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JUNE 8-14 2014

On the playlist The DJ industry steadily picks up momentum in Pakistan


JUNE 8-14 2014

Festivities

Soul Act Malaysia celebrates cultural harmony through dance and music

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Feature

Small Wonder Microalgae biodiesel could help reduce Pakistan’s fuel shortage

Cover Story On the playlist Music maestros who spin your world

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4

38 Regulars

6 People & Parties: Out and about with beautiful people

40 Reviews: Movies and TV series 46 Sports: A sneak preview of the FIFA World Cup 2014

Magazine In-charge: Sarah Munir and Sub-Editors: Dilaira Mondegarian & Mifrah Haq Creative Team: Essa Malik, Jamal Khurshid, Samra Aamir, Kiran Shahid, Munira Abbas, Omer Asim, Sanober Ahmed & Talha Ahmed Khan Publisher: Bilal A Lakhani. Executive Editor: Muhammad Ziauddin. Editor: Kamal Siddiqi For feedback and submissions: magazine@tribune.com.pk Twitter: @ETribuneMag & Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ETribuneMag Printed: uniprint@unigraph.com


PEOPLE & PARTIES

L’oreal Paris holds an interactive session at Dolmen Mall, Karachi

PHOTOS COURTESY KASHIF-UD-DIN

Aziza and Salima

Zainab Pasha and Zohair Ayub

Ujala Zia

Aale Mowjee

Alizeh Pasha and her son

6 JUNE 8-14 2014


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Sorath Majid, Mariyam Shahjahan and Rabeeyah Tungekar

PHOTOS COURTESY KASHIF-UD-DIN

Hira Qureshi and Nairah Saeed

Anila Ali

Saba Ansari

Sara Hashmat and Fahad

8 JUNE 8-14 2014


PEOPLE & PARTIES

The Firdous Concept Store opens in Hyderabad

PHOTOS COURTESY TAKE II

Rabia and Urooj

Ambreen and Naureen

Abeer Adeel

Saima Azhar, Sherry Shah and Akif Illyas

Rimsha and Najma

10 JUNE 8-14 2014


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Shehla Chatoor exhibits her jewellery designs in Karachi

PHOTOS COURTESY SHEHLA CHATOOR

Maria Wasti and Ayesha Omar

Fariha Lutfullah and Bina Ghumro d Aamina Sheikh an Shehla Chatoor

Sanam Chaudhri

Aryanna Alikhan, Sabriyah Chatoor, Raaheen Alikhan and Mona Jilani

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PEOPLE & PARTIES

Zahida Habib, Aiman Moazzam and Farah Afridi

PHOTOS COURTESY SHEHLA CHATOOR

Shazdeh Vakil and Faiza Fuad

Faiza Lakhani

Zarmin Bashir

Beenish Haji and Mahnaz Noorani

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PEOPLE & PARTIES

Khas lifestyle store opens in Lahore

PHOTOS COURTESY BILAL MUKHTAR EVENTS AND PR

Shoiab Mukhtar and Hina Shoaib

Sharmeen, Janat and Nageen

d Sumayrah Redah Misbah an

Huma Amir Shah

Turab and Salma

16 JUNE 8-14 2014


PEOPLE & PARTIES

The kidswear line Unnu Sulle opens in Lahore

PHOTOS COURTESY BILAL MUKHTAR EVENTS AND PR

Aaizzah and Komal

Hira, Aysha, Javeria, Jasrah, Huma, Saman and Rahaab

Moiz

Nadia and Sam Ali Dada

Chandni, Salaar and Rabia

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ON THE


E PLAYLIST Music maestros who spin your world BY NOMAN ANSARI DESIGN BY MUNIRA ABBAS

As sweaty bodies sway to pulsating beats on the smoke-filled dance floor, few notice the guy seated behind the laptop screen with his elaborate turntable, mixer and speakers, who is the real life of the party. The logic is simple — bad music can ruin a good evening. Hence, the key to keep the party grooving into the wee hours of the morning is to hire a good DJ. The culture of elaborate mehndis with their choreographed dance sequences that gained popularity in the early 2000s consequently created demand for well-synchronised music and a new market for DJs in Pakistan. Lavish budgets are now set aside to procure a professional DJ who will sync every beat with the dance move and keep the party going. Although not as common as mehndis, these commercial DJs also earn a steady income from private parties, fashion shows, product launches, raves and political rallies in some cases. Alternatively, the wave of globalisation following the Musharraf regime exposed the younger urban generation to a whole new world of music and led to a new breed of DJs who started experimenting with various kinds of electronic dance music. Even though the political instability and wave of extremism in the country over the past few years has not been kind to most forms of art and culture in the country, these handful of DJs are determined to create and sustain a market for this art form. “There was a time when everyone loved rock ‘n’ roll bands and wanted to be a rockstar,” says Ali Safina, a radio host, DJ and one of the co-founders of Pakistan DJ Network, a platform for local DJs to collaborate, create and share music. “Then came hip-hop music and everyone wanted to look like a hip-hop artist. Now is the age of DJs and everyone wants to be one.” Hira Tareen, a DJ and the other half of the duo behind the network, explains that each DJ has a different range, style and variety of music. Family event or shaadi DJs are those who have a great collection and live mixing skills in Bollywood music. The Commercial Club Top 40 DJ is someone who promotes the newest in popular music. The Turn Table or Serato DJs are those who like to showcase their live mixing skills and unique taste in music by providing smooth transitions from one song to another and creating an unforgettable experience for the crowd with their collection. Lastly, The Ableton or Electronic Music Producer DJ is someone who likes to highlight their own music production live, yet may or may not be able to provide a flawless shift from one track to the other since their priority is creating the sound rather than mixing the transitions. “I don’t expect everyone in Pakistan to know exactly what the art of DJing is all about because there hasn’t been enough of it on a mainstream level,” says Tareen. “Every kind of DJ has their own standing in their immediate reference group. For example, most people have experienced DJs playing at mehndis or wedding events only.” But according to Danyal Achria, who has been in the industry since 2000 and has played at many prestigious Canadian clubs, including The Guvernment, one of the most wellknown nightclubs in the world, things were moving in the right direction in the music 27 JUNE 8-14 2014


DJ Hira Tareen has also played at several gigs in the United States. PHOTO BY: HUMZA SYED PHOTOGRAPHY

DJ Danyal Achria has been in the industry since 2000. PHOTO BY: HUMZA SYED

DJ Hassan Malik at an event in Lahore. PHOTOS COURTESY: PAKISTAN DJ NETWORK

PHOTOGRAPHY

business in Pakistan until 2008. “During Musharraf’s time [the scene] was [thriving] but after 2008, everything became a problem — from police to agencies to [the wrong] people drinking and doing drugs. There are hardly two or three people now who can throw raves because they have the right connections and the right political links,” he says. Compared to India, where there are plenty of platforms for such artists to shine, things are much more difficult at home. Safina adds that the Pakistan music scene still has a long way to go before underground DJs can make a full time career out of it and earn a reasonable income. “I don’t think that it is possible to making a living being a DJ at this point in time. [On the other hand] people like DJ Butt are in a different category, because they have [very expensive] equipment [as a resource].” But even the 36-year-old DJ Asif Butt, who rose to national fame after his affiliation with the political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), started from humble beginnings. Before getting into the music business, Butt used to sell coffee at a small shop in Model Town, Lahore. It was at the suggestion of a few friends and customers that he brought his own imported sound system, played at a few weddings and the 28 rest was history. JUNE 8-14 2014

In 2011, Butt was introduced to PTI by a friend, a few days before the party’s sit-in in Peshawar and there has been no looking back since. “Although the work is difficult, by the grace of Allah, I am able to do the job,” he says. “Both my ears have to be very alert. With one ear I pay attention to the speech, while with the other ear I listen to the music so that I am ready to play the type of music required.” And his well-timed music has provided the perfect punctuations for party chairman Imran Khan’s speeches. “When Khan sahib says something sad, the music that follows has to be sad. When he makes a powerful point, I try to play something upbeat as it increases the josh in the crowd. People start moving with more energy and flags start waving,” he elaborates. “It also gives the person giving the speech a break to cough, take a breather, speak to those around him or have a sip of water.” Butt believes that one of his greatest strengths is the ability to gauge a person’s taste in music. And although the two have never discussed music at length, he claims he has a fair idea of the PTI chairman’s favourite. “Even though Khan sahib has never told me,I think his favorite song is ‘Dil naik ho, niyat saaf’ (your heart clean, your intentions pure).” He emphasises that knowing the audience is one of the most important as-


