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JULY 1-7 2012

Cover Story

18 The Sultan of Screens Buoyed on by the success of Atrium Cinemas, Nadeem Mandviwalla gears up to revive the fortunes of Pakistani cinema

Feature

26 Stairway to Stardom Do you want a career in the entertainment industry? Give Phegency a call

34 Pakistan’s First Super Model Meet Rakhshanda Khattak, the highest paid and most-sought-after fashion model of the 1970s

38 Small Town, Big History

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Nagri Totial has fallen victim to neglect but this quaint little village still has a story to tell

26 Regulars 6 People & Parties: Out and about with Pakistan’s beautiful people 44 Reviews: The best of Hollywood and Bollywood this week 46 End Of The Line: A shocking result

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Magazine Editor: Zarrar Khuhro, Senior Sub-Editors: Batool Zehra, Zainab Imam. Sub-Editors: Ameer Hamza and Dilaira Mondegarian. Creative Team: Amna Iqbal, Jamal Khurshid, Essa Malik, Maha Haider, Faizan Dawood, Samra Aamir, Sanober Ahmed. Publisher: Bilal A Lakhani. Executive Editor: Muhammad Ziauddin. Editor: Kamal Siddiqi. For feedback and submissions: magazine@tribune.com.pk Printed: uniprint@unigraph.com


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Adidas launches its flagship store in Lahore

Juggun Kazim and Aamir Mazhar Sophiya

Mehreen Syed and Shahzad Raza

Bilal Mukhtar and Ahmad Ali Butt

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Moman and Hiram

Lubna and Farhad

Nayab

Maha, Saira and Mehreen

Vicky and Adil

PHOTOS COURTESY BILAL MUKHTAR AND EVENTS

Amna Babar


JULY 1-7 2012


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Sarah

Erum and Sabeen

Afreen Shiraz celebrates the first anniversary of Ellemint Pret in Karachi

Nadia

Faakhir

Sana and Sarah Yasir

8 JULY 1-7 2012

Marvi

Leena, Sana and Amber

Shaheen

PHOTOS COURTESY IDEAS EVENTS PR

Afreen Shiraz and Sumeha Khalid


JULY 1-7 2012


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Cinnabon holds the event Bake-a-Bon in Karachi and Lahore

Ainne, Saira and Maha

PHOTOS COURTESY VOILA PR AND BILAL MUKHTAR PR

Sabina Pasha

Javeria and Reya

Bombaywala launches its flagship store in Lahore

Aamir Mazhar and Resham

10 JULY 1-7 2012

Mariah and Imtisal

Humera and Natasha

PHOTOS COURTESY SAVVY PR

Alizay


JULY 1-7 2012


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Sidra Iqbal hosts the official digital platform of the annual Bollywood bonanza IIFA 2012 in Singapore

Zoya Akhter

PHOTOS COURTESY STATUSPRO

Raveena Tandon

Dia Mirza

Fardeen Khan

12 JULY 1-7 2012

Shabana Azmi and Sidra Iqbal

Sridevi

Javed Akhter

Bipasha Basu

Ranbir Kapoor


JULY 1-7 2012


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Nine West, US shoe and handbag brand, launches in Karachi

Sanam Chaudhri

Sadaf

Ayesha and Frieha Altaf

Mehwish Shahid and Musarrat Shahid

Anam Mansuri and Patrick

Nida Butt

14 JULY 1-7 2012

PHOTOS COURTESY CATALYST PR

Ayesha Omar and Anoushey Ashraf

Saira Saigol


FEATURE

They are talented, driven and ready to give it their all. And age is not a barrier. This is the new lot of Pakistan’s entertainment industry and they now have an outlet that can take them from struggler to star: Phegency, the talent house that can boast of launching gifted individuals who form an incredibly wide array of career choices. “I felt that it would be interesting to set up a talent agency that

caters not just to actors and models but to virtually every genre of BY MARIA JAFRY

art and to every talented individual there is in Pakistan,” says Pheby Haroon, the young and dynamic owner and CEO of Phegency who is just in her 20s.

The agency, based in Karachi, has a clientele that includes ac-

tors, models, dancers, writers and musicians. It has worked with

budding photographers, videographers, graphic designers, apparel and textile designers, and artists. Furthermore, its portfolio in-

cludes event planners, set designers, art directors, public relations managers, interior designers, and hair and makeup stylists. “This makes us truly one of a kind,” says Pheby proudly.

