Monday, December 15, 2008

John Abraham voted Asia's sexiest man alive...really?

by Hilath Rasheed

I have nothing against Bollywood star John Abraham being voted as Asia's sexiest man alive. I guess beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
But upon closer scrutiny of the news article (read the original article here from, so many questions have arisen in my mind. I tried finding out more details of this weekly magazine called "Eastern Eye" without success so I am raising my objections based on the article.
The Eastern Eye is described as a leading "British Asian" weekly and the judges of the 'top ten' men were said to be "Brianna Ragel, editor of Asian Woman Magazine, Che Kurrien, editor of GQ India and the former editor of FHM India, Farhad Dadyburjor."
"The top ten sexiest male includes, John Abraham, Hrithik Roshan, Shah Rukh Khan, Ali Zafar, Upen Patel, Ranbir Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Imran Khan (actor), Jay Sean and boxer Amir Khan."
This list looks more like an "Indian" list than an assortment of Asian handsomeness.
One of my friends on Facebook was right to comment, not derogatorily, why doesn't Bangladeshis ever make such a list?
Yeah, why not?
There are so many countries to choose from Asia and this Eastern Eye despite being a "British Asian" weekly chose judges with so many India links "GQ India", "FHM India", and apparently extremely India-centric ones at that if their 'top ten' choices speak for itself.
This India-centric attitude is not uncommon among some high profile Indians as well. Bollywood star Madhuri Dixit once sparked protests in Kathmandu after she commented during a visit that "I thought that Nepal was once part of India."
And during my own travels to India, I have come across many Indians who ask me where I am from and when I reply that I am from Maldives, they tend to say something to the effect that Maldives is some islands under Indian dominion!
Apparently, everything revolves around India, and perhaps we may need some sort of consciousness-raising to change this view just like we needed modern scientific evidence to change the ancient view that the Sun and the Universe itself revolved around the Earth! Obviously, our human-centric-ness and ego-centric-ness may be proving to be contributing to our xenophobia, and the perception of "others" as being "foreign" -- with "us" only the ones who matter, who are the only thing beautiful in our eyes.
Of course, one can always hide behind the claim that beauty is subjective, and therefore, it lies in the eyes of the beholder. But it's sad when one's vision, appreciation and taste are limited to only one's favored ethnicity or races, not the rest of the humanity at large. Where did our humanity go?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Karan Johar "rab"-ing Shah Rukh Khan the wrong way again?

The best reaction to "Rab Ne Banayi Jodi"'s opening came from film's director Aditya Chopra and leading man Shah Rukh Khan's best friend Karan Johar in New York:

"Rab... will prove once and for all that the Adi-Shah Rukh jodi is godsent."

Don't 'Rab' that combo the wrong way. Read full story from

Monday, December 1, 2008

"See what your friends have done"

Just because "Firaaq", my film, deals with how Muslims 'also' get affected by violence, the terrorists are supposed to be my friends! Today a common young Muslim man around town is probably the most vulnerable. I got many messages from my Muslim friends who feel the need to condemn it more than anyone else, who feel the need to prove their national allegiance in every possible way. They are begging to be not clubbed with the terrorists, a fear not unfounded. Read full story from Haveeru Daily

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taare Zameen Par Review - Sensitive yet powerful!

REVIEW by Island Chic
Originally posted on Island Chic's blog

Just like the Hindi movie Chak De India I posted about recently, Amir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par was not the mainstream Bollywood movie that leaves you just with the warm fuzzy feeling after the movie. It gives you more! I watched Taare Zameen Par last night and cried myself to dehydration! It was by far one of the most sensitive, enlightening and silently powerful movies I’ve ever seen. My tears weren’t caused by just what I saw in the movie. It was also the sentiments the movie brought with it. Having seen the sufferings of children in many parts of the world especially during my travels in India, this movie really struck a chord deep within. It reminded me of how ignorant we are of the way our actions may compromise the destiny of innocent beings, who may have no control whatsoever over the things that define them.

