Thursday, November 09, 2017



……..A long time ago in a galaxy far, far far away...........There was peace and stability after years of political turmoil in the planet Paktoonie. The planet was governed by an elected Chancellor. New trade routes were being chartered and many development projects were underway………..

The conference of Jedi council of the planet was in session….The Jedi are meritocratic guardians of the peace and justice in the galaxy and the ‘Force’ is always with them. They believed themselves to be able philosophers, scientists, engineers, physicians, diplomats and conscientious tajzeea-nagars (analysts). 

Chaired by the wisest of the wise and virtuous of virtuous Grand Master Yoda-II, Jedi Council of Paktoonie took great pride in spirit de corps, citizenship, and volunteerism. Vice chair of the council was the dashing female Jedi Qalmaqan. 

That day the proceedings of the conference were moving along the usual boring speed. The overall mood was quite sombre when Jedi Knight Moz Kudo raised his hand. Grand Master Yoda II , who was presiding the conference as usual, allowed him to speak. On Which after thanking the Chair Moz Kudo said,” I want to bring this august house in the know about the present uncouth and pandoo Chancellor” and then added with a dramatic pause “ my Master, I propose to get  rid of him to restore decency and order in the planet.”

“Uncouth why he is ?” asked the wisest of the wise grand Jedi Master Yoda II.

“ It has been reported that the Chancellor used vernaculars and preferred Aloo ghosht over Goulash.”

“ oh my Force……is it so?” exclaimed Vice Chair Jedi Qalmaqan . The conference room was filled with astonish and disgust.

“Disturbing this is” said Yoda II

“Indeed my Master, Goulash or Scouse are fine or Rendang at the minimum can be tolerated but Aloo Ghosht???….I need not say any further”. 

Young Jedi Knight Zakwalker sitting in the far end of the conference table asked “May I ask the respected Jedi Kudo, what is the source of this information?”

Master Yoda II inquisitively looked towards Jedi Maz Kodu.

“ My Master, this has been reported by the Jedi Assistant to the Chancellor .” he replied.
Hearing that Master Yoda II closed his eyes…there was pin drop silence around the conference table. Many galactic minutes passed. All the participating Jedis kept quiet and waited for their Master Yoda II to open his eyes and speak. Their discipline and reverence for him was exemplary.

Just when Vice Chair was about to poke the Master…….he opened his wrinkled and wise eyes. He looked around the table and said,” discuss this further we have to.”

There was a relief in the room…..and the house was open for the discussion. Jedi Qalmaqan said emphatically,” we are guardians of the order in the galaxy and we have responsibility for the historical, cultural and ideological boundaries of the planet Paktoonie….I say a person with such mundane lowly tastes cannot be trusted”.

Young Zakwalker gathered all his courage and raised his hand. On permission of the Chair he said, “ May I say, my Master , the Chancellor is quite popular and has initiated many development projects.”

“Development is no criteria…if we accept that than the best person to be the Chancellor of the planet might be Milosovic Riazomov who has successfully achieved many development projects….he has even developed a special dwelling facility for the Jediis. Jedi Maz Kudo reply sounded quite agitated.

Jedi Qalmaqan added , “ The planet needs good manners. How can a Aloo Ghost eating person be trusted?”

“Please don’t get me wrong” Zakwalker was meek in response, “ I am only trying to point out a fact.”

“May I remind you, Jedi order is not about facts….it is about the Force…which binds everything in the galaxy. You have recently joined Jedi council , you need to understand these things.” Vice Chair Qalmaqan admonished Zakwalker

“ Discourage must not we, the young Jedi” Mater Yoda II came to Zakwalker rescue. He looked around the table and said, “ if proceed against the Chancellor, how to go about it?”
With your permission my Master I am opening house for suggestions” Qalmaqan asked the Grand Master….who nodded in approval.

Jedi Maz Kudo said ,” previously we had been using three major instruments for these purposes….use of alcohol…..illicit relationships and financial corruption. we can use any of these three”.

“As far as I know this Chancellor doesn’t imbibe.” Qalmaqan muttered. She looked around and spotted head of the Inter Jedi Investigation Agency (IJIA) Jedi Sentinel Shakshoba and asked him,” can you give a brief low down ?”

“Honoured ma’am Qalmaqan, It is indeed correct the chancellor doesn’t drink and has no illicit relations.”

“How is that possible? your previous reports had many stories about the libido of these politicians?”

“In my view he (Chancellor) has been chaste because he is married in a phelwan family.”

“ What is Phelwan?”

“ well, Phelwans are also warriors like us Jedis but Force is not strong with them and they are not sanctioned to used light sabres and other weapons…..hence they become masters of using fists and kicks and many have specialty in breaking bones …. They also keep order and discipline but only at mohalla and street level.” explained Shakshoba

“Oh remember I now …. Came to me for training some padawans about eleven hundreds years ago but training they didn’t complete.” Said Yoda II

“I see, these phelwans must be descendants of padawans …..and padawan must have changed to phelwans.” Exclaimed Qalmaqan , “ Keep going”

“This leaves us, my Master, to the most tried and tested instrument of financial hanky-panky….. These politicians are a greedy lot .” Shakshoba suggested.

Once again Young Jedi Zakwakler objected, “ My Master this might be alright…”

“ We don’t use words like might be… it is or it is not” once again Qalmaqan interjected and admonished Zakwalker

“Apologies ma’am, all I am asking, is this Chancellor financially crooked?”

“I have to say you ask too many questions…..dont you?”

“Let me say to appease young Jedi, the Chancellor is living beyond his means” Shakshoba announced.

“It is quite clear these pandoos can be huge threat to the governance of the planet and a Chancellor fond of Allo ghosh can never be trusted….especially if we have credible information coming from a respected member of the Jedi council that he lives beyond his means. Is it clear to you young Jedi?”

