THE GRAPEVINE

April 05, 2020

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Beyond Borders Bonhomie

Not all is doom and gloom. The artist community has taken the lead, or at least has become one of the communities taking the lead in reminding the world that what matters, after all, is humanity. It was so heartening to see the legendary Farida Khanum interacting online with the exceedingly talented Indian jorri of Vishal and Rekha Bhardwaj. First Farida ji sang a few lines from her famous ‘Aaj jaane ki zidd na karo’, and then Rekha B crooned her delectable ditty ‘Phir le aaya dil’ from the film Barfi. It was beautiful and heartening to see the respect and love both countries’ real artists still have for each other. We need such reminders to pull us through these challenging times.

Abdul Qadir Junejo, RIP

Sad news reports seem to be coming thick and fast. On March 30, renowned playwright, columnist and fiction writer Abdul Qadir Junejo passed away. He was 74. He wrote, in Sindhi and Urdu, some of the most famous plays for Pakistan Television, including the iconic Chhoti Si Duniya and Deewaarein. He was also the recipient of the President’s Pride of Performance award. May he rest in peace.

B for Bullying?

What fashion designer Maria B and her husband did with their (at one time) coronavirus-positive cook was worth discussing, but the way people on social media began to take the couple to the cleaners requires a bit of rethinking. The whole world is in a dangerous situation. Not many of us are able to take the right decision at the right time. Everyone is worried. We understand the urge to criticise rich celebrities on the internet, but it’s time all of us learned at what point criticism tips over into rancorous fun-poking for the sake of it.

Meghan’s Elephant

This will hold Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle in good stead in more ways than one. First, she will be resuming the profession that she came into the limelight for (showbiz); two, it will take her mind off the cacophony surrounding her marriage to Prince Harry and its related royal family issues. On March 26, Disney came out with the announcement that Meghan M will be doing the voiceover for a documentary titled Elephant, tobe released on April 3rd on the Disney+ service. Cool. Hopefully, now there will be no other elephants in her royal room.

Caring and Brave

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, strange things are happening. An elderly couple, both in their 60s, were held back for five days at a hotel in Gurugram, near Delhi, despite testing negative for the virus. Actress Richa Chadha somehow got to know about it and she made a huge noise on Twitter, asking the hotel authorities to let the old pair go because the man was diabetic. Her words, “You are a service industry, not a hospital. If anything happens to them, there’s a big lawsuit coming your way.” And yes, the hotel listened to her. Nice job! See? Celebrity spotlight can be used to help those without a voice too.

Gigaton

Fantastic news for rock music fans! The legendary grunge band Pearl Jam have released a brand new album called Gigaton, after a gap of seven years — and it is pure gold. It’s a 15-song effort with some brilliant tracks, including one titled Quick Escape, which has strong political overtones. Other songs, too, have powerful sociopolitical messages, such as River Cross with great guitar riffs and thumpy drums. The timing of great art is always important, and Pearl Jam have come out with a new album at a time when the importance of quality music couldn’t be emphasised more.

Published in Dawn, ICON, April 5th, 2020