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March 03, 2019


Enver Sajjad Sahib

Without getting into who is responsible for letting the legendary novelist, playwright and actor Dr Enver Sajjad live in a financially challenged state in his sunset years (a video of him discussing the issue went viral on social media last week), one must keep in mind that individuals such as Dr Sajjad don’t need any sympathy from anyone.

It is society’s duty to look after them, because society owes a debt to intellectuals of his calibre. It’s a good thing PTV stepped up to help him but hopefully both federal and provincial governments will understand the need to ensure no other person of his standing should need to plead his case on social media.

#MeToo in our industry

It’s a good omen that the Pakistani showbiz industry has begun taking the #MeToo movement seriously. Filmmaker Jami’s campaign for a victim of sexual abuse so that her voice is heard by all and sundry, and against her alleged predator, has opened many people’s eyes to what had been happening in the industry for a long time.

In that context, it was a bit disconcerting to see a debate that raged on the Facebook wall of a director and ad-maker who appeared to be advocating the case for those who have been accused of sexual abuse (the bad guys) by satirising the ‘judge, jury, executioner attitude’. When another showbiz-wala interjected and took him on, it turned out that the director was talking about India and its mindless current stance on Pakistan. Thank heavens. At the same time, it is a bit weird how the use of words can conflate two unrelated subjects.

Smollett Slammered

This is unheard of. In January this year, actor Jussie Smollett, who plays an important character in the TV series Empire, filed a report with the police in Chicago that he was attacked by two men who ‘hurled racial and homophobic slurs’ at him outside a restaurant. This made him receive a plethora of we-are-with-you, solidarity comments from his fellow actors, some of them A-list artists.

But when the police investigated the case, they found out that the actor had filed a false report. Consequently, he was arrested on February 21 with a felony charge that’s punishable with up to three years in jail. Why did he do that? Well, apparently because he thought raising his profile would get him a raise in his salary for acting in Empire.

Jussie S, bad acting doesn’t lead to increments in pay. Such actors either get slammed by the critics or end up in the slammer.

Biopic of her own

Here’s something that every film buff would be eagerly looking forward to.

Or not. Actress Kangana Ranaut (yes, the same Kangana R who has ruffled many a Bollywood feather by sparking off the nepotism debate but also many a Pakistani feather by her diatribe against the country) has announced that she’s going to make a biopic of her own life and work.

This means that she will both direct and act (as herself, of course) in the movie. And there will be plenty of villains. Vanity thy name begins with a K.

Shallow Nick

Nick Jonas is a singer of decent merit. Some would claim, of high merit. But if you haven’t seen the video, recorded and uploaded on Instagram by his sultry wife Priyanka Chopra on February 21, in which he’s paying tribute to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper by singing the award-winning song Shallow from their film A Star is Born, then you must watch it if you’re a music aficionado.

Nick J sings it with a lot of feeling and control.

Wait: feeling, control, Shallow … Is he trying to tell us something?

Published in Dawn, ICON, March 3rd, 2019