Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mobilink SUCH JAZBA - Logo "COPIED"


These are the words from a cellular company Mobilink’s recent promotional campaign of its “Youth Package” to capture youth market of Pakistan.

Launched few days back massively through hoardings and other media tools, the company claimed that “Such Jazba” was derived from values of our society with particular focus on youth. Have a look at “values” it describes:

Fresh. Vibrant. Spirited. Honest.
Such Jazba™ is a tribute to your values.
Values that are as personal as they are universal.
Values that will make more out of who you really are.
Values that have a way of adding up to you.
The time has come to be yourself, in your world.
A world where everything and everybody will
remind you everyday that you are the best thing to
ever happen to You.
So, join us when you say:
Such Apnao, Jazba Jagao!

These captivating and beautifully written slogans were used by the cellular company to invite youth after a “detailed thinking process”. Only the related people could tell better about it; however the disgraceful thing is that “the campaign has everything except the TRUTH.”

According to my research, the logo adopted for the campaign was actually designed by a Brazilian designer Fabio Sasso from Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2005 for its client “Zagora” and was uploaded on his website on Jan 24, 2008.

Web page view of Original Logo used by Mobilink for its Youth Package
“Copy and Paste” is common nowadays. But at least it is done intelligently. But it seems Mobilink feels “Mauja’n hi Mauja’n” by utilizing the same design theme after just adding an additional color and using different characters.
Mobilink, it’s time to think again. Stop the campaign based on an untruthful thing and shift it to the real values to reach the youth of Pakistan.



Friday, November 26, 2010

Picture of the day: Rehan 'Jumping' Butt

3 years, issues unsolved - Review on the performance of current PPP government

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in 2007 provided Pakistan Peoples Party heavy mandate that brought their government after Musharraf regime. The government that raised the slogan of ‘roti, kapra aur makaan’ failed to solve public issues. Although initiated notable steps and policies on national and international but practically failed to focus over issues related to a common man. The government may have benefited individuals or few institutions but a common man turned worst day by day.

Present Pakistan Peoples Party government has many achievements on its credit but these accomplishments couldn’t improve the economic, law & order and socio-political situation. The party successfully adopted the reconciliation policy with the allies and opposition parties. PPP took along parties like Mutthida Qaumi Movement, Pakistan Muslim League (Functional), Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulmae-Islam and others in various situations but again at many stages (as RGST) the reconciliation policy failed.

PPP opened their success book by resuming Chief Justice to his seat. It was the stage when PML (N) launched the long march with lawyers, here PPP took a wise decision.

The 18th amendment is another milestone in PPP’s tenure. The party described the amendment as the best constitutional thing happened since 1973 constitution and some called it ‘a historic development’. The 18th amendment included 95 amendments in the 1973 constitution; one of the prominent amendments was provincial autonomy.

The 7th National Finance Commission Award (NFC award) is also another feather in PPP’s cap. President Asif Ali Zardari signed the historic NFC award document in March 2010. The award successfully distributed financial resources among the provinces.

Development programs like Benazir Bhutto Income Support Fund and Benazir Youth Development Program emerged as great development ideas to bring positive change in the society. Benazir Bhutto Income Support Fund is one of the biggest poverty reduction programs ever initiated in the country while Benazir Youth Development Program trained more than 80,000 youths in different trades. Later on, both of the programs failed due to huge corruption.

The war of terrorism has put Pakistan into the state of war. The heavily armed militants have become active to destabilize Pakistan in different areas of the country. In PPP’s regime, Pakistan Army launched operations like Operation Raah-e-Rast and Operation Raah-e-Nijaat against the militants and killed/arrested many. As a result, 2.5 million people of the affected areas had to leave their homes. Government effectively managed the IDPs and sent them back to their homes after the operation ended.

The budget 2010-11 presented by PPP government brought good news of increment in the budget of Health, Education and Police.

But on the other hand, the condition of a common man turned worst despite of all the mentioned achievements of the present government.