I don’t expect

Everyone in pakistan to know exactly what the art of djing is all about because there hasn’t been enough of it on a mainstream level For example, most people have experienced djs playing at mehndis or wedding events only DJ Hira Tareen

pects of a DJ’s job. “I tell my students as well that a DJ’s job is to provide music according to the atmosphere. If it is a rave, you have to play trance. At a dance party, you want people to dance with the pressure of the music.” However, for experimental DJs such as Tareen, the passion for introducing lesser-known music is the primary driving force. “While the easy formula to pleasing the crowd is to play some known tracks or what they call ‘bangers’ (tracks that are based on a formula proven to work with any crowd at any given time), it’s extremely unsatisfying to base your entire set on just that,” she says. “I don’t think I’d ever become a DJ if I didn’t get a kick out of introducing new things to people that they haven’t heard before.” To ensure the success of any music event, she points out that it is critical to know the objective of the event, the kind of experience one wants to offer their guests and their taste and knowledge of music along with the budget for a DJ. “A lot of times promoters or event planners bring their very own personal favourite DJ to a party they are throwing but the guests know nothing about that person or the kind of music they play,” she says. “This puts the promoter and DJ in an awkward situation when the DJ is playing a track by Stimming yet gets requests from the crowd to play ‘Jalaibee Bai’.” A difference in musical tastes is not the only challenge when catering to huge crowds at parties. Encounters with the law enforcement are also routine. According to Usman Ali, the managing director for DJ Shaano, one of the biggest names in the business in Lahore, the partying scene has changed drastically over the last few years and the work doesn’t carry the same thrill anymore. “Many


COVER STORY shareef clients are blackmailed by law-enforcement officials into paying hefty sums, which they happily pay to spare themselves from harassment,” he says. “We are just service providers who play music, but we do feel a client’s pain when these things happen and it affects our business.” The lack of consumer awareness isn’t limited to the law. “One of the biggest drawbacks of working in this field in Pakistan is that customers don’t appreciate quality. They will ask to pay the same rent for high quality equipment as they would for a low quality sound system from China,” says Ali. Since most people know little about music, they are far more preoccupied with the size of the sound system rather than its quality. Ali claims that playing at parties open to the public is also a challenge. “Some people who’ve never been to a party can’t handle the atmosphere. Under influence, these guys will talk down to the DJ [like a servant], commanding him to play songs, not realising that the DJ is an accomplished individual.” But he feels that the best way to handle such situations is to maintain your calm. Achria also feels that the association of drugs with music events is a hindrance to DJs. “There is a social stigma associated with raves and the electronic music culture in Pakistan due to the perception that one must be on drugs to enjoy the music. Even though the notion has changed abroad, the stereotypes are still quite strong in Pakistan.” However, one thing that is common between Pakistan and the global market is the relatively limited number of women in the industry. Tareen, who is sometimes labelled a ‘female DJ’ for marketing purposes by event managers, argues that her gender is irrelevant to her work. “I would rather be known as a great DJ rather than being known just as a female DJ,” she says. “Sure, it’s rare to see female DJs in Pakistan, but I know a handful of girls who have great taste in music here and if they perhaps had the same exposure or interests as I did, they too could become a DJ.” To counter this vacuum, she plans to conduct workshops for women who want to pursue this field. Just like their style in music, every DJ’s motivation for being in the business is equally diverse. For some commercial DJs, the money to be made at events is worth the trouble. DJ Rohit who has played in several cities including Karachi,

Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana for the past eight years claims that he makes nearly Rs50,ooo at every party. Others like Acharya do it purely out of passion. “”I feel rap and hip-hop is about the same stuff — money and women. Pop music is all about love and relationships,” he says. “What I love about electronic music is that it is about the music itself — the bassline, the kick, the drop, the high amp and the percussion.” DJ Oscar Jazz, on the other hand, finds it most rewarding when the crowd is happy. “I feel good about my work when my audience is on the floor and moving to the music. When people are dancing and happy, I know I have done my job right.” Noman Ansari is a freelance writer. He tweets@Pugnate

DJ Asif Butt, one of the most popular names in the business. PHOTO COURTESY: DJ BUTT

An elaborate setup at one of DJ Shaano’s events. PHOTO COURTESY: DJ SHAANO


DJ Asif Butt at one of his events. PHOTO COURTESY: DJ BUTT

One of

The Biggest drawbacks of working in this field is that customers don’t appreciate quality. They will ask to pay the same rent for high quality equipment as they would for a low quality sound system from China DJ Usman Ali

.


Soul Act Malaysia celebrates cultural harmony through music and dance

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY DILAIRA DUBASH DESIGN BY SANOBER AHMED

Entrance to the Citrawarna 2014 parade.


At the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the drumbeats set the tone for the evening. On the brightly illuminated street below, around 600 boys and girls sway to the rhythm of the music in their sparkling, ethnic costumes and elaborate headdresses. Their electrifying energy is almost palpable for the audience positioned a few feet away. And just like the name promises, the 2014 Citrawarna festival in Malaysia begins with a riot of music, culture and colour.

Singer Atilia.

Singer Iqwal Hafiz.

A Chinese dancer performing the harvest dance.

As part of the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign, the event, held in May each year, was a run-up to the grand ‘Colours of 1 Malaysia’ scheduled to take place in September. The Citrawarna, which was first celebrated in 1999, has become a favourite with tourists and locals over time. Each year the kaleidoscope of fascinating performances draws throngs of people and this year was no exception. An estimated 30,000 people flocked to the Malaysian capital to enjoy this cultural extravaganza featuring folk songs, dance and traditional costumes from around Asia. The parade passed through the Malaysia Tourism Centre and Jalan P Ramlee area, famous for its nightlife, and aptly concluded at the city’s landmark. The evening’s performances began with Atilia singing ‘The Best Time of Your Life’, the melody she sung as an advertisement for the Department of Tourism of Malaysia. This was followed by a powerhouse performance by 22-year-old Iqwal Hafiz whose footwork was as effortless as his singing. As the audience chanted ‘one more’, the singer seamlessly took up a soft, soulful Chinese number to please the majority in the audience. Just when it seemed that the music and singing was taking a ‘softer’ turn, a flurry of drumbeats ushered in the dancers and the rest of the 35 JUNE 8-14 2014


FESTIVITIES evening flew by like a swirl of colour. To give a true feel of Malaysia, some of the country’s 13 member states, including Sarawak and Sabah, participated to give audiences a taste of their culture and traditional dances. Even the Orang Asli, ‘aboriginal people’ in Malay, wore their masks and charged up the audience with their foot stamping. The Chinese also exhibited their culture with the traditional harvest dance, swinging their sangmos (spinning streamer) and creating beautiful curves with ribbons. The Punjabi Indians in their neon-coloured, satin Patiala shalwars and turbans gracefully did the bhangra to the beats of famous Punjabi Bollywood tunes, and many from the audience joined in. Along with the cultural dances, a group of young performers in their crisp black uniforms and matching belts also showcased their strength in a powerful act of self-defence and street dancers commanded the stage with their head-turning stunts and fitting street attitude. It is impossible to do justice to culture without a dosage of fashion. Girls in saris and Chinese-style gowns with six-inch platform heels walked the red carpet in pairs of two, while striking a pose with wide smiles before the mostly amateur photographers in the audience. The parade ended with the girls standing in a row before the musicians on the stage and joining the dancers for a final performance. And just when the crowd began to thin out, famous Malaysian singer Datuk Muhammad Daud Bin Kilau made an appearance and started singing the tunes most Malays listened to while growing up. As the evening concluded with music in the background and the image of the iconic twin towers lit up in a barrage of fireworks, the vision of a united Malaysia shone brighter than ever. T

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Dilaira Dubash is a senior subeditor on The Express Tribune magazine desk. She tweets @DilairaM JUNE 8-14 2014

Street dancers perform a group stunt.

