Bad behavior makes great headlines, greater memes

May 15, 2022

From a scowling former Captain to a grumbling film industry, it hasn’t been a good week for celebrities under public scrutiny.

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here are always good things amidst the bad. Mano Animation Studios is showcasing work during the coveted section called “Work in Progress” category in France’s Annecy Animation Festival 2022. Mano has also been joined by Wrinkles producer, Manuel Cristobal.

Pasoori’ from Coke Studio 14 by Ali Sethi and Shae Gill has crossed 100 million views, warranting stories not only in local papers but a publication as prestigious as The New Yorker.

Hasan Raheem x Talal Qureshi x Maanu have released a song, dramatically different from ‘Peechay Hutt’ and ‘Sweetu’ called ‘Pyaar Hai Asli’.

As good stories keep cropping up, alas, so do bad ones. And this week was so blatantly poor that we had no choice but to look at them and reflect.

Hira Mani’s abominable take on weight loss

Body shaming is ubiquitous; its everywhere and as research and awareness suggests, taunting someone about it can leave emotional scars and a sense of pressure. It can cause body dysmorphia.

So, when Hira Mani, an actor who inexplicably makes just as much noise for her problematic views as she does for acting skills appeared on a local TV show and gave us a foot in the mouth moment.

Speaking about gaining weight, she noted that when husbands taunt wives, it leads to great result. What it really means is that instead of not putting pressure like the rest of the world around you, even in an intimate part of your life, it is awesome that your partner berates you until you return to a certain ideal. Because the world is not enough. She also went to the length of body shaming Kareena Kapoor (something her husband has never done). During the interview, she said husband (actor and host) Mani would tell her to perhaps look like Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone.

For someone in the limelight who fans aspire to, Hira Mani said something that was simply unconscionable.

Imran Khan mocks Shaan Shahid

Former PM Imran Khan has had many foot-in-the-mouth moments. But, when it comes to the celebrity arena, he continues to remain the most popular politician.

To that end, actor, producer, director, writer, Shaan Shahid, who has been local cinema’s prodigal – and only - son, working in films long before the revival of cinema began approximately a decade ago and afterwards as well, interviewed him for a local channel.

It’s fair to share Shaan Shahid has a following of his own. Did we learn something that we didn’t already know or was it a sharp, concise, policy-based interview? Nope. Shaan is not a journalist.

That wasn’t the embarrassing part - irrespective of what you think about the interview. The sad part occurred just days after the Shaan Shahid interview, in the form of a leaked video. In the said video former PM Imran Khan is talking to his team about a certain upcoming interview. However, without any regard for the actor, he went into the Shaan Shahid interview, and talked about how terrible the lighting was - comparing it to another interview that was, according to him, “superb”. It was followed by what Mr. Khan thinks is the most crucial part in such interviews. “Lighting is everything,” he said, adding how the questions were not good enough and they were just lecturing. “It should’ve been crisp,” leading to the moment where he is brushing his hair. The video is online and showcases the complete disregard for even those who are trying to help the former PM with their clout, based over years of hard work.

Pakistani filmmakers, unhappy, again

Since the Covid-19 vaccine has made an appearance, rules in Pakistan to go out into public spaces - maintaining SOPs - have eased up.

But since the loss of Bollywood films, local cinema have been struggling. We’re not Iran, so we keep being instructed by filmmakers to leave our brain at the door or they should be supported since it’s the revival of both cinema and cinema culture. After a decade, and a time of great inflation, the excuse of leaving the brain at the door doesn’t fly.

So, when a film like Marvel’s Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, is banned in Gulf countries like Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, the assumption has been that it will be banned here as well in the same context: an LGBTQ+ scene that Marvel’s parent company, Disney, has refused to cut. Innocuous as the scene maybe, homophobia won the day. It propelled people in Pakistan to theorize that the film will also be banned in Pakistan for the same reason.

As it turns out, along with Pakistani films running in cinemas such as Dum Mastam, Ghabrana Nahi Hai, Parde Mein Rehne Do and Chakkar, a handful of Hollywood films are running as well. But now that Doctor Strange 2 has joined this league, Pakistani film experts are not pleased. Instead of raising the standard of their own films, they’d rather have no competition from films like Doctor Strange 2.

Adnan Siddiqui, Hareem Farooq, Amal Khan, Wajahat Rauf, Ali Rehman, Zhalay Sarhadi and Yasir Hussain are some of the industry names who’d prefer that Pakistani films are given better slots and films like Doctor Strange 2 delayed. It’s not that they’re against foreign films but would like to see it release later or not given the number of shows it enjoys. The drop in tickets of Pakistani films is not because of the content but Doctor Strange 2.

A press conference was also held at the Arts Council in Karachi where filmmakers like Yasir Nawaz, Adnan Siddiqui, Javed Sheikh questioned that if Pakistani films did well during Eid-ul-Fitr, what is the need to make room for a foreign film like Doctor Strange 2 ahead of local films and removing them without prior notice.

So, bottom of the story is that even the absence of Bollywood has not taught our industry anything. Make good films. The audience will follow. Look at Iranian films as an example. But the industry is asking Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to step in and take the matter seriously.

It’s great that five films were released in 2022 but how many of them merit viewing during a broken economy? Depriving the audience, therefore, from a good film when it releases will not bring them to cinemas. Good content will.

Aamir Liaquat-Dania Shah Saga continues

From a televangelist to celebrity-esque status, Aamir Liaquat is the gift that keeps on giving, only the gifts are quite crap. Aamir Liaquat, for some time, has been in the news for his marriage and divorce proceedings to Dania Shah. The 49-year-old married Dania, who is either 18 years old or less. According to the young Dania, her reason to ask for divorce stems from his alleged drug use and domestic violence. Her father says that he made efforts to pull her into a quagmire of drug usage. He is still threatening us, said Dania’s mother in one TV interview during which both Dania and her mother noted that they have proof of said behaviour. The interweb tubes are filled with videos on the subject with analysis on who may be telling lies and what, if any, proof Aamir Liaquat will present against Dania Shah.

It boggles the mind that someone like Aamir Liaquat – no prince amongst the leagues of terrible men and worse husbands and exes - is a politician, noted evangelist, and most bafflingly of all, a man who can convince naive young women to marry him in the first place.

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