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.
— Umair Sandhu (@sandhumerry) September 21, 2017
‘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.
— kamranata (@kamranata) September 4, 2017
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.
The Herald's annual issue is about to hit the stands soon. Get a copy to revisit the year that was. pic.twitter.com/KMlbXWCHOc
— The Herald (@HeraldPakistan) January 2, 2018
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.