Tagged with " media"
Dec 18, 2008 - romance, women    31 Comments

My knight in shining Corvette

Scottish professors have just confirmed what I have always known; watching romantic comedies can spoil your love life, in my case, it can extinguish the love life before it even begins.

Researchers at the Family and Personal Relationships Laboratory at Heriot Watt University in Scotland have concluded that romantic films ruin romance for real life lovers. Films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill give people the idea of unrealistic love and huge expectations.

Psychologists at the family and personal relationships laboratory at the university studied 40 top box office hits between 1995 and 2005, and identified common themes which they believed were unrealistic.

The movies included You’ve Got Mail, Maid In Manhattan, The Wedding Planner and While You Were Sleeping.

The university’s Dr Bjarne Holmes said: “Marriage counsellors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it.”
“We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people’s minds.”

I have actually known a girl who has watched Love Story 26 times and she took it for granted that her university would be filled with rich good looking replicas of Ryan O’Neal. The only rich and handsome guy in her class was the son of local landlord and he had already run through a wife when she met him.

But not all romantic films are a waste, at least I think that way. Remember About a Boy, that was the only decent Hugh Grant film where his bumbling and fumbling ways were actually charming and despite the ultra corny “You complete me” and ‘You had me at hello”; Jerry Maguire presented a romance as real as it can be in a romantic comedy, complete with first awkward date, confused marriage, trial separation and a not so beautiful kid.

We all know that romcoms are not for real, but we still tend to believe that we might be the lucky ones who will end up with their own fairytals, but not every girl is modern day Cinderella of Pretty Women whose knight came charging in a shinning white Cadillac to rescue her; mere mortals have to work their asses off on a relationship provided they can find somebody half decent.

If I happen to find a knight, I would want him come charging in a shining Corvette.

PS: I think this blog is being over run by Colin Firth images.


Aug 29, 2008 - Uncategorized    1 Comment

And they say MJ is the crazy one


Michael Jackson is celebrating his 50 years on earth today and the other (still) big M (Madonna) celebrated hers on August15.

MJ is celebrating his birthday at SM Mall Asia in Manila, Philippines, at the release of his album “The King of Pop” while Madonna celebrated hers in London.

MJ’s birthday party is open for all his fans while Madonna’s guest list had lots of A list stars and blue blooded aristocrats. The guests were barred from giving cards or presents featuring the number 50. Apparently, it was not just rock-star vanity: according to the teachings of Kabbalah, in terms of her spiritual age Madonna is only 36.

And they say Michael Jackson is the crazy one!!!


Aug 28, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Why in English?


Dawn already has an English television channel, Geo is coming up with an English channel, Express TV is coming up with an English language news channels along with a daily newspaper and Wateen telecommunication recently announced that they will be bringing out an English language daily newspaper from Lahore.

My point of concern is that who will read all these English language newspapers and watch news channels with anchor speaking in all possible local and foreign accents? People in Pakistan are so busy eking out a living and still barely managing to buy flour and sugar that they have stopped sending their children to school any more.

Who will understand the lingo?


Aug 27, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Where’d all the good people go?

Television industry in Pakistani has never had it this good but it has never produced shows as trashy as are being telecast these days. We have had Imran Khan foaming with rage at Babar Awan on Geo’s Capital Talk and Amir Liaquat presenting a show where Musharraf’s impeachment gets religious sanctions by religious scholars who want their fifteen minutes of fame. To top it all, we have had Nadia Khan on her morning show blurting to the whole world that not only is she pregnant, but baby’s probable due date – which is January 2009 – and that she intends to lose the mommy pounds by March 2009. Yes, I have added this bit of info for all the people who land on my blog wanting to know about Nadia Khan’s impending bundle of joy (if the baby turn out to be anything like Nadia, there would be nothing joyous about it I am afraid). Did anyone puke? Its all right, it only means that you are normal. What’s most ironic is that she did it all while interviewing Karachi’s city Nazim (Mayor) who is quite a professional and did not respond to any of her stupid demands (she wanted him to sing and dance on her show). I now fear if we are going to witness baby’s arrival and first burp live on TV.

All I can do is sing this song “Good People” by Jack Johnson which seems to describe telly scene here in Pakistan.