The continuous price hike killed the common man. Daily raise in prices of Sugar, Milk, Petroleum, Pulses, utilities and other goods caused great pain to the public of Pakistan. In this government’s 3 years, the prices of many goods raised up to more than 100-200%.

The economic crisis is the worst face of Pakistan Peoples Party’s government. The government took excessive loans from global organizations which caused great damage to Pakistan’s economy. Pakistan right now is heavily in debt of World Bank and International Monetary Fund who are imposing their policies on Pakistan. The price hike and the rising taxes are result of IMF and World Bank’s policies.

Corruption is PPP’s gift to Pakistani public. According to Transparency International’s report, Pakistan has climbed from number 43 to number 34 in terms of corruption, Health, Education, Police, Ministries and even matters like Hajj became corrupted. Corruption of billions has been exposed in Benazir Income Support Program, Rental power plants project, Earthquake and Flood relief programs, land distribution etc.

Energy crisis has defamed the present government more than anything. In present government’s tenure, electricity load-shedding increased to a painful extent. Rural areas are facing load-shedding of 10-20 hours a day. On the other hand, the metropolitan and the financial hub of Pakistan has to suffer hours of load shedding everyday that is apparently causing severe damage to the economy.

Both the achievements and weaknesses of PPP government have been mentioned above. One reaches to the conclusion that PPP has failed to solve public issues and to provide relief to Pakistanis. The government has done nothing more than renaming Airports, roads and towns on the name of Benazir Bhutto, the REAL issues remain unsolved, public suffers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Students to make Inter board's policies

Karachi: For the first time in history, an educational board had added student representatives in it's educational policy-making. Intermediate Board of Karachi has announced to form "Students-Educationists Syndicate" where the position holder students will participate in the policy-making of the board. Speaking to Common Room, Chairman Intermediate Board of Karachi Professor Anwar Ahmed Zai said that the syndicate comprises of 36 position holders of this year from all groups, 12 teachers and 12 educationists. Working together, they'll formulate the best policy and patterns". The position holder students were present at the ceremony. "Throughout our history, students were never asked what do they want. We have added the students in policy-making to get their direct feedback. Their participation will help us out in improving standards.", Chairman IBK added. He said that the current syndicate will remain functional till 31st October 2011, then the next year's position holder students will replace the current ones.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rage against the social evils – Pakistani music fights back

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow defines music as the universal language of mankind. What expressed through music is the musician’s inside or around. Love, betray, patriotism and joy are emotions that are usually expressed through tunes. Hate, corruption, prejudice, war, riots, conflict, extremism and terrorism are the bad sides of society and unfortunately we, the Pakistanis, have witnessed them badly since our country’s inception. This is the time when one is concerned about his/her society and this is where the music depicts it too. Pakistan has witnessed some great music on social issues.

As music is simply human emotion, social issues music’s history is old too. Rage against the machine (An American band of 1990s) presented fiercely polemical music with heavy metal instrumentation. One of the greatest names of western music Michael Jackson also raised voice against prejudice.

In Pakistan, Junoon was the first band that dared to raise voice on social issues. In 1994-95, Junoon were courted for their controversial video and song “Ehtisaab” sung with Najam Sheraz from album Kashmakash. “Kitni aankhen dekhengee aadhi sadi purana khwab, ehtisab ehtisab… Kitni bar pukarengay zindabad aur murdabad!” The video of Ehtisab depicted the corrupt Pakistani elite. The PPP’s democratic government immediately banned the song and video. In their last album Deewar, Junoon again pointed out the social evils in the song “Dharti ke khuda”. Throughout their career, Junoon has been a socially-concerned band.

Talking about Najam Sheraz, his song “Yeh baat kisay maloom nahin”(1996) is a curious song. The song highlights the deprived part of the society and how the “sarmaye ke bhookay sher” (capitalists / politicians) exploit them. This song was censored on national TV and the reason was its being against establishment. “Sona chahta hoon” (1

995) is a song where Najam sheraz wildly cried for Kashmiris. The one-of-its-kind screaming song was banned on national radio (reason: the lyrics and vocal performance was too wild for the youth).

