Sunday, December 25, 2005


So this post is about films. Went to the cinema 4 times this past week! From Friday to Friday.

Watched Paradise Now, for the 2nd time, this time was paid, first time was a screening. Film's about 2 Palestinian suicide bombers, and their journey, sorta. Very interesting film, shot well too. Though disappointed that they didn't take the chance to show the violence of the occupation.

Then I watched Pride and Prejudice. I usually don't like these sorts of girly, romantic films. And this was my first Jane Austen experience. I liked it. AMAZING cinematography, really beautiful stuff. Though it seemed very sudden that he fancied Elizabeth and how she liked him, didn't seem gradual, but lovely shots.

Then I watched Syriana. Interwoven storylines and stuff, just like Traffic, written and directed by the writer of Traffic, innit. Very interesting film, its about the oil trade, done the same way Traffic was about the drug trade. This one had very interesting themes and characters, and didn't make Arabs/Muslims look totally bad. Basically, bad practices by institutions and stuff lead to violent actions from the people? That's the one theme I got. This film definetely needs to be seen again.
And I thought, Stephen Gaghan, he's so lucky, so young. He wrote Traffic, and he wrote and directed this film Syriana, with George Clooney and produced by Section 8 or something. Man, he's got it made.

Anyway, a film that does not need to be seen again is King Kong. BUT, I enjoyed it though. Three hours long, too long, but the film is just MASSIVE. Just HUGE! It's all spectacle, the whole thing. All I knew is that they go this island and there's King Kong and somehow he ends up in NY, so it was new to me, the story. I know they changed the way girl acts toward the gorilla, that she kinda seduces him, whereas in the original she was just scared shitless or something. But, very entertaining, squirmy, scary, and in some parts, touching. Peter Jackson.

Re-reading White Teeth right now. Zadie Smith is a genius. I'd love to meet her in person, to see what she's like. Definetely give it a read.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Not surprised at this

This is 1984. We are the proletariat, being spyed upon by our government. What are we going to do?

Bush admits he authorised spying

President George W Bush has admitted he authorised secret monitoring of communications within the United States in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks.
The monitoring was of "people with known links to al-Qaeda and related terrorist organisations", he said.
He said the programme was reviewed every 45 days, and he made clear he did not plan to halt the eavesdropping.
He also rebuked senators who blocked the renewal of his major anti-terror law, the Patriot Act, on Friday.
By preventing the extension of the act, due to expire on 31 December, they had, he said, acted irresponsibly and were endangering the lives of US citizens.
The president, who was visibly angry, also suggested that a New York Times report which had revealed the monitoring on Friday had been irresponsible.
America's enemies had "learned information they should not have", he said in his weekly radio address, which was delivered live from the White House after a pre-recorded version was scrapped.

'Big Brother'

Senators from both Mr Bush's Republican party and the opposition Democrats expressed concerns about the monitoring programme on Friday.
Senator Arlen Specter, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee , said there was no doubt it was "inappropriate", adding that Senate hearings would be held early next year as "a very, very high priority".
"This is Big Brother run amok," was the reaction of Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy.
Senator Russell Feingold, another Democrat, called it a "shocking revelation" that "ought to send a chill down the spine of every senator and every American".
But in his address on Saturday, Mr Bush said the programme was "critical to saving American lives".
The president said some of the 11 September hijackers inside the US had communicated with associates outside before the attacks - but the US had not known that until it was too late.
"The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and our civil liberties," he said.
Monitoring was, he said, a "vital tool in our war against the terrorists".
He said Congressional leaders had been briefed on the programme, which he has already renewed more than 30 times.

'Illegal leak'

Mr Bush harshly criticised the leak that had made the programme public.
"Revealing classified information is illegal. It alerts our enemies," he said.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Mr Bush had signed a secret presidential order following the attacks on 11 September 2001, allowing the National Security Agency to track the international telephone calls and e-mails of hundreds of people without referral to the courts.
Previously, surveillance on American soil was generally limited to foreign embassies.
American law usually requires a secret court, known as a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to give permission before intelligence officers can conduct surveillance on US soil.