“Yes Ma’im very clear” replied Zakwalker.

“I think it is the time we ask our usual Jedi ethical questions” said Qalmaqan

“Are we doing it for some personal gains?”
“ Nay “ everyone replied in chorus

“Are we doing it for the decency and order in the planet?”
“Aye” chorus replied.

There was silence in the room once again….After few galactic minutes the wisest of wise Grand Master Yoda II made his decision “Get rid of the chancellor we must.”

Note- Events described here are from a galaxy far far away….any resemblance with any events on planet Earth would be purely coincidental or due to active imagination of the reader.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My Friend Junaid Jamshed

Junaid Jamshed was a dear friend. I knew him from the childhood and our friendship blossomed with the passage of time. It is so difficult to use past tense for him.
Back in 1996 when I was posted in AHQ I was tasked to produce the PAF Golden Jubilee song. I thought about redoing title song of the movie ‘Kasm aous waqt ki’ . The plan was to use the footage in the movie which was produced in late 60s and progress the visuals to the day.
At that time ‘Vital Signs’ were kind of separated but I was confident I would be able to convince them for one more PAF song. I approached Junaid , he agreed but as Junaid Jamshed and not as VITAL SIGNS. I wanted it to be a Vital Signs production. Still I went ahead and started looking for the movie. Unfortunately could not find it anywhere. All I could get hold was a very poor recording of the song ‘Kasm ous Waqt ke’ from the archives of Radio Pakistan Rawalpindi. It was very poor and much of the song was inaudible. I don’t remember, but I think I kind of ransacked every possible place to find the movie or the song. Finally I was able to find a decent copy from Radio Pakistan Karachi. I gave Junaid that copy for the new version.
Junaid selected a young music producer Mohammd Ali who at that time was part of a band called ‘Fringe Benefits’. He did the new version giving it Ragae-ish sound. I especially liked the use of the flute which had Men at Work’s greatest hit 'Land down under' feel to it. Everything went right and we were all set for video production but unfortunately despite our friendship we had arguments and Junaid sold the song to ISPR without telling us despite the fact that PAF had (and still has) the rights of the song. We at AHQ(DPR) kept quite because ISPR was involved ( it is supposed to be an Inter Services institution.) However unofficially we made our displeasure quite clear to them. We also banned, foolishly, Junaid Jamshed from performing anywhere in PAF.
We(Junaid and myself) didn’t speak for almost a year and then one day we found each other at Lahore airport on a flight from Lahore to Karachi. Junaid said “Oye toun nay mujay PAF mein ban kiya houwa hae.” I said “yes I indeed”. And we both started laughing and kept the laughter going-sub gillay shikway khatum. To be honest he was right and I was wrong, I was than an overenthusiastic overconfident PAF officer and did not understand showbiz much during those days. To his (Junaid) credit, he also admitted that he should had not gone to ISPR without my knowledge.
Then there was a long gap , the next time we met he had found his way with tableeghi jamat. He was a changed person. He wore shalwar kameez with its bottoms half way between his ankles and knees and supported a long thick beard, gone were the designer jeans and a clean cut carefully crafted image of a bonafide pop star, arguably the biggest and brightest. I asked him,” Junaid yeh kiya hulia bana leye hae?” he said in his usual enthusiastic tone “bus yaar tou be aa jay, ker lay Islam kabool”. Again we laughed and laughed.
Junaid was a kind ,warm, and very generous person. He was a great host, whenever I visited him he always made sure that I am looked after and well fed. And we had hearty laughs. He might have liked to be in limelight but moved away from his pop star status. With Rohail and Shahzad(Shai) he changed youth culture and established pop industry in Pakistan. His life and persona beyond ‘music days’ was even more glittering and scintillating. He will definitely remain a youth icon and I think his influence on Pakistani culture will remain for times to come.
May Allah SWT bless his soul.

Monday, May 08, 2017

my book: Imran Kon

Jehanzeb aziz

In case of any reading problem

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Monday, July 01, 2013

Another list of 10 Great Movies

Few weeks back I wrote about the most influential movies ever, itgenerated good discussion. I am giving another list of 10 moviesproduced outside Hollywood/US.All of these movies had huge impact onfilm trade and audience world over. You may not agree with the listbut if you haven't seen these movies,believe me you have missedsomething for these are definitive expression of human creativity.any feedback?

1. THE BATTLESHIP POTYOMKIN-1925 by Sergei EisensteinIt is from silent era and is a fictional narrative of a real-lifeevent that occurred in 1905, the Battleship Potyomkin uprising, whenthe crew of a Russian battleship rebelled against their oppressiveofficers during the Tsarist regime. Eisenstein's recreates the mutinyby sailors of the battleship Potyomkin and in the process pushes theexpressive potential of cinema to its limit.Battleship Potemkin has been called one of the most influential filmsof all time, and has been in the many critics and viewers list as thegreatest film ever.Those who are interested in cinema history might know; The OdessaSteps sequence, which remains one of the most memorable set-pieces incinema. Sergie Eisenstein also pioneered the `Russian montage'technique for action sequences. I have personally used it, and itworks wonderfully well.As the movie is from no voice period, the highlight of the movie isthe original score which was composed by Edmund Meisel. I am notaware of any of his other work, but music score is brilliant.Composer/conductor Mark-Andreas Schlingensiepen has reorchestratedand improved the score based on the original piano score and hasadjusted it to fit the reconstructed version of the film availabletoday.In order to make the film relevant for the 21st century, Pet ShopBoys composed a new soundtrack in 2004 based on the original byMeisel. The DVD which I have contains new sound track composed by PETSHOP BOYS accompanied by pieces of classical music.