Jazba, a band appeared in early 90s, were also one of the few musicians who raised voice against Indian aggression in Kashmir. Heavy vocals, gloomy composition and revolutionary lyrics made it something never made before.

Another band likely to be mentioned here is Strings who have just came back with Atif Aslam in “Ab khud kuch karma parega”. It is a messag

e to Pakistanis to standup against terrorism and fear. Earlier, they’ve also done “Berut”, a song for Gaaza.

Karavan, the rock band of masters, also set a benchmark in social issues. ‘Rakh aas’ and ‘Yeh zindagi hai’ are the band’s social thoughts.

How can one forget the lahori band Entity Paradigm (EP) here? Kahan hai tu and Humain aazma represent youth and motivation while the aggressive song “Fitrat” questions the elite for exploiting people “Bol qabeel tu chahta hai

kya, uska haq ya ke uski dua?”… the lyrics are amazing specially at a place where he says “Kaghaz k tukray (money) to dikha jinhain jor ke tu bana khuda”. Tremendous stuff!!!

In 2007, when Pakistan faced the collision between Government and Lawyers, the socialist approach raised among common men. This is where a young band ‘Laal’ raised up and followed revolutionary poems of Habib Jalib and Faiz Ahmad Faiz. ‘Meine us se yeh kaha’ and ‘Umeed-e-Seher’ are inspiring enough.

Money is everything, says the band Azal in song ‘Aisi Taisi’. The song with excellent music arrangement and strong lyrics depicts society running after money. It is voice of a rebel.

Socio-political satire can’t be unnoticed when talking about social issues. Shehzad Roy tops the list with ‘Laga reh’ and ‘Qismat apne hath main’. His lyrics are always strong and thought-provoking and through satire, he has successfully delivered his wakeup call. As a social activist, Roy has wide eyes on society and surroundings. Awaz boy Haroon Rashid also presented social satire in his pop / rap style with ‘Corporation man’ and ‘Paisa’.

A lot of other musicians have also attempted music on social issues but the ones mentioned above were the milestones in the industry. Music surely reflects what’s around in our society and Pakistani music does it well.

- Jibran

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dedicated to Air Blue crashed flight passengers

The plane i'm on is going slow
I look and stare down below

Something is wrong people are crying
I wondered if anyone was dying

I never saw anyone steering the plane
I wonder if the captain has gone insane

The plane is moving downward from the sky
I prayed to God and begged Him not to let me die

Everyones out of their seats yelling and screaming
I wonder if anyone here is a demon

I looked out the window,
we're close to being dead

I wish this was a dream and I could wakeup in my bed
But it wasn't a dream it was real life
I wish I had my really sharp knife

Then I could put this all to an end,
and I wouldn't have to take the time to mend

Soon enough we crash on hill
After that I couldn't hear a single sound

Everyone was dead, and so was I
I never wanted it to end like this, "I never wanted to die"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Novartis BioCamp - A milestone

The significance of Biotechnology in Pakistan was realized as far back as 1959 when the country’s first commission on Science & Technology emphasized the need of setting up research organizations. Pakistan’s educational system is growing up by time but what still needed to minimize the gap between Academia and Industry. The research conducted at our universities is rarely applied in the industry. Here, Novartis Pharmaceuticals took a step and initiated the first Local BioCamp in order to bring the students in direct contact with the pharmaceutical industry.

The 2-days BioCamp is an effort to bring young, talented and energetic students from diverse faculties and different universities closer to the field. 26 Students and researchers from different cities of Pakistan were evaluated and selected to participate in this exciting event. The participating universities were University of Karachi, HEJ institute, Baqai University, Ziauddin University, Hamdard University, University of Sindh, University of Punjab (Lahore) and Islamia University (Bahawalpur). On the other hand, two participants from media were also invited as participants’ i.e (Jibran T. Siddiqui, Health Reporter, News1 TV and Ovais Ahmed, Dawn News TV). Thus, Novartis succeeded to make a diversified combination of individuals from the areas of Pharmacy, Drug research, Molecular research and Health Journalism.

