THE GRAPEVINE

Jun 14 2020

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Rowling and Leila

J.K. Rowling is working on her new book The Ickabog and releasing it chapter by chapter. A few weeks ago, she asked her admirers to make illustrations for the new project, with a chance for their drawings to become part of the published work. Although, sadly, contestants from Pakistan are not eligible to take part in the contest, one Pakistani girl, the 10-year-old Leila, drew a sketch just for the fun of it, which her mother asked a friend to put up on Twitter. J.K. Rowling saw the illustration and praised it with all her heart and soul. “I love this beautiful picture of the Dovetail’s house, Leila!” she exclaimed. Obviously this made the young artist, her mum and all Harry Potter buffs in our land super happy. It was truly a ‘wingardium leviosa’ moment for them.

Double Role

On June 5, Pakistani social media users — especially those who are into showbiz — had much to yap about when it was discovered, of course on the internet, that there’s a girl named Nour in Lebanon who is a dead ringer for our very own TV star Iqra Aziz. To be honest, the resemblance is pretty uncanny and startling. We wonder what Iqra A’s hubby Yasir Hussain has to say about it. Surely, he must be doubly delighted!

Naveed Says It Like It Is

For those of us who still believe that the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax, actor Naveed Raza — who tested positive a couple of weeks ago — tweeted something which should open the eyes of the naysayers to reality. He wrote, “If you have two per cent love for your family and people around you, stop this ‘no corona exists party’. You have no idea how painful it is to have shortness of breath, congested chest, fever, muscle cramps, nonstop headaches, no sense of taste and smell, endless fatigue and tiredness.”

We feel your pain, Naveed R. Sadly, there’ll still be some who will not pay heed to your words. They will never be fatigued or get tired of coming up with conspiracy theories.

In All Fairness

Kudos to Hollywood comedian Hasan Minhaj for holding up a mirror to Asian communities who are screaming at the top of their lungs in favour of the Black Lives Matter movement! In a video that went viral The Patriot Act host, after highlighting how the oft-used word kaala has negative connotations in the subcontinent, called out Bollywood stars who “do skin-whitening commercials so we don’t look black… it is bad to be black in desi culture, even though we all wish we were black. That is the great hypocrisy.” Spot on, Hasan M. You’ve put the spotlight on the dark side of our society.

Windfall Sharing

Theatre and film director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, 1917) makes sense. The erudite artist made a statement on June 4 suggesting that streaming services Netflix and Amazon should share their Covid-19 windfall with the performing arts industries, especially theatre. It’s a fantastic idea because, like everyone else, it’s the performing artists who are starving for work, and not all of them are superstars who can pull through in isolation with their savings. We hope Netflix and Amazon will respond favourably to the suggestion. It’s time to stream wise.

Bitter Half

This is interesting and proves that married couples — celebs or otherwise — are almost the same all across the world. Bollywood young gun Ayushmann Khurrana was having a live session on Instagram and was soon joined by Ranveer Singh. Just when the conversation was becoming more and more free-flowing, the expression on the face of Ranveer S changed. He looked a tad jittery, and after a few moments exited from the session saying this to Ayushmann K: “Okay, bye bye, bhabhi daant rahi hain, keh rahi hain main Zoom call ker rahi hun, chilla mat (okay, bye bye, your sister-in-law is shouting at me, saying she is making a Zoom call, so I should keep my voice low). Ah, the plight of husbands, particularly of those who have beautiful and talented wives.

Published in Dawn, ICON, June 14th, 2020