By Yasser Latif Hamdani
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
IPL fiasco threatened to further worsen Pakistan-India ties. Now the great King of Bollywood has stepped up to the plate and spoken on the issue. -YLH
The team owners of the India Premier League (IPL) have so far stood together on the issue of not bidding for any Pakistani players in the third edition of the event. They had come out in the media denying any foul play. But now a prominent voice among them has stood up and voiced his opposition to the issue. It is none other than the Baadshah of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan who owns the Kolkata Knight Riders. Buzz up!In an interview to a leading news channel Shahrukh Khan said “They are the champions, they are wonderful but somewhere down the line there is an issue and we can’t deny it. We are known to invite everyone. We should have. If there were any issues, they should have been put on board earlier. Everything can happen respectfully,” It may be recalled that Shahrukh Khan who had taken active part in the bidding of the players in the first season had shown keen interest in Pakistani players. He had roped in Umar Gul and maverick Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar in the first season. Shahrukh’s statement is bound to add to the controversy especially after fellow Bollywood celebrities Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty having gone out in full support of the fairness of the bidding process.
Indian TV has seen numerous Bollywood reality shows, competition where common boys (and occasionally girls) have won places on movies by top directors. The Show that I want to talk about is Bollywood, blind-date and arranged (and staged) marriage all rolled into one big media circus. Continue reading
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by Raza Rumi
I am not concerned with the technicalities of Shoaib Akhtar’s sentence, which have been the subject of much debate across Pakistan and indeed wherever cricket is played and followed. There have been some avoidable outbursts by both Akhtar and his disciplinarians. Akhtar has a chequered past in the conventional sense; and perhaps his tragic flaw is the cavalier attitude that is now a hallmark of his persona. But he is a star whose talent has done cricket, Pakistan, and Pakistanis proud. The quantum of punishment given to him has therefore been viewed as some sort of betrayal, and many have termed it unfair. But this is now a sub judice matter and so cannot be commented upon any further.
However, what lies underneath the narrative of Shoaib Akhtar’s plight relates to the sociological and attitudinal trends that have now engulfed Pakistan, like a poisonous creeper that consumes even the best kept plants in a garden.
Shoaib Akhtar is self-made, rising from humble origins into the global limelight. Born at Morgah, a small town near Rawalpindi, on August 13 1975, he is the youngest of four sons (he also has a younger sister) of an oil refinery worker. Far from following in his father’s footsteps, however, Akhtar began to show cricketing talent while still at school. It was at Asghar Mall College, during his twenties, that his extraordinary skill at the game was recognised; he played at increasingly high levels (including a spell for the English team Worcestershire), culminating in his selection for the national team in 1997. He then shot to international fame during the 1999 World Cup. Stunning spectators with his bowling ability, he went on to set the world record for bowling speed at 100.2 mph, where it still stands.
Nicknamed “The Rawalpindi Express,” Akhtar’s performance in the 1999 World Cup meant that he suddenly became a household name in Pakistan. The immense run-up, the hurtling legs, the characteristic flop of the hair: every young man on the Pakistani streets wanted to be Shoaib Akhtar. It is clear, however, that he belongs to no family or cartel of cricketers. Through this transition to stardom, Akhtar’s attitude reflected his independence and self-reliance, his use only of his own abilities, strengths and skills. Until now, he has defied the sport’s entrenched culture of patronage, and therefore has neither sought, nor benefited from, it. Hence his troubled relations with the authorities, and his reluctance to follow the ingrained feudal culture of obedience, have found resonance with a changing Pakistan. Continue reading