Their target market clearly agrees with that assertion. “We have

heard from over 1,000 people in the past six months,” she says,

when asked about the public response to her company since its launch in September 2011.

The reaction is not entirely unexpected given the phenomenal

popularity of television shows like ‘Maat’ and ‘Humsafar’ and Shoaib Mansoor’s recent films Khuda Kay Liyay and Bol. Of late, Paki-

stani television and print advertisements have also transformed,

constantly requiring unique talent and faces, and theatre plays

such as Anwer Maqsood’s “Pawnay 14 August” and “Mamma Mia” have been very well received. Over the last decade, the revenues for

Pakistan’s media business are estimated to have grown at 20.4%. Recognising this pattern, not just Phegency but talent agencies across Pakistan have taken advantage of it.

“I think it is a great thing to happen for the country. It is nice to

26 JULY 1-7 2012


see a dying art finally coming to life again with new faces such as Naveen [Waqar], Mahira [Khan]

and of course Fawad [Khan],” says Frieha Altaf, a pioneer and veteran in the agency business. “One can see that advertisers were starved for new faces.”

A popular yesteryear model herself, Frieha owns and runs a modelling agency through her com-

pany Catwalk Productions that she founded in 1989 in Karachi. Seeing the lack of a platform for

models, Unilever persuaded her to start an agency a few years after she established her company. People like stylists Khawar Riaz and Tariq Amin and photography and make-up duo Ather-She-

hzad, who had already established themselves in the business, came to her with their models. The idea behind this was to ensure that advertising agencies do not exploit people.

Today, young models seek out Frieha’s agency as their introduction into the world of entertain-

ment. “I feel very proud that I am the pioneer of the trend of talent agencies in Pakistan,” says Frieha.

The industry, it seems, is in a bit of a hurry to find fresh faces as Phegency’s youngest talent is

only eight months old!

“Casting agencies are a very good idea, provided they work professionally,” says Rashna Abidi,

from IAL Saatchi & Saatchi, one of Pakistan’s premier advertising agencies that provides services to immensely popular brands like Mobilink Jazz, Engro Foods’ Omore and Procter & Gamble’s Ariel.

“We don’t mind well-known or unknown talent. It depends on the requirement,” Rashna ex-

plains, when asked what casting brief they provide to agencies they work with. “For Jazz Budget a

few years ago, we opted for a ghazal singer named Ghulam Abbas, who was relatively unknown in mainstream circles but perfect to bring depth to Khul Ke Bolay Pakistan [the campaign name].”

Pheby understands this line of reasoning very well and has consciously steered her company to-

wards finding more and more new people. “The future is here. Demand for fresh, young talent has gone up without a doubt. And why not? Pakistan is a very talented country. We have amazingly talented people in every city and tremendous creativity among us all,” says Pheby.

“I felt that it would be interesting to set up a talent agency that caters not just to actors and models but to virtually every genre of art and to every talented individual there is in Pakistan,” says Pheby

27 JULY 1-7 2012


FEATURE Her enthusiasm and excitement is contagious for all those who

“I think it is a great thing to happen for the country. It is nice to see a dying art finally coming to life again with new faces,” says Frieha Altaf

work with her and her agency. “Phegency is itself a talent that is

giving other talents a platform to grow,” says Mustafa Changezi, a student who works for the company.

Newcomers aside, Phegency has also become the toast of indus-

try insiders who are beginning to approach the agency for more and more work.

“The Phegency team is young and experimental. In the years to

come, I expect them to become a creative force in the area of talent management,” says music video director Baber Sheikh.

For Hasan Rizvi, founder of the BodyBeat Recreational Center, it

is Pheby’s own personality that should be credited for Phegency’s quick ascent. “Pheby excels in coordination and communication

skills — the two elements that are vital to the success of a talent agency,” he says.

But what gives Pheby the encouragement to continue helping

others achieve their goals, no matter how difficult they appear to be? Perhaps, it was her own family’s reaction to her decision. “It

was near impossible to stand up and tell my parents that I want to

start my own company that will mostly deal with complete strangers from all over the country.”

Her brother Haaris also jokingly mocked her decision, but in be-

tween all that she found the name for her company. “My brother

came up with numerous names to mock me and, amongst the many possibilities, he combined my name with the word ‘agency’, forming Phegency. We went ahead with it,” she says, laughing.

