HOME1947, by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

Two-time Academy Award winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy showcased her immersive exhibition HOME1947 for the second time in Pakistan at Dolmen Mall, Clifton in Karachi. Following a phenomenal response to the installation at the Heritage Now Festival in Lahore.

HOME1947 was first show-cased at the Manchester International Festival in the United Kingdom earlier this year; the installation was co-commissioned by the British Council as part of its programming to celebrate 70 years in Pakistan and its work to strengthen cultural ties between United Kingdom and Pakistan.

HOME1947 is a deeply personal exploration of the lives and stories of the millions that were displaced in 1947 during the creation of two new independent states, India and Pakistan. Through a series of short drama and documentary films, a gallery installation, and a reimagining of a century-old house, recreating the long-lost sights, sounds and smells of what millions once called home, it explores this world not through the words of historians and politicians, but through the eyes of those who lived through it.

At the opening of HOME1947, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy said; “HOME1947 is an ode to my grandparents’ generation whose stories I grew up listening to. As you walk through the installation, imagine the journeys people made, the conversations that were interrupted, the broken friendships and promises, the playgrounds children left behind, the empty corridors of their homes and those suitcases of memories locked away forever. HOME1947 is a deeply personal reflection of the events of 1947”.

The British Council in Pakistan is proud to support artistic talent in Pakistan and in particular to support development of this innovative installation which explores the universal themes of home and migration and so resonates with people in the UK as well as those in South Asia.

At the opening of this exhibition HOME1947, British Council Pakistan’s Director for Sindh and Balochistan, Mr. Christopher Hunt said; “The British Council creates opportunities for the people of the United Kingdom and Pakistan by working in the areas of education and cultural exchange. It has been a privilege to work with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy to bring this outstanding installation to Pakistan. HOME1947 has really moved its audiences and its opening in Dolmen Mall is testament to our efforts to make this powerful experience accessible to as many people as possible. I am confident that the people of Karachi will appreciate and embrace the nostalgia that HOME1947 offers.”

The immersive art exhibition Home1947 is being extended till the 20th of January 2018! If you haven’t gotten to experience Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s one of a kind installation, now’s your chance!

Best part of the exhibition is a video by with excellent narrations about river Ravi, where a mother sings to her baby to sleep in a very crowded train in the chaos of 1947. Ravi use to flow effortlessly between the land that was later-on divided into Pakistan and India.

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COCO 9 launched for Chocolate lovers.

Coco 9 inaugurated its first and exclusive outlet in Karachi in a gathering attended by the top socialites, celebrities and politician of the country. Ribbon cutting was of Coco 9 was graced by the honourable Mayor of Karachi Mr. Waseem Akhtar.

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The honourable Mayor of Karachi Mr. Waseem Akhtar while speaking to the media present at the occasion said; “we need more places like COCO 9 in Karachi, as places like these will bring back entertainment and will secure social lives for the people of Karachi.

Chocolate connoisseur and master pastry chef, Pinky Perwani founded COCO 9 in 2009 and since then has developed this sweet and gooey idea into flourishing and successful enterprise that satiates beyond confectionaries, She has studied Pastry Arts & International Breads at French Culinary Institute of New York.

Pinky Perwani said; “our kitchen unveils delectable fusions of seasonal essences with classic recipes, thereby creating premium sophisticated bites of divine good-ness. Our hand-picked delicacies include the very drooly chocolate brittle, chunky nuggets of almonds hand rolled in rich cocoa powder and our very tall 20 layered Belgium mousse cake indulged by our esteem clientele since its inceptions”.

It is also Pinky Perwani’s passion & determination to present a premium product basket to chocolate aficionados and correspondingly encouraging other women to enrich their lives with education and economic independence. She looks up to her inspiration Ferran Adria who improvises each day even on his own perfection. She truly follows his motto closely and includes it in COCO 9 with her un-conidtionally loved and created pieces of chocolate.

COCO 9 is place where you can enjoy some of best made bakery items, pastries, sweets and chocolate confectionaries from best available pastry chef in Pakistan Pinky Perwani.