2.LA RÈGLE DU JEU/ RULES OF THE GAME-1939 by Jean Renoir.

This one also is considered to be one of the greatest films of alltime. The film is about upper-class French society and set in theperiod just before the start of World War II.I have read that the film was initially condemned for its satire onthe French upper classes and was greeted with derision by a Parisiancrowd . The French upper class is depicted in this film as capriciousand self-indulgent, with little regard for the consequences of theiractions. (Which reminds me of our upper class in Pakistan)I have seen this movie recently on DVD and was extremely impressedwith its simplicity of production and great storytelling technique.Technically it pioneered the use of deep focus to highlight theevents going on in the background are as important as those in theforeground.


The Bicycle Thief is an all time classic and a master piece ofItalian director Vittario DeSica.The movie is based on the novel byLuigi Bartolini .The film tells the story of an unemployed workerAntonio, who gets a job that requires that he must have a bicycle. Onthe first day on the job, the bike is stolen and the rest of the filmis a frantic pursuit of the bicycle thieves. Along the way heencounters injustice and apathy. From beginning to end, his small butfierce son is his companion. At the end of the film Antonio,desperate to keep his job, attempts to steal a bicycle himself. He iscaught and humiliated in front of his son.The Bicycle Thief is representative movie of neo-realism movement.Majority of the cast were not professional actors but were peoplefrom real life. The documentary-style camera work helped convey thefeeling that the film is truly about real people. It mixed melodrama,documentary and social commentary. Steven Spielberg used thetechnique for his Schindleir's List.

4. RASHOMON (Japan, 1950)by Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa was cinema's grand samurai and is my favouritefilmmaker. He is arguably the greatest ever as well. His workinspired many filmmakers around the world. Some of the all timeclassics are inspired from his movies. The Magnificent Seven wasbased on his `The Seven Samurai', Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollarswas a remake of his `Yojimbo' and George Lucas gives credit toKurosawa's `Hidden Fortress' for inspiration for Star Wars.Rashomon is Akira Kurosawa at his best. It is a story offering fourdiffering accounts of a rape and murder, all told in flashbacks, agripping study of human behaviour. The theme is the difficulty ofreaching to the truth about an event from conflicting witnessaccounts. In English "Rashomon" has become a word for any situationwherein the truth of an event becomes difficult to verify due to theconflicting accounts of different witnesses. In psychology, the filmhas lent its name to the `Rashomon effect'. In the nutshellKurosawa's parable said; life has many meanings or maybe none atall.Technically also Rashomon was a ground breaking production. Useof close ups, contrasting shots and innovative use of direct sunlightand reflectors gave an interesting and different look to the film.

5.SMULTRONSTÄLLET /WILD STRAWBERRIES-1957 by Ingmar Bergman. (Sweden)

This is my personal favourite. Written and directed by IngmarBergman, It is a story of a medical doctor and teacher who re-evaluate his life due to his old age, his impending death, hisnightmares and daydreams. It was a complex character performed ablyby Victor Sjöström. The film contains many themes and subtle nuanceswhich later became Ingmar Bergman's artistic trademarks. Many filmcritics and film historians consider the film to be one of Bergman'sbest, despite having been made relatively early in his career.Woody Allen's 1997 film `Deconstructing Harry' is loosely based uponBergman's Wild Strawberries. Bergman stated in an interview that thefilm had helped him overcome his fear of death.

6. 8 ½ /THE BEAUTIFUL CONFUSION-Federico Fellini-Italian

This is a 1963 film written and directed by Italian director FedericoFellini. It is acclaimed by film critics as one of the finest filmsever made and is considered Director's movie. The Beautiful Confusionis a seminal movie about film-making and the agonies and ecstasies ofthe creative process. The film is a free-floating tale often blurringreality and fantasy. The story revolves around a film director,played by Marcello Mastroianni, who is suffering from `creativeblock'. He is supposed to be directing a science fiction film but haslost interest and suffers creative confusion due to maritaldifficulties. No wonder the movie is so popular with directors. Ihave seen this movie several times and each time I was able to enjoyit.

7. DET SJUNDE INSEGLET / THE SEVENTH SEAL-1957, Ingmar Bergman.(Sweden)

Another brilliant Ingmar Bergman movie. The title is a reference tothe passage from the Book of Revelation. The protagonist of the movieis a knight (played by Max von Sydow) returning from the Crusades andfinds that his home country is ravaged by the plague. To his dismay,he discovers that Death has come for him too. In order to buy time hechallenges Death to a chess match, with his life resting on theoutcome of the game, which allows him to reach his home and bereunited with his wife. An image of a man playing chess with deathin the form of a skeleton actually existed in a medieval churchpainting from the 1480s in Täby kyrka, Täby, north of Stockholm.Bergman has referred to this painting as the inspirational source forthe movie. The film was the winner of the Special Jury Prize at theCannes Film Festival, in 1957. Irish pop musician Chris De Burgh haswritten and composed a great song `Spanish train' based on this theme.

8. FIST OF FURY (Hong Kong, 1972)

This is an action packed Bruce Lee movie. I saw this in Shaheen Cinema Sargodha,Pakistan on a weekend book out with my friend in 1979.At that time I was not aware of its merits. It was just a rip-roaringkung-fu action for us. It is story of a student who returns to HongKong to avenge death of his dead teacher. Bruce Lee proved that anintense young man could kick the bad guys, the audience as well asbox office the way he liked. Directed by Lo Wei's, it is one of thefinest Bruce Lee films, which made him an international sensation.The film had a huge impact and launched Hong Kong cinema world over.A wave of martial arts movies followed, Bruce Lee himself starred inseveral but Fist of Fury was his finest.

