THE GRAPEVINE

18 Oct 2020

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Churrails Off, Churrails On

Something not so strange happened with the controversial web series Churrails on Zee5 directed by Asim Abbasi. First, it was reported by the media that its streaming was closed down in Pakistan where it was made — which whipped up a fair bit of debate on social media. Then news came that it was back online. Actually, the series was taken down by Zee5 itself after it was contacted by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) saying that the authority had received complaints about the show. It was rumoured that PTA had cited some court judgments and threatened to block the Zee5 portal. So how did it come back on again? Those in the know claim that Zee5’s lawyers determined that the judgment did not apply to them. Whatever the case, we are happy that yet another attempt at censorship did not sustain. At least for now.

The Committee

This year’s committee to select Pakistan’s official selection for the 93rd Academy Awards has been announced. Chaired by the two-time Oscar winner, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the 2020 committee comprises fashion guru Hassan Sheheryar Yasin aka HSY, actress Mehwish Hayat, singer Faisal Kapadia, filmmaker Maheen Zia, filmmaker Hamza Bangash, scriptwriter Bee Gul, actor S. Muhammad Ahmed and filmmaker Asim Abbasi (uff, that’s one long list). The last date for Pakistani filmmakers to submit their movies is October 20. Good luck to them and good luck to the members of the committee… we hope no major creative differences emerge among them.

TikTok Star

Kudos to TikTok star Hareem Shah for facing a barrage of hard-hitting questions and answering them with utter conviction at the Karachi Press Club on October 10 — she had been invited to give her views on the ban that the federal government has imposed on TikTok. The journalists tried to push her into a corner by touching upon the subject of vulgarity, but she pointed out that most of the vulgar things that are happening in society right now are being committed by men (for example, the rape that took place on the Motorway) but we tend to not see it that way and always focus on women’s actions. She was spot on. That’s tit for tat… or tick for tok.

Content Contention

Actor and director Mohammad Ehteshamuddin (who has plays such as Udari and a film such as Superstar to his directorial credit) is saying all the things that need to be said as far as Pakistan’s showbiz industry goes. Recently, he was part of a panel discussion on theatre at the Arts Council and then gave an online interview, in which he argued that whenever storytellers try to exercise their right to freedom of speech to tell a story, their narrative clashes with the powers that be or the state. Well, he does have a point. But, you know, they say difficulty induces growth, nahin?

No Acting

Twinkle Khanna left acting more than a decade ago and became an author. Fine. Since she’s the daughter of two formidable actors (Dimple Kapadia and Rajesh Khanna) and married to Akshay Kumar, the Indian media feels she might still make a comeback to the silver screen. No, not happening. Talking to a journo, the gal, known for her outspokenness, has said, “It’s just a space I’ve left far behind. The spotlight gives me a bit of a heatstroke, to be honest.” To be honest, Twinkle K, we think that your acting skills also gave us a bit of a headache. So, thank you.

The Other Room

Ever since pop star Zayn Malik and supermodel Gigi Hadid became parents, they’ve hardly had time for each other. Finally, as told by the new mom in her Insta story, exactly two weeks after the baby girl’s birth, the couple sashayed out into ‘the other room’ of their house for some ‘alone time’. Calling it a date, she cooked butter chicken piccata and mushroom pasta for her hubby and herself. The picture of the food that she posted in the story suggested that Gigi H doesn’t just know how to strut her stuff on the runway; she can also stand the heat in the kitchen.

Published in Dawn, ICON, October 18th, 2020