BBC article about Bihari films

Finally something positive said about Bihar.

Move over Bollywood, here's Bhojpuri
By Amarnath Tewary in Patna

Bhojpuri cinema has an audience of 200m. (Pics: Prashant Ravi)
Bollywood is having to take a backseat as the hitherto little-known regional Bhojpuri film industry steals the show in India.
The industry, catering to 200m people who speak the Bhojpuri language - a dialect of Hindi - and live in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, is raking in cash like never before.
Sticking to home-grown Indian family melodramas and throwing in some glamorous faces and slick foreign locations for a contemporary feel, Bhojpuri films are often outperforming Bollywood biopics at the box office these days.
Take, for example, two of the Bhojpuri mega hits of 2005, Sasura Bada Paisawela (My Father-in-Law is Rich) and Daroga Babu I Love You (Dear Policeman, I Love You).
Both did more business in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh than the A-list Bollywood releases, Bunty Aur Babli, a version of Bonnie and Clyde, and Mangal Pandey - The Rising, about the 1857 Indian mutiny.
Made on a modest budget of $65,000, Sasura Bada Paisawela took in over $3m at the box office. Daroga Babu mopped up nearly $900,000 on a similar budget.
Many Bhojpuri movies take about 10 times their costs
With a success rate of almost 100% it is not surprising that Bhojpuri cinema is wooing Bollywood players like never before.
Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, presently recovering from surgery, and star actress of yesteryear, Hema Malini, have signed up for a Bhojpuri film together.
Other actors who have appeared in or are about to appear in Bhojpuri films are Ajay Devgan, Juhi Chawla, Raj Babbar, Rati Agnihotri and starlet Nagma.
That's not all - Bollywood's top choreographer Saroj Khan is directing a Bhojpuri movie, director Tinnu Verma is remaking a Bollywood hit, Mera Gaon Mera Desh (My Village, My Country), in Bhojpuri, and Bollywood singer Udit Narayan is producing a Bhojpuri film called Kab Hoi Gauna Hamar.
The four-decade-old Bhojpuri industry is attracting foreign talent too.
Ukrainian model Tanya has already played a Russian girl in love with a Bihari boy in Firangi Dulhania (Foreign Bride). Now 24-year-old Cambridge-educated British actress Jessica Bath has signed for two Bhojpuri films.
The Bhojpuri industry is buzzing as never before - with some 30 films this year, double the number of previous years.
So what makes Bhojpuri cinema tick?
For one, the film-makers have astutely targeted the Bhojpuri-speaking audience at home and abroad - a substantial expatriate population in places such as Mauritius, Fiji, Surinam and the West Indies.
With Bollywood productions increasingly targeting the urban middle and upper classes in India's cities, Bhojpuri directors have cashed in by churning out home-grown local fare.
The industry also has its own stars now - Manoj Tiwari and Ravi Kishan are the biggest male actors, while an actress from Mumbai (Bombay) Rani Chatterji - originally Sabiha Sheikh and renamed after Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee - is the most popular actress.
Tiwari, who began as a small-town crooner, now has more than a dozen films to his name and charges as much as $90,000 per film.
Kishan charges as much. He has been quoted on an Indian website as saying Bhojpuri cinema is like "home-cooked food".
Vinod Mirani, an editor of a Bollywood trade journal, said on the same site: "Bhojpuri movies are not about Technicolor fantasies. The thrust is towards home-grown subjects. The concerns are largely to do with marriage and family. There's lot of emotions."
Clearly, the formula is working.
"Bhojpuri cinema has finally got its identity and real worth. Now its commercial success is making everybody sit up and take notice," says Raghuvansh Babu, chief of the Bihar Motion Pictures Association.
Bhojpuri movies also make eminent business sense.
"Most Bhojpuri films are made on small budget of usually $50,000 to $60,000 and usually gross 10 times their costs at the box office, which is much higher than any Bollywood hit," Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh says.
Bhojpuri film-makers now claim they are pushing the envelope with themes.
Manoj Tiwari says Bhojpuri films are being made around "gender themes and even a political satire is in the works".
To exploit the industry's potential, there is also a rush now to dub 40 Bollywood hits, including films like Sholay and Deewar, into Bhojpuri.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

books and paradise now

So I bought 4 books yesterday. Don't worry, I know what I'm doing.

