My Latest Screen Writing Course.

What I’ve learnt through it.

Now, watch how ‘fate’ plays a role in our lives;

As you know, my trip to Seattle was recently cancelled by the mysterious loss of passport. Two months earlier, while planning the trip, one of my top priorities was to attend a screen writing course in Seattle.  There was another one starting here in Islamabad too.

How I joined the course:

So, at first I wanted to attend both. (I wanted it all!) Then, I thought, ‘no, I’ll let this Islamabad one pass, and attend the Seattle one.’ At the last minute the Seattle one got cancelled, just in time for me to join the 101 Screenwriting Course in Islamabad. Phew! That was close. Already, three of my friends had enrolled due to me. So, I had friends there, I was thrilled. Doing something here in Pakistan, means that since I’m going to work here, so it was best (for now.)

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Folk Heritage Museum and complex

40012786_2121319907901290_9212941588517355520_n.jpgIt was Uxi Mufti, the son of Mumtaz Mufti, who established this place many decades ago, in Islamabad. Uxi Mufti is the guru behind it all. The one who convinced the government to take responsibility to make a place where folk art of Pakistan is archived, preserved and presented.

Here is also a theater where events take place to give a respected place to the local artists and musicians from all over the country, to perform. 40059012_2121321524567795_8487749979929051136_nRecordings of their talented performances are also preserved in their archives. A set up of shops inside the museum and outside, where there are opportunities to have a permanent outlet for the folk artists’ work on sale.

This gives a source of sustenance to the artists too! I’m so glad he took this initiative, otherwise, a great deal of the treasures of our country would have got lost. This also gave  value to their work, which was previously considered inferior.

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Ramzan, CSS school and Art classes 2018

Activities of last ten days of Ramzan. 

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During  last ten days of Ramzan, it seems both type of people put on another gear! The worldly types move towards the bazaars and shops and more iftar parties. The shopping areas, and roads are packed till late night. The spiritual types completely detach themselves, and go into ‘aitekaaf’. It is a self-proclaimed detachment from worldly life and  focussing on Allah. Spending time only on  prayer and meditation for last ten days of Ramzan till Eid. During that time, one goes into searching for one’s inner self.

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Time Management for Creative People

 

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Promoting a creative mind and doing creative work is essential for growth and development. It is only the creative mind which can think outside the box and come out with innovative ideas. Such minds have the ability to get out of difficult life situations and problems. Their problem-solving instincts are best as they are daring enough to create solutions to problems which have never been tried out before.

What do you think was the ability of the Wright Brothers? All scientists, artists, musicians, poets have this ability. We have to help in this creative process within ourselves, and in those who are members of our family and community.

Here is a video during an exercise, where I asked them to discuss time wasters in their lives.

Being creative is the most powerful element in life. We must work hard to develop these qualities within ourselves. I’ve really wanted to conduct a workshop for all those who have creativity within themselves but do not know how to get it going.

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Sir Syed Memorial & National Museum.

 

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In 2008, I visited the  Museum of Flight near Seattle, in Everett, in USA, with my family. I was happy to see a woman who had come there alone on a wheelchair with a person to assist her. It was heartening to see this woman who must be in her eighties, visiting the museum. Like any Pakistani, I felt bad that one never sees such a sight in Pakistan. Though the elderly do come over with their families, but a person seldom comes on the wheelchair,  as  facilities are hard to find here. It would be the same in case of any handicapped or special person who has the time to visit such museums yet, has no facility of the kind. Anyhow, I’m just showing you this place, so when you come to Islamabad next, do go over to visit this memorial and museum.

28782907_1867972636569353_4196517434990435108_nYou will love it, as I did. It is not too large either and can be seen within an hour and a half if you are in a hurry. Otherwise, a couple of hours would be lovely too.

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However, I have a wheelchair for each of my parents, and decided to take them to see the Islamabad Museum on February 27th 2018. Since I had to take Dad’s helper along, so there wasn’t enough space for two wheelchairs. I thought, there would certainly be another one at the museum, so we went off.

