THE GRAPEVINE

September 01, 2019

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Auj Wins

Rock band Auj has won the fourth edition of the Pepsi Battle of the Bands. It’s a deserving victory, without a shadow of doubt. The band, throughout the show, displayed top-drawer musicianship, especially their vocalist, the new star on the horizon, Abdul Rehman, and particularly when they performed their originals Raat and Aansu.

A special shout-out to the lovely fusion track Jaag Musafir that was prepared for the finale featuring Farid Ayaz, Abu Muhammad qawwal and Maria. However, the limelight should be on Auj that have filled everyone with the hope that the future of Pakistani music is in safe and creative hands. And a tiny piece of advice: time to revisit the judges’ line-up to keep the show fresh and relevant.

Twitter Flutter

Strange things are happening in cyberspace. Truth is being shunned. After suspending social commentator Fasi Zaka’s account for a while, Twitter, on Aug 24, did the same to filmmaker Nabeel Qureshi for posting “pro-Kashmir tweets.”

This could be something that has been done succumbing to the pressures put on by right-wing Indian extremists. If that’s the case, then social networking websites should come up with a disclaimer before launching themselves, about their political leanings and what segments of society they’re scared of. Sad. But rest assured, truth will prevail.

International Recognition

Hard work always pays off. Two of our films released in 2019 — Baaji (directed by Saqib Malik) and Laal Kabootar (helmed by Kamal Khan) — have been selected for the annual Washington DC South Asian Film Festival. At least the diaspora is taking notice of the new wave of Pakistani films. This year SAFF will take place in the third week of September. Congrats to teams Baaji and Laal Kabootar! Let your baajis go wild and kabootars fly high.

Bards of Hate

While one understands that big-shot film and TV producers have the right to make whatever they feel like making, it is in the current sensitive situation on the Indo-Pak border that India’s Red Chillies Entertainment’s (headed by actor Shah Rukh Khan) seven-episode series on Netflix Bard of Blood comes across as absurdly inconsiderate.

We are amazed to see how indifferently the artist community in India, by and large, has treated the ongoing tragic situation in Kashmir which has a palpable effect on the relations between the two neighbouring countries. So much for art and its reflection on life.

Game of Marvels

It had to happen at some stage. Kit Harrington (Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) has bagged a role in Disney’s Marvel film The Eternals. His character’s name in the project is Dane Whitman aka Black Night, and the rest of the cast includes the likes of Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Don Lee and Salma Hayek.

For the uninitiated, it was in 1976 that The Eternals (a bunch of superheroes) made their debut in comics created by Jack Kirby. We bet Jon Snow knew nothing about it … before signing the film, that is.

Don’t Discuss

Talk about anything but not her boyfriend. This seems to be the message that pop star Taylor Swift, who is going out with actor Joe Alwyn for the last three years, is relaying to the media.

In an interview with a British magazine, she said, “I’ve learned that if I do [talk about him], people think it’s up for discussion. If you and I were having a glass of wine right now, we’d be talking about it — but it’s just that it goes out into the world.” Okay Taylor S, let’s talk about how good an actor Joe A is. Or is even that off-limits? Guess we’ll just have to listen to your latest song Cruel Summer to find out more.

Published in Dawn, ICON, September 1st, 2019