Archive | June, 2011

The way I saw “BOL”

25 Jun

Do you know what happens when much created hype fails to deliver… Well Shoaib Mansoor’s “BOL” is a perfect example. For next couple of weeks or may be months you would see unlimited headline coverage and promos of “BOL” with subtitles and voice overs saying…” ITS RUNNING SUCCESSFULLY ALL OVER”…but I will have my serious doubts in long run.

I am not a film Critic neither a Film Maker but as a viewer, I have some serious fundamental issues associated with the screenplay of “BOL”

The handle of the movie deals with a basic issue Pakistan faces and that is how in the name of religion and culture or simply in the name of ” Beta Chaiye” population growth gets so called logical grounds. In my opinion its a topic well picked, however i disagree with some of the followings;

Firstly, why do we label that women in chaddar, nikab or hijab cannot be empowered. The movie potrays that; in the begining and towards the end. Why does a woman have to let go of her chaddar and get into “Defence Style Jhubbas” to look all empowered???

There are three more issues addressed in the movie, the treatment of eunuch, the shia sunni conflict and the role of prostitute in our society. However, all these three issues did not seem to have any connection with each other. They felt as if they were in three separate boxes.

Last but not the least, the thing which surprised me the most came towards the end of the movie when a journalist trys to save life of a girl by trying to wake the president up in the middle of the night saying ” Mera dil Kheta hai kay woh Mausum hai”. 

I am not a hardcore journalist yet, but I am sure my journalist friends would agree with me when I say that a journalist’s job is to make claims based on research and concrete evidence rather than what her DIL says. This was surprising dialogue considering the Pakistan’s biggest News Network funded the movie.

Recently, when I covered “Film Ki Kahani” in “Paisa Kahani”, I learnt that film industry in any country exist on two major school of thoughts. First being that every film has to have a mass appeal for it to be Successful, on the other hand some believed that for an industry to be successful, one need to have all kinds of movies which necessarily might not cater to the masses.

Now my question to you is which category does movies like “KHUDA KAY LIYE” and “BOL” falls in? Are these movies made for audiences in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad or they are made keeping the entire Pakistan in mind even though the film maker tries to address issues appealing the masses.

According to Express News Senior Entertainment Journalist Tahir Serwar Mir “Khuda Kay Liye” got funding worth Rs 11 Crore and at Box Office it made only Rs.5 Crore.Thats a huge loss by any standards but we still know that “Khuda Kay Liye” was a huge success. We will have to wait and watch “BOL” as another case study without believing on promos and headlines says for next fews weeks or may be months.

My point is not to criticize the movies made in Pakistan, all I am trying to say is that in order to make Pakistan Film Industry successful, the movie makers have to derive a plan in which they see returns on their investments made, only than Pakistan Film Industry can truly stand on its own.


Looking Forward For Your Thoughts


A is for Abbotabad or should I say Abat ta Bad…

9 Jun

In 65 years of Pakistan’s History Abbotabad did what Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore couldn’t do for our country. People in America might know nothing about Pakistan other then the fact that “Abbotabad is In Pakistan”. Most of the Americans I met during my 5 weeks training dint know the geography of Pakistan what to talk of Pakistanis. They would ask me, Is Pakistan flat,does it has mountains, is it close to sea and so on.

Americans as a nation are considered to be curious and their curiosity in knowing about Abbotabad must have broken records if there was a curiosity measuring meter.

During my recent visit to USA for Journalism Training, I was asked the following questions

B: So how far do you live from Abat ta Bad?

Me: Well, I live In Karachi which is in south and abbotabad…

B: What, how did you pronounce taaaaa

Me: yea its pronounced Abbotabad not Abat ta Bad and its in north of Pakistan very far from where I live

B: What kind of a place it is, does it have mountains?

Me: Yes it is a very beautiful mountainous region of Pakistan.

B: Have you ever been to Abat ta bad?

Me: Yes I have and I have stayed there for 3 days.

B: Is it is a very affluent area with mansions n Barbed wires

Me: Clueless…sometimes I just gave up But I answered these questions almost everyday when I met someone new.

Dictionary meaning for Mansions needs to be re written for both Americans and Pakistanis after Bin Laden episode. By “Mansion” most Americans get the idea of a palace and barbed wires would mean extremely secure area. What they don’t know is mansions like Bin Ladin with barbed wires are common in Pakistan especially in conservative northern region. But how can  American people or American Media  know because finding out how the weather is going to be tomorrow and should he or she take his umbrella seems to be far more important issues than knowing the theory of barbed wires and mansions in Pakistan.