Not even a year into the business, Pheby’s company has managed

to make its mark despite stiff competition in the market. So far, they have worked on many successful projects such as Pixarch, Daaman, Snog, ColorStudio, and were recently seen conducting auditions for “Pawnay 14 August” as it makes its way to Dubai.

At Phegency’s office, one sees young, eager people hurrying in

and out between portfolio shoots and auditions. There is an energy that is unique to this place, one that is a hybrid of optimism and

ambition. Their journey isn’t easy, but in Pheby they have a role model to look up to. “Many obstructions came my way [when starting out on my own], many I still stand before. But every obstruction comes with a challenge but making your way through challenges only makes you stronger,” she says.

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FEATURE

pakistan’s Pakistan’s first

super model From jiu-jitsu to baking and action stunts to sexy dresses, ‘70s fashion model Rakhshanda Khattak could carry off anything in style BY ROLAND BORGES

No fashion model of the 1970s got paid in the thousands, except for the larger-than-life Rakhshanda Khattak, who had to travel a rough road to make a name for herself in the still fledgling Pakistani fashion industry. Once, her husband Husain Javeri, a jeweller who hardly ever

skipped work, decided to accompany her to a modeling gig. After

watching his wife having to bend, stretch and contort her body

for the perfect pose, and that too for the pittance she was being paid, he approached the advertisement director and demanded

his wife be paid ten times the amount to make it worth her time. That was the amount of money someone would have to pay him to be away from his wife, he said. The director was shocked but

since he could not afford to lose her, he agreed. Following this

incident, Rakhshanda went on to become the highest-paid and yet the most sought after young model of her time.

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The Burmese-Pathan woman had her photos splashed across

JULY 1-7 2012


fashion layouts in various English and Urdu magazines. She did commercials ranging from products such as paints and tooth-

paste. She boasted a height many envied, and could drape her curvaceous figure — a far cry from the anorexic waif look of the

New York and Paris fashion world that has caught up with Paki-

stani models — in a classical sari or sashay about in casual bell bottoms, and still look desirable. When she entered a room,

heads turned as men stealthily gazed at her while women inspected her style.

Besides being gifted by exotic looks, she was a woman of many

talents. Rakhshanda was fluent in five languages. She was the first Pakistani woman to earn a black belt in karate and the

second black belt in Jiu-jitsu. This helped her execute her own stunts in an action-packed feature film named Jane Bond 008 in

Besides being gifted by exotic looks, she was a woman of many talents. Rakhshanda was fluent in five languages. She was the first Pakistani woman to earn a black belt in karate and the second black belt in Jiu-jitsu

1971. While her stunts awed audiences, something else captured the attention of the women: The black-and-white Pakistan-Iran

collaboration (that included an Iranian producer and male lead

actor) featured the young actress wearing a low-waist sari. And such was the impact of her fashion statement that it became a rage with young women to drape saris closer to their hips.

Rakhshanda forayed into the show business when a family

friend offered to cast her in a marketing campaign for his products. She did a few projects with him, and when she got noticed by other agencies she exploded into the limelight. She was not

represented by a management company or fashion house be-

cause such entities did not exist at the time. Advertising agencies were shady and models had to monitor their photo shoots on their own to make sure they were not being used without permission and due payment. Since there were no modeling agencies

or styling salons, most models did their own hair, makeup and

wardrobe. The typical fees for a modeling photo shoot was some-

where around Rs300, and that too was often delayed or worse, pocketed by the agencies.

That was until her husband, the man who managed to steal

her heart from her elite group of admirers, got her more. They

were married in 1970. Husain owned a famous jewelry store on Victoria Road, which later became Abdullah Haroon Road, and he designed some of the jewellery that Rakhshanda wore at the

posh social gatherings. He would sometimes sell the jewellery by the end of the party, and this never pleased Rakhshanda. He would pacify by her saying, “Don’t worry I’ll make you something much better!” Which he would, but then when these fine

pieces of jewelry were displayed on Rakhshanda and the opportunity came to sell, he probably did so.

Rakhshanda and Husain, along with their son Chengis, mi-

grated to Alberta, Canada, at the end of 1979 to be closer to one of Husain’s brothers. Later in 1983, the Javeri family became naturalised Canadian citizens.

