Posted in art, love letters

Moor – A Love Letter to Pakistan (Movie Review)


Moor translates as Mother. Premise: how an individual should not deceive one’s mother and motherland, why is it important stay on track and grounded, and how corruption affects the simple people who have nothing but their home and family to rely on. More importantly, corruption does not have any hierarchy, it is originated from all levels and cripples the whole country.

The story revolves around a family that is distraught by the corruption which results in closing down of the Zhob railway system, and how it disconnected a region from the opportunities and robbed citizen’s life-journeys (both physical and emotional). The parts of plot related to Karachi has indirect references to a company A***t where business of selling fake degrees propelled.

We have waited for Jami (a trend-setter in Ad Films and Music Video industry) to make movies and the wait has been worth it. What a masterpiece Moor is, an artwork which deserves all accolades. Everything about this movie is top-notch. From an engaging nonlinear script, to subtle symbolism, breath-taking cinematography by Farhan Hafeez which does justice to beautiful landscapes of Baluchistan and ruggedness of Karachi and the emotions therein, soundtrack by Strings and lyrics by Anwar Maqsood to die for (their best work till date), dialogues which are full of wisdom but never sound preachy, screenplay that binds it all and performances that are nuanced and never for a second fails to connects (Hameed Sheikh and Abdul Qadir literally speak with their eyes and so do other actors such as Shaz Khan, Soniya Hussain, Samiya Mumtaz – they are not characters, they are real people, you feel for them and they reciprocate by plunging you to feel for your self). Jami surprisingly does a cameo worth-noticing.

I watched this movie with my Moor. I have consciously chosen to live in this country and stand by it because my parents, my Moor, our love is here. Ironically, I was once harassed by an official at Karachi passport office for renewal because he wanted a bribe and I refused. Such is the politics of identity, existence, survival and belonging sadly today – where the world is becoming a global village but we have hollowed our own land. Whenever I have traveled abroad I have always missed only one thing back in my country – it is the transportation system. It brings mobility, it makes connections, it keeps you on track and keeps you moving.

One thing I was looking for in the movie was the soundtrack Ku ku ku (I might have missed it) and Kothbiro by Ayub Ogada, the rights of which were especially bought for this movie. But then editors need to do their job.

Above and beyond everything else, it is the story of simple people narrated in all its complexity but sensitively. One requires honesty and courage to tell such a story which is mostly based on true events and its truth can seem to be ugly, if considered on a superficial level. The frames and many moments of revelation will still haunt a viewer but it gives you hope that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. You will end up staring the train shots from inside the tunnel – they will move you. Both the chaos and pathos here is so relatable and real. It manages to reflect in depths of your own soul – if we bring this transparency to ourselves, the country will start changing. Thanks Jami and team for giving us Moor. This movie has all the potential to bring back the sense of respect for our mothers and motherland back. The movie resonates with what many of us have believed in i.e. we need to go beyond rhetoric of superficial patriotism and fix our own-selves so our generations inherits something of value and it reflects in their character and relationships with us but also in the fabric of our society.

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Posted in beliefs, pluralism, realizations, reflections

Bubble that bursts


Filter bubble is the worst thing that a human mind (and as a result, human civilization) can experience, however it is not alone a google/internet phenomena. It has existed in all eras. We held our preconceived notions and unquestioned optimism so close that it can become a kind of grave for us.

Posted in culture, happiness, islam, poetry

VII-VIII-VI


No Nauroze is complete
without making some art
blossoming flowers and the garlands
pearl set on the wrist
brush strokes over the egg shell
pen replaces the sword
warrior horses have adorned the ankle bells

 

The army of piety
choose your cause wisely
be the ambassadors of peace and love
sans discrimination
we all are sons and daughter
of mother earth
conserve our relations
with all things natural

 

First ray piercing through clouds
on the wishing pond
where gold fishes dance
amid glitter, coins and gold
O dervish, let us whirl in joy
old is ever-new; new ornaments the old

Posted in freedom

Why complicate the expression!