Taare Zameen Par was not merely entertaining but also enlightening. It was a sensitive story brought live to the audience brilliantly. After it has won several awards in India, Taare Zameen Par has now been selected as India's entry for the Oscar 2009 in the best foreign film category.

Taare Zameen Par is produced and directed by Amir Khan and he also acts in the movie though the main focus of the story is on an eight year old dyslexic kid. Here’s a short version of the story as recited in Taare Zameen Par’s official website.

“Ishaan Awasthi [Darsheel Safary] is an eight-year-old whose world is filled with wonders that no one else seems to appreciate; colors, fish, dogs and kites are just not important in the world of adults, who are much more interested in things like homework, marks and neatness. And Ishaan just cannot seem to get anything right in class.

When he gets into far more trouble than his parents can handle, he is packed off to a boarding school to 'be disciplined'. Things are no different at his new school and Ishaan has to contend with the added trauma of separation from his family.

One day a new art teacher bursts onto the scene, Ram Shankar Nikumbh [Aamir Khan], who infects the students with joy and optimism. He breaks all the rules of 'how things are done' by asking them to think, dream and imagine, and all the children respond with enthusiasm, all except Ishaan.

Nikumbh soon realizes that Ishaan is very unhappy and he sets out to discover why. With time, patience and care, he ultimately helps Ishaan find himself.”

Taare Zameen Par forces us to understand a child's mind and gives us a strong message not to compromise the unique and untapped talent of each child in our pursuit of academic excellence and what we think is better for the child.

It is definitely a must watch which will make you re-think the way you look at life and what it expects of you… and well done Amir Khan for the enlightenment you brought to many!

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Phoenix": does it really fly?

Forgot to mention that along with "Pirates 3", I had started watching a 2-disc version of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". After reading that "Phoenix" is the second highest grossing of the "Potter" films after "Sorcerer's Stone", I had high hopes.
But it took me more than a week to finish off the film. Once again should I blame my moody-ness for the fact that I took so long in finishing off "Phoenix"?
It seemed well-directed and quite adult-ish I have to admit.
But so far my best "Potter" book and also my best "Potter" film is "Prizoner of Azkaban".
Though Phoenix had a lot of magic in it too, "Azkaban" was more magical I have to say. Perhaps it's the golden touch of Mexican art film director Alfonso Cuaron ("Y Tu Mama Tambien") that was responsible for "Azkaban" to be truly artistic and magical.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pirates 3: Adventure-ful but...

Finally watched an original 2-Disc version of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
But I have to admit it took me more than 10 days to finish watching the more than 2-hour film. Don't know what's wrong. Perhaps it's because of Ramadan and my biological clock has been upset.
Or perhaps Pirates 3 is not engaging or interesting enough.
But I still like the idea of fantasy crossed with legend, fiction and of course adventure. So in that sense, I guess I can say the movie was enjoyable, especially the climactic fight with all those visual effects.
Next in line for me to watch is another Johnny Depp movie "Sweeney Todd." Hope the experience will be better.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A disturbing thing about Brad Pitt

I was watching "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" yesterday and there was this scene where the husband and wife engages in a violent confrontation and immediately after that, violent sex. Now I have read about Angelina Jolie's unusual life and perceptions and attitudes but what disturbed me about that scene was, we see Brad Pitt standing and possibly kicking Jolie in the stomach or the back (though Jolie's view is hidden because of a sofa in the foreground). As far as I understand, this kind of kicking the body is usually done by people who are in an almost insane violent rage, with no care if his victim is killed. I have seen scenes like this on the streets of Male' and believe me, such a scene cannot be used even for its style or entertainment value. And I was shocked that Pitt, who is now touring the world as a humanist (with films like "Babel" which has humanist themes), had agreed to be shown unleashing violence of this nature against a person, not to mention the opposite sex. I am not sure about you people but my analytical mind tells me that Pitt has a very violent streak in him which is unconsciously surfacing in his "creative" works.