Daily Archives: August 6, 2010

Pakistan’s Unfortunate Embrace of the ‘Modern’

This is an interesting article sent to us by Usman Khan

The other day I attended a dawat by a fairly well off middle class Pakistani family. You know your average bi-monthly get-togethers where the chaps sit largely in cold silence while the women pontificate on everything from the best way to control their servants to the latest drone attack in FATA. Anyway I digress. Whilst there, the amiable host tapped into my love for all things sweet and whipped me up into a frenzy about a new ice cream that was to be served for desert. Well who can fail to be excited by ice cream? Not me, that’s for sure. Imagine my dismay then when, instead of being served an ambrosial, delicately crafted desert, I was handed cup of Wall’s ice cream with all the pomp and ceremony of a banquet in the court of Bahadar Shah Zafar. It seems that a local vendor had started selling small scoops from Wall’s various array of premium packaged offerings. It was not exactly what I had in mind. But perhaps that is my fault. If six years in Pakistan have taught me nothing else – then it is that unfortunately Pakistani’s do not have an eye for a good thing.

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Filed under culture

Has Anyone Seen Zar Gul?

By Zia Ahmad

A good fifteen years ago, in a previous century, there was this little talk of a film that made tall claims of revitalizing  Pakistani cinema and provide a much needed breakaway point from the atrocious and tedious exercise which goes into defining Lollywood. Salmaan Peerzada, the then reclusive elder of the Peerzada clan, had returned to Pakistan after a lifetime of appearing on British television and odd feature films. Lesser known in Pakistan as his younger Peer brothers, his debut directorial feature, Zar Gul, nevertheless garnered media attention in the mid 90s. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Cinema, Pakistan, Reviews

Poster Girl For An Apologist Pakistani Athlete

By Aisha Fayyazi Sarwari

Pakistan is looked at as a country on edge, a country where a fanatic is a breath away from detonating a nuclear device. The potential for that is not the debate here. What really indicates the direction the country is taking is the advertizing and the psychological nuances they are choosing to project from their focus group in their TV ads.

A telecom giant recently launched a campaign where they promoted a Pakistani athlete who won the country a gold medal in SAARC games as a brand ambassador for the cell phone company. The most distinctive part of the ad is that it has an unveiled Pakistani woman, wearing track pants running. What starts off as a benign narrative of a young girl child with aspirations to become an athlete turns to a religious festival with costume and hymn. So distinct was the religious overture that it made one wonder what was being sold was so disturbing to audiences that it had to be packaged in something safe. There were little girls with Arab styled hijabs, a mother with hijab, a father with a beard, a lot of praying and what is the final result, a religious inspiration which eventually leads the athlete to success – with the help of a cell phone company that allows roaming overseas – The protagonist listens to a call to prayer (Azan) back home on her cell phone right before the games begin in a foreign country. This is the ultimate thrill of the advertisement. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan