THE GRAPEVINE

26 Jan 2020

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Bullied and Pressurised

This can only be called a sorry state of affairs. On January 17, Sarmad Khoosat, director of Zindagi Tamasha — which is yet to release in Pakistan but has earned a prestigious award abroad — wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan. The crux of his message was that, despite being green-lighted by three censor boards, his team was being bullied and pressurised into not releasing the film in its own country. Despite Sarmad K’s plea, on January 21, the Sindh and Punjab governments ordered the film’s release to be postponed from January 24 until at least yet another review in February — the film had already gone through a full board review earlier. According to one report this time the review would allegedly include a representative of a politico-religious outfit that has been agitating against the film. This is both dispiriting and saddening for the artist community in Pakistan. So much for the rule of law and freedom of expression.

Singing Faiz

Suddenly, and thank heavens for that, singing Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poems is the ‘in’ thing again. After Ali Sethi’s interpretation of Gulon mein rang on Coke Studio and Indian students’ heartfelt rendition of Lazim hai ke hum bhi dekheinge, singer and satirist Ali Aftab Saeed has released his version of the ghazal Shaam-i-firaq ab na poochh. In terms of composition and understanding the nuances of Faiz’s phraseology, it’s the best piece that has come out in recent times. Ali AS, you’re an underrated vocalist. Keep singin’ till they come to know how good you are. Laazim hai ke woh bhi suneinge…

Feather Weather

Malaika Arora is one attractive woman, and she knows it. That’s why, there’s hardly anyone in Bollywood who can be as coquettish as her. In one of her latest Instagram pictures, the actress and model can be seen striking a pose with a big feather. The sentence explaining the image is: “Don’t ruffle my feathers.....” Well, nine-years-younger boyfriend Arjun Kapoor is not known for ruffling anything, let alone feathers. So we don’t know who she’s referring to.

Love and Universe

Boy oh boy, the things that people say to make their movies work at the box office. Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali is these days gearing up for the release of his latest Love Aaj Kal starring Karthik Aryan and Sara Ali Khan. On January 17, at the trailer launch of the project, when a pen-pusher inquired why he always makes films that have a romantic tinge to them, he replied, “I don’t know what the relevance of love is, but I feel everything in the universe somehow moves because of it.” Hmmm … is that why you’re still inert on the relationship front, sir?

Billie Bond

Wow! She’s still a teenager, and has been asked to do the main James Bond track. Yes folks, young pop star Billie Eilish, on January 15, broke the news herself that she’s “honoured” to have been chosen to write and record the theme song from the upcoming James Bond film No Time To Die. To be honest, it’s a great move from the producers of the franchise. First of all, Billie E is a super-talented singer and songwriter. Secondly, by giving her the opportunity they’re trying to make the spy thriller as relevant as possible in the 21st century … when everyone on social media seems to be a mole or an undercover agent.

Split

Pop sensation Rihanna is single again. Yep. On January 15, the media buzzed with the news that she and her boyfriend, business tycoon Hassan Jameel, have parted ways after three years of being together. What caused the split was not ascertained immediately. What can be said with certainty, though, is that the Rihanna has lent her song Man Down a great deal of credibility. Or perhaps it’s … Rude Boy.

Published in Dawn, ICON, January 26th, 2020