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ART REVIEW: Flying solo with ‘the artist presently known as Omar Farid’

First Published in Daily Times (Pakistan) / 23 June 2013 - Sunday Edition


A small gathering of connoisseurs and curiosity seekers get a personalised tour of the show, their ‘oohs’ and ‘ahas’ broken by an occasional ‘o my that is disturbing’, at which the artist bows and looks pleased. Omar Farid’s ‘Flying Solo’ exhibition promises a delightful getaway to a spruced up wonderland. A few days earlier at another gallery, he was seen airing his views on real art, which must be unforgettable — leave lasting imprints, make one think and blink — or words to that effect.
We see what he means at his opening held the very next week at the Art Chowk in Karachi.




A wily feline in ochre/burgundy tones looms into view, oozing malevolence and doom for some unsuspecting bird, mercifully out of frame. There is no need to overanalyse the creature. In this case, a cat is just a cat. The experience will get ‘curiouser’ as a macabre, ink and acrylic induced haze envelops the quaint backdrop.



What do you …

TELEPLAY (Early Bird) REVIEW: BEHADD (HUM Tv)

First Published in Daily Times (Pakistan) / 08 June 2013

Congratulations Asim Raza on winning the 2014 Hum Award for best Teleplay


Asim Raza (Director Behadd)

The lights dim, and a warning is issued. There will be no gloss in Asim Raza’s presentation. The audience braces itself. This is not a film per se, Asim clarifies, adding that “a long play with substance will be at par with a telefilm.” The audience relaxes.

The directorial debut of Raza’s latest venture took place at the newly opened Cinepax, Ocean Mall (Karachi) towards the end of May. Behadd (Unlimited), which will be aired on Saturday, June 8, 2013 on HUM TV, is a nuanced family drama that mines a (single) mother-(spoiled) daughter relationship for spectacle. Raza, hailed as an ace commercial/music video director, did it in a short span of time, with his small support system and a lot of help from friends. For him this was a challenge taken on to counter the flurry of insinuations hurled his way of propping up visuals with th…

OP-ED: Fashion Week – More Than A Pretty Footnote

First Published in Economic Affairs June 2013 Issue

‘Artists are the gatekeeper of truth. We are civilizations radical voice’. Paul Robeson

There was a conference on counter-terrorism underway in Hyderabad as fashion week was winding down in Lahore. One of the presenters, a Dutch with a Phd and a thesis on the effects of fear on social behavior had indicated resilience as part of the counter-terrorism strategy. ‘We had a fashion show, does that count?’ I later asked Dr. Mark Dechesne who was in town recently. If he was startled, he did not show it.



Two things have been trending on twitter since April 2013. Fashion week finds itself in the same time slot as politics and as politicians perfect their strut on the political ramp, the fashionistas have taken to the red carpet and designer-wear floods the catwalk. Though fear overshadows both events, people refuse to let the claustrophobic environment dictate their social calendar.



The famed fashion week which started from Karachi and co…

BOOK REVIEW: INFERNO by Dan Brown

First Published in Daily Times / (Pakistan) / 1 June 2013

Reproduced in The Kashmir Moniter



Fans who have kept up with Robert Langdon, our favorite symbologist/iconologist on quests that take him to the Vatican, Paris or Washington, will willingly join the professor jogging through the picturesque streets of Florence. Even when he claims to have a sad case of amnesia, no way of telling the time (his signature time piece lost), and a wily assassin on his tail, he is a force of nature.

It is a part he was born to play. And in Dan Brown’s murky universe, it is one he reprises at the first sign of an anagram.

The author uses the sorry state of mankind as a launch pad to project his ominous design, decrypt a Renaissance painting and set a controversial debate in motion. His novel provides delicious historical context as it plumbs the depths of Dante’s tortured soul and his savage interpretation of hell, helpfully illustrated by Botticelli (and available for viewing on iPad’s Dante app). …