The fame and spotlight that Rakhshanda left behind in order

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to begin life in her new homeland left a vacuum that she filled by JULY 1-7 2012


FEATURE

Rakhshanda’s love for Pakistan never died and, according to her son Chengis, she came back to Pakistan 22 times in the 30 years since she migrated

turning to designing her own clothes and cooking. She attended the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and got her red seal

in cooking and baking. Usually people specialise in being a chef or a baker, but she mastered both and topped both her classes.

Her love for clothes got her working in designer stores. She would go on to become a manager at every store she worked.

Rakhshanda’s love for Pakistan never died and, according to

her son Chengis, she came back to Pakistan 22 times in the 30 years since she migrated. She missed the sense of community that came with friends and family. She also missed the Karachi night life, which pretty much waned over the years as political change of the 1980s spread conservatism in society.

Rakhshanda died in her Alberta condo in December 2011. She is

survived by her son, who is an artist and actor in Alberta, and her five sisters, four of whom live in Pakistan while the other lives in Texas. Rakhshanda ruled the hearts of millions during her

prime, and her departure from the industry left her fans wistful

for more. Now that she has taken a final bow from this world,

fans like me celebrate the legacy she has left behind. Rakhshan-

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da Khattak, no doubt, was Pakistan’s first super model. JULY 1-7 2012


JULY 1-7 2012


FEATURE

small town, big history

BY OBAID ABBASI

The Haro River that cuts across the village of Nagri Totial is often dotted with frolicking young men in the summers. Small, serene and picturesque, it is ideal for tourists who wish to flee the sweltering summer heat of the plains and arrive in the green belt.

lage numerous times. It was here that the first Muslim provin-

The colourful tin roofs and lofty pine trees that emerge on the

His was a lineage that produced eminent politicians like Sardar

horizon as one crosses the river to enter the valley could make it pass off as just another village in the Galiyat. But this quaint village, which lies at an elevation of 4,081 feet, has a unique story

cial minister of the British Raj Khan Bahadur Abdul Rehman

was born, who went on to mobilise the Hazaras to vote in favour of uniting with Pakistan during the NWFP referendum in 1947. He later became a member of the executive council of the Paki-

stan Muslim League and grew close to Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Khan, his younger brother, and Sardar Inayatur Rehman Abbasi, his nephew.

Mostly hailing from the ‘Totialian’ branch of the Dhund Abbas-

to tell. It has seen Hindus and Sikhs co-habit with the Muslims

sid tribe (named after Toota Khan, an Abbasi chief) in the Hazara

remains of the chamber where Hindus used to burn their dead

ing south-east of Abbottabad up till Ghora Gali near Murree in

till the partition when they fled in large numbers to India. The still exist. “We lived together in peace and harmony. But soon after the creation of Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs left the valley. The

villagers provided them a safe escape,” says Mohammad Nasim

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The valley of Nagri Totial — home to heritage and breathtaking natural beauty — is falling victim to human neglect and greed but continues to stand as a symbol of a harmonious past

division, the villagers of Nagri Totial have settled on a stretch ly-

the east. Considerable numbers of Qureshis, Awans and Bhattis etc also live here.

One would think that this small town with a big history and

Qamar, a retired school teacher and a notable of the area.

breathtaking landscape enjoys privileges of better infrastructure

prime as many prominent officials of the empire visited the vil-

dar of the authorities and now suffers from multiple problems.

The British have enjoyed it as a summer retreat during their

JULY 1-7 2012

and resources. Regrettably, Nagri Totial has slipped under the ra-


Lora is the closest town to Nagri Totial, and accessible only by

hired jeeps, buses, taxis and personal cars. The nearest police station, the boys’ college, hospital and dozens of union council of-

fices are situated here. The bus station at Lora also services routes to other neighbouring villages. Yet the two roads that connect Nagri Totial with Abbottabad beyond Lora remain unpaved and bumpy. “Millions of rupees have been spent on this project but

the road paints a gloomy picture, which says not a single penny

was spent and public money was only wasted,” says Kosar Naqvi, a well-known local journalist. Plans envisioned in 1986 to connect these roads to the Grand Trunk Road remain elusive.

