Here’s a rundown of five completely random things that are completely mandatory viewing for anyone with a pulse. Scathing satires, heartwarming tributes, and some creative lightening in a bottle, you must revel in these mementos before the week ends.
1. Ali Gul Pir doing his thing again; Modi Teri
Perhaps a little on the nose, and not his best (I mean this in terms of both wit and subtlety). Still, I’ve always admired how uninhibited Ali Gul Pir is. In our strange politically correct times, someone has to rattle the gilded cages, and why shouldn’t it be via satire? Happily shouting from rooftops what most of us wouldn’t dare say in private, Ali gives us a truly angry critique of all that is wrong with the Modi regime’s hawkish policies and mock-bravado. A guilty pleasure if ever there was one.
2. S.M. Raza and murals; Abdul Sattar Edhi remembered
It’s hard not to love an artist who claims ‘your wall is my canvas’, and why shouldn’t Karachi’s rich culture decorate its walls instead of political slogans? From the same budding artists that painted the Amjad Sabri Mural (which we covered here) this time they give us Edhi as most of us remember him; looking up, smiling and at peace.
3. Hamza Bangash captures lightening in a bottle; Rasta Dein (director’s cut)
So this one was meant to be a public service message directed by Hamza Bangash in collaboration with a number of not for profit organizations.
To put it mildly, public service films can be a tad preachy. This one however was a welcome change, simply because it is told as a collection of experiences. From the point of view of a critically wounded child, her father and an ambulance driver, the three-part film revolves around a cruel twist of fate serving as a powerful demonstration of monologues and excellent acting.
Although unfortunately the little girl, like many Pakistani child performances, is painfully puppet-like and despite being one of the cutest little cherubs ever is still too robotic to be endearing. Still, Asad Gojar (father) and Hammad Siddiq (driver) are excellent and in a few words capture the socio-economic nuances of their characters perfectly, making the film immensely watchable despite the heavy theme.
4. Saif Samejo on love; Ishq Namaz
Am I the only one who is a tinge more hopeful about Lahooti Live Sessions than Coke Studio as a platform for undiscovered talent? Perhaps because it relies more heavily on folklore and folk singers, Saif Samejo’s brain child is a much better place to find original acts than its more commercial predecessor.
This particular song showcases the serenity of Sufi poetry. It is a gentle, listen-to-as-you-drive track which hides a deep philosophical meaning behind easy listening. Also, the production value has improved by leaps and bounds since the Lahooti team first started, which is great since the local music scene needs lucrative alternatives to the status quo.
5. Mooroo takes on elitism, sort of; Ameer Ki Ghurbat
Taimoor Salahuddin, known by his stage name ‘Mooroo’ is amongst the few people who don’t limit themselves to one art form (he isn’t an actor, musician or writer, he is all three.) In fact, he doesn’t even confine himself to one genre; rather than choose between drama or comedy, he playfully swings between the two.
As someone who has liked most of what he’s done though, I’m not complaining. I’ve always found him more original than the milieu of young men parading around Pakistani soap-operas.
This very, very short video about the upper bounds of society is so over the top that you can’t help but enjoy it. And lest I be misunderstood, I’m not saying it’s bad. Rather, think of it like processed cheese; it is so overdone that it creates a league of its own.
‘Ameer ki Ghurbat’ tells the story of a rich couple (Mooroo and Faiza Saleem) who hate all things poor. Now, if you grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s it’ll remind you of those dramatic Bollywood movies where the clash of the classes translates to ‘we hate them because they’re poor’ (think ‘Kaho Na Pyar Hai’.)
Except, this video is very self aware and never takes itself too seriously.
Also, Mooroo understands that the internet has the collective memory of a gold fish. An online audience doesn’t have time for nuanced screenwriting, so sentences like, “I’m quitting my job because it won’t pay for my LV bags” while too on the nose for film or television, work perfectly here.