As a Health Reporter, I was a bit confused when called for BioCamp as I’m not a medical student. I had no idea if I would be able to understand the terms and discussions about an advanced discipline as Biotechnology. I was fortunate to have students like Muffrah, Shahid, Shahrukh and Hina in my group who belonged to different universities and had different specialities and skills. Throughout the conference, we worked together. Preparing and presenting the marketing plan about an Alzheimer Test was a challenging task and we together accomplished to a satisfactory performance. Thank you guys! All the presenters did very well and their marketing plans (prepared in 90 minutes only) were excellent from any point of view. This will surely help them in future.

The BioCamp participants were very fortunate to be accompanied by the distinguished experts from various fields. Speakers like Dr. Iqbal Choudhry (HEJ Institute), Dr. Saifullah Khan (HEJ Institute), M. Khalid Yousuf (Novartis), Dr. Ahson Siddiqi (Novartis) and Dr. Tasneem Farzana (NIBD) proved to be the best guiding stars. Moreover, sessions by Mr. Merajuddin (HR, Novartis) and Urooj Mazhar (School of Leadership), other feathers in the cap. Prof. Masood Hameed Khan (VC, Dow University of Health Sciences) spoke about BioTech at the inaugural ceremony and opened new doors of information to the students. Undoubtedly, the eminent speakers inspired the participants to create waves.

One of the most interesting parts of the BioCamp was the ‘Cultural evening’. All the participants were dressed up in eastern attire and performed one by one on the stage. These performances included Singing, speeches, poetry and dance. It was surprising the see the students performing so confidently on the stage. Maryah, Munazza, Omair and Shahrukh astonished me by their stage confidence, thumbs up! Ahmed Saleh attempted ‘Laal meri patt’ where the boys danced to the beats. My contribution for the night was an unplugged performance of Imik’s mellow song ‘Piya’. Some participants entertained the audience by humorous poetries that made everyone laugh out loud. Novartis family also delivered some exciting performances including the classic ‘Kabhi to tumko yaad ayengay’ by Dr. Ahson Siddiqi and a song performed by wife of a Novartis family member. Moiz’s stand-up comedy also brought smiles and refreshed the evening. Ovais Ahmed from Dawn presented a piece of poetry by Faiz and an extract from Pitras Bukhari with his skilled voice overs. Well done

The post-cultural evening gathering was the craziest moment. The participants sang and danced like no one watched J

What I learned from BioCamp was working in a team of different minds and utilizing their respective skills to achieve goals. On the other hand, BioCamp also introduced us to the modern trends of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Working together, the participants discovered their skills and talents and analyzed themselves in the context of SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats).

As a participant, I’m very thankful to Novartis who considered media as regular participant. This will help in bringing the three pillars Academia, Industry and Media closer and forming an effective triangle that works for social development.

I would like to thank people without whom this mega-event was not possible. Mr. Shabuddin, Mr. Merajddun, Mr. Khalid Yousuf and others from Novartis. Dr. Ahson Siddiqi remained as the guiding star and the prime mentor throughout the conference. He was physically and mentally present at each and every moment of BioCamp. Mr. Zia Anwer put tremendous effort in organizing the event while Ms. Tania Anjum proved herself a silent storm. I express special thanks for Zia and Tania for being dynamic, supportive and humble at the situations.

The two-day conference earned us great friends. As Ahmed Saleh said that the saddest part is that the night we turned great friends followed the day we left. Thank you Ovais for being a convenient room mate, Muffrah and Omair for being there at every moment, Hanna for bugging around, Ahmed Saleh, Maryah, Nayel, Munir, Sundus and Hanna for the late night fun and Munazza, Ali, Sajid, Kashif, Shahrukh, Shahid, Rakhshanda, Ayesha, Hina, Rabia and others for being there as shining stars. Wish you all best of luck for the future!