Medical facilities in the area are nonexistent. There is only one

Basic Health Unit, located some three kilometers away from the valley in the midst of a jungle, and that too is in deplorable condition. There is one high school for boys and one middle school

for girls. “Most of the teachers are absent. They are paid for sitting at homes,” says another local journalist Javed Iqbal, adding

that their complaints to authorities fall on deaf ears. The primary school that was damaged during the 2005 earthquake still awaits restoration by the dithering contractor, he says. The girls are thus forced to take classes in the boys’ primary school, which already lacks adequate teaching strength.

The rise of powerful commercial interests in the region is play-

“We lived together in peace and harmony. But soon after the creation of Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs left the valley. The villagers provided them a safe escape,” says Mohammad Nasim Qamar ing havoc with nature. Forests in the area are felled recklessly

by the influential timber mafia without so much as a hindrance from the Khyber-Pakhtunkwa forestry department. “Two wood-

cutting machines have been installed inside the Nagri Totial bazaar where the timber mafia regularly sells timber illegally,” says resident Javed Iqbal Abbasi.

On the other hand, the stone-crushing mafia has arrived and

installed their plant at the banks of Haro, polluting the entire

valley. “They first spoilt Ghora Gali-Lora Road and now they have reached here to disturb the natural beauty of the area,”

complains Sardar Jawadullah Khan, a student of International Islamic University in Islamabad and a social worker.

The picturesque valley of Nagri Totial is in need of rescue. Not

only does it need an exhaustive forest management project to sustain the indigenous natural resources, it also needs an effi-

cient social development programme aimed at uplifting the lives of the people. If Nagri Totial keeps falling into disrepair, Paki-

stan would indeed lose a valuable treasure forever. In the pursuit of material gain, we forget that the cost of neglect and exploitation leads to irreparable damage.T

JULY 1-7 2012

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REVIEW

political games BY SABA IMTIAZ

There may be a depressing sense of familiarity that weighs in when watching Shanghai, the excellent new film by Dibakar Banerjee, who has to his credit films like Love Sex Aur Dhoka and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! For anyone who has witnessed their city turn into an urban sprawl of housing developments and a hub for targeted killings and political grandstanding, the corruption at every level of the state and the smoothness with which criminal activity is carried out, Shanghai will feel all too close to home. Despite the fact that it manages to pack in all of these issues in an overlapping manner, the film works. The setting: a coalition government in a state run by a chief minister with a grandiose project that’ll work wonders in an election year — an ‘international business park’ — and a population at risk of being forcibly displaced from their homes to pave way for it. Sounds familiar? It gets better. The characters — a lowbrow videographer who films pornography when he isn’t shooting publicity hungry politicians, a determined young activist and a rising bureaucrat with a shot at a move to Stockholm if he manages to pull off the chief minister’s ‘development’ agenda — find themselves connected in a plot of attempted murder that neither of them can figure out and their naiveté challenged in every possible way. The three lead characters are played by Emraan Hashmi, Kalki Koechlin and Abhay Deol respectively, and they fit into their roles seamlessly, almost erasing images of Deol’s brilliant vodka-spewing turn in Dev D, the modern retelling of Devdas, or Hashmi’s notoriety as a chauvinistic romance star. Shanghai screenwriter Urmi Juvekar described Hashmi’s appeal perfectly in an interview with livemint. com: “I have always been a fan of Emraan and once the script was done, it was clear that he was the best choice. He has always played characters which have made the middle-class audience uncomfortable. It just had to be him to play that other India which we wish vanishes.” The man opposing the chief minister’s International Business Park is Dr Ahmedi, played by Prosenjit Chatterjee. He is the archetype activist: savvy, with just a hint of his jaded spirit seeping into his idealism. His wife fails to see the passion in what he’s doing while his protégé, Koechlin, treats him like a deity. Banerjee twists their lives and turns them into characters in a story that is straight out of a crime reporter’s notebook, set to a thumping soundtrack of political party jingles and replete with government functionaries (Farooque Sheikh’s role is particularly noteworthy) who would rather shelve inconvenient truths away in a 44 dusty file or rip the papers out altogether. The film also boils down to JULY 1-7 2012

the choices one makes: as a rising bureaucrat, should Deol actually go ahead with conducting an inquiry that implicates those that have helped him make his career or should he close it down and jet off to Stockholm? For Koechlin and Hashmi, these choices are more difficult: they have to pick between pursuing the course of justice at the cost of their lives and turn into investigators while literally dodging political strongmen and bullets. Banerjee’s characters manage to not be nauseating do-gooders, save for the somewhat saccharine way the film ends. But in all, Shanghai is a gritty, visceral representation of the way our cities and governments function. For anyone interested in how urban development, crime and politics are interlinked in the subcontinent, this film is a must-watch.T


