THE GRAPEVINE

June 28, 2020

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Drama Content

Sonya Hussyn is working in a film called Lockdown (obviously about the ongoing pandemic situation) directed by Abu Aleeha, with Gohar Rasheed as her co-star. The movie is set to release on Netflix. Talking about it with a journo, and responding to the query as to why Pakistani online content doesn’t do well on a global scale compared to their Indian counterparts, she reasoned, “If you compare content, Pakistani dramas are where the most amounts of our work efforts are invested. That’s our primary entertainment content and that, on global mediums, for example, YouTube, have a huge reach. Our drama content is appreciated and seen across the globe through digital mediums much more compared to Indian dramas. However, yes, Indian content, when it comes to original digital productions, has taken a lead with multiple projects…” Well, here’s hoping Lockdown will cause a dent in that lead.

The Dirilis Tribute

Surprised? To be honest, you shouldn’t be. Last week, pop star Hadiqa Kiani tipped her hat to the much talked-about Turkish drama serial Dirilis Ertugrul by telling her fans that, in 2005, she had the honour of singing the Turkish song Sen Aglama at the AKM Opera House. Today, she has remastered that song as a tribute to Dirilis: Ertugrul, to the singer Sezen Aksu and to the people of Turkey. Well, the remastered piece is quite the masterful stroke in these uncertain sociopolitical times.

Post-Sushant Discussions

Actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s tragic suicide has ignited a fierce debate in India. Some showbiz celebs and journalists, including Kangana Ranaut, are calling it a murder. They’ve been calling out the soul-crushing atmosphere of nepotism and elitism that exists in the Indian film industry. Although in general terms and not particularly with reference to Sushant’s case, two names are being highlighted as having a stranglehold on Bollywood’s goings-on: Karan Johar and Salman Khan. Now, favouritism does exist in every field, and showbiz is no exception. While it can definitely create a toxic environment in the workplace, finding easy targets in such cases is just lazy thinking. Furthermore, it’s important also to realise that the issue is of mental health and how it is dealt with by society as whole. This requires a bit more instrospection than apportioning blame, Bollywood style.

Oxford Grad

Our very own Nobel laureate Malala Yousufzai is now an Oxford graduate. Our heartiest congratulations to her! We always knew she was super-intelligent and empathetic, but now she also has the cred of having a PPE (philosophy, politics and economics) degree from the famed university under her belt. Heavy, ain’t it? Among others, a big number of artists and writers have sent congratulatory messages her way, including Kamila Shamsie, Priyanka Chopra, Juggan Kazim and Elif Shafak. Truly, a proud moment for all of us. Way to go Malala!

Sibling Rivalry

These days Riddhima Kapoor Sahni, daughter of Neetu and the late Rishi Kapoor, is in the news, mainly for posting lovely throwback pictures of her father on social media platforms. In a question-answer session on Instagram, when asked about her equation with her brother Ranbir Kapoor, she answered that she fights with him all the time. Hmmm… well, according to our little birdie, the latest fights are about his present love interest, with lots of ifs and Bhatts in it.

Bieber Says No

Just when you start to think that you cannot be shocked or surprised by the unpredictable world of showbiz anymore, you’re proven wrong. On June 20, a woman who called herself Danielle accused pop star Justin Bieber of sexually assaulting her on March 9, 2014 in a room of the Four Seasons hotel in Austin, Texas, after he had performed at a festival. On June 21, the singer took to Twitter arguing that it took him a day to respond because he had first consulted with his wife and his team on how to respond to the accusation. He said he and his team did not stay at the Four Seasons that day “due to a booking error”. Instead, he had stayed at an Airbnb with Selena Gomez. And that there were other clarifications which required a bigger space to write. Interestingly, afterwards, Danielle’s tweets disappeared from her Twitter feed. By the time of filing this news item, her counter-argument is still awaited. We feel that, if you ask Justin B what his favourite own song is right now, his answer would probably be his 2016 track, What do you mean?

Published in Dawn, ICON, June 28th, 2020