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The Sir Syed Memorial is located on the service lane at right angle to the Serena Hotel in G 5 area. We reached well in time, however, we found that there wasn’t another wheelchair there. So, we decided to leave one parent outside in the car, to enjoy the lovely weather, while the other one saw the museum.  It was a challenge, but what else could we do? Being the sweet persons they are, they happily agreed.

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Reproduction or Fake Art?

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You cannot copy a Mona Lisa and sign it and say it is your painting. If you do, it is a fake, or a reproduction – depending on how you are going to use it.

As an artist you need to know what it is. You also have to give full credit to the original artist.

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Some works of art are beyond reproduction! Just look at the artworks in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.

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Categories Art

9th National Paintings Exhibition, NAG.

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After thirteen years, the National Exhibition took place at National Art Gallery, at PNCA, Islamabad. It was an evening of the fulfillment of dreams of so many artists in Pakistan. Somehow, National Exhibition has its own aura. There was a time I remember, when one just took it for granted. Conceived in 1973 by the great poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, the event was a regular one, if not an annual one. All the gurus of art in Pakistan participated in it from the seashores of the Arabian Sea to the foothills of the mighty Himalayas.

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Categories Art

Verna – a suspense thriller by Shoaib Mansoor

It is a brilliant effort.

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Ever since I saw this movie, a few hours ago I’ve been struck by the sheer brilliance of it. Yes, I’m bowled over. Though, I shouldn’t be  surprised. It is a Shoaib Mansoor film after all. What else did I expect?

The kind of articles I had read about this movie, made me wonder that perhaps it was below his usual standards. But when I saw it, I knew he is not only his usual but even better.

Now, after seeing the film I’m wondering how one can criticize such a work of art. The cinematography, direction, acting, sets, locations, are really good. I just wish there was A. R. Rehman’s music to it. But I suppose we can’t have it all, can we? Without A. R. Rehman,  the music was as good as it could be. Haroon Shahid the guitar-playing hero with the singing, makes his debut with Mahira Khan. That too, in a Shoaib Mansoor film. (I mean how lucky can you get? ) Of course he has done full justice to his role too, – playing the weak husband to perfection. Making that believable too, considering how spineless many men in our society can be.

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There wasn’t a single moment when I felt it was a drag or in any way farfetched. I loved the movie. The protagonist Sara played by Mahira Khan exhibited a brilliant piece of acting throughout. Agreed, it is a rather difficult and different role for her, which would have stretched anyone’s acting skills to the limits. She did a great job of it. She even did justice to something that the script demanded which was unthinkable for any human being. But the failure of the ‘system’ made her go to these lengths. That is the point which is being missed by the critics.

Having been through several traumatic experiences, during last few years, I knew first hand how you can be completely devoid of fear because  the worst has already happened. You know, you are on your own. Now, its your call, or live by the stalemate all your life.

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What people found hard was her unflinching will to avenge herself, knowing no one else would. She knew no one would or could help her. Not this spineless husband of hers, nor the more useless government officials, police, or the judicial system. Thankfully, she managed to convince her husband and sister-in-law to help in the end. Her relentless spirit and how she would fight back even when she was so badly hit every time. I particularly liked the way the character of the husband was handled. How his love overcame  his handicaps. The role of the female lawyer was executed well. This certainly was fiction. Real lawyers are not like that at all. But the character was needed to explain the legal aspects of this ‘judicial system’.

The dirty tricks played by the corrupt governor, officials and their advisers were all too familiar for me. The manner in which people want you to ‘take’ injustice was also typical. Being spineless themselves, they want you to be the same too. Yes, ‘the deepest part of hell will be reserved for the people who in times of crisis maintain their neutrality.’ – A very favorite quote of my husbands’ was seen here too.

The judge played by Shahid Mir acted well. With a personal experience of judges and courts for over four and half years, I can tell you, I wish there were actually judges like him around, who did take at least some personal interest in a case. Believe me. Even that doesn’t happen. The ones who do, get killed, as was in the case I witnessed.