a retro delight BY NOMAN ANSARI

You can call him pretentious, or you can call him a delight. Perhaps he is a bit of both. Wes Anderson, the beloved director of appealing offbeat films such as Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001),and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), applies a number of motifs in his work that make his films feel just a little bit fantastical, without having any actual elements of magic. This holds very true for his latest film Moonrise Kingdom which, in what should be a pleasure to his diehard fans, is unmistakably his in every manner. Set in 1965, this charming comedy-drama is about two 12-yearold kids: an orphan named Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and a girl named Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward). The two meet at a church performance and continue their friendship as pen pals. During this time, they fall in love and decide that they would elope when they are reunited a year later — which they do — leaving the whole town searching for them. Of those trying to find the pair is the town sheriff Captain Sharp, who is played in a typically engaging performance by Bruce Willis. Also searching are Suzy’s dysfunctional parents, the two lawyers Walt (Billy Murray) and Laura Bishop (Frances McDormand). Others looking for the runaway lovers are the ‘Khaki Scout’ group, of which

brave hits the target BY NOMAN ANSARI

For a movie that comes from an animation film studio that brought us ground-breaking films like The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008) and Up (2009), Pixar Animation Studios’ Brave is just a touch disappointing. Although it features gorgeous 3D visuals, powered by Pixar’s recently rewritten animation system, the film’s narrative plays it far too safe and conventional for a studio that is known for covering brave new ground. While the film is good on the whole and has plenty of heart, it resorts to many fairytale clichés and isn’t as imaginative as it promised. The film is set in a Scottish kingdom called DunBroch, where we are introduced to Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) and her impressive archery skills. During a hunting trip with her mother Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) and her father King Fergus (Billy Connolly), Merida’s family is attacked by a powerful bear named Mor’du. The royals barely escape, but not without the king losing his leg. Later, Merida is approached by bumbling royal suitors for her hand in marriage, which leaves her less than happy. And soon Merida’s tomboyish ways land her in trouble with her mother. When she tries to repair the relationship, things get worse, and she unwisely feeds her mother a magical tart given by a witch (Julie Walters) that, to her shock, turns the

Sam was a member, led by Scout Master Randy Ward (Edward Norton), and the Social Services concerned for the orphan, led by actor Tilda Swinton. Where Moonrise Kingdom succeeds is in its quirky characters who are led by their own emotions without a care for anything else in the word. In previous Anderson films, his characters were funny and quirky but sometimes a little too self-involved which, at times, came across as more annoying than endearing. Here, the character quirks work mainly because the main leads aren’t adults but children. In typical Anderson fashion, Moonrise Kingdom is shot and edited simplistically and presented in a colour palate that noticeably prioritises a few select colours. The chosen colours happen to be an easy yellow, a cherry red, and a fresh green that give the film a relaxed visual appeal. The film is also paced deliberately, almost exaggeratedly, which is where Moonrise Kingdom at times comes close to feeling more ostentatious than it should. But while the film has plenty to offer, how much you actually like Moonrise Kingdom will depend upon how much you like Wes Anderson.

queen into a bear. Looking to undo the spell, Merida learns that the only way to return her mother to her human state is to repair the bond between them. Meanwhile, there is more drama when her father mistakenly believes that his wife was killed by the bear that Elinor has become. Brave is top notch in terms of production value. Aside from the visual eye candy, featuring beautiful Scottish locales, the film has a fine soundtrack and is backed by some exceptionally good voice acting. It is a pity that the talented cast didn’t have a better script to work with which, among other shortcomings, lacks subtlety in its social message for mothers and daughters to share a stronger bond. The film also makes many references to Mel Gibson’s academy award-winning historical epic Braveheart, which regrettably are as humourless as they are plentiful. Having said that, it is heartening to see another animated film, after Disney’s Mulan (1998), star a strong female lead character that is intelligent, strong-willed and endearing at the same time. And while Brave doesn’t fly quite as seamlessly as Merida’s arrows, it still manages to hit the 45 target well enough to be worth viewing. JULY 1-7 2012


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The Express Tribune Magazine - July 1