Skip to main content


Click Here for Hum Award 2014 Coverage

Click Here for Bridal Couture Week BCW 2013 Review

Click Here for BeHadd Premiere review


Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed...

Musical Evening: ‘Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi'. Thank you HUM TV for the Invite.

Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal /30th March 2013

I came at 8:30pm.....wanted to get the best seats in the house’, said the youngster.

It was now past 9, the choicest seats had been dibbed and the show had yet to begun. Sounds of music filled the open air venue and a sea of expectant faces were focused on the stage every time a worried looking figure with phone in hand came in view.

The price of admission included singers who doubled as hosts, acclaimed stage artists with a trophy (or two) under their belt and soulful echoes from the past. The scene was from HUM TV’s musical show held at a local club in Karachi on a balmy spring night. It featured an array of veterans and fresh idols all set to regale the polite looking crowd with some ‘evergreen’ songs from the romantic collection.

Fariha Pervez, Nabeel Shaukat, Sara Raza, Kamran Saggu, Ameer Ali and Afshan Fawad took the audience down memory lane with their rendition of classics heavily laced with Indian flavors.

Sara Raza (L) with Kamran Saggu (R)

The solos and duets did not need any introduction according to the hostess - at which some youngsters sniffed dubiously but the older generation seemed to agree.

Ameer Ali (R) with Afshan Fawad (L)

'They also needed to be sung in original form sans any improvisation to get the full experience.' And that is how they were presented. A well deserved round of applause for Mr. Mehboob Ashraf – the conductor and his merry band followed and the audience prepared to head back in time.

The nostalgic journey recapped legendary numbers by oldies like Rafi, Kishore, Talat Mahmood, Lata and Asha for starters. Pakistan’s rich musical heritage was represented by just a handful of ditties. The queen of melody, Nur-Jehan would make an appearance but the wave from the 1970’s overwhelmed the arena. But whenever Pakistani masters did manage to bypass the embargo and make it to the beautifully decorated stage, they were hailed by cheers.

Nabeel, also met by happy shrieks and approving nods is the winner of the first Indo - Pak music contest, as well as ‘Azme Alishan National Song Competition’- Season 2 in Pakistan. His historical win hailed as the nation’s victory got the necessary applause. His wish to honor legends stayed true to script.

Nabeel Shaukat Ali

He tried his hand at yodeling, tossed encouraging words at the timid crowd and got them to sing along to the beat of tunes like ‘Ye Jawani Ta Ra Ru Ru’.

Both Nabeel, Ameer and Sara have represented Pakistan on a talent show that pits singers from both sides of the divide against each other. Sara is also the winner of the best OST at the 1st Hum Awards as well as a local singing show ‘Bright Star’ and garnered her share of applause and shrieks. The other singers must be feeling left out when they wondered aloud at the hysteria generated by the award winning duo.

Nabeel Shaukat Ali (L) Sara Raza (R)

Since it was a live recording, the singers appeared concerned with perfection and demanded several re-takes. There were ample missed cues, music left backstage, music sheets flying off the stage, and misplaced cue cards, which will hopefully get edited out. Perhaps this is why rehearsals came into fashion. For many the unscripted moments were just as entertaining as the show. A few, however noted the lack of Pakistani on the musical menu.

Musical Huddle

The series of trance inducing numbers was occasionally broken by some foot tapping performances. At one point Nabeel had to take five because of instrument failure – some drum sticks met their untimely end during a particularly lively number. Though it was not a request based program, Fariha Pervez promised to perform her trademark song ‘Patang Baaz’ after-wards once the cameras had stopped rolling.

Fariha Pervez

‘Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi’ was a collaborative effort by Defence Authority Club & HUM TV that showcased the ‘golden voices’ of yesteryears and put the spotlight on the best of Pakistani talent.

Defence Authority Club

Images: Copyrighted


Popular posts from this blog

BOOK REVIEW: Pakistan: Beyond The ‘Crisis State’ / Author: Maleeha Lodhi

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Published in Daily Times / Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

Published under the title: 17 Reasons to Hope

“History will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, history will have its revenge and retribution”— from the movie, ‘Good Night, & Good Luck’

A region known for most “terrorist sightings”, a place feared for harbouring medieval mindsets next to progressive thinkers and a nation shunned for having an affinity for nuclear toys. By turns a cautionary tale, an indispensable ally and an international pariah, Pakistan does not fit into any mould — for long. But its name crops up whenever things go awry.

Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’ is a compilation of articles put together by Maleeha Lodhi that countermands the grim prognosis. When Ms Lodhi, who has served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and UK, acknowledges that “resilience has been part of Pakistan’s story from its inception, obscured by the single issue lens…

FILM REVIEW: West Bank Story a live-action short film (2007)

Published in The POST May 17, 2007

Directed by:Ari Sandel
Written by: Kim Ray and Ari Sandel
Duration: 21 Minutes
(An official selection of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival)

The Middle East is better known for staging violent uprisings, certainly not for inspiring comedic masterpieces.

Since 1967, the West bank has spawned a surge in Arab hostility, frequent visits to the Middle East by Condoleezza Rice and lately, a small little inspirational musical comedy about competing falafel stands, directed, co-written and produced by Ari Sandel (part Israeli, part American Californian native). Since there is no easy way to represent both sides fairly, the very notion of West Bank Story is greeted with a justifiable mix of scepticism, wariness and resentment at first. No doubt, it is a precarious balancing act that mandates such a film to be witty without being offensive, show compassion without discrimination and entertain without losing substance. So does West Bank Story deliver?

West Bank Story

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Sunset — The Rise & Fall of the Lahore Durbar Author: Amarinder Singh

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Published in Daily Times under the heading: Lahore Durbar in free fall

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

After the Mughals exited, but before the British arrived, the Lahore Durbar was presided over by Maharaja Ranjit Singh Bahadur, affectionately known as the ‘Lion of Lahore’, who makes a brief appearance in Amarinder Singh’s narrative, but leaves a lasting impression on his history.

Ranjit Singh, who has been described in the book as a great man and an outstanding military commander, was a mass of contradictions. For instance, he was against the death penalty but not averse to robbing widows, believed treaties were meant to be broken but treated the vanquished with kindness, and thought nothing of inviting guests only to divest them of their most prized possession — like the Kohinoor diamond. He may have spent the better part of the day leading military campaigns, yet he did not always harbour territorial designs and is said to have waged a war on hi…

BOOK REVIEW: Hira Mandi / Author: Claudine Le Tourneur Dlson

Published in Daily Times Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reproduced on Claudine Le Tourneur Dlson's Website

Translated from French by Priyanka Jhijaria

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

A programme about Hira Mandi did the internet rounds a couple of years ago. It claimed, among other things, that the sons of the ‘dancers’ reportedly end up as lawyers, doctors, artists — a few join politics and some even reach the military. These outrageous statistics may be one of the reasons the documentary was banned from the mainstream media. That and its primary premise — the plight of the fallen women — would prompt the conservatives to howl with dismay before scurrying off to bury any evidence in the backyard along with other bodies.

Claudine Le Tourneur d’Ison embeds such wrenching moments in a bold narrative where its doomed protagonist can hail the brave new world and its genteel patrons from an extraordinary vantage point. The expedition to the underworld with the unfortunate progeny and the hapless…

BOOK REVIEW: Inside the Pakistan Army: A Woman’s Experience on the Frontline of the War on Terror

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Published in Daily Times / Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal

Author: Carey Schofield

First Abbottabad, then Admiral Mullen, and now the BBC — whispered allegations against the Pakistan Army have picked up pace. Thus far it has been unable to build an effective counter against the barrage of accusations headed its way. Thus far it has watched its credibility plummet and the problems mount. That the military’s weakened standing can be attributed to a series of unfortunate events — some of their own creation, others beyond their control, have left their image tarnished. Even the fact that a Pakistani checkpost recently came under NATO fire and suffered heavy casualties did little to alter the negative perception.

Carey Schofield, the author of Inside the Soviet Army, who admits to having spent seven years studying the Pakistan Army, is off to vindicate her hosts. Since she does not practice the military’s customary caution, her…

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…


First Published inDaily Times / 5 Jan 2013

Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal

Demigod fans who bade farewell to Percy – (son of Poseidon) & the Olympian franchise a few years ago must have wondered what the writer was up to as they came across a ‘final’ Prophesy conveniently left unresolved at the end of the saga.

The Last Olympian’ concluded the five part series wrapping up Percy Jackson & his merry band of demi-gods' extended arc with a high-octane finale and an emotional send-off. Though Rick Riordan had moved on to explore Egypt in ‘The Kane Chronicles’, he wasn’t done with Olympus, its ever shifting centre of power or its hoity-toity god population for that matter.

The cryptic warning heard in the final pages is used to establish the credentials of this spin-off. The gods return in the ‘Heroes of Olympus’ series - distant as ever and in Roman form heralding a brand new dawn with the promise of new crusades, a shiny new quest, fresh faces and an ancient threat. And Percy is b…