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Start your day with ‘Go Healthy’ at Al-Bustan Restaurant, Mövenpick Hotel.

For many breakfast is the first meal of a day which is most often eaten in the early morning before starting your usual day, and in a city like Karachi which sleeps late, breakfast is not always top on priority list of many Karachi’ites. But for someone like me strong and healthy breakfast is always a top before starting any day.

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We have been exploring different eateries and pretty recently a friend recommended Al-Bustan Restaurant at Mövenpick Hotel and immediately we decided to give it a try. Once reaching there at around 08:00, we were amazed to see the restaurant half full which felt good, as you don’t get to see restaurants crowded for breakfast here in Karachi.

Once you proceed towards buffet area, first thing that attracts you is the hand written signboard (or blackboard to precise) which says “GO Healthy”. Upon enquiring one of servers informed that this is dedicated section for health conscious diners.

From what we observed Al-Bustan Restaurant is divided into three main sections, which can be described as ‘desi section’ for those who prefer Pakistani breakfast. This section contains traditional Pakistani breakfast items like Aalo ki Tarkari (Potato curry), Cholay ki Tarkari (Chickpea Curry), Suji ka Halwa (dessert) with Puri (deep fried bread) to start-off with and then proceeding to heavier stuff (main course) like Mutton Paya (mutton leg curry), Chicken Qeema (minced chicken) with Paratha (pan fried bread). Best among the desi section was their ‘mutton paya’.

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Next was ‘continental section’ starting with Porridge, Pan-Cakes, French-Toasts, Waffles, Boiled Eggs and a dedicated Egg Station making different type omelettes and half fry eggs as starters followed by main courses Baked beans, Garlic Rice, Chicken Fried Noodles, Roasted Potato Wedges, Finger Fish, Grilled Chicken, Beef Kebab, Sautéed Garlic Mushroom, & Veal Sausages. Also with these you can enjoy some of the best and freshest confectionery items consisting of different type of croissants and in addition all this you are further spoiled with available option from dairies with many types of mouth-watering cheese like Feta Cheese, Gouda Cheese, Blue Cheese, Brie Cheese and couple of types of butters.

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And lastly comes the best part of the breakfast the ‘Go Healthy’ section which had some of the best and healthy food. Starting from fresh fruits, mixed fruit salad bar, dry-fruits, fresh healthy veggies and cereals like corn flakes, frosted flakes etcetera. Literally all items available at ‘Go Healthy’ section were very fresh and tasted excellently.

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Cold beverages bar seems like well stuffed-one with ample variety like infused water, apple juice, orange juice, beet-root juice, salted-lassi and sweet-lassi. Only missing element was missing of proper hot-beverages bar, as coffee was missed very dearly not by me but some others were also asking for coffee repeatedly and also heard people asking for green-tea on Go-Healthy counter. Only available option was tea which was served on requested by servers and this was enough to nullify the concept of buffet.

Overall I would rate my visit to Al-Bustan @ Mövenpick Hotel as 8/10 with its excellent ambiance, very well trained staff and excellent food all around gives you a feel of royalty. This is must visit food lovers who would like to ‘Go Healthy’.

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“Parchi” fails to live-up to its expectations.

For Pakistani movies year 2017 had only one movie to boast about and that was ‘Punjab Nahi Jau Gi’ and year 2018 started as badly as year 2017 stated off. First movie of year 2018 ‘Parchi’ wasn’t much different from the movies of 2017 as it has almost nothing to boast about. Due to immense hype created, expectation were high, but ‘Parchi’ failed to live-up to its expectations.

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Certain scenes from ‘Parchi’ resembled ‘Fukrey Returns’ and most prominently roles of ‘Choocha’ and ‘Bholi Punjabaan’ were evident all through the ‘Parchi’. Shafqat Khan tried his best to copy ‘Choocha’ as much as he could but he failed miserably, Story written by Shafqat Khan felt headless and this coupled worst possible execution / direction reminded me of ‘Thora Jee Le’.

