Pakistan’s top 5 pop culture moments that made waves in 2017

Singer-songwriter Atif Aslam (L) was applauded for helping a female fan while The Herald magazine named Mashal Khan its person of the year (R). (Photographs courtesy: AFP/ The Herald magazine)
Updated 10 January 2018
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Pakistan’s top 5 pop culture moments that made waves in 2017

LAHORE: Pakistan experienced a profoundly-polarizing 2017. From politics to entertainment and fashion, there were some soaring highs and debilitating lows in the country. The Pakistani entertainment industry saw various pop culture moments that went viral, launched memes, won the adoration of fans and, in some cases, even came close to breaking the Internet.
Atif Aslam protects his fans
In January, singer-songwriter Atif Aslam stopped mid-performance at a show in Karachi to stop a female fan in the audience from being harassed by a male concert goer. The clip went viral and had many applauding the singer for his act and for bringing attention to the issue of harassment. After the issue had been resolved, Aslam told the young men involved to “act like human beings” before continuing with his performance.
Mahira Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and that dress
Beloved by millions and fresh on the heels of launching a Bollywood career, social media was set alight as old photos surfaced of actress Mahira Khan taking a break from a night out in the company of Bollywood A-lister Ranbir Kapoor. If her choice of company was not enough to cause chaos, she was photographed wearing a white sundress and toting a cigarette in one hand. Social media, blogs and even newspapers weighed in on the snap. Khan, who stayed mum on the subject until her first public appearance following it — in which she cheekily wore a white suit — said that what she does in her private life is just that, her private life. Many other celebrities, from both Bollywood and Lollywood, came to her defense. Some, like Osman Khalid Butt, posted a tongue-in-cheek video of him lighting a cigarette meant as a jab at the media for not making a male smoker into a headline story while simultaneously doing so with a female smoker.

‘Help Me, Durdana:’ The reigning success of Punjab Nahin Jaungi
Punjab Nahin Jaungi is one of the most successful films to come out of Pakistan’s cinema revival to date. Written by Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar and directed by Nadeem Beyg, the film starred Humayun Saeed, Mehwish Hayat and Urwa Hocane. The film was start-to-finish hilarious, with great dialogue that played to the strengths of the actors delivering the lines. But like many films that have launched in the social media age, one line was delivered with such beauty by a number of actors that it catapulted the film and the line itself into viral status. “Help me, Durdana” — the line uttered by a romantically-challenged character to another character called Durdana — was Pakistan’s own viral meme.

Saba Qamar’s role in the Qandeel Baloch biopic drama
Actress Saba Qamar made waves when she announced she would take on the haunting role of murdered social media star Qandeel Baloch in a biopic drama called “Baaghi.” The film is set to deal with the issue of honor killings, in particular the murder of controversial star Qandeel Baloch by her brother in 2016.
Qamar announced that she would play the role in the spring of 2017, alongside actors Sarmad Khoosat, Ali Kazmi and Osman Khalid Butt.
The Herald names Mashal Khan as their person of the year
In April, university student Mashal Khan was lynched by a mob in the northwestern city of Mardan after being accused of blasphemy.
The mob kicked in the door, dragged Khan from his room and beat him to death, witnesses and police said.
Those who knew Khan described him as an intellectually-curious student who openly professed devotion to Islam but asked many questions, Reuters reported in April.
“Whatever he had to say, he would say it openly, but he didn’t understand the environment he was living in,” one of Khan’s teachers at Abdul Wali Khan University, who declined to be named for fear of retribution, told Reuters.
Khan was honored by The Herald magazine, a Pakistan Herald Publications Limited magazine, as its most influential person of the year. The slain student was featured on the magazine’s year-end cover page.

And what is to come? The coming year looks to be full of pop culture gold, with the release of “Parchi” — a film about a gang led by a woman — promising to tackle stereotypical roles that leading ladies are often found in. Seasoned actor Adnan Siddiqui’s “Ghuggi” is a period drama about the days leading up to the partition of India that is also making a lot of buzz on the movie scene. As for the viral memes, celebrity snafus and defining moments of 2018, we will just have to wait and see.


Banksy ‘snow’ pollution mural sold for over $130,000

Updated 18 January 2019
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Banksy ‘snow’ pollution mural sold for over $130,000

  • The ‘snow pollution’ mural appeared in the town of Swansea Bay, home to one of the biggest steelworks in the world
  • The buyer will lend the mural to Port Talbot in hopes it would attract international artists to the area

LONDON: A mural by elusive British street artist Banksy depicting a child enjoying falling snow that is in fact pollution from a burning bin has been sold for over $130,000 to a British art dealer.
From one side, the “Season’s Greetings” mural on a concrete block garage in Wales shows a small boy with his tongue out to catch snow that, when viewed from another side, turns out to be ash from an industrial bin.
“I bought it and it cost me a six-figure sum,” John Brandler of Brandler Galleries, told Reuters by telephone.
“I am lending it to Port Talbot for a minimum of two or three years. I want to use it as a center for an art hub that would bring in internationally famous artists to Port Talbot.”
The mural appeared last month in the town on the edge of Swansea Bay, home to one of the biggest steelworks in the world.
Brandler, 63, said the entire mural — on the corner of a garage — had to be moved in one piece. He declined to give a specific price for the piece.
When asked how he could afford such luxuries, he said: “I am an art dealer. I own several Banksies, I also own (John) Constable, (Thomas) Gainsborough, (Joseph Mallord William) Turner, I’ve got (urban artist) Pure Evil — I’ve got all sorts of art.”
“My hobby is my business. The last time I went to work was when I was 18,” Brandler said.
Banksy, who keeps his real name private, has become the most famous street artist in the world by poking fun at the excesses of modern capitalism and lampooning hollow icons, slogans and opinions.
Previous works include “Mobile Lovers” which shows an embrace between lovers who stare over each other’s shoulders at their mobile phones and an abrupt warning near Canary Wharf in London that reads “Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock.”