Category Archives: Cinema

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

The Problem With MNIK

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Warning: SPOILERS

Late last week I attended a packed show of “My Name Is Khan”  in Lahore’s DHA Cinema and while I went through all the emotions the film maker wanted to evoke,  I found the film entirely misplaced and misdirected.   The film itself was well made 70 percent of the way. It began to go downhill from the time our hero returned to Georgia to find it stuck in the Civil War era and by the time President Elect Obama made his appearance the film which is essentially Khuda Ke Liye meets Forest Gump meets Rainman meets Milk was completely over the top. Continue reading

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Filed under Bollywood, Cinema, Islam

A Realist with a Heart: Remembering Raj Kapoor

By Mohammad Taqi

 چناں قحط سالے شد اندر دمشق

کہ یاراں فراموش کردند عشق

( سعدی شیرازی )

Saadi of Shiraz wrote with great dismay that “the famine in Damascus is so bad that friends have forgotten how to love”.

 Something much worse has befallen our city, Peshawar. It is difficult, if not impossible, to talk about music, art, films or love when the terror reigns supreme and war has ravished the city and its citizens alike.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Art, Cinema, culture, drama, Heritage, History, India, Media, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Peshawar, Photos

A Recipe for making Pushto films

By Zia Ahmad

(courtesy of Friday Times)

Overweight beauties, middle aged gruff leading men, starched hair pieces, logic defying plots, garish costumes, mind boggling dance and fight sequences and pelvic thrusts performed with uncharacteristic gusto, all are hallmarks that define the cornerstone of Pakistani film culture that we know as Pushto films. Over the years Pushto cinema has formed an identity that is utterly unique in offering a brand of entertainment that no self respecting man would want to see with his mum and kids. It didn’t use to be this way though. Earlier Pushto films used to be based around folk tales that paved the way for wholesome family entertainment. Parallel to the rise of Gandasa films in Punjab, during the 80s, Pushto films witnessed a notable dip in quality. Producers and distributors catered their products for the lowest common denominator. That is how Pushto cinema came to be what it is now. Continue reading

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Filed under Cinema, culture, Humour, North-West Frontier Province

Sardar – A Must See Film

I saw this film a while back but I decided to check it out again and was surprised by how close it came to admitting the truth about partition.  Here is a sample.

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Filed under Cinema, History, Jinnah, Partition

Film Theory in Pakistan: Recognizing the Need for Theory

By Zia Ahmad

 

There are parts of the world where writing meaningfully about films has generally been deemed as a subversive indiscretion; so much so you have to keep looking over your shoulder every two minutes just to make sure nobody’s prying on you. Pakistan finds it effortlessly easy to nudge into the ranks. Films have been consistently and categorically relegated as the most trivial pursuit for any no-nonsense individual to entertain. As an artform, cinema has seldom been seen anything more than means of entertainment in Pakistan. The mere idea that films may have to say anything of importance positively baffles and even offends upholders of our tradition. Hardly a fresh observation, cinema in Pakistan has failed to evolve from its “entertainment for the masses stage. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Cinema, culture, Media, Pakistan

Sir Christopher Lee talks about Jinnah of Pakistan

With all the buzz about Jaswant Singh’s book, our regular contributor, Aisha Fayyazi Sarwarichristopher_lee_jinnah_185_20070521has shared the transcript of a radio show she did some time back.

In 2001 I had the opportunity to Interview Sir Christopher Lee for a radio show I produced for Pakistan News Service in California.  – Aisha

Aisha Sarwari: Sir Christopher Lee, we are honored to have you here on the show (Previously Pakistan News Service), thank you for your time.

Sir Christopher Lee: Not at all

Aisha Sarwari: I’d like to ask you a few questions about the recently released film, Jinnah of Pakistan, Produced by Jamil Dehlvi and directed by Akbar S. Ahmed. I am curious to know how an independent film like this inspire you to act as a lead, in comparison to box office hits like, say, The Lord of The Rings?

Sir Christopher Lee: You can’t compare one film with another. Because you have to remember that Jinnah was a comparatively low budget picture, although it looks like a very big budget picture. You can’t possibly compare a film which is about basically one individual and the people around him who created a nation with a film like The Lord of The Rings which is a great epic, in fact, it is three films. And it’s not just about basically one person, certainly not about one person who was a founder of a modern nation. Continue reading

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Filed under Cinema, History, Jinnah