Film Review

The Imperfect Filmi Family: Kapoor and Sons, Since 1921

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Sophisticated.

Mature.

Nuanced.

These are just a few adjectives that one can begin to describe Kapoor & Sons, but this film is so much more, and truth be told I’m at a loss of words on where to begin. Rarely have I walked into a Bollywood film, especially those with queer characters, and walked out with sense of overpowering emotion engulfing me. Kapoor and Sons, I can finally say, is one such film.

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Snooze Fest Karachi

This review originally appeared here.

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Impressed by Sabiha Sumar’s earlier film Khamosh Pani with its strong script and poignant take on Pakistani politics, although admittedly sometime sketchy direction, I was intrigued enough to want to see Good Morning Karachi at the 3rdi film festival despite its rather predictable plot.

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Badlapur: Badla kya?

The review for Badlapur went up on the Dawn, but was edited for space, so I put the entire version here.

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Authenticity.

It is the one thing cinema going audiences crave – detailed and sympathetic portrayals without veering towards the simplistic, hoping our daily experiences are reflected in the films we watch without ever resorting to escapism or parody, all the while praying that if nothing else our filmmakers wouldn’t question our intelligence.

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(Not So) Khoobsurat: A Review

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There are bad films, and then, there are really bad films. Khoobsurat (and as much as I hate to say this) is a really bad film. The Princess Diaries formula falls flat in its Indian context. Sorry, Sonam and (perhaps, more so) Fawad, but this was nowhere as good as the hype surrounding it. Weird cuts, a lack meaningful sequences, caricatures, cheap (and maybe even vulgar) humour, and ghatiya gaanay aur unkay chichoray lyrics make this a less than memorable watch. In fact, the only redeeming factors are Khoobsurat’s two khoobsurat debuts: Fawad Khan, our Pakistani Pompadour-ed beauty, and Jasleen Royal, the girl who gives us a soulful and beautiful rendition of “Preet“.

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And Baby Came Out to Play: Siyaah and Contemporary Pakistani Horror

Lā ilāha illā-llāhu, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh

Kya aap Shaitaan par yakeen rakhtay hain?

Karna chahiye kyunki woh aap par yakeen rakhta hai.

Hareem Farooq’s chilling question, one that’s an exact rip-off from Constantine, perhaps, as an homage, reminds me of a particularly telling ayat from Surah Al-Aaraf (16, 17), which clearly states: “Because You have sent me astray, surely, I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones.”

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Bilqis, Bobby, Bollywood

Think Do Jasoos. Now, think Bobby Jasoos.

Think Bend it like Beckham. Now think Bobby bends it (with the best of them might I add)!

Samajh aaya…? Nahi, phir continue reading.

Inhi chotti, chotti galiyon mein teri kismet chamkain gi, Bobby. Bilqis Ahmed issi Moghalpuray mein jasoos ban kar dekhayee gi.

As a 20-something graduate student, I am all too aware of Bobby’s many predicaments: shaadi, bachchay, career, love, life, aur shayad akhir mein zindagi. Not only could I relate to her constant apprehension vis-a-vis Abbaji, I could also feel Bobby’s anguish as she yearns to succeed. Perhaps, this is Bobby Jasoos’s biggest strength but I’ll get to this momentarily…

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Horror at the Edge: Zibahkhana and the Politics of Metaphor

Think Scooby Doo, now think Scooby Doo gone bad. That’s Zibahkhana for you. Part slasher-fest, part zombie-gore, and part murder-mystery, Omar Ali Khan’s directorial debut impresses on all three counts. Most horror films have inspirations and Zibahkhana (2007) is no exception, admittedly based on 1970s/80s Hollywood horror flicks most notably the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), this film is refreshing solely because we encounter a completely Pakistani terror all Burqa clad and gurz armed (and that’s only the beginning!). But before I venture to the rather blood-soaked details let me begin by briefly summarizing the gruesome adventure.

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