5 random things: Pakistani rap, politics, satire and savagery

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1921
Screen-grab from 'Conflict Management', Rap Engineers

Oh what a glorious month it has been for Pakistani rap fans. Not only do we get to see Rap Engineers get the credit they so richly deserve. We are also treated to the full force of Xpolymer Dar’s verbal canon in tandem with a Mahira Khan film.

A strange mix I’ll admit. I mean, not once during Humsafar mania did I stop and think that she would make a fitting muse for the local rap scene. But no one can deny that ‘Power Di Game’ is perfection. Which is why when the official sound track for Verna (which we are obsessing over in case you haven’t heard) was released, it warranted some love. A quick scroll down our Facebook feed revealed that some other locals had also been dabbling in politically charged commentary. Of course not all of them share Xpolymer’s panache for candid aggression. But then, few do.

Still, here is a list of the sharpest retorts that graced the virtual world recently. Truly, we are not worthy.

 

  1. The Song of Angry Men: ‘Power Di Game’

Let us begin with the man himself.

Pakistani rap is an interesting movement. It somehow manages to be a part of mainstream media and yet subvert it. Like when Adil Omar and Ali Gul Pir made headlines for a rap song titled ‘Kholo BC’. For a nation that sees swear-words as the harbinger of doom, it is actually surprising that the song didn’t cause more of an outrage. Particularly when Pir had been the poster-child for ‘family friendly’ products not too long before its release.

Xpolymer Dar’s venture onto the Verna OST is just as remarkable.

Of course, Verna is obviously not the norm. The marketing has made this clear. But, a film starring one of our biggest stars, directed by one of our most prolific directors and distributed by HUM films? Yes. That’s mainstream. So the fact that Mr. Dar used less than politically correct vocabulary while also indulging in hard hitting commentary makes this the stuff legends are made of. Pakistani rap done proud.

I can just see the moral-brigade gasping for air.

#PowerDiGame

 

  1. Fashionably Savage: Rizwan Beyg and Deepak Perwani

I know that fashion isn’t what our readers come to us for. Yes, I know that most of you cringe whenever I bring the topic up. But if you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I like to dress up. Sometimes. Hence, I follow the local scene. And while most of the big names put a plastic bag to shame, Mr. Beyg is the fabulous exception.

If you don’t know much about the country’s fashion scene, just take my word for it; he is couture royalty. He also happens to be opinionated and sharper than a supermodel’s cheekbones.

Case in point; his Instagram feed. Almost daily, he has something to say about everything that is happening in the world of Pakistani entertainment.

Sometimes though, you have to read between the lines.

When fellow designer Deepak Perwani ascended the ranks of a rather well known political party, Mr. Beyg chose the ‘less is more’ look.

🤤

A post shared by Rizwan Beyg (@rizwanbeyg) on

 

  1. Idiots and Art: Maria Khan Art

Everyone who thinks that Pakistani politicians are tone-deaf, kindly raise your hands. Now, log onto Facebook and like this page.

I have written about visual artists before and I will write about them again. This time, I have to share this cartoon. Sometimes, it isn’t the effort that goes into a piece but the message that matters. Here, the message is simple, pertinent and painful all at once.

 

  1. Well Behaved Women: Ladies Only

If you still haven’t liked their page, please do. It is so deliciously nonchalant in its bashing that it needs to be appreciated. Every. Single. Day.

They released the latest episode of their web-series earlier this month, and it tells a tale as old as time. Or, at least one that has existed since before I was born.

Consisting of a searing satire, some well-positioned jabs at the status quo and a Nirvana throwback thrown into the mix. Oh how I love these ladies. They make me smile.

 

  1. The Art of the Comeback: Pakistan International Airlines

Just to be clear, I still think that the national airline needs a serious overhaul. A lot of things need to change. But I try to be unbiased when handing out my appreciation. And the social media personnel at PIA deserve some. Along with a raise.

We all have the doom-and-gloom brigade on our timelines. Their fire is added to by the routine fake-news peddler. And while mostly, I am content with ignoring them, sometimes that isn’t enough. But you have to plan your strategy well, because as we all know, haters live for publicity. This is as clever a comeback as I’ve ever seen. Yes, PIA, I still have my problems with you. But for now, you win.

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