9. SHOLAY; by Ramesh Sippy (India)

"Sholay "arguably is the finest bollywood movie-great script,outstanding direction, superlative performances and magnificentmusic. So much has already written and talked about this movie that Imight not be able to add to it, yet, one can always talk somethingabout "Sholay".It is an evergreen classic. Sholay took inspirationsfrom various films including `Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid', ` TheProfessionals' even `Seven Samurais' and many other buddymovies .Sholay is a masala film but with all the right ingredients injust the right quantities. Salim-Javed are at their best in Shoaly,direction by Ramesh Sippy is crisp as well as seminal. Casting issuperb and movie features some of the biggest stars and the finestactors of Bollywood cinema, yet a debutant Amjad Khan steals theshow. Gabbar Singh is the singular most important character evercreated in sub-continent. Salim-Javed wrote great lines for him, butAmjad Khan immortalizes them.

10. Olympia - Pt. 1 & 2 (1936) Lenni Riefenstahl.

An absolute gem, no greatest movie list can be considered authenticwithout mentioning Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia or Triumph of Will.Olympia is Leni Riefenstahl's documentary about the 1936 BerlinOlympics. It consists of two parts. Olympia Part 1: "The Festival ofthe Nation" includes the lighting of the torch ceremony, and thetrack and field events in which Jessie Owens won four Gold Medals.Olympia Part 2: "The Festival of Beauty" includes field hockey, polo,soccer, aquatics, bicycling, sailing, rowing, the marathon race,and the decathlon. This is a groundbreaking and landmark documentaryfilm and was made specifically at Hitler's request.The movie is filmed in blank and white. Leni is an absolute master ofcinematography. The angles she used and her blending and fading fromone scene to the other along with the experiments with outdoorfilming, extremely effective use of dramatic music and depiction ofhuman emotion all make this an extra-ordinary viewing experience.I have read that Leni spent several years personally editing Olympia.She only slept a few hours per nights during those years as she wasobsessed with creating a masterpiece. And her masterpiece ismesmerizing indeed.

10 most influential movies

It's hard todetermine a "most influential film", unless you categorize in whatarea the decision rests i.e technology, storyline or script,production values or performances. I tried to combine all theseareas. These ten movies may not be greatest ever made but undoubtedlythey contributed to the progress of cinema. I have restricted my self to English/Hollywood cinema and feel guilty for not including such masters like Akira Kurosowa, Ingmar Bergman, Sergie Eisenstein and Vitario DeSica even Alfred is my list of tenifluential movies ever produced.

1.The Great Train Robbery (1903):-Directed by Edwin S. Porter, GreatTrain Robbery was the first, what we call a feature film narrating astory. It was a silent film had lot of action and gun fights. Beforethis pioneering western, films were shot and produced placing camerain the centre like a spectator in a theater. Porter pioneered cameramovements like pans and medium close-ups etc. He also experimentedwith parallel story telling, that is, action occurring in differentplaces at the same time and drawing it together at the conclusion. Tothis day, it remains one of the basic story telling tool in cinema.(I have seen only glimpses of this movies-some totas)

2.Birth of a Nation (1915):-This movie set the production grammar.Master craftsman D.W. Griffith directed this epic movie. He was anactor but very soon realized that the creative potential in cinemaexisted behind the camera. He turned cinema to an art form almostsingle-handedly. With his cameraman,legendary Billy Blitzer hepractically invented film production. In `Birth of a Nation, heexperimented with lighting, framing, camera movements etc. The moviehad cuts,dissolves and many other techniques like 'montage'notproperly understood then. Most of production techniques are stillvalid today. In my humble opinion `Birth of a Nation' is the singlemost important and influential movie ever made. I could not get holdof this movie and have seen just few sequences still what everportions I could muster were amazing.

3.The Jazz Singer (1927). It was the first talkie and arguably, themost influential film for the whole industry. The film changed theworld of silent motion pictures. A new era began, and initiated asearch for pleasing, acceptable stars whose voices would sound normaland believable on film. Al Jolson immortalized these words," you aintheard nothing yet".

4.Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937) .This animated productionwas Disney's first full length feature. It is as fresh and delightfulas when it was made. What is so special about it. well let meexplain. In a one second movie length there are 24 frames, when youare doing an animated movie you have to draw each and every frame.This means, if you have to produce around 90 minutes long movie, youare talking about more than 100,000 drawings. Only an eccentric likeWalt Disney could have thought about it. Besides the excellence ofproduction, the superb filming and wonderful music, movie had greatdramatic tension between Ms.White and her little friends and thevillains.

5.Citizen Kane (1941):- Orson Wells co-wrote directed and stared inthis magnificent production, it is his masterpiece. The story isabout a domineering newspaper publisher who builds a vast empire.Citizen Kane broke new grounds in cinematic craftsmanship andpioneered many modern day lighting, shooting and productiontechniques. It is said that the story was based on the life of W.Randolph Hearst and surely remains a gem among Hollywood offerings.

6.Dr No(1962):- It was directed by Terrence Young who was a an ex-airforce flyer. This first James Bond super spy thriller is one ofthe best of the Bond series. Sir Sean Connery made his debut andplayed secret agent 007,who saves the world from a powerful fiend.James Bond movies are tell-tale of western popular culture. Thesefilms sparkle with fabulous humour, thumping music, snappy action,gorgeous girls, exotic gadgets and beautiful locales. Bond moviespioneered marketing gimmicks like product placement. This series hasalso influenced film trade and evolved a winning formula- Car chase,super stunts, martinis shaken not stirred and off course lusciouswomen-What else would you like to see on the screen?