Before my visit, I had an idea from my various American Return Friends that America is not well known for its general knowledge but I thought things might have changed after Pakistan and America being called allies on the war on terror and that somewhat 30,000 people in Pakistan have died in Pakistan fighting this war in addition to 3000 who died during the 9/11 attacks

Irony isn’t it !!!

A for America n Arranged Marriages

7 Jun

“Do you have a boyfriend in Pakistan”..asked Joel, the director of ABC 10News. I replied by saying “No, I am single as I took a sip of non alcoholic margarita joel ordered for me.

We were having dinner at a mexican restaurant with Joel’s family and  his two friends, Mike and Robin. Over the past few weeks I had been affiliated with ABC 10news and Joel took me over to his house to show what a suburban American life is like.

” I had a client from Pakistan who had an arranged marriage, how does that work in Pakistan…what happens if it dosent work”? Robin asked me who is in real estate business in San diego.

Even though I could never find the idea of arrange marriage comfortable, there was something in me which felt like defending it, so I replied by saying that its not bad as a lot of people think it is, its just like two friends getting their other two friends hooked up, in our case parents try to do it. If it doesnt work IT DOESNT WORK!! simple as that!!

“Did your parents try that”, she asked

“Yea” I replied

“And you said No”…hmmm, she acknowledged

“I remember you trying to hook up our daughter once Robin”,said Mike to his wife. “Parents try to do that all the time here too” added Sarah, Joel”s wife.

Sarah further added by saying that once somebody told her that in America marriage is like…”whats in it for me” but thats not the case in countries like India and Pakistan. Its more like whats in it for the family, “Me” is less important than the “Family”

“Well, would you be fine with an arrange marriage Madiha”, asked robin again. I think for Robin I was the case study through which she wanted to understand how things work in Pakistan.

I replied by saying that I wouldn’t shy away from the idea of arrange marriage if I find the right guy, after all thats how it works in Pakistan.

“But you would prefer a Love Marriage, right?” Joel asked quickly and I couldnt be frank enough, so I said “Ideally yes!!..I would like to know the person I am marrying”

After that for next 15 minutes we just talked about how love marriages work in Pakistan while Joel’s kids were busy playing games on cell phone.

“So, when does a girl introduces the guy to her parents and vice versa” Mike asked me. I said that mostly whenever they are sure they are going to marry each other, an official proposal is sent to the girls parents by guy’s family.

Mike looked at me with surprise and said ” Ahhh I met my daughter’s boyfriend I am not sure if they will ever marry”.

” Well mostly there is no concept of casual dating in Pakistan, if we are seeing someone we do have something running back of our mind that we will end up marrying that person”…but dosent happen like that all the time”…I added.

“So what do you guys talk about during dating…Marriage?” asked robin surprisingly. I couldn’t control so I laughed and said “NO” …. hehehe!!!

Funny America!!!

Meeting a Tribal

7 Jun

Have you ever met someone from the tribal areas of Pakistan? I am sure most of us haven’t, isn’t it ironic that we talk about tribal areas in Pakistan all time, blame them for being backward and fundamentalists for promoting extremism without actually having to know them. I don’t know about you guys but I used to be like this until I met T.

 T was one the journalist who was part of the USA-Pakistan Journalism Exchange Program with me. He works for development of radio station and belongs to Khyber agency of FATA region in Pakistan. He is light skinned and tall guy who looks nothing like a typical image I had of tribal people in Pakistan. He would crack jokes and make us laugh all the time. T can converse very well in English, not only that I found him to be one of the  most confident and relevant journalists amongst all of us.

Even though he had some annoying habits such as always coming late and questioning waitress about why isn’t Pepsi common in America like it is in Pakistan, but for most of it T opened my eyes about “Tribal Pakistan”.

At one of the de-briefing at Department of State T told everybody that he has pictures of people getting beheaded for only offering cup of tea or glass of water to FC. He further said that Drone Attacks take place in his areas and kill innocent people as Taliban would come to any house and ask for food and tea, locals can’t dare to refuse Taliban as they are strong.

T said he was happy that Bin Laden was not found in tribal area because for years his people were blamed for sheltering terrorism but the truth was something else. T claimed that tribals are not the only ones responsible for the present state we are in. T further added that tribals are not embraced in Pakistan; they are looked down upon and disgraced as fundamentalists.

T said “Nobody really cares about tribal Pakistan”

I wouldn’t talk for anybody but myself and I agree with T. Thanks for changing my perception 🙂