White Teeth - Zadie Smith -already read, but I really liked it so I got a copy
The Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri - want to see what the deal is about this author
Down and Out In Paris and London - George Orwell
The Home and the World - Rabindranath Tagore

An hour later I was across the street to see Paradise Now. I saw it back in October at a screening with the director, who was a very cool, honest bloke. This film gives an interesting and personal perspective on Palestinian suicide bombers. I highly recommend it, for everyone.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I thoroughly enjoy spending time in record shops, either when I'm looking for stuff or looking and knowing I won't buy anything.

Now when I was in one of these record shops (it was Encore Records in Ann Arbor, extremely messy and packed), they had a TV that was playing some old Bollywood film. It had that ugly guy, Mithun or someone, who was big in the 70s/80s? I thought it was funny that they were playing such a film, and it had no subtitles. So this shop that's full of white Ann Arbor intellectuals/music freaks is playing this silly Indian film. When I was about to leave a song came on, and they sang "D! I! S! C! O! DISCO!", and the actor went "I am a disco dancer! I am a disco dancer!". Why the hell is such a film on in such a record shop I wonder.

Rebel Warrior

This here is lyrics to a song by Asian Dub Foundation, one of my favourite bands, off of the album Facts and Fiction or the album Community Music.

Asian Dub Foundation - Rebel Warrior
Written by: das, savale, pandit

Ami bidrohi!
I the rebel warrior
I have risen alone with my head held high
I will only rest
When the cries of the oppressed
No longer reach the sky
When the sound of the sword of the oppressor
No longer rings in battle
Hear my warcry!

I’m hear to teach you a lesson
I’m hear to torture your soul
I’m the itch in your side that’s got out of control
’gonna prey on your conscience
You’ll be praying for forgiveness
Seen all the evidence
No longer need a witness
So take my word man
Here’s my sentence
One hundred thousand years of repentance.

Check my anger, it’s real
Ain’t no token
I’ll be satisfied only when your back’s been broken
It’s my burning ambition to burn down your empire
Man I’ll be building you a funeral pyre
The fire in my eyes
If looks coulda kill
I won’t be satisfied until I’ve had my fill.
Check my anger, it’s real
Ain’t no token
I’ll be satisfied only when your back’s been broken

Ami bidrohi!
I the rebel warrior
I have risen alone with my head held high
I will only rest
When the cries of the oppressed
No longer reach the sky
When the sound of the sword of the oppressor
No longer rings in battle
Hear my warcry!

Repetitive beats beating against your skull
I’ll be striking you down
To the sounds of the wardrum
The doum!
The doum of the dhol
Taking it’s toll
Null and void is what you’ve become
An underground army with my brothers and sisters
Hand to hand fighting
Building up a resistance
Repetitive beats beating against your skull
Null and void is what you’ve become

Ami bidrohi!
I the rebel warrior
I have risen alone with my head held high
I will only rest
When the cries of the oppressed
No longer reach the sky
When the sound of the sword of the oppressor
No longer rings in battle
Hear my warcry!

A radical fusion
Strange alliance
The siren and the flute in unison
’cos it’s a part of my mission
To break down division
Mental compartments
Psychological prisons.

