, was this. How do you know that someone else's reality isn't going to end up harming MY reality? How do you know where to put an end to an individual's individuality - because if you don't - it's going to be nuclear fission - and we all know how THAT story turned out.

I know Qazi Hussain Ahmed disagrees heavily with the government officials but let's say for a minute that that man, with the severed head, was indeed a suicide bomber responsible for that explosion and for the fifty-plus deaths two days ago. Let's say that he was the man who had the gall to stand on the stage, looking onto the row of ulemas, solemn in prayer and detonate himself seconds before his eyes could witness the detruction he would be causing. The blood, the bodies, the fumes, the sirens, the chaos. Let's say he was that man. And then let's ask - is this what God created? A world, a system where horror could rule this way? Is this what Existentialists mean by each man's reality? For no reality is worse than a reality filled with bodies strewn on the street. I'm sure EACH man's reality was filled with the similar horror.

Psychologists agree that everyone experiences certain things same and certain things differently. My questions are simple in this article. Just HOW differently do these psychopaths feel? HOW differently do you need to see the world to sell yourself to any concept .. money, faith or any other concept known to man ... to detonate? And did God decree this? Did God create us for THIS? And allow me to be true to my culture and religion - did celebrating Eid ul Milaad un Nabi mean ultimately THIS? First a stampede.. then an explosion?

I'm not saying that that is why we shouldn't celebrate 12th Rabiul Awwal. But there is no Shariaii stance for Eidul Milaadun Nabi. We find no evidence in celebrating it with jalsas, with halwas and certainly not with explosions, firecrackers or bombs.

I'm puzzled. Really. First at the failure of mankind to celebrate itself as a glorious creation of God (even heathens would agree, I'm sure). Second at the failure of understanding Islam as a religion of peace and goodwill (the last three days have certainly turned the image around for certain onlookers). Third at the meaninglessness of everything in this cosmic circus. Lives mean nothing? Fear is a joke? What about the six year old girl who cried for her father and didn't know until a day later that he was sent to the hospital with broken bones? Or what about those poverty-stricken families that Hanif Billo was supporting? And what about those people who are stoning hospitals, setting fire to ambulances, to motorcycles, to firebrigades? And let's bring in our favorite ... the suicide bomber. The man who did it all. And what about the ones who put him up to this? Who are these people? Of the same kind and lying on two opposing sides of the debris.... ?

I didn't know who to ask for answers on 8th of October. I didn't know who to go to today either. Although I curse the people who could have done this. I curse those too who killed the Shiaiites in Muharram, too. (In case you thought that my being Sunni has something to do with this). I curse them all under my breath, I talk aloud with my family and friends, repeating my "why would anyone do this" question. I want to create a magnet that could excavate all these people from the earth and then I would want to dump them in the sun like some superhero, but I am astounded by my adult cognition: I can't do any of that. Sad. Mankind will continue to swim in this whirlpool of existence without these answers. Pythia will remain quiet and cry silently with us. She is not allowed to speak. No one is. Makes sense. This calls for a moment of silence anyway.


And you thought getting up in the winter sucked ... for you.

Hidden messages.

God has a funny way of telling you to grow up.

My cousin, Abdullah, is a little box of dynamite. Our entire family has given up on his reformation and we are only hoping that time will change his antics. So today I wondered how kids are a handful. And I wonder if my own kids will be as crazy as the ones I can't seem to understand.

And then I saw this.

And I realized that patience is a virtue. And grown ups should be a little more grown up than we are.

Feb 10, 2008

Can you see someone here?


News has arrived that the WGA strike is apparently over. Although there is still plenty of speculation regarding the return of many of the popular shows, here's hoping that the coming season will not be as depressing as the previous one.

For further news on the WGA strike, click here.

And to see whether your favorite show is going to be back or not, click here.

I don't really care about many of the shows that have been listed in the aforementioned website, but I do hope House comes back. SOON. We're still "awaiting news" on that.

Also in the news, Adnan Ghalib. Britney does it again. Sheesh.

Feb 8, 2008

It is time ... to be exhausted.

Feb 4, 2008

"Khuda Ke Liye"

It was a late arrival, in more ways than one, because of the fact that we ended up in FnkAsia when we should have been halfway to the theater, and secondly because of the fact that I was turned off by the subject matter of the movie when I heard about it.

The talk of the town 6 months ago, the movie "Khuda Ke Liye" has been something of a breakthrough in Pakistani cinema. Comforting facts regarding the movie included that one could sit and enjoy an Urdu movie without having the need to regurtitate at disorienting thumkas, latkas and jhatkas. That scenes automatically didn't cut from the heroine running away to the father finding the her with the hero, prancing around in a fancy dress. That characters were talking in normal human hearing intensities, and not at the pitch of thunder. And that the humor wasn't cheesy or ridiculously lame - but actually funny.

Discomforting facts: Iman Ali's British accent, for one thing. And the fact that she cannot act. And that Shoaib Mansoor should have completed the whole blend of the movie with a much superior actress who could have done more justice to the role than Iman Ali. All I could see in Iman, while she was trapped in Afghanistan/Waziristan was pretty-girl-in-ugly-shoes. There was a lot more to the character that could have been established, but I'm afraid Iman just wasted it all on looking fantabulous.

Fawad seems to fit the nervous role of the conflicted Sarmad. It could have been probably a case of art imitating life (or vice versa) as his possible lack of talent translated into a surplus of it. The role he plays is of a boy who's confused and bewildered and scared, even though he knows his head is already in hot water. Which is probably what Fawad felt when he must have been shooting for the movie - offscreen.

Flimsy Editing. Even amateurs could see the flaws there. The moulana stereotyping. The length of the movie (too long!) and that Iman Ali could run through the valley of Afghanistan/Waziristan with such gusto - and then return to it with the decision of educating the young girls. Admirable sentiments. Poorly reflected on a role like hers.

Overall, the film is a good watch. I have no hopes for Pakistani cinema nevertheless. Pakistani people would rather enjoy the comfort of their homes to watch an exceptionally great movie. They only go to cinema when there's pretty much nothing else to do - which hasn't happened yet for us, thank God - or if there's a movie which hasn't been out on DVD as yet. Which was my case in Khuda Ke Liye. I would not have spent 300 rupees to go and see it in a bigger screen when I could have enjoyed it at home just the same. Bigger screen didn't turn Iman Ali into Cate Blanchett, nor did it make me believe truly that music is something that can be as easily settled in a matter of movie dialogues. There's room for plenty more arguments which I feel have been neglected because of the director's personal opinion on the matter.

What was impressive about the storyline was how misinterpretations occur everywhere. How no system is safe from human error. How we all tend to sometimes forget that humanity comes in first and foremost and that there is no way any religion or government could allow people to be treated the way they are treated in the case of the oppressed women in Afghanistan, the labeled Pakistanis and Muslims in the United States, the prisoners of Abu Gharaib jail and the so-called free-thinking Americans politicians, diplomats and any other person who thinks that combating terrorism means to encourage more terrorism.

Go watch it if you haven't. Don't know about the revival of cinema. But it'll make you think for a while.