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Apart from excellent cinematography, only other positive point of ‘Parchi’ acting by some of its actors. Best among them was by seasoned actor Shafqat Cheema as he literally dominated screen with his lively acting and excellent dialogues delivery. Faizan Shaikh also acted flawlessly throughout and surprisingly debutant Faiza Saleem also did justice to her role, her screen presence was better than her female colleagues. All main leads like Hareem Farooq, Ali Rehman Khan, Ahmed Ali Akbar, Usman Mukhtar and Shafqat Khan failed miserably with their forgettable performances. Mah-e-nur Haider had a forgettable debut.

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There are certain type of roles meant for certain type of actors and the role played by Hareem Farooq “madam saab” was definitely not meant for someone like Hareem Farooq. She didn’t fit into “madam saab” role at all, as she is simply too beautiful, bubbly and cute to be a gangster. Although it seemed as she had tried hard to act well and there were positive glimpses some were but background didn’t work for her, she is just another pretty face without much acting skills. I was expect a lot more from Hareem Farooq as she hails from theatrical background, but she simply failed to deliver.  At most she looked like a shadow of “bholi punjaaban” from Fukrey Returns. Production might be one reason why she couldn’t do justice to her role. Still wondering if she lost weight just to produce this rubbish.

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Ali Rehman Khan didn’t act well but he seems like a terrific dancer, rest should take dancing lessons. Ali Rehman Khan seems like a decent addition to our very small list of male actors who have hero material within them and I am pretty hopeful that with better selection and slight improvement he can be the next big thing in Pakistani movie scene.

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As for music, I have seen very few Pakistani movies which lack good music and ‘Parchi’ is definitely on the list with its pathetic music. Highly anticipated songs Billo Hai and Imagine have Bollywood feel to them. Should have done better.

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‘Paramount Fine Foods Pakistan’ celebrated first year in Pakistan.

‘Paramount Fine Foods Pakistan’ celebrated their first anniversary in Pakistan on 27th December 2017. ‘Paramount Fine Foods Pakistan’ is a franchise of world’s leading Middle Eastern cuisine ‘Paramount Fine Foods’ based in Canada and with presence in USA and Middle East also.

The word paramount loosely means ‘best among all’ and with keeping this meaning in mind, when we reached the venue we are greeted in a very paramount way at a very paramount place and were served with most paramount Lebanese food in Karachi.

We are greeted by Mr. Saad Saleem, Chief Executive Officer Paramount Fine Foods Pakistan, Mr. Atif Khan Partner Paramount Fine Foods Pakistan and Mr. Aman Virji, Director Operations, Paramount Fine Foods.

Ambiance felt perfect and atmosphere was very lively too as ‘Paramount Foods’ wasn’t closed for regular customers to celebrate its first birthday and regular customers present created a very lively atmosphere.

Mr. Saad Saleem was courteous enough to take us to our seats and once settled, we were briefed about Paramount Fine Foods and its businesses in North America, Middle East and in Pakistan and from brief introduction we moved on to their menu. We were told by Mr. Saad Saleem that; “this is going to best and most authentic Lebanese food that you will experience in Karachi and reason behind it is that we control all aspects of our supply chain so that we can assure that we are only serving the best meats, spices, drinks, desserts and confectionary items to our distinguished guests”.

For starters / appetizer we were served with traditional Lebanese starters ‘Spicy Hummus’ (chick-pea paste), ‘Labneh Za’ater’ (strained yoghurt) and these starters were served with ‘Manakeesh’ (normal bread), ‘Manakeesh with Zaatar’ and ‘Manakeesh with Cheese on Zaatar’.

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After first round consisting of starters, we were ready for second round which was to consist of main courses and on recommendations of Saad Saleem we ordered a ‘family platter’ which is still not on the menu and was specially arranged for us. Aroma of ‘family platter’ was heavenly and platter itself had a splendid taste to it. ‘Family platter’ had Lamb Chops, Shish Tawouk, BBQ Shrimps and BBQ Beef Kebabs. ‘Lamb Chops’ was the best item on the platter and twice we were forced to order more ‘Lamb Chops‘.