It goes something like this:

You win, it’s your show, now
So what’s it gonna be
‘Cause people
Will tune in
How many train wrecks do we need to see
before we lose touch of
We thought this was low
It’s bad getting worse so

Where’d all the good people go?
I’ve been changing channels
I don’t see them on the TV shows
Where’d all the good people go?
We got heaps and heaps of what we sow

Here is the Video

Aug 20, 2008 - romance, women    No Comments

BBC gone bonkers

Any girl who has ever read English romantic novels is guilty of reading Mills & Boons. In fact I knew at least one boy in my undergrad class who used to read Mills & Boons. I too have been guilty of reading them in high school and before you go and start mocking my literary taste (or lack thereof), let me tell you that literary giants such as P G Wodehouse and Jack London have also written for the publishing house. Yes, we have seen first, second, third and fourth wave of feminism, but Mills & Boons stays firmly entrenched in the 19th century when men were masterful and stern. The stories are all the same. The couples are passionately in love but would never utter the “L” word before page 177. The first kiss would probably be featured on page 56 and the first sexual encounter begins on page 99. The heroes are all strong and silent types – modern day Mr. Darcy reincarnation – and the heroine is always overwhelmed by her lover’s masculinity.

According to Independent, Mills & Boon is celebrating its 100th year in style – by launching the romantic series on television produced by nothing less than BBC. Now one would be able to see heaving bosoms, foreign filthy rich and brooding heroes and virginal heroines (ironic, isn’t it as teenage pregnancy is highest in UK – the home of Mills & Boon – in the whole of Europe) on TV.

As if it was not enough, BBC has also produced a documentary, How to Write a Mills & Boon, based on the guides the publisher itself produces, offering advice to would-be novelists.

I mean what the hell is happening to this world, I mean seriously!


Jul 10, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

My way (Meray Mutabiq) or highway

Anyone who knows me know my affection for an affliction called Pakistan’s electronic media. Here is an article sent to me by a friend on erstwhile anchor and brand new chairman of state owned PTV. My friend Z and I have seen Dr Sahab and the man with no title but all the authority hand in glove in Islamabad and knew before any other official announcement that Dr Sahab is gonna jump Ship Geo for bigger and better options.

Here is the article

I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Shahid Masood in October 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks on The World Trade Centre, and coincidentally, just as ARY had started its London operations. PJ Mir already had his own show and Shahid Masood, it appeared to me, was vying for one.

The topic almost routinely under discussion in those inaugural weeks was understandably 9/11. I was asked to contribute as a guest panellist. Since I was a US-trained lawyer, I would be commenting on the legal ramifications of handing Osama over to US authorities. It seems like a pointless conversation now, but way back in the autumn of 2001, Pakistan was trying its level best to use its influence with and impress upon the Taliban the wisdom in handing Osama over and sparing the entire population of Afghanistan, northern areas of Pakistan and eventually the people of Iraq the misery of US wrath.

The panel discussion had four guests. Myself, Sherry Rehman (who had not at that point announced her political ambitions although the underlying signs were unambiguous), Dr. Shahid Masood and a fourth gentleman whose name I unfortunately do not remember so let’s just call him Mr. X. Clearly, Mr. X and I were the nobodies on the panel; Sherry and Dr. Shahid the stars. Who could have predicted then that seven years on Sherry would be our Information Minister and Dr. Shahid her PTV Chairman!

The show ran unfocused. Electronic media was just starting out and there was much confusion. Dr. Shahid was not initially meant to be a guest on the panel as he was “in house” but I soon realized that he filled in whenever a guest cancelled at the last minute. I am not sure whose place he was taking that day, but it soon became clear that the good doctor was ready and willing to talk about anything under the sun. So he was “an expert” on anthrax that October day.

As the show progressed, Mr. X and I got little air time for it was survival of the loudest. I, somewhat soft-spoken, was cut off in mid-sentence by Sherry, hoping that PJ would intervene and let me have my full say, but no such luck. Sherry carried on unabated till she found her match in Dr. Shahid. PJ posed the anthrax question, which Dr. Shahid dismissed instantly and carried on talking about what he wanted to talk about, the conspiracy against Muslims. Mr. X, forgive me for not remembering his name, described himself as a British Muslim and in his pre and post-program conversations seemed more distressed about the Turkish hijab-clad women who were denied admission into university than he was up to speed with Pakistan’s potential role in the war on terror. Mid-way through the program, PJ decided that none of his guests were up to the mark and so he called Lord Nazir and proceeded to talk about Kashmir.

In 2001, it was not fashionable to seek legal opinions on television shows so I had to wait till after the show to say what I wanted to say. Mr. X had left as soon as the show ended, annoyed, I think. But Dr. Shahid and Sherry lingered on, as did I, waiting for my ride to make it to the inconveniently located Acton studio. It was then that I discovered that Dr. Shahid was not a Ph.D. as I thought he may have been, but a medical doctor. Later, I discovered that all the doctors in our media are medical doctors and not Ph.D.s as they may want us to believe, whether it is Aamir Liaqat or Shaista Wahidi or of course Shahid Masood. Why would one want to retain the doctor title when one is not treating patients but a working journalist is beyond me, but I suppose its all part of leaving the right impression, or perhaps better said in Urdu, aks dalna.