Congratulations to Ali Uzair and Hann`a Iqbal, who got selected for the International BioCamp in Basel, Switzerland. Best of luck mates =)

The Local BioCamp 2010 will remain as an unforgettable experience of my career. I hope the event stays as a milestone in our life and we implement the learning for a bright future.

- Jibran T. Siddiqui

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Achievement: Pakistani students made a terrific car

Automotive industry is the sector that can bring economic boom in a country. In this industry, China tops the list by manufacturing 13,790,994 cars in 2009 while Japan and USA are next with 7,934,516 and 5,711,823 respectively. Unfortunately, Pakistan has still not appeared in this sector. Is lack of talent our problem? No.

Recently, a group of students from NED University of Engineering and Technology have manufactured a model car that gives 80 kilometers per liter petrol. These ambitious and hardworking students belong to Mechanical and Electrical Engineering departments and the team calls itself ‘WINMARK’. The shining, attractive and compact car can grab anyone’s attention.

Winmark has designed the car to participate in the upcoming global competition by Shell in Malaysia which invites the students worldwide to design car with best mileage.

Speaking to Common Room, the team leader Haris said that all the cost has been contributed by the students themselves. They’ve worked day and night to bring the car from design to execution. “No organization has contacted us for full sponsorship yet. We’re students and we cannot bear the full expenses of manufacturing and especially transporting the car to Malaysia for competition.” said Haris. He said that they’re representing Pakistan in a global competition and therefore need financial assistance for this.

Winmark member Ashraf says, “We’ve worked very hard to win and Inshallah if we do, we have plans to launch the car commercially. The car is economical, eye-catching and safe so it would be an ideal car for anyone. Its body is made of fiber so its safe it meets any accident. We’ll proud if we launch a car from Pakistan.

Although these determined students have no financial assistance, they have talent, skill and above all enthusiasm to touch skies. Common Room wishes them good luck!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cartoons raise voice.

Illustration by Ema Anis.

Facebook & the unfortunate King

Long time ago, there lived a king who ruled a small state. The state had deep conflicts with her neighboring states over the boundary issues. The king was a fair ruler and man of justice who always considered his public’s benefits first. It was all fine until one of the neighboring opponent states launched a pre-planned propaganda against the king. They first sent immoral comments about the king to him that annoyed the king. He immediately stopped imports from those neighboring countries that caused problems for the public. In agriculture, they highly depended on the neighboring countries so there came the shortage of fruits, vegetables and other crops. The enemies then sent their agents to the state in order to speed up the anti-king campaign. When the king came to know, he started killing the agents and blocked all the boundaries, confining the state. Now, the exports were also stopped which caused an economic breakdown. The remaining agents started to misguide people about the king. Therefore, the king started killing his people who were reached by the agents. The conditions turned critical and eventually, the state was shattered by drought, hunger, economic collapse and bloodshed. The state disappeared from the pages of history.

The recent blasphemy issue of Facebook reminded me of that state’s story. An evil group on Facebook launched an event and invited the artists worldwide to draw sketches of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) which is a very disgusting act against the Muslims. Throughout the world, Muslims are protesting while Pakistan is leading the front. For this evil act, Lahore High court has banned Facebook in Pakistan for indefinite period. Following the order, websites like Youtube and Wikipedia are also banned by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for “growing sacrilegious content”. It may seem emotionally correct but let’s have a look rationally.

According to an estimate, Pakistan has more than 25 million internet users. In this 25 million, majority is of students, journalists, doctors, bureaucrats, writers, researchers and other professionals. Wikipedia is one of the prime sources of information for students, journalists, researchers and others and over 75% of internet users log on to Wikipedia for information. Be it an academic assignment, news or an article, Wikipedia is one of the most reliable information websites. Wikipedia provides the most accurate and detailed information even when you search a less-known personality of your country. The website tells the background, career, date of birth and even place of birth about a personality. The website is highly trusted and the information is published on unprejudiced basis.