Along with family platter, on the softer side we ordered ‘Chicken Shawarma’ and ‘Butter Chicken Pizza’ along with very healthy looking Lebanese specialities on salad section known as ‘Fattoush Salad’ and ‘Tabbouleh Salad’. These excellent tasting salads like cherry on the cake and made our Lebanese experience even more special and memorable. During the main course, supply of mouth-watering ‘Cocktail Juice’ didn’t stop at all and this drink is must try and is highly recommended by us.

After a long second round we had to come back to earth to take some rest and during this resting period Mr, Aman Virji stepped in for feed-back on ambiance, services, food (taste, quality & quantity) and was pleased to see all thumbs up from our side. He was also kind enough to invite us for a complete tour of the one of the finest lebananes restaurant in Karachi and showed us around. Kitchen was very neat, clean and had an excellent Arabic type aroma all around. Dessert Bar had ‘Baklawa’ and ‘Kinafe’ and when asked about absence of ‘Bas Bosa’, Mr. Aman Virji said; “it will on menu soon”. Hot beverages section was also neat, tidy and aromatic.

Final round started with the arrival of desserts like ‘Baklawa’ which had too much sugary taste to it and ‘Lebanese Kinafe’ for which I would use the word terrific. With the last bite of ‘Lebanese Kinafe’ our Lebanese came to a plesant end.

Overall it was a worth mentioning Lebanese experience with excellent ambiance, very decent diners, top level food (taste, quality & quantity) and spot on services. I would rate it at 08/10 and will highly recommend to friends and famliies.

Shoaib Akhtar is definitely the fastest bowler ever to bowl in Cricket.

Frame by frame comparison of two quick deliveries by two of the fastest bowlers of all time Shoaib Akhtar and Jeff Thomson, let see who is the winner, this video shows who the fastest bowler in the world is, and refutes the notion that Jeff Thomson is the fastest bowler of all time, Jeff Thomson aka (Thommo) claims to be a “180 km/hour bowler”.

To those who would complain that “one random Thommo delivery vs Shoaib’s fastest ever (on video)” you can just pipe down. I went frame by frame through many deliveries from Thommo that he delivered during 74/75 series against MCC and the 75/76 series against the West Indies. This (video) was the fastest Thommo delivery I could find. According to newspapers reports of that time in the 75/76 series against West Indies, Thommo was felt to be faster than in the previous year, but very unfortunately there isn’t much video footage left of that series as much of it was lost by the broadcaster.

Also this is not a precise comparison, but what this video is trying to show is that Thommo was never a 110 miles/hour or 180 km/hour bowler which many Australian have claimed and even Thommo has claimed it many time. He was measured, very accurately at 160.45 km/hour (or 99.79 miles/hour) during the Perth Test match. That was his release speed, NOT the speed at the batsman’s end. The University of Western Australia set-up a high speed cine camera aligned to the bowling crease at each end of the pitch. They measured many deliveries from Thomson, Lillee, Roberts and Holding.

Thommo’s two fastest deliveries were 160.45 km/hour and 159.49 km/hour. Andy Roberts was 2nd quickest with his fastest they measured was 150.67 km/hour. Michael Holding’s fastest was 148.54 km/hour. Lillee was ill and nowhere near his best. So Thommo was, on that day in Perth, in a different league to the others.

The myth that his 160.45 km/hour speed was measured at the batsman’s end has grown up from the fact that the speeds were measured at both ends during the Perth test. But that 160.45 km/hour delivery was only doing around 130 km/hour at the batsman’s end after bouncing off the pitch. All these measurements and a description of the process are very well described in Dennis Lillee’s 1978 book “The Art of Fast Bowling”.

To those who claim “that old technology wasn’t as accurate” the Photo-Sonics cameras they used took frames at up to 500 per second controlled by a digital phase locked loop. So they were very accurate and very expensive.