A performer wearing a peacock costume for an Indian dance.

A performer during the traditional orang kita dance.

Firework display during the final dance


performance. THE ABOVE PHOTOS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED BY ‘TOURISM MALAYSIA’.

JUNE 8-14 2014


FEATURE

Small

Wonder Microalgae present a cheap and easy solution to Pakistan’s ever-growing fuel woes The sight of algae suspended in seemingly putrid water, be it in an untended swimming pool or the edge of a lake, is sure to make one wince. But if this water is transferred to a beaker and used to extract oil, it is capable of running a car.

The microscopic form of algae, or microalgae, are rootless leafless plants living in water that are gaining importance worldwide as an upcoming biomass, which can be used to produce biodiesel, an environmentally friendly and renewable source of energy. Biodiesel can also be used

• Price of oil is US$102/barrel (Rs10149/barrel). • Pakistan’s diesel usage is eight million tonnes annually [equivalent to 28.28 million tons of oil]. This is 75% of the annual energy use. • Targets set by the Alternative Energy Development Board of Pakistan: — Replace 5% of the total diesel consumption with biodiesel by 2015. — Replace 10% of the total diesel consumption with biodiesel by 2025. • Biodiesel reduces net carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere by 78.5% as compared to conventional diesel fuel.

38 JUNE 8-14 2014

BY MEHMOOD ALI

DESIGN BY OMER ASIM

to substitute non-renewable fossil fuels, whose reserves are fast depleting, thereby making them unsustainably expensive. Biodiesel is produced from any oil containing free fatty acids, such as vegetable seed oil, animal fat or microalgae lipid. But since vegetable oil and animal fat are expensive, microalgae is the increasingly preferred raw material for making this form of fuel. Algal oil is converted into biodiesel by mixing it with alcohol and a base catalyst during which glycerin is produced as a by-product. Developing a focused programme to harness microalgae biodiesel can be extremely beneficial for a country like Pakistan, which consumes approximately eight million tonnes of diesel annually in transportation,the agricultural sector and various other industries. Even if 10% of the country’s annual diesel consumption is replaced with biodiesel, it will save an estimated $1 billion every year. Autotrophic algae, which are capable of synthesising their own food from inorganic materials using light and producing oil as a by-product, can be cultivated on 350,000 acres of uncultivated tracts of marginal semiarid land to make biodiesel production commercially viable in Pakistan. The country’s solar radiation (5.1-6.2 kilo-


The process of obtaining biodiesel

Protien Residue

Sun Energy

Oil Extraction

Biodiesel Production

Algae

Glycerin Products

(renewable resource)

CO2

Existing Technology

Renewable Fuel

SOURCE: WWW.ALGAEINDUSTRYMAGAZINE.COM

watt hour/square metre/day) is also best suited for microalgae cultivation which optimally requires 4.52 kilowatt hour/square metre/day. The use of microalgae biodiesel has several advantages over conventional diesel. For one, it is environmentally friendly, as the carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of biodiesel are re-absorbed during photosynthesis by the same number of plants from where it was derived. In fact, biodiesel reduces net carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere by 78.5% as compared to that of conventional diesel fuel. It is easier to grow microalgae, since they grow faster than terrestrial crops and require a smaller tract of land for cultivation. Its oil yield is also higher compared to that of other oil-yielding vegetable crops (canola yields 1,190 litres/hect-

are every year while microalgae yields 136,900 litres/hectare per year). Additionally, microalgae can be used to treat waste water, whereby the tiny organisms consume nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus,

Even if 10% of the annually consumed diesel is replaced by biofuel, it could save us $1 billion per year before it can be disposed off safely. The microalgae are also quite versatile in their use. The by-product in the form of glycerin has a market value of $36/litre (Rs3,582/litre), and its prime consumers are pharmaceutical, cosmetic and soap industries. Similarly, carbohydrates worth $14.25/kg

(Rs1,418/kg) and proteins worth $82/ kg (Rs8,159/kg) found in microalgae are used in nutritional supplements. The microalgae cake left over in the process can be burnt to produce heat energy or methane gas that can be used for heating or cooking in households. The species of microalgae native to Pakistan, however, has yet to be explored thoroughly. But as the cost of petroleum skyrockets and natural gas reserves continue to dwindle, it is worthwhile for the government to invest thought and money into this form of biodiesel.