Now I come to the point. When I needed to search the history and backgrounds of the famous personalities like Nazia Hassan, Aitizaz Ahsan and Shahid Afridi, no Pakistani website provided me detailed information but Wikipedia. There is no complete encyclopedia website in Pakistan that could serve the Pakistanis. Banning Wikipedia has created a critical situation for students and professionals who needed information. We’re so dependant on the others that we’ve never made any information and video portals. In this situation, is it correct to ban such websites?

As I said, the present situation reminds me of that unfortunate State that was destroyed by her neighbors. Same as the king did, the Government started with banning Facebook, then Youtube and Wikipedia. There are thousands of other ways that these anti-Muslim elements could use. Let’s see that the government will ban Google, hotmail, yahoo and other websites too. In the end, internet will be blocked in Pakistan and Pakistan will move back to decades. The evil elements will also try to spread their unethical messages through TV, so the government will first ban the channels and then the TV too. I also expect the government to ban all the art schools in the country so that nobody could draw Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)’s sketch. Déjà vu it is.

Is there some other way too? Yes. We have proved ourselves true Muslim nation who don’t compromise on our religion but is only banning such websites a solution? There are thousands of other channels from where the blasphemy messages can be reached so there’s no reason of banning the websites. On the other hand, we have to step ahead and make information portals of our own. In this way, banning won’t even affect us.

Anyway, we have to keep protesting about such disgusting acts but rationale also matters. We have to find the ‘Solution’ instead of what the king did to his state.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spinners enjoy advantage this T20 - Asian teams ready to TWIST

T20 world cup is an electrifying blend of cricket and entertainment, and one of the most awaited ICC events now. The festival has started with warm-up matches where Zimbabwe has made a thrilling 1-run win against Australia. Considering the pitches of Caribbean islands, spinners will be one of the most effective tools for any team in the tournament. Asian teams hold the benefit in this case.

A good spinner can anytime be a match-winner, especially when bowling at Caribbean. The pitches of Guyana, St. Lucia and Barbados are slow and spin wickets that are already been considered by all the teams.

Here, the defending team Pakistan holds a strong advantage when it comes to spinners. Pakistan enjoys the presence of magical Shahid Afridi and versatile Saeed Ajmal. Both of these spinners have been remarkable in T20 format. Ajmal, who has been irritating for batsmen with his ‘Doosra’, has played 14 T20s for Pakistan, taking 20 wickets with the best of 4/19. One the other hand, Afridi is the trump-card for Pakistan, who has taken 37 wickets in 27 T20s. Shahid Afridi stands second in number of wickets in T20 internationals, after Umer Gul while Saeed Ajm

al is the eighth top-wicket taker. Pakistan also has Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez as supporting spinners. Strong enough!

The champion of first T20 world cup India also stands prepared on the spin front. Harbhajan Singh (16 wickets in T20Is) can be a lethal weapon for India. He will be supported by young and deadly Piyush Chawla. In contrast, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan are on the supporting squad. A lot can be expected from these spinners.

Sri Lanka’s deceiving spinners’ duo remains a nightmare for any team. Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis are equipped with various spin varieties. Although Murali has not been impressive enough in T20, yet remains a match-winner. Beware of these two.

The other two Asian teams in the competition are Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s spinner’s line-up is equipped with Samiullah Shenwari and Nowroz Mangal. On the other hand, Shakibul Hasan will be the leading spinner of Bangladesh. Lets see what they have at Caribbeans.

Another interesting fact is that 3 out 5 top wicket takers in T20 are spinners. Shahid Afridi, Daniel Vettori and Ajantha Mendis stand at number 2,3 and 4 respectively.

Now the tournament is about to start, the Asian teams and their spinning squad are the centre of attraction. Lets see what does ‘Googly’ and ‘Doosra’ make at West Indies.

Jibran T. Siddiqui

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Zimbabwe gives Australia another shock – Brett Lee out of T20 World Cup

Australian fast bowler Brett Lee will miss the T20 world cup 2010 after an injury in the warm-up match against Zimbabwe.

