This year’s Necafe Basement has got to be one of the best, if not the best, seasons of the show. The last episode of this season proved to be the cherry on top when the instrumental of the iconic song Aadat by pop band Jal, which made its singer Atif Aslam an overnight sensation in 2003, was presented.

It was a kind of a double bill in which, apart from the instrumental, Jal’s Gohar Mumtaz also sang Bhanwray. Too good, guys! The producer of the show Xulfi will now be in a spot of bother because he’s made it our aadat to listen to innovative, groovy tracks.


Bravo Mehwish Hayat for a stinging slap across the faces of those who were imputing salacious reasons to her receiving the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz in the recently announced national honours! The Punjab Nahin Jaoongi and Load Wedding actress chose Twitter to respond to her detractors by pointing out: “I never wanted to make this a gender thing but it is unfortunate that others seem to be.

To suggest that I slept my way to this award is an abhorrent slur on all the hard working women in our country… We may be part of an industry that is seen to be glamorous, but it doesn’t mean that we have forsaken our morals. What gives anybody the right to drag my name into the gutter? You don’t know me! Thank you to all the supporters & also to all the haters, it has only made me stronger.”

Indeed, it has Mehwish H. More power to you and all the hard working women of the country!


Producer/director Karan Johar is in a soup. After most serious critics have panned the just-released film that he has produced, Kesari, he seems to press the like button on Twitter for everything that anyone posts in praise of the movie. He happened to like one such comment by a random person in which that person compared Akshay Kumar (the star of Kesari) to Shah Rukh Khan, insulting the latter with homophobic comments. This was immediately noticed by all and sundry.

They began to ‘conjecture’ that K-Jo and SRK have had a falling out and are no more buddies. K-Jo quickly realised that and sent out a tweet claiming that his Twitter account is acting up: that there’s some sort of malfunction which manifest itself by showing that he is liking everything left, right and centre. SRK, being his usual witty self, came to his friend’s rescue saying K-Jo is technologically challenged … “and also he has fat fingers.” That’s called having your friend’s back.


Eminent Bangladeshi singer Shehnaz Begum, who sang two of the most iconic Pakistani national songs — Sohni dharti and Jeevey jeevey Pakistan — died of cardiac arrest in Dhaka on March 23. She was 67. She was an extremely popular vocalist when both wings of Pakistan — East and West — were together.

Another of her songs Kahan ho tum chaley aao is considered to be a fine example of how romantic songs with a longing for the beloved should be sung. She kept coming to Pakistan even after the two wings of Pakistan separated. May she rest in peace!


You can’t keep film star Shaan out of the news. 

After his rant against the Aurat March earned him plenty of brickbats on social media, the latest on his front is that he’s made a patriotic video showing his love for Pakistan by altering a verse by Mirza Ghalib. 

While his jazba must be acknowledged, the actor should have consulted a senior poet before reciting two uneven lines. Poetry is about rhythm for which poets learn prosody, that is, each verse is written in a certain metre, or as they say, shaer wazan mein hona chahiye. Flouting it makes the lines sound unpoetic. That said, being poetic has never been something Shaan is known for.


Hollywood living legend Barbara Streisand doesn’t seem to weigh her words before uttering them. Recently, giving an interview to a newspaper about a documentary, Leaving Neverland, in which her friend, pop singer Michael Jackson has been accused of abusing two children, she remarked that the two victims were thrilled to spend time with MJ. She also went on to say that both are now married and have children and that whatever happened didn’t kill them.

This, of course, unleashed a furious response from every nook and cranny of social media saying that she was justifying molestation. But Barbara S was quick to clear the air by issuing a statement that “the stories the two young men shared were painful to hear and I feel nothing but sympathy for them.” Well, madam, perhaps the sympathy should have been shown in the interview, not as an afterthought.

Published in Dawn, ICON, March 31st, 2019


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