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.


‘Now our watch is ended’: history-making ‘Game of Thrones’ wraps

Updated 19 May 2019
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‘Now our watch is ended’: history-making ‘Game of Thrones’ wraps

  • The blood-spattered tale of noble families vying for the Iron Throne has just one episode to go and buzz is at fever pitch
  • One of the darkest and most controversial primetime series ever made, “GoT” has been the target of criticism over the years

LOS ANGELES: After eight epic years of chivalry, sex, death and dragons, “Game of Thrones” fans worldwide have just 79 pulsating minutes remaining Sunday to get their final fix in one of the most hotly anticipated events in TV history.
The blood-spattered tale of noble families vying for the Iron Throne has just one episode to go and buzz is at fever pitch for a ratings juggernaut that has demolished audience records like a Dothraki barbarian finishing off a skillet of horse meat.
“We want people to love it. It matters a lot to us. We’ve spent 11 years doing this,” Dan Weiss, who directed the 73rd and final episode with fellow showrunner David Benioff, told Entertainment Weekly.
While many will watch at home, perhaps with a goblet of Dornish red wine and a punnet of Braavosi cockles, thousands will celebrate and mourn the show’s denouement at viewing parties in bars, banqueting halls and backyards from Alaska to Armenia.
One of the darkest and most controversial primetime series ever made, “GoT” has been the target of criticism over the years for senseless violence and its repeated use of rape as a dramatic device.
The scriptwriters have brutalized women, killed children, depicted graphic sex and had their characters hacked, stabbed, flayed, poisoned, decapitated, burned alive, eye-gouged and eviscerated — all in glorious close-up.
Even principal character Jon Snow (Kit Harington), whose fellow Night’s Watch troops would chant “And now his watch is ended” at comrades’ funerals, suffered the indignity of being briefly dead after a particularly violent quarrel.
The adult themes have not deterred fans, however, nor the industry itself, which has seen fit to make it the most decorated series in history, with 47 Emmy Awards.
Airing in 170 countries under its portentous tagline, “Winter is Coming,” the show is also the most expensive ever, with a budget of $15 million per episode in its final run.
The season seven finale set an all-time US record for premium cable TV with 16.5 million people watching live or streaming on the day of transmission and 15 million more tuning in later.
Viewing records also tumbled across the world, with Britain’s Sky Atlantic and OCS in France showing episodes in the middle of the night in sync with their US premieres.
Season six was the first to move beyond the source material, George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, and carve its own path.
Critics said it marked a return to form, with the narrative allowing female characters to demonstrate complexity and moral agency lacking in some of the earlier seasons.
The shortened final two seasons have been more of a mixed bag, with many fans furious over what they consider poor writing.
Most controversial has been the rapid descent into mass-murdering madness by Emilia Clarke’s fan favorite Daenerys Targaryen, arguably the lead character in an enormous ensemble that has called on the services of such luminaries as Charles Dance, Sean Bean, Jim Broadbent and Diana Rigg.
A Change.org petition called “Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers” had passed one million signatures with more than 24 hours to go until Sunday’s finale.
Assuming there is no do-over, the biggest mystery of all remains who will be sitting on the Iron Throne and ruling Westeros when “Game of Thrones” comes to an end.
To throw hackers and pirates off the scent, Benioff and Weiss shot several versions of the final episode, a tactic already used for “The Sopranos” and “Breaking Bad.”
Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, has admitted that even she was fooled into believing a fake version of the ending.
Martin will himself discover the on-screen ending of his long-running masterwork before he has had a chance to conclude the fantasy on paper.
The plot lines for his long-awaited final two novels in the series — “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring” — were adapted to the screen based on outlines Martin gave the show’s writers. But there is no guarantee they will stick to his plan.
“Obviously, I wished I finished these books sooner so the show hadn’t gotten ahead of me. I never anticipated that,” Martin once told an interviewer.
The “Game of Thrones” finale premieres on HBO at 9:00 p.m. in the US on both coasts (0100 GMT and 0400 GMT).