In the warm-up match before world cup, Zimbabwe made an upset by defeating Australia in a thrilling match. The 33-year old kangaroo fast bowler picked up a muscle strain in his right forearm.

He played four matches in this IPL season for King’s Punjab XI but unfortunately, couldn’t grab a single wicket.

Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris are the strong contenders to replace Lee in the mega event.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shaapit - Movie review

By Jibran T. Siddiqui

Horror genre is no new concept in Bollywood. From the beginning, Bollywood has been making films about reincarnation, souls, immortality and ghosts. The attempt at that time was not to scare as much as to give the love story a new dimension. Now that Bollywood has evolved into a strong industry, scary films like Phoonk and 1920 are followed by ‘super-natural thrillers’ like Vikram Bhatt’s ‘Shaapit’.

After ‘Raaz’ and ‘1920’, ‘Shaapit’ is Vikram Bhatt’s third venture where he has introduced the young Aditya Narayan and Shweta Agarwal ( Remember the child star and young singer Aditya Narayan?) The movie also stars Rahul Dev as a professor in one of the leading roles.

‘Shaapit’ revolves around the story of a family whose daughters have been carrying a curse from generation to generation. Aman (Aditya Narayan) falls in love with Kaaya (Shweta), one of the cursed daughters. As the reaction, they both are countered by an evil spirit. Aman approaches Professor Pashupati (Rahul Dev), a spiritual studies teacher, and convinces him to help the cursed couple. Finally, Aman alongwith his friend Shubh (Shubh Joshi) and Professor Pashupati sets out on a journey through the world of fear and intrigue where the evil spirit awaits them.

Unfortunately, the plot of the movie is conventional despite the new cast, fresh music and remarkable art work. Generally, the horror Bollywood movies have two stories, past and present. The past when the wrong was committed and the present where the ghost comes back to haunt. Same as Bhatt’s previous movies, ‘Shaapit’ also follows the trend dating back the story to 300 years back.

Vikram Bhatt tries his best to deliver as the director. After Raaz and 1920, he was expected a better version of horror flick and he does it. His professional skills are more highlighted in the second half. The thriller easily ranks amongst the best in this genre in terms of plot, setting, technique and performances. Some sequences have been shot excellently for example when Aman goes to get a particular book from the haunted library, when Kaaya wakes up in the middle of the night and Aman, professor and Shubh don’t find her at her place and the entire climax sequence too. Bhatt also merges past and present beautifully.

On the other hand, a mistake can be noticed when the camera goes to flashback where Mughals are enjoying Arabic music and dance. Better if they had added a mughal-based song at that place. Cultural Conflict or Cultural Confusion?

The debutants also support the film at their best. Aditya Narayan, son of veteran singer Udit Narayan, as emerged as a skillful actor and a versatile singer. His young yet focused acting proves him a ‘show-stopper’. Shweta seems weaker in the emotional scenes but still makes a promising debut overall. Rahul Dev demonstrates skilled acting and suits well in the role of a professor. However, Aditya Narayan enjoys the limelight.

The music of the film is excellent. The talented Chirantan Bhatt, who previously did it for Mission Istanbul (2008), makes the remarkable music. The hero Aditya Narayan also demonstrates excellent vocals in both the versions of ‘Kabhi na kabhi’. The rock version of this song can be adjudged the finest of the album. The blend of kick-drumming, electrifying guitar riffs and crunchy rock vocals make it a worth-listening track. In the other version, Aditya makes a soft and versatile combination with Suzzane D`Mello. Another remarkable track is Najam Sheraz’s “Tere bina” where Najam’s practiced vocals meet a heart-touching composition, resulting a marvelous song. The song deeply reflects the dark, frightening, depressed and tragic moments of the movie. Other songs like ‘Hayaati’ and ‘Chahta dil tumko’ also deserve a try. The background music is ideal for a terrifying supernatural thriller.