Mehmood Ali is a PhD research scholar at the Systems, Power and Energy Research Division, School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow, UK. JUNE 8-14 2014

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FILM

Winging

the X-factor Hope, a crucial human attribute, is also the central theme of the lucrative X-Men films. It defines the plot and the motivation driving the characters in the latest installment of the franchise, X-Men: Days of Future Past. It is also what draws the audience into a world where presumably ‘normal’ people are capable of unbelievable things. The new X-Men movie, directed by Bryan Singer, could well be one of the best superhero movies ever made; not for its loyalty to the source material or for its special effects, but for its strong plot and character development. And adding to its strengths is the element of surprise. While the movie title is drawn from an extremely popular comic book storyline, the writers have taken a few liberties by drawing from other storylines just to keep everyone guessing. For one, Wolverine does the timetravelling instead of Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), a predictable change given the popularity of the character played by Hugh Jackman. Once Wolverine has gone back in time, a number of elements from other comic book story arcs come into play, most notably a few minor elements from the Age of Apocalypse. The movie opens with scenes of concentration camps and the X-Men in a dystopian future, where Sentinels, giant

X-Men: Days of Future Past perfects the past, present and the future BY VAQAS ASGHAR

mutant-killing robots, have essentially overrun humanity. Their mission is to eliminate all nonmutants as well to prevent them from having mutant children. This eugenics reference brings us to another key X-Men theme — civil rights. The comic books were greatly inspired by various civil rights movements in which the professor’s X-Men pursue the peaceful path and Magneto’s mutants the militant one. What sets the mutant civil rights movement apart, however, is that they are not a group that is hated or feared because they form a weak minority or are considered inferior. They are feared instead because they are powerful. In the movie, this fear becomes the bane of humanity, inspiring a few to initiate a weapons programme that could potentially annihilate the world. Once back in the ’70s, while Nixon is still in office, Wolverine must convince Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) to go back into professor mode to help stop an event that would lead to the creation of the Sentinels. Once the crew is assembled, a race against

time ensues, both in the present and the past. Aesthetically, the movie is a great watch — the computer-generated imagery and the visuals in general, especially the future fight sequences, leave the viewer afraid to blink. The flavour of the early ’70s, with direct and indirect references to the Vietnam War and other political issues, are worked seamlessly into the scenes. At the same time there is powerful dialogue, especially some of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart’s exchanges, as both are incidentally Shakespearean actors who have done fantastic jobs with the title character in Macbeth. The movie is full of minor characters and references that viewers unfamiliar with the comics might not fully comprehend. But part of its beauty is that the significance of those references is minimal to the core plot. For the loyal fan however, these references make X-Men: Apocalypse worth waiting for. Incidentally, thanks to the introduction of time-travel and multiple timelines, many characters could be making a much anticipated return. T Rating: Vaqas Asghar is an Islamabad-based senior subeditor for The Express Tribune. He tweets @Vasghar