I’ll be sowing the seeds of community
Accomodating every colour every need
So listen to my message and heed my warning
I’m telling you know
How a new age is dawning

Ami bidrohi!
I the rebel warrior
I have risen alone with my head held high
I will only rest
When the cries of the oppressed
No longer reach the sky
When the sound of the sword of the oppressor
No longer rings in battle
Hear my warcry!

Ami bidrohi! ami bidrohi!
Yes the unity of the hindu and the muslim
Will end your tyranny
Ami bidrohi! ami bidrohi!

EDIT: I just gotta say, if you're reading this, you really need to hear this song. The way this guy raps, it's just so fast and furious, a rumble. Especially the third verse.

Such a lament

"Lament of the Muslim dance music fan"

Our elbows do not pump,
our shoulders remain straight,
the hips, cannot shake or shimmy
the foot can only tap merely
with desperate hope
"extrovert" must be banished
from our vocabulary
we are muslim dance music lovers
we gyrate for our mirrors only

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


My God.

I haven't gone to bed before 3 for at least a few weeks now. I think you could see it on the lines under my eyes. I've been going to bed so late because of school, and sometimes because of stupid reasons. Oh yeah, from now on I will try to write in good English, for the desis out there (like my annoying brother).

I know that I am doing good so far in only one class, that I know for certain. My arabic exam today wasn't so good, and stats is tomorrow. I mean, not all is lost yet on the rest of the classes, but I really need to pull through. I don't know what to do because how much more can I do? I have never been an academic, but that is not an excuse. This weekend I plan on catching up inshallah, but also on having fun, because its already November 16th and I need to have some fun in college.

I have been learning tabla. Alhumdulillah, I am really enjoying it and its going well. I've never had musical lessons before - I never thought my first lessons would be in tabla. It was frustrating at first but after a few days of practicing the note Na, it's been good. It might get harder though, as of right now I only know 3 taals and one luggy.

The script is going ok. I am way behind on pages because I started over, but I am writing at least. Act 2 is due at the beginning of December? Which means I have about 100 pages to write in these 2 weeks. What a fun thanksgiving school break I will have eh?

Editing still progressing, I think the sound room will finally get put up soon. Paintings? Those, unfortunately, always get left last.

I'm going to see Harry Potter tomorrow night inshallah. I normally would have been excited for a few days leading up to it, but I'm not for some reason, which is probably a good thing. I actually have a friend (who is going with other people) who wants to dress up when she sees it, and she's my age. How funny is that?

Anyway, I'm a bit overwhelmed right now. I'm only writing in this because I'm at work. I don't have time to do all the creative stuff that I want to do. I wanted to be more involved with student stuff too this year, so that's also been taking up time, BUT, it is time well spent. It's important to think of others and not just yourself and school. But yeah, school's rubbish. If my brother reads this he will be disappointed, he's like my parent. Happy belated (a bit) birthday!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Earthquake aide

Rich world 'failing' on quake aid

Many survivors need shelter and food before winter
Many of the world's richest countries have so far failed to support a UN appeal for victims of the South Asian quake, a top UK-based charity has said.
The charity, Oxfam, said less than 30% of the $312m (£175m) sought by UN aid agencies had even been promised.

It said the US, Japan, Germany and Italy had given less than their "fair share" as large economies.
Belgium, France, Austria, Finland, Greece, Portugal and Spain had so far donated nothing at all, it added.
Meanwhile, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said the financial cost of the quake will be more than $5bn.

In an interview with London's Financial Times, he defended his handling of the country's worst natural disaster, saying the government "had done a good, if not a very good, job".
But he acknowledged that hardline Islamic groups had stepped into an administrative vacuum in the days after the quake, providing relief and humanitarian assistance in Kashmir, a development that analysts say will bolster their legitimacy.

The criticism from Oxfam comes as donor nations meet in Geneva on Wednesday to try to increase funding for the quake appeal.

Pakistan estimates the 8 October earthquake killed more than 53,000 people, most of them in the portion of Kashmir it administers.

