THE GRAPEVINE

Published March 3, 2024

STATE OF FILM INDUSTRY

If you visit the multiplexes of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, you will notice that, even on a Saturday or Sunday, no hall is full. Obviously, most of the films that are being screened these days are Hollywood projects. But even internationally commercially successful English films are not getting enviable footfall. On the other hand, the few-and-far-between Pakistani films seldom get enough limelight as it is, apart from the day the media is invited to their premieres. This is a dire situation. Perhaps those who were warning about the folly of excluding Indian films that generated 70 percent of cinema footfalls and revenues, should not have been shot down so quickly? Just a thought.

WHAT’S IN A NAME

Seasoned actress Bushra Ansari isn’t happy. The cause of her unhappiness is the titles given to TV plays these days. She thinks they are ‘shallow’. The veteran artist feels that, in the past, a lot of care was given to coming up with names for dramas. We think she’s right. Gone are the days when plays used to have titles such as Azar KiAayegi Baraat, Dolly Ki Aayegi Baraat and Takkay Ki Aayegi Baraat. Oh, one more: Annie Ki Aayegi Baraat.

IT’S A BOY

On February 15, cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma became the proud parents of a baby boy. They already have a girl. The couple announced the birth of their second child on social media, as is the practice these days, after which congratulatory messages came pouring forth. They have named the boy Akaay, which has both Sanskrit and Turkish roots, with different meanings. In the latter, it means immortal and in the former language it means the shining moon. Well, congratulations to Virushka! We wish Akaay a shiny future!

THE CROWN AUDITION

Humayun Saeed has given an interview in which has talked about a good number of things, including how he got the part of Dr Hasnat in the Netflix series The Crown. He says he had to audition for the part, for which two scenes were sent to him. In the second scene, when he auditioned, he was down with Covid-19 — he had a fever and his eyes were heavy. “Maybe this is why I was chosen,” he conjectured. Given the plaudits Humayun S received for his performance, that’s what is known as self-deprecation.

TWO LEGENDS LOST

Last week, two revered names representing the subcontinent’s entertainment industry — radio announcer Ameen Sayani and ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas — passed away. The former died on Feb 20 and the latter on Feb 26. Sayani became a household name when he hosted the iconic Binaca Geetmala for Radio Ceylon. He had a distinct style of presentation that endeared him to music lovers. Udhas became popular in the early 1980s singing ghazals. In the mid-1980s he was hired by filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt to sing a track for his film Naam. The song was Chitthi Aey Gi, which proved to be a chart-buster. May they both rest in peace!

BF LOVE

Hollywood A-listers Zendaya and Tom Holland are one of the most talked about couples of Tinseltown. Zendaya is also nowadays basking in the glory of the rave reviews that her latest film Dune: Part Two is getting. When she was asked by an interviewer about who in showbiz has the most ‘rizz’, she replied, “Everybody’s got kind of their own. I think someone who has beautiful charisma, not on the Dunecast, but I personally — worked for me — is Mr Tom Holland.” It seems Tom H, who plays Spider-Man, has completely ensnared her in the web of his love.

Published in Dawn, ICON, March 3rd, 2024

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