TV

Sold The Mad Men make a final pitch that is impossible to resist BY SCHAYAN RIAZ

2 JUNE 8-14 2014

Lately a notion has been making the rounds that TV is slowly but surely becoming better than cinema. It’s that ‘cool’ thing to say when you’re at a party, right after you have confessed your love for Game of Thrones or the great Hannibal. Frankly, the comparison between the two is unjust, because for every mediocre film out there, there’s a trashy reality programme that makes the comparison seem inane. And then there are also period dramas like AMC’s Mad Men, which completely transcend this debate. The show, set in the ‘60s, depicts an ad agency and the life of its mysterious and sophisticated executive, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), who has consistently entertained us for seven years. Right from the first scene in which Don tries to get an African-American waiter to change a pack of cigarettes and serve his client’s brand in a New York City bar, up until the latest episode of season seven in which a recently deceased co-worker appears before him in a hallucinatory musical sequence, reminding him that money isn’t everything, Mad Men is in a league of its own. Last Sunday marked the half-season finale of Mad Men. The final season of the show has been split into two halves, and the remaining seven episodes will be aired in 2015. With this being the penultimate screen outing, several character arcs were explored and teased out, dancing around themes of perdition, retribution and sudden recoveries. While the title refers to the agency’s male employees, Mad Men has had an interesting shift in gender, as well as office politics, and the show’s women have emerged as equally important. Three of the four main women in Don Draper’s life are independent working women,


but it’s nice to see his stay-at-home ex-wife Betty Draper given more screen time this time around. A rendezvous, resolution or some sort of closure between them is vaguely hinted at — especially now that Don’s current marriage to actress Megan Draper is clearly going nowhere, smothered in a single, unsensational phone call. Peggy Olson, who delivers a fantastic ad pitch in the last episode, is unquestionably the female counterpart of Don. Their interactions throughout the years and dynamic, almost sibling-like relationship has been fascinating from the beginning. Theirs is a rollercoaster ride, and since it’s a highlight whenever the two are on screen together, there’s a feeling that this might not end well. Both of them respect each other a lot, and this complex intimacy feels inevitably doomed. We’ve seen glimpses of that whenever Don, a man who knows everything, has to work under Peggy, a woman he taught everything. Creator Matthew Weiner, who served as a writer on HBO’s The Sopranos, made sure that Mad Men’s world is designed minutely and authentically. The production design is top-notch and after six and a half seasons, every single prop feels like a well-thought out character. There’s the smoking and drinking of course, all part of the ‘60s office politics which now seem outdated, and yet there’s so much relevance in the way the characters act against each other. It’s not for the first time that a character has been stricken by literal madness, and it works well as comic relief when Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) cuts off his nipple because he’s afraid of that new ‘thing’ in the office — a computer (too creepy and alien for some in 1969). We laugh at him, but it’s affecting how such a substantial part of

our everyday life was perceived by some back in the day. What makes the show particularly delicious is the acting across the board. Even the child actors, such as Kiernan Shipka playing Don’s daughter Sally, are bundles of talent. Hamm himself is unquestionably ideal for the main role. After we learn mostly everything about the character’s upbringing at the end of season six, he plays a man, whose world has been pulled from under him, with compelling, albeit stoic, intensity. It’s a fine portrait of a broken man who has to learn the ropes in a field where he used to braid all the ropes himself. Oftentimes he excels in the quieter moments — when it’s his face doing all the talking. He plays an understated, unworried drunken man with equal aplomb as he does a guy who’d try to get his job back at any cost. It will be a tough wait for the final episodes of the final season next year. But that’s how great shows work — they test all your patience when they are off-air and attention when on. The hope is that Mad Men would stay focussed as a narrative and not upset the momentum built up so masterfully since season six. It would be interesting to see how Weiner will weave everything together eventually, perhaps in a ’70s setting. A change of decade would be very interesting, but only time will tell how the characters would fare in the end.

Rating: Schayan Riaz is a writer based in Germany. He tweets mostly about film @schayanriaz JUNE 8-14 2014


A ticking clock A lot can happen in 24 hours BY MAHEEN SABEEH

In season nine of 24, that reappeared after a long hiatus of four years, the world is changing. Unfortunately the nature of war(s) has gotten murkier and Jack Bauer has emerged from the shadows to live another day minus the usual clichés. For eight years, Jack Bauer, played masterfully by Kiefer Sutherland, was an agent with the fictional Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU). From wrecking domestic terrorist plots to saving the US president from assassination attempts at extreme personal costs such as torture at the hands of the Chinese, Bauer has done it all over the years. The terrorist roles have interchanged and from Arabs, Russians, Chinese and Pakistanis, none have been spared. Even the American government and spy agencies, fictional and otherwise, received disparaging treatment just the same. Government corruption also made its way into the later seasons as good government is only an illusion. 44 When we left Jack Bauer, he had JUNE 8-14 2014