7.Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) :- By seventies, cinema pretty muchgot settled and most of genres were defined. After Vietnam War andWatergate scandal spirits in US were quite low. Americans lost faithin their political system. There were oil shortages, inflation, highunemployment and a sense that American dream was fading away.Hollywood was churning out hippy movies, and than came Star Wars.George Lucas provided a perfect happy ending fantasy. From theopening scroll it touched audience hearts world over. It was amagnificent adventure for a kid in everyone. The movie was part FlashGordon, part Wizard of Oz and had a simple good guys vs bad guysplot . However it changed film trade forever. Before `Star Wars'nobody knew about merchandising, toys, posters, tee-shirts, videocassettes sales etc etc. George Lucas also employed dazzling specialeffects, fantastic Graphics and very believable puppeteering. It alsolaunched Harison Ford ,Mark Hamil and Carrie Fisher to unparallelstardom however R2D2 and C3PO stole the show.I have heard theserobots have been placed in Smithsonian institute.

8.Saturday Night Fever (1976-77):-This movie was based on a newspaperarticle about Brooklyn youth and disco scene of 1970s. Though thescript was loaded with clichés yet it conveyed a convincing statementabout youth culture. It reminded Hollywood about musicals andreignited interest in musicals and dance movies. It was forerunner tomany dance movies including Grease, Flash dance, Fame, StayingAlive , Dirty Dancing and so on. Directed by John Badham, JohnTrovolta debuted as a young disco stud and brought enoughcreditability to the otherwise dark role. And his dancing was a crazeworld over. It was a stunning film debut. Some of the songs by BeeGees like `You should be dancing', `how deep is your love', 'Nightfever' and `Staying Alive' have become pop culture anthems. The moviesound track album remains one of the highest selling albums ever.

9.Pulp Fiction –I have very fond memory of this movie. Back in 90s, Iwent to my video rental shop in F-8 Islamabad which was owned by aretired Chief Tech.I asked for some latest good movie. he said thatthere was a movie which nobody liked but he was sure I wouldappreciate. I was amused by his remarks, still rented it out. and Ihated its every frame and cursed its director as well as my friendchief tech who rented the movie to me. However by concluding sequenceI realized I was watching a new type of cinema. Undoubtedly `PulpFiction' generated a new level of cinema where the film consisted ofnumber of stories which linked into one final outcome. Directed byQuinten Tarintino ,Pulp Fiction is episodical story telling. It isfull of shocking and lyrical violence. The movie turned aroundsagging career of John Travolta and gave Samuel L. Jackson a bigbreak. Uma Thurman was the icing on the cake. Quinten Tarintino madeKill Bill Vol-1 and 2 on the similar format but Pulp Fiction remainshis best effort.

10.The Matrix :- Finally The Matrix; so much has been written aboutthis movie that I cannot add anything to it. Matrix changed the waymovies are made and the way audience watch. The script borrowedheavily from mythology, philosophy and religions. Some of the ideaspresented were rage, like Morpheus telling Neo, "what is real, just abio-chemical signal to your brain." The shooting techniques forexample things like `bullet time' were ground breaking, actionbreathtaking and post production out of the box.

About Omar Khayam

About Omar Khayam

Omar Khayyam's full name was Ghiyath al-Din Abu'l-Fath Umar ibn Ibrahim Al-Nisaburi al-Khayyami. A literal translation of the name al-Khayyami (or al-Khayyam) means 'tent maker' and this was the trade of Ibrahim his father. Khayyam played on the meaning of his own name when he wrote:-

Khayyam, who stitched the tents of science,
Has fallen in grief's furnace and been suddenly burned,
The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life,
And the broker of Hope has sold him for nothing

He was tutored by Sheik Muhammad Mansuri, one of the most well-known scholars of the time. In his youth, Omar Khayyám studied under Imam Mowaffak of Nishapore, who was considered to be one of the greatest teachers of the Khorassan region. According to one account, two other exceptional students began studying under the same teacher at about the same time. One of these rose to become the Vizier to the Seljukid Empire and was famous as Nizam-ul-Mulk Tussi. The other was Hassan-ibn-Sabah, who went on to become the leader of the Hashshashin and created his "janat"(paradise) in Killa al Mout.

Omar Khayyam was an outstanding mathematician, astronomer and poet. He wrote several works including "Problems of Arithmetic", before he was 25 years old. In 1070 he moved to Samarkand in Uzbekistan which was at that time one of the most culturally advanced and intellectually stimulating cities of Central Asia. There Khayyam wrote his most famous algebra work, "Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra".

Omar Khayyám was a brilliant astronomer as well. He estimated and proved to an audience that included the then-prestigious and most respected scholar Imam Ghazali that the universe is not moving around earth as was believed by all at that time. By constructing a revolving platform and simple arrangement of the star charts lit by candles around the circular walls of the room, he demonstrated that earth revolves on its axis, bringing into view different constellations through out the night and day (completing a one-day cycle).

All these theories were adopted by later day astronomers. He also came up with a star map (now lost). Khayyam measured, in eleventh century,the length of the year as 365.24219858156 days which is outstandingly accurate.

Outside the world of mathematics and astronomy, Omar Khayyam is best known as a result of Edward Fitzgerald's popular translation in 1859 of nearly 600 short four line poems the Rubaiyat. Khayyam's fame as a poet has caused some to forget his scientific achievements which were much more substantial. Versions of the forms and verses used in the Rubaiyat existed in Persian literature before Khayyam, and only about 120 of the verses can be attributed to him with certainty. Of all the verses, the best known is the following:-

The Moving Finger writes, and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

He had some unorthodox ideas and non-conventional views about religion, which is a natural outcome of intellectual curiosity and searching for answers. It is also said that he converted to Christianity. The myth of his supposed Christian faith was spread by some Orientalists after Fitzgerald's translations. He is buried in Nishapore according to the Muslim custom.