Sherry had left the studio and I was still waiting for my ride. As I waited, Dr. Shahid and I continued our conversation. Dr. Shahid, I realized quickly from speaking to him, had an extremely right-wing bent of mind. The conversation drifted to Partition, and then Jinnah, to which I heard the most bizarre remark from Dr. Shahid. “Jinnah was a Parsi,” he said. Not that I think there is anything wrong with the Zoroastrian faith, but Dr. Shahid was clearly misinformed and I felt I must set him straight.

“Jinnah was a Muslim. He married a Parsi woman, but he was Muslim,” I told him matter-of-factly.

“No, Jinnah was a Parsi, I think,” Dr. Shahid still doubted my knowledge, and possibly his own.

“Jinnah was born in an Isamili household,” I told him, thinking perhaps that Dr. Shahid may be confusing one minority group for another, odd as it sounds, “but, as an adult, chose to espouse mainstream Muslim.” Dr. Shahid appeared confused at my statement and did not respond but looked on disbelievingly. Shortly after that, I left the studio but found it very difficult to fathom that Jinnah, whose name appears in the greatest Muslim leaders of all time, who created a homeland for millions of Muslims, would be mistaken as a non-Muslim by anyone, leave alone a Pakistani. I had met Pakistanis before who belittled Jinnah’s contribution or doubted his wisdom but never before had I met a Pakistani who actually thought that he was not Muslim. Dr. Shahid sure was special.

Short as our interaction was, I never forgot Dr. Shahid’s words and was hence never able to take him seriously. When he got his own show on ARY, I found it little different from Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor on FOX News. He was good at only one thing—sensationalizing issues, most often in the context of Islam versus the West or religious Muslims versus secular Muslims. Certainly there are issues in both those areas, but Dr. Shahid’s shows, barring occasional exceptions, lacked cogent analysis or appropriate cross-questioning, and played only to peoples’ emotions. I was therefore quite surprised when GEO took him on in a senior capacity. But I suppose sensationalism works and ratings attest to it.

In any case, when after a relatively short stint at GEO, Dr. Shahid has (literally) arrived at PTV, I am not in the least bit surprised that Dr. Shahid took the job but do wonder if the government knows what they have gotten themselves into. Previous PTV chairpersons were at least well-read individuals who knew Pakistan’s history empirically. Of course PTV has always towed the government line but many PTV-groomed journalists have cleverly and intelligently pushed limits to get closer to the truth. I am afraid that Dr. Shahid is not motivated by this journalistic ethos and his very opinionated (meray mutabiq) and almost jingoistic style is bound to clash with the government’s sooner or later, and for all the wrong reasons.

PTV has trained some of Pakistan’s best journalists, people like Talat Hussain of Aaj TV, and so many others. In spite of the fact that PTV’s approach was biased and skewed, it still had some visionary leadership that promoted learning and was meritorious enough to throw up talent that was later poached by the private channels. But with Dr. Shahid, objectivity and competence may no longer matter at all as it will be my way (meray muttabiq) or the highway.

Looking at it another way, in the past, for those Pakistanis interested in making their mark through electronic media there was no option but to go the PTV route. Therefore, by and large, those who opted for PTV were not doing so out of any loyalty to the establishment, but because that was the only outlet for their career aspirations. But today, with a mushrooming of private channels, choosing to go the PTV route, at least in as senior a capacity as Dr. Shahid’s, raises serious red flags with respect to his intentions and credibility.

In the run-up to his PTV offer, Dr. Shahid did a series on army generals who had held important portfolios but were now keen to speak out against the regime. The idea was a good one, for anyone who believes in transparency must acknowledge that the ways of the military and their post-retirement affiliations often go un-scrutinized. Yet, Dr. Shahid it appears was not interested in seeking the truth but only concerned with the spin, ensuring that he got the guests on his show only because he failed to cross-question them about their own potentially dubious roles in the past. By only showing one side of these critical matters that deserve the utmost scrutiny and objectivity, Dr. Shahid sent the right message to the establishment: I am danger man, court me or fear me.

His approach was structured to achieve the maximum personal gain for himself, not for his viewers. And in that he has been highly successful. His salary, variously quoted at Rs. 700,000 to Rs. 1,000,000 a month may be well deserved if the journalist in question is exceptionally good and working at a private network, but for PTV to pay that kind of money on taxpayers’ expense at a time when poverty worldwide and specifically in Pakistan is reaching new heights is in extremely poor taste. There is little doubt in my mind that this money, which rightfully belongs to the citizens of Pakistan, is being used to fund a man known for his ability to spin whose job it will be to work against the interests of the very people who are forced to fund him. The silver lining to all this is that it may not matter as much because the private media has come a long way. With competent journalists like Talat Hussain, Kashif Abassi, Nusrat Javed and Mushtaq Minhas around, perhaps the damage that Dr. Shahid can inflict may yet be contained.