participated in extrajudicial killings after a woman he loved was murdered. The man repeatedly saved America, but that didn’t matter as he was a wanted fugitive. His colleague and friend, Chloe O Brian (Mary Lynn), helps him escape and that’s how the show ends. The new season, 24: Live Another Day is made up of just 12 episodes, and because it is shorter, the episodes are explosive. Having seen the first five episodes, it is clear that this is 24’s finest season since its inception. In the present day, however, in the absence of CTU, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is calling the shots and the location has shifted to London. The US leader is a controversial figure in world politics and is greeted with protests. Some old friends also make a comeback. James Heller (William Devane), the former Secretary of Defense, returns to the spotlight as President Heller with a secret illness. Tate Donovan, famous for his role in The Hostages, Damages,

Deception and The OC, stars as Mark Boudreau, Heller’s chief of staff and son-inlaw and Kim Raver makes a stunning return to form as Audrey Heller, the woman who fell for Jack and went to China to find him. Her storyline with Jack is the real heartbeat of the show. It is a complicated twist as emotions run high, personal and professional lines blur and the panic-inducing thriller quotient keeps one glued to the screen. New faces include Stephen Fry who stars as the British prime minister and Benjamin Bratt who lands the gig as the station chief of CIA in London. At its core, 24, is as much about betrayal as it is about terrorism and patriotism. Jack is not a patriot anymore. He’s just a man returning a favour and everything else is a sideshow.

Rating: Maheen Sabeeh is a freelance writer who tweets @maheensbh


Football’s biggest prize As the stage is set for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we give you a sneak preview of what it has to offer BY SHAHRUKH SOHAIL

The world’s biggest sporting spectacle, the FIFA World Cup, is back. And this time around, it is bigger than ever. Organised by FIFA, the international governing body of football, and hosted by the five-time champion Brazil, the World Cup is a mammoth competition whose qualifying rounds saw 208 countries battling it out to reach the final stages, and now more than two billion people will watch 32 nations as they compete to claim the title. The tournament officially kicks off on June 12, with 64 games to be played over a month in 12 different cities. Some 350,000 football fans will descend onto the Brazilian stadiums to watch the games live. Brazil has spent a whopping $3.5 billion on renovations and construction, out of which $600 million have gone into upgrading the showpiece Maracana Stadium that will host the final. The host country, however, has struggled to get the infrastructure up and running on time. As a result, a number of high-end airport and road projects were terminated but this hasn’t dampened the fans’ spirits. As the hype surrounding this World Cup has gained momentum, match ticket prices, lodging costs and airfare have also soared, with a domestic flight costing up to $1,000 and an average hotel room going for $460. Not surprisingly, Brazil is being touted as a favourite, given their home advantage and the fact that no European team has ever won the World Cup in South America. They will be hoping to banish the painful memories of the 1950 World Cup final, when they lost to Uruguay on home turf, traumatising an entire generation. Yet, the current champions Spain, dark horses Germany, along with the Netherlands, Portugal, Uruguay, Argentina and Belgium cannot be ruled out for staking a claim to the glittering gold trophy. After Brazil, which won five out of the 19 world championships JUNE 8-14 2014

held so far, the other titles are divided between these seven nations. This World Cup also promises plenty of thrilling encounters to look out for; the greatest of them could be a possible showdown between Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo and his arch-nemesis Argentinian skipper Lionel Messi. There is no dearth of quality players in each squad, and for team England, this may be the first time they approach the World Cup finals without immense pressure riding on their backs. Germany and The Netherlands are also strong contenders and have a high probability of reaching the latter stages of the tournament. But the tough South American sides have a distinct advantage of home support, which is surely going to benefit teams like Uruguay and Argentina. With huge investments, tough play-offs and staggering fan hype, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is sure to be a treat for football fans.

Shahrukh Sohail is the chief editor of FootballPakistan.com, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UNODC Global Youth Initiative and an aspiring entrepreneur. He tweets @ShahrukhSohail7



The Express Tribune Magazine - June 8