Sources:-Britannica and some other material

Nisar Bazmi passes away

Nisar Bazmi, died after a long illness in Karachi on Thursday March22 ,2007 . He was 82. Bazmi Sahab was a brilliant composer and composed many unforgetable songs. AhmedRushdi's "Aise bhi hain meherban" or "kuchh loag rooth kar bhi", Noor Jehan's "Abhi dhoond hi rahi thi", Runa Laila's "Dil dhadke"or "Kaatay na katay", Mehdi Hasan's "Ranjish hi sahi", Nayyara Noor's "Bol re guriya bol zara", and Alamgir's "Hum chale to humaray"are all his unforgettable hits and demonstrate the quality of his work.

Bazmi was born Syed Nisar Ahmed in Mumbai, India, in 1925 into a religious family, he changed his last name to Bazmi to embark on a film music career in Bombay-India. His first film, Jumna Paar, was released in 1946 which immediately established him as a first-rate composer.Bazmi composed songs for more than 40 films in India.

In Pakistan, he started his career with "Aisa bhi hota hai".He also composed some very popular national songs . PTV played agreat role in popularising Mehdi Hasan's "Yeh watan tumhara hai", "Khayalrakhna",by Alamgir "Hum zinda qaum hain" and "Aae rooh-i-Quaid".

I had the honour to record a PAF song with him in 1994.The song "HumArz-e-Pak kee Hawayee Fauj kay Auqab hain"was written by the famous post Sahba Akhtar.Bazmi Sahab composed it and Muhammad Ali Shayki was the singer. He was very particular to give it a `martial-tune' feeling. We later-on shot its video in Sargodha. AM Mushaf Ali Mir was the Base Commander. I wanted a shot where a close formation of four F-16s was to fly under the hovering helicopter with a cameraman. It was quite a complex sequence. However, Base Commander agreed and we went ahead to shoot it. Also I selected some really rugged, tough looking pilots (Muhammad Iqbal 72nd Rafiqui was there) in the video. I remember Director Public Relations PAF joked," I suppose all these guys are there to scare people" .

Bazmi sahib was a very religious man in his private life.May Allahrest his soul in eternal peace.

This was written in March 2007, for Sargodhian forum.A more detailed version will be part of the book.

Something about BEE GEES

BEE GEES are arguably the most durable band in the history of pop music. No other popular music act can claim of attracting audience across decades the '60s, '70s, '80s, or '90s. Bee Gees started in the mid '60s with a Beatlesque sound and quickly developed as songwriters in their own right and style, perfecting in the process a progressivepop sound all their own. They were at the zenith of popularity in thelate 70s. Their popularity faded with the passing of disco's appeal,but they reinvented themselves and transformed to the most successfulwhite soul band of all time. No wonder Bee Gees have following invirtually every corner of the globe.

The Bee Gees are three brothers: Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, and Maurice Gibb. In 1970, while Robin pursued a solo career, the album "Cucumber Castle" was released with just Barry and Maurice as the Bee Gees. After the death of Maurice Gibb, Barry and Robin have stopped performing, however it is said that their music remains on air somewhere around the globe round the clock.

The brothers Gibb were born in the Isle of Man. Barry was born onSeptember 1st 1946. Robin and Maurice, twins, were born on December22nd 1949. The family later on moved to Manchester, England. In 1958 the Gibb family moved to Australia. It was there that the brothers started pursuing professional careers as musicians. Their father, Hugh Gibb had been a professional drummer and band leader in his youth. He guided them well and soon they were performing on local radio and TV broadcasts. Around that time they named themselves the Brothers Gibb, and later, the Bee Gees. Previously they called themselves "The Rattlesnakes".

In 1966 the Bee Gees had their first number one single inAustralia, "Spicks and Specks." The following January the Gibb family boarded a ship back to England. The 1967 album "Bee Gees First" was a tremendous debut. However they sounded so Beattlesque that the single, "New York Mining Disaster 1941", was believed by many to be recorded by the `Beatles' under a different name. With thesuccess of "Holiday" and "To Love Somebody", people soon knew quite well who the Bee Gees were. Later that year, the Bee Gees released the album "Horizontal" which had an amazing single "Massachusetts"which topped the UK charts. Next year in 1968, the "Idea" album followed having classics like "I Started a Joke" and "I've Gotta Get a Message To You". Despite being brothers and years of performing together, the sudden rise to fame overwhelmed the Bee Gees. In 1969, with the releaseof "Odessa" album, Robin departed to pursue a solo career. Meanwhile,Barry and Maurice continued together as the Bee Gees. Their next album, "Cucumber Castle",was a modest success. Soon after, however,Barry and Maurice went their separate ways as well.

Thereconciliation was slow and gradual. Barry once remarked that if they hadn't been brothers, they probably never would have gotton backtogether. Their get together "Two Years On" album seemed more likean anthology of three soloists than a group effort. This album had "Lonely Days", another huge hit. On their next album, "Trafalgar", the reconciliation process continued.

Bee Gees finally had their first #1 single in theUS, "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart". The success of this classic showed that the brothers were far more successful as a group than they would ever be as soloists."Trafaglar"and their next effort, the 1972 album "To Whom It May Concern", demonstrated that Bee Gees were best doing soft ballads.The songs "Run To Me" and "My World" were typical of the group's sound of that time.Bee Gees decided to move to United States and find new directions musically. Unfortunately, Bee Gees were not successful in US initially but they recovered and in 1974 Bee Gees recorded "MainCourse", featuring "Jive Talkin", "Nights on Broadway", and "Fanny(Be Tender With My Love)". The sound of the album was intrinsically different and far more intense.