May 9, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Who needs Jerry Springer?

I know I am repeating myself but Nadia Khan Show should come with a rating of at least PG15, if not more.

I caught glimpses of two shows recently and both were conducted in extremely bad taste.

First was with Younus Khan, the cricketer. There was a caller name Asghar who called in that show. He first proclaimed his love for Younus Khan and then asked him to take his name, pyar se! Imagine my reaction. I was eating breakfast and choked on my boiled egg (I know, very difficult to choke on a boiled egg but such was my shock at that request, I choked) and gasped, “Pyar se!!!!!!!” Younus Khan responded with, “Main apka naam tau le laita hoon – Asghar – but I must tell you, I am not that kind of Pathan, I was raised in Karachi.”

Before I could have gotten over this blatant display of homosexual love and YK’s equally blatant snub to that, Nadia Khan asked, in her trade mark extra subtle way, if he has had trouble with Shahid Afridi recently? To this query, YK responded with a resounding yes, there has been an altercation or two between them. However, nothing ever got out of hand. He then gave the reason why it had not happened. Once, they came back to the dressing room after some hot and heavy practice session and YK was lying in a tub of cold water, covered with ice. Apparently, Afridi had said something to flare him up but he did not do anything about it because he was in the tub, naked. His exact words were, “If I had not been totally naked and could have gotten out of the tub, I would have had a serious fight with him.” I was screaming, “This is too much information, I don’t need information about your clothing or lack of it on TV.”

The second show was where Mahleej Sarkari (the woman who became famous by declaring hots for Mushy) and her agent came to the show. Let’s just say that the show was a cheap attempt at getting higher ratings. The whole show was about Nadia Khan acting puritanical virgin who is all “haw hai, ap ne bikini pehen li, sharam naheen aye apko” to Mahleej saying, “Sharam kaisee, I take pride in showing my super fit body” to Nadia khan making faces “Hai Allah besharam kaheen ki” to Mahleej Sarkari’s agent saying “kill all mullahs” to me saying, “Hai Allah Mian Ji, Kithay phasaya jay?” To add insult to the injury, there were callers who were spilling beans about famous Pakistani tv actresses, that they were lesbian lovers who had their romantic pictures taken in Pataya and Phuket. Nadia Khan, in order to fulfill her honest journalistic obligations, insisted that the caller take the name of the two actresses which she promptly did.

Seriously, who needs Jerry Springer when you can watch Nadia Khan Show?

It comes twice a day everyday, especially before going to bed.

Apr 21, 2008 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Ooper Khuda, neechay Huda

Hamid Mir broke this story in The News today which is about the de facto CM of Sindh. According to the news, the man who has ruled Sindh as a de facto chief minister for many years finally lost his powers on Saturday.

Brigadier Huda, who was an ISI commander in Sindh, was in fact the caretaker of the MQM-PML-Q provincial coalition government. He was responsible for running the coalition in a smooth manner. All major decisions were taken after his consultation.

He resolved the differences between former CM Arbab Ghulam Rahim and the MQM many a time. Many provincial ministers even used to say “ooper Khuda aur neechay Huda”. The brigadier’s name figured in the power circles of Islamabad in the evening of May 12, 2007. Brigadier Huda was given credit for the show of massive government power in Karachi on that day.

Initially, the MQM was reluctant to hold a rally in Karachi on May 12. The then ISI DG Gen Ashfaq Kayani also had the same opinion that the MQM should not come out on the streets when Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would visit Karachi. It was Huda who played an important role in convincing the MQM not to cancel its rally. He assured the MQM leadership that there will be no riots on that day though he was proved wrong. He was supposed to be very close to the then Army chief General Pervez Musharraf. However, no action was taken against him.

The blasts in the rally of Benazir Bhutto on October 18, 2007 in Karachi were another failure of Brigadier Huda. He was responsible for the security of Benazir Bhutto on that day more than anybody else. However, he was not transferred despite his repeated failures. His downfall started on April 9, 2008, when many people including lawyers were killed in the Karachi violence. It was another failure on the part of Huda. The new PPP government in Sindh felt that Brigadier Huda was still having immense political influence. It believed that he was in contact with the anti-PPP forces. Many important bureaucrats reported to the provincial government that Huda was interfering in different departments. He was more interested in “political makings and breakings” than doing his security job.

After reading this, all I could think of was: Poor Arbab Rahim, he had to endure the indignity of being booted out of the assembly when it was Huda sahib who was responsible for everything that ever went wrong in the land of sufis. Another thought that came to my mind was that Hamid Mir was the one who knew all about the siyasi shenanigans taking place there and broke the news.