13 Oct 2019


Coke Studio 12

This is what we do wrong every time a new season of Coke Studio is about to hit the airwaves: we expect that it’s going to be multiple times better than the last one.

This time round, expectations are even higher because Rohail Hyatt is once again holding the reins of the programme. Give him a break and don’t bury him under too much pressure. So far, judging by whatever we have seen in the promos for Season 12, things are looking fine. Don’t invest too much in the ‘spirituality, identity and geography’ phrase. Just chill and enjoy the music.

The Durj Dilemma

Just when we had begun to believe that Pakistani films might not face censor issues like they did in the past, it was reported that Shamoon Abbasi’s much-awaited project Durj was banned by the ‘Central’ (Islamabad) Board of Film Censors after being given the go-ahead by the Punjab and Sindh boards.

Durj is based on the true story of two brothers who cannibalised dead bodies after taking them out of graves and, apparently, the Islamabad board felt the film did not project the right culture of Pakistan. Cue: eyerolls. The movie’s worldwide release on October 11 is still going ahead but an appeal against Islamabad’s decision will determine if Pakistanis get to see the film on its scheduled release on October 18. If anything has cannibalised creativity in the film industry in the country, it has to be the Islamabad board.

Hamza the Musician

Like him or not, Hamza Ali Abbasi does do things that attract everyone’s attention. Last week, his wife put out a video on her Instagram page in which her hubby is seen playing Pakistan’s national anthem on a guitar.

To be honest, he’s done a pretty good job. No, he doesn’t come across as a professional guitar player, which he is not supposed to be, but he does know how to wield the axe. Now if only he’d play the guitar more than shoot off his mouth.

Sia’s Message

They don’t call artists sensitive for nothing. The pop star who is known for hiding her face with big wigs, Sia, is terribly unwell. She is suffering from the neurological disease Ehlers-Danlos, a genetic syndrome that attacks the connective tissue of a body. It’s extremely painful.

However, the tenacious soul that the singer is, she put out an encouraging message on Twitter on October 4 for all those who are going through difficulties in life: “I just wanted to say to those of you suffering from pain, whether physical or emotional, I love you, keep going. Life is hard. Pain is demoralising, and you’re not alone.” And you’re not alone, too, Sia. We wish you a swift and complete recovery.

FIR Bollywood

What’s happening in India is mind-boggling, to say the least. In July this year, approximately 50 Indian showbiz celebrities wrote a letter to their Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, protesting against the lynchings of Muslims and Dalits. They would have expected a sane response from the authorities concerned. Nope.

On the contrary, on October 3, an FIR was lodged in the Muzzafarabad district of Bihar against those celebs –– which include venerated names such as Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam and Konkana Sen — for “supporting secessionist tendencies.” Seriously! Is the Indian government using the mob to try and silence all dissent?

Marvel Theme Parks

Film director Martin Scorsese is a master storyteller, one of the best there ever was, and ever will be. So listen to him carefully when he speaks. In an interview given to a British newspaper the filmmaker has said that Marvel movies are not cinema. His exact words: “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.” Before you call him old school, watch Hugo or Goodfellas or Casino or Raging Bull or Taxi Driver and make sure you get to see The Irishman.

He does have a point.

Published in Dawn, ICON, October 13th, 2019