The 1976 "Children of the World" album was a true test of their talents. The album's first single, "You Should BeDancing", quickly rose to success as the dance clubs latched on to its intense rhythms and falsetto harmonies. Among the trendy night clubs and discotheques, the song became an anthem. Other songs from thealbum,"Boogie Child" and "Love So Right", also did very well.

And then came "Saturday Night Fever". Robert Stigwood, their manager and friend requested some songs for a movie soundtrack he was producing-a low budget dance movie set in Brooklyn. He persuaded brothers to give him the songs that were already recorded for their next album. These recordings eventually became the soundtrack of "Saturday Night Fever". In late 1977, the film "Saturday Night Fever" was released. Three songs from the soundtrack -- "How Deep Is Your Love", "Stayin Alive", and "Night Fever" -- instantly climbed to the top of the singles charts. The soundtrack album stayed at #1 for24 weeks, becoming the all time top selling album up to that time, and remains even now one of the best selling album in history of pop music.

At one point, Gibb compositions held all the top five slots on Billboard's top ten. With the astounding success of the "SaturdayNight Fever" soundtrack, Disco suddenly was a rage around the globe.This sort of success naturally evokes a wide span of reactions,ranging from blind imitation to outright resentment and loathing and thus an anti-disco backlash began.It was unfortunate and unfair that the Bee Gees were blamed for disco. Had the movie "Saturday Night Fever" never been made, and those same compositions made their way to the Bee Gees' next studio album as originally planned, the whole "disco fever" travesty might have been avoided.

Disco was as much a fashion fad as a music trend and the irony was that the Bee Gees didn't like to dance and didn't even like the movie" Saturday Night Fever ". They took pride in their craft, not in the merchandising of garish disco lifestyle.In their next studio album, "Spirits Having Flown", they sought to be different. The lead single, "Too Much Heaven", was a slow ballad,not a disco dance tune. The "Spirits Having Flown" album had avariety of musical styles, from the Caribbean feel of the title track to the smokey nightclub sound of "Stop, Think Again." "Tragedy", was undeniably disco in style but it was quite rockish.Still everybody blamed Bee Gees for disco.

Early eighties were not agood time for the brothers because of the disco backlash and the emergence of punk rock and new wave groups defining the sound of the80's.the release of "Living Eyes" was hence a huge disaster.For the next 5 to 6 years Bee Gees didn't release any more studio albums. They didn't go on tour. Instead, their efforts were divided between writing and producing for other artists and working on their own occasional solo projects. The lone exception to this period was the soundtrack to the movie "Stayin' Alive". Sylvester Stallone was hired to direct this sequel to "Saturday Night Fever". Looking at the film, it is obvious that this was a work crafted in Stallone's own image. Even John Travolta ended up looking like Rambo.

Barbra Streisand asked the brothers to work with her on her nextalbum. Barry agreed and produced her album "Guilty" which had three top 10 singles in 1980, and has been the most successful album of her career.Later on Barry produced Dionne Warwick's "Heartbreaker" LP, and "Eyes That See In The Dark" for Kenny Rogers. "Islands in the Stream" was a huge country hit for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. It also crossed over and dominated mainstream pop also one of very few country duets to ever do so. In all the excitement, people didn't seem to notice who wrote and composed the song. The biggest country hit of 1983 was written by the same composers who wrote the disco anthem "Stayin' Alive". Bee Gees had made a most remarkable transition in their music, and hardly anyone seemed to realize it.

As if to emphasize the point, the Bee Gees made another transition.They agreed to work on a R&B album for Motown diva DianaRoss. "Eaten Alive" and the single "Chain Reaction" gave Diana Ross her first major chart success on the both sides of Atlantic. Surprisingly, Bee Gees had proven their worth as songwriters and producers with both country music and R&B acts but at the sametime their own career was going nowhere. In 1987, The "E.S.P." album brought the single "You Win Again", a #1 success in several countries. The USA, however, wasn't one of them.

Following the tragic death of younger brother Andy Gibb in 1988, the Bee Gees started to seriously re-evaluate their careers.Trying to make sense of the tragedy, they also began to feel a needto truly dedicate themselves to what they've always done best; theirmusic-song writing and performing. Regardless of what the criticsthought about Bee Gees, they made a come back with the 1989 album "One" which brought the brothers success in USA and Europe. For the first time in ten years, Bee Gees set forth on a world tour.In 1993, they released the CD "Size Isn't Everything". Appearances on radio and TV brought inevitable one-liners about the meaning of the title. Howard Stern asked them "which one is the 'biggest' Bee Gee? Answer was off course Barry.

In 1997 Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Their 1997 release, "Still Waters," debuted at #2 on the UK charts.The compilation album "The Very Best of the Bee Gees" also remained in the top ten for quite some time.Despite many ups and downs their extraordinary song-writing, composing and singing-rooted in the voices that are appealing individually as well as melding together so perfectly and naturally-remained a constant through out their history. Their harmonies are so good that they make the Beatles, the Everly Brothers, and Simon &Garfunkel - all famous for their harmonies - almost seem hollow and artificial. After the death of Maurice Gibb they have stopped performing still I am sure they would be planning another album or the next single.

I am also listing my favourite Bee Gees songs:-

1. I started a joke

2. Massachusetts

3. How deep is your love?

4. staying alive

5. Night fever

6. Words

7. Too much heaven

8. Closer than close

9. New York mining disaster

10. Nights on Broadway

Note:-several print and internet sources have been used for the article.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Governance Issues in Media

Session I: Electronic Media
Concurrent Session B-7

The speakers said there is a massive communication gap between the citizens and the local governments despite efforts by the National Reconstruction Bureau to rectify it through its Governance and Media Cell. They urged a strong local media involvement for awareness about the local government system.