UK $17.4m
US $10.8m
Sweden $10.5m
Canada $8.9m
Japan $8m
Netherlands $7.8m
Germany $3.9m
Italy $1.2m
France, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Portugal, Spain - all $0
Source: Oxfam

Some 1,400 people died in Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials say.

On the ground, aid officials are warning that more people could die of hunger, cold and injuries than were killed by the earthquake itself.

UN chief aid co-ordinator Rashid Khaliko said the coming winter would cut off many remote communities in the region.

He told reporters in the devastated Kashmiri city of Muzzafarabad that relief workers had until the end of November to get hundreds of thousands of people under shelter, treat the injured and provide food stocks to last the harsh winter.

"The disaster is looming large," Mr Khaliko said. "We have thousands and thousands of very vulnerable people.

"What these communities will have by 1 December is what they will have to live with. It's not much time. We basically have four weeks to deliver."

Oxfam's Policy Director Phil Bloomer said: "The logistical nightmare in Pakistan is bad enough without having to worry about funding shortfalls as well.


Disasters Emergency Committee (UK)
World Food Programme
Kashmir International Relief Fund
Red Cross/ Red Crescent

Dangers facing survivors

"Governments meeting in Geneva... must put their hands in their pockets and pay their fair share. The public will be shocked that so many rich governments have given so little," he said.

The charity warned that the gap between an emergency appeal being announced and funds actually being received could mean the difference between life and death for many thousands of survivors.

Only about 20% of the money requested in the appeal has actually been given, UN relief agencies estimate.

Oxfam also said current UN plans for a special Global Emergency Fund was seriously underfunded.

The new $1bn (£561m) fund was approved by world leaders in September.

It is supposed to act as a central UN pot of money, which can be handed out in emergencies.

But so far that too had failed to attract a fifth of the funding it needed, Oxfam said.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Over 50,000 now reported dead, perhaps 75,000.

And they say that this crisis is worse than the tsunami, because the situation is worse and people are not getting near the amount of money they need for relief.

Look on the news, is what happened in northern South Asia even on the news anymore?

I don't understand why people are not doing more, and why people care for only a little bit.

I can be so inspired sometimes by what I see, then sometimes I feel so disappointed by people. Or both.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

On the news

Anyway, over 40,000 have died now in Pakistan. Do you ever see it mentioned on the news, except for maybe a minute? Even the BBC website has pushed it to the side. 40,000 dead. When the New Orleans disaster happened it got a lot of coverage, although that has also subsided. The earthquake coverage barely lasted a few days. I don't get how people, normal everyday people, can be so indifferent and go about their lives as if nothing has happened. Don't think I feel this way because I'm pakistani (coz I'm not), or that I know people affected by the earthquake (I don't).

Also, look at this.

Was it good for Saddam to be ousted? I don't know, after reading stuff like that. But 100,00-150,000 Iraqis have died. and George Bush calls that freedom, thinks God told him to free the Iraqi people. Its unbelievable for him to say that, let alone believe it.

Friday, October 14, 2005


The last 3 are my cousin Faisal's photos.


Ladies and gentleman, Charleston, South Carrroliiinnaaa

The buildings are gonna jump the Ford.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

M.I.A. and Interpol

I could talk about books I've read and films I've seen, but why would I do that when I could talk about concerts? YES!

Tuesday was M.I.A. at St Andrews where I haven't been in a long long time. When we first get there its about 1/3 full but then it gets packed. The opening act was an MC who strongly made me think of Steve Urkel. He looked so young and had the coolest toyota yellow and orange jacket, MC Spank Rizzo or something. After the whole show me and my friends talked to him for a bit, he's saying he was from Baltimore and was so nervous to be up on stage coz he's new to it and everything. Really cool bloke, I really liked his stuff.