To all those who consider Freedom of Expression as an unconditional/unquestionable license, I will say it is a right as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and every right comes with a responsibility. If you know something can offend a non-offender, you better refrain from it. If you think it will offend an offender (you can UDHR and cosmopolitan ethics as a yardstick), then you better don’t care and express it because sometimes all we need is a disruptive innovation. We also need to understand that one idea can be expressed it multiple forms. From persuasive to provocative and worst to inciting hatred. The idea loses merit when the way it is expressed/narrative does not support the idea in theory and practice. Talking about hatred or violence through inciting hate or ridicule might get an instant response (and sometimes backlash – a.k.a. publicity) but not attitudinal change because the expression does not support the idea. Always ask why (intention) and you will figure out a good answer to how, if  ‘why’ was headed in an ethical direction! Freedom does not mean escape! #twocents Image Source:http://flavorwire.com/450601/no-the-internet-isnt-killing-free-speech/

Posted in lessons, life, realizations, reflections, social relationships

better place


You learn new things everyday and your existential worldviews evolve through dialogue. What I have learned lately is that we do not need to console ourselves all the time but actually feel the flux and discomfort of ourselves and others. It is okay to feel vulnerable because you can always bounce back. Immunity and order in certain conditions is neither desirable nor worth living for. We consider silence is to be dignified but sometimes agression to preserve human dignity is also sacred.

Posted in beliefs, history, islam, lessons, pluralism, reflections, religion

Paris, I love you – Charlie Hebdo attack and the bottom line


I wanted to write whole argument on why people think that religion is dividing and actually how myopic is our understanding of violence and fanaticism. The reason for addressing these two issues were both the cartoon and the horrific massacre by the terrorists. However, I will skip it for another day as in crisis, we need more time to reflect and try to simplify the complex without corrupting the beauty of its complexity. It is the time for analysis, conclusions can wait.

The following is a perfect response by a friend and her wisdom:

How can a cartoon or a video destroy and mess with your faith and how can murder save and avenge it?

I would like to include other beliefs such as sexual diversity or human dignity or equality because apparently both the publication house (in terms of an institution) failed big time in salvaging their own ego and fanaticism through a display of hate speech in disguise of satire, and terrorists I believe they are godly as I highlighted previously in this post – It is NEVER okay. In short, cartoonist and staff members did not deserve it despite of whatever they expressed.

Paris is the worst place for this kind of subtle media fanaticism (with forced freedom) and apparent religious fanaticism. France is revered for love, democracy and human rights in historical and cultural narrative.

In connection to the particular cartoon, Muslim are fighting a tough battle internally and at global level (illustration) and this is the time for everyone to practice empathy and compassion – we do not need more oil in the fire. At the same time, LGBTQ community world over is trying every day to get their voice heard and fighting for identity in vulnerable situations and this is the time for everyone to practice empathy and compassion – they do not need more oil in the fire especially with backlash from religious fanatics.


 

 

Response after some initial responses from other channels: In discussions, I believe everyone should condemn the terrorist attack but then you are forced to advocate freedom of speech in its current defunct status. People all over the world, who are neither terrorists nor fanatics but moderate religious individuals are victimized through insult of such media content and the expectations of accepting it with a pinch of salt or displayed a populist standard of sense of humor. There is no empathy for receivers. Press had its voice but where is the voice of people who felt offended and never resorted to violence. Participation is never taken seriously, it is judged miserably. One ratified forced response is the only thing accepted – you can not lie on a continuum, you cannot question the sanctity of press. Where does free speech goes then?

The initial reflections above were not to equate in terms of moral equivalence of the both acts – their degree of fanaticism and approach of exercising is very different. For me, it is not fair that if I have to condemn one then I have to the take side of another. There are always more than two sides – the coin metaphor does not fit all.

In the start of this blog post, I clearly said it is not the right time but I guess we need to address the multi-dimensionality of the issue. Being an avid art practitioner and advocate, I am all for responsible use of freedom of speech and expression – it is not an alien concept and much possible, as exercising moderation in whatever you do is seen as a natural law. We all have desires but we find the appropriate place and approach to satiate them. We do not curb our expression but find the right spot. I am not pro-forced freedom rather it is important to foster positive interdependence (it is not simple as a clause on free speech in constitutions because blasphemy laws can be equally dangerous to freedom). Why – simply because most people will choose autonomy over freedom and autonomy can not be exercised in isolation – it needs positive interdependence. At the same time, I am completely against banning; I am pro-debate in public. I guess, as an institution, this publication has failed big time – nothing less than subtle fanaticism for me (even we remove the horrific massacre that followed). Moreover, there is no justification and tolerance for attacking or killing someone.

At this moment, my heart goes to the families of victims – May the souls of departed rest in eternal peace.