Jeff Thomson’s unique action allied to his strength and physique made him a true phenomenon. But by modern standards he didn’t do much in the way of training (unlike Dennis Lillee who overcame a lower back injury through dedication and self-discipline). It is interesting to speculate how fast he could have been within a modern scientific training regime. He was a fearsome bowler and those who were lucky enough to see him live would vouch for the face that he was very fearsome sight for many batsmen of his era, but I think the hyperbolic claims of him bowling over 110+ miles/hour don’t really do credit to him and are not needed.

Concluding remarks would be that both bowlers are greats of their eras, but we must understand that Shoaib Akthar terrorised the batsmen when the conditions were more favourable to batsmen, whereas Thommo terrorised when there were no such restrictions on fast bowlers. Today you get to see many rules, field restrictions, bouncer restrictions, wide-balls, no-balls, free hit and few more and all these favour the batsman not the bowler.

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Rangreza – will be remembered for its music.

After huge success of Punjab Nahi Jaon Gi and Na Maloom Afraad 2, I was expecting some quality stuff from the makers of Rangreza, but was hugely disappointed  and to be honest I was expecting a lot more then what I had just seen. During the promotional period I remember someone from the production team said it to one of the most expensive Pakistani films of the year. Still wondering where all that money had been dumped to. My prediction for Rangreza is that this will be last miss of 2017 as last two movies of 2017, Arth-2 and Chuppan Chupai will be hit it for sure.

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Rangreza is just another addition to the long list of Pakistani movies that flopped and almost all the flops of 2017 had at-least one point to share with each other that was ‘weak story line / weak content’, but in-case of Rangreza there were some other issues too.

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Weak story coupled with even weaker direction was even harder to digest even though ‘rangreza had some brilliant actors but even they couldn’t steer the ship ashore. Editing was also sub-standard and I am still wondering how suddenly the song ‘Kallu’ jumped in from. This song ‘Kallu’ had no relevance to post or pre scenes.

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Some of the brilliant acting displays were by Saleem Mairaj and Akbar Subhani, both these seniors were flawless with their acting skills and they didn’t miss a single mark. Normally it’s very pretty clear that Saleem Mairaj will be spot-on and flawless with his acting. Akbar Subhani’s acting and his face expressions were awesome and will be remembered for long. Malkani also acted superbly.

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Main leads Bilal Ashraf and Urwa Hocaine were just pretty faces and weren’t that impressive, Gohar Rasheed showed glimpses of his skills but at times over-acted. Goher Rasheed is a very skilled and talented actor who wasn’t used well by the director. Ghana Ali turned out to be a surprise as she was not just a pretty face, but she also acted better then main lead Urwa Hocaine.

Music was the best part of Rangreza, to start off with best song of the movie and probably the best part of Rangreza was its song ‘Bagiya’ by Jonita Gandhi, title track which was ‘Hey Rangreza’ title track was a power packed performance by J. Ali and this title track reminded me of Aashiqui 2 but even then this song had feel-good factor it, Phool Khil Jayien by Abida Parveen & Asrar Shah and Bulleya by Asrar Shah and lastly Balamwa sung by Ustaad Fareed Ayaz, Ustaad Abu Mohammad & Hamza Akram Qawal. Only one song ‘Kallu’ could have been avoided.

Dances need to be choreographed in a better way and fight scenes were as badly choreographed as they have always been done in the past. DOP and Cinematography was better as compared some recent movies.

Overall there aren’t any crowd pullers in Rangreza and also the movie has no repeat value, I don’t see this movie doing much.

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“Bagiya” from ‘Rangreza’.

 

“Bagiya” is probably the best song from Pakistani movie ‘Rangreza’ and here we have the video of this song which is nicely executed and shot with excellent colors + camera work is also of good quality and all this coupled with the cuteness and beauty of Urwa Hocane makes this video a must watch. Composed by Pakistani-Canadian musician, music producer and composer Qurram Hussain and sung by Indian-Canadian Jonita Ghandi, “Bagiay” is a nice romantic song which is a treat for ears too.

Dances and lyrics need improvement.