The acting was deep, sensitive and had the full depth of feelings shown.

The locations in and around Islamabad;  Bahria Town and DHA were shown with great skill beautifully revealing this areas’  true beauty. The team of Shahbaz Shigri – 1st assistant director, art director Faiza Shah and editor Zohaib Mansoor, made each scene a work of art using the colors and angles of the lense in interesting ways.  The quality of equipment used  revealing the technical skills of the cinematographer. The editing was good too.

The subtle and powerful dialogues used in sorting out the mulla mentality – which is typical – was well handled. The popular attitude of always blaming the women for the man’s evil act and making her pay for something they have done, was highlighted well.

It was extremely heartening to see a writer take pains to show the pains of a woman in a country like Pakistan.  Here, even women do not sympathize with a woman put in trouble by a man for his fault! On top of it, to try to victimize the woman for his own evil acts, trying to make out that what he did was her fault! The women’s response by saying things like ‘Allah pay chor do.’ (‘Leave it to God.’) Meaning:  ‘no one is going to do anything for you.’

Why don’t they say, ‘Allah pay bharosa karo. Tum such ki taraf ho aur mein bhi tumharay saath hoon.’ (Have faith in God, you are truthful, and I am with you too.) – This you will seldom hear from them!

The girl was brave and fearless, and I can see why such people are hard to swallow by many men and women in our society. It makes them feel uncomfortable. They are only used to the easily beatable, scared, crying and whimpering female. That’s how they like her. Then they can say, ‘dekha bechari, kin logon say panga liya tha! Yeh to hona tha!’ (See? Poor thing, this was bound to happen when she took on such people.) That’s how they want to see her.

Things will change, and are changing already. There is going to be a stronger world built by braver women of Pakistan now. Men like Shoaib Mansoor and many others like him are there in this world, to stand by brave girls who stand up against cruelty and insanity of others.

But first she has to stand up against the odds, only then can she change the odds.

The dialogues written by Shoaib are appropriate and powerful. In this film he has touched upon important subjects like rape, polio drops, mulla-ism, cultural backing of women-bashing, corrupt politicians and voting power. He has held his ground due to his integrity, skill and passion for excellence.

The movie is a hit, you can say what you like, the cinema house was jam-packed. Even my daughter and I reached half-an-hour earlier, and we weren’t the only ones! This being the first time, since we mostly end up arriving late for the movies. This was one movie – we didn’t want to miss out on the beginning.

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The subject was dealt without any abusive language – as is the norm in most English and Indian movies.  The grace with which such sensitive subjects were handled deserves all the praise.

Ladies and gentlemen – whether you all join me or not, I’m  congratulating Shoaib Mansoor for having made his hat trick!

Stay blessed my dear Reader. There is great hope for our country where such a movie can finally pass through the eyes of the Government censor board, and where the viewers can say what they like but are thronging to the cinemas to watch the movie. After all, it isn’t every day we get to see such a suspense thriller.

Note: All photographs and video taken from Google search images with thanks.

Book launch and Painting’s Exhibition.

My dream come true!

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So, finally when my book launch took place I realized it happened exactly the way I wanted it. A big ‘thank You’ to my Allah Mian  – who knew, and miraculously got it done.

I mean, to have a book launch is tough enough. Then a Solo Painting’s Exhibition is also difficult. Then to have both together is even tougher.  No wonder, every organization I asked, would just find reasons to push me out of their domain. (They did this by asking me for a huge amount.) So naturally, I was very upset.

It was a lunch meeting with my friend Aisha, at Juicy Gossip just over a week ago, when I realized nothing was working.  The phone rang: Aania asked me, ‘how are things going?’

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‘I’m done with all this.’ I told her feeling extremely upset and hurt. ‘ I’ll just have a virtual book launch.’ She is member of our Generation Rahi art group and is the one who arranges our annual group painting exhibitions, and other events. She is a good friend and a great artist too. Continue reading “Book launch and Painting’s Exhibition.”