Well we didn't have to wait tooo long for MIA. She comes on rapping something I'm not familiar with, then goes into Pull Up the People. The whole show was great, though she didn't do Hombre - my guess is the DJ simply forgot to spin it, coz she did all the other Arular tracks. In the encore she did the great Piracy stuff, track 12 which is my favourite. She did URAQT but the Diplo version, but it was still wicked. I saw her back in May and I've read negative reviews of her live, but I think she does a good job. Since she was the headliner this time around she talked to the crowd quite a bit, but wot did she say, I dunno coz everyone kept screaming.

Afterwards I gave her massive bodyguard my CD (its got 2 tracks, one's a mix of URAQT) and he gave it to the guy in the pink tshirt who was one of her people. We waited outside, she came and shook hands, then did autographs. We talked to her. I could give you all the details because the whole encounter was so amazing but I will restrain myself. I told her that I gave my CD to the guy and stuff, and she asked bout my accent. M.I.A. has got to be the nicest person to her fans.

Sunday was Interpol. 3rd row center. They opened up with the opening of the 2nd album, which I really don't like, but I knew they would do that anyway. They were wicked, their sound was so powerful and captivating, the vocals being blended in as an instrument. I love that Danny the guitarist was doing crazy legs a lot. It was in the Michigan Theatre, which is a movie palace built in the 1920's, so people clapped after songs, which I found to be a bit funny. Thank God people were standing though. I was afraid people would actually use their seats.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Kanye West

Watching TV last week, Kanye West said Bush doesn't care about black people. I don't disagree with him. Let him say what he wants, I don't think Kanye should get in trouble for saying that or anything. I do believe that if New Orleans was left with white middle-class people after Hurricane Katrina, they would've gotten relief faster. As Bush likes to blame other people for his mistakes, he's making an inquiry into why things weren't done sooner regarding the relief effort, when he's the one who basically puts the wheels in motion.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Coldplay at DTE

I went yesterday to DTE Music Center (whatever its called) to see Coldplay live. The opening act was Rilo Kiley, some small band that I didn't like at all. Then come on Coldplay. They're a good act live and sounded good, and are such crowd-pleasers, from the visual effects to Chris Martin's antics. As always the coolest of them was the bassist, Guy. The concert was good but, I wasn't really feeling it. Usually I jump around a lot and sing to all the songs, but not last night. I definitely prefer gigs in small venues instead. A band playing in a small venue with a packed crown that's totally into it instead of standing around and taking photos, is much better. I can't think of any other bands I like that are as big as Coldplay, and I've already seen Oasis (which played in a very similar venue), so from now on it seems like I will only go to small concerts.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Indian films

For you desis out there: my dad just watched on tv a music video for bunty and babli with amitabh bachan rapping. i don't think the indian film industry could get lower than that.

but there is still hope. i watched Mangel Pandey: The Rising, in Atlanta. This has Amir Khan who hasn't been on the screen for four years, and I've been a fan of this man since I was 5 years old, honestly. I remember watching Dil at that age. Anyway, needless to say, Mangal Pandey is an amazing film. Not just because it has Amir Khan in it, but it really is a well-made film. Its made by the guy who made Devdas and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Definetely see this one in the cinema.

I also watched Black when I was in South Carolina. This is an Indian film about the Helen Keller story, who I had never heard of before. This film was alright, it was shot well. But, I think Indian films definetely need a spark of creativity and originality. Its all remakes or versions of Western films or based on old Indian stories. For example, Bunti & Babli is based on Bonnie and Clyde, Mangel Pandey is Mangal Pandey and Black is off of Helen Keller. They need new ideas, definetely.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

first post

testing testing one two three

first post this is. i finished reading riding in cars with boys by beverly donofrio. or something. its a coming of age story, but about a teenager mother instead who's forced to grow up eventually. a good, charming, honest, true story, written by the teenage mother herself, though not the best writing.

i am in south carolina, i leave on saturday, i got here on saturday. i was in charleston sunday and monday, the place to go to around here. its a place on the coast with loads of history. very nice and lovely place, walked around it, went to the beach (at night!), lots of eating out and hanging out with cousins. really a great place.