On the whole, Shaapit is truly a scary movie, which comes across as a worthy follow up to Raaz and 1920. If you are a fan of ghost stories, Shaapit should be on your list of 'things to do and watch' this weekend. Go for it and be prepared to be spooked!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pakistani cricket team faces absence of T20 specialists...

As the defending team, Pakistan has to be more responsible in the battle of T20 worldcup 2010. Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Akmal brothers, M. Sami, M. Amir and Saeed Ajmal are capable enough to defeat any team but Pakistani squad could've been stronger if the selecters have considered some more T20 specialists.

In the absence of Yousuf, Younis, Rana naveed and shoaib Malik, Pakistani team needs some strong support from the young. Here, hard-hitters like Shahzaib Hassan and Imran Nazir have been badly ignored. Both of them have been excellent in domestic and international T20. We all have witnessed Imran Nazir's magic in domestic RBS tournament and Indian Cricket League. On the other hand, Shahzaib Hassan has proved himself as a stylish and powerful batsman in Last T20 worldcup and RBS tournament.
All in all, they're way better options than Yasir Arafat, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Hafeez and Salman Butt. Fawad and Arafat have not yet performed in T20 format that makes Nazir's and Shahzaib's selection undeniable.

Anyway, goodluck to the team.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Heavy school bags: The Orthopedic Evil

What could be the most painful thing for our children while going to school? Is it waking up early? Changing clothes? Going out? Definitely no!! What else but carrying kilograms in school bags all the way to school. Every morning, we see children carrying load on their backs more than their predecessors used to do, and this goes on from one generation to another. In due course, our children complain problems with back, neck, shoulders and general health that our doctors and parents worry about. Certainly, the problem of heavy bag packs has become a worldwide issue.

This is where Health questions the Education. Our children, especially of lower grades, carry school bags of 15-20% of their weight which can be a source of ‘chronic, low-level trauma’, and can also cause chronic shoulder, neck and back pain, while additional pressure on the spine can also cause long-term damage. Sympathy goes to the children who walk away to the school. On the other hand, children who have school vans are also supposed to carry bags to their classes. Children who carry one-shoulder bag are more likely to suffer. A medical study has indicated deviation to the side and/or backwards of children’s who carry load on their back named school bags, and overtime this deviation becomes evident even the child is not carrying it. Thus, these children acquire education against their health.

Speaking on this issue, Prof. M. A. Arif, Secretary General, Pakistan Pediatric Association considers heavy school bags the reason of numerous orthopedic troubles. He says that children in these cases may face Slip disk problem, muscle problem Myositis as well as shoulder and back problem Arthritis. “Children who carry heavy bags bent forward when walking which is a wrong posture and creates medical troubles for long-term. They also complain general tiredness throughout the day.” He adds

What do educationists say in this regard?

In contrast, Mrs. Sadia Kamran, a housewife complains that her daughter is facing shoulder and back ache and feels uneasy and tired for whole day. School management should find permanent solution for that.

The question that instantly appears is the about the solution or alternate. Now whose responsibility is that? Of course ours: the educationists, parents and the society. Let’s look at some fine suggestions:

Avoid one-shoulder school bags; they disturb the balance between two sides that develops poor posture later. Use both straps of the bag; it distributes the weight equally across the body.

For parents: On daily basis, load the bag according to the time table.

Schools arrange lockers for students where they keep extra text books, copies and sports material instead of carrying them everyday in school bags.

Copies of children to be kept at school while homework to be submitted on separate sheets.

Instead of all periods everyday, schools can keep consecutive classes in a day that may reduce the load in school bags for e.g. English, Urdu, Science, Mathematics and Arts is rescheduled to consecutive English, Urdu on one day and Science, Mathematics and Arts on another.

Concluding the issue, we, the society should realize that these little children cannot help themselves until we bring them a solution. Thus, we are supposed to consider this issue on priority basis or else our generations would be suffering. Let’s think about our children this time, enough of politics!!!

By Jibran T. Siddiqui