Media analyst Jehanzeb Aziz, in his paper, Gaps between governance and the masses: the case of devolution plan, analysed the National Reconstruction Bureau's media strategy and its impacts. He called for more independent, fair and objective studies to bridge the information gaps between the devolution plan and the citizens.He shared that the NRB has equipped itself with many diversified tasks. The organization, though a part of the Prime Minister's Secretariat, does not have a practical, executable plan for advocacy and education regarding its role and functions.

According to his presentation, the Media and Governance Cell, devised to bridge the gap in governance issues among masses, keep people abreast of different activities going on at tehsil and district levels and dispel false impressions against the devolution process, has not been able to perform these functions.He said only 12 percent of the people are aware of the local government system, 23 percent how nazims are elected, while a bare 2 percent have knowledge about Citizen Community Boards (CBOs). He said in the urban areas only 11 percent and in the rural areas 9 percent felt that the local governance was a better system. Reviewing the mass media environment in Pakistan, he said only 5.3 percent of the people have access to newspapers, and 97 percent of these only read headlines, and 21 percent read columns, which is a healthy trend. His research indicated that magazine readership among women was higher compared to males. While 50 percent have television sets, only 5 percent have access to computers. Interestingly, he found that despite a 39-percent listeners of FM radio stations, 9 percent listen to the All India Radio.

He concluded that despite the fact that a worse kind of oligarchy was being created with the devolution system, it was still a good system. He stressed that the media needed to take greater ownership of the process to carry it to the people. “An independent, fair and objective study is required to know how much progress has actually taken place.” Syed Abdul Siraj Ahmed, from the Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan, in his paper, Post-modernism and the mass media, gave a comparative analysis of the pre and post-modernist media. He discussed how post-modernist society had become a visual society dominated by media reality. “We are living in a three-minute culture because reality is littered with video footage, computer games, advertising, film, television images and photographs.”

He discussed how post-modernism was a set of literary and cultural movements emerging after the collapse of the division between the elite and mass/common cultures. He said the speed of communications had brought about the concept of “here and now”. He felt that the remote control had given more control to the audience in the communication process. Siraj cited this as a key reason behind fragmentation and segmentation in the society. “This cauterization of audience has changed the very definition of mass communication.” Tragically, now more emphasis was on style rather than the substance and content. His presentation highlighted how advertising techniques are used to make or break a company, irrespective of the quality of the product. “A poor product can be successful due to great advertising while an excellent product can fail. People get influenced by brands when they buy things.”

Matiullah Jan’s paper, District governance and the role of FM radio, recommended that given the regulatory laws regarding coverage of public service messages, the districts should make best use of the FM radio channels. He said the district governments and FM radio were both a new phenomenon at the grassroots. He felt that FM radio would be the ultimate tool of empowering people. “Aggressive news reporting, interviews, debates and discussions by an FM radio station will put life into an otherwise dull system of local governments.” He said a local FM radio could be a powerful instrument to bring people back to participatory democracy and draw them out of their houses on polling days.

He identified various departments/sections (CBO activities) of the district government set up that ought to be covered by FM radio reporters to keep the community well informed. Matiullah said the lacunas in the laws and by-laws of the district council legal framework prevented journalists from obtaining information and for this there was need for greater transparency on the part of nazims. Media personnel should have access to union council proceedings, he recommended. The website launched by NRB to facilitate free flow of information was only used as an advertising tool to glorify the nazims, he said, and called for bringing the public into the mainstream political discourse. The discussant, Eamoinn Taylor, head of Development Section at DFID, reiterated that electronic media needed to work aggressively and strategically to bridge the gaps, as the government bodies failed to inform the public about the devolution process.

He felt it was important for the state and the media to involve the citizens, adding that it was disheartening the citizens had such little information about CBOS, bodies designed specifically to work for them. He called for structural and behavioral reforms to move from “notions of tabedaree (submission) to notions of barabaree (egalitarianism).” In the brief plenary, it was suggested to discuss and debate the issue of the “tyranny of reportage” under a military rule as well. A participant questioned how Pakistan could be called a country living in the post-modern era since we were neither a text age nor an audio visual one, given the rate of rising illiteracy. Moneeza Hashmi of PTV, Pakistan, chaired the session.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Humour Is Always Native

This interview was recorded in 2003 by the VOICE Monthly, Islamabad

A tête-à-tête with writer, dramatist and producer Jehanzeb Aziz,
By The Voice Team

HUMOUR is serious business. Ask the failed slapsticks! In the realm of Urdu literature, very few people have ventured the genre and fewer still earned a reputation worth the salt. Jehanzeb Aziz, our personality of the month, entered the arena through his book Aik Dafa Ka Zikr Hai. According to Jehanzeb, the book was not exactly a conscious effort. Apart from the book, he is keen to do a lot many things. The Voice interviewed the PAF officer turned writer, advertising and PR practitioner , who heads the media department of the National Registration and Data Base Authority (NADRA). He has also served in the Inter Services Public Relations Air Wing.

Jehanzeb has not limited his craft to humour, trebling as a dramatist and producer to boot. He claims to have been infected with the bug of writing from his childhood. His joy and happiness knew no bounds when his first essay Makhan Lagana Aik Fun Hai (Buttering Is An Art) was published in the Urdu journal 'Hakayat'. As a person, he is forthright and amiable.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: What were your feelings on reading your script for the first time?A: Beyond explanation. I always enjoy reading whatever I have written and it gives a strange kind to happiness to me.

Q: You have had a distinguished career in Pakistan Air Force. How did you manage to spare time for literary activities?A: Life at PAF was so hectic and exciting that today when I recall, I am unable to understand how I managed to do it all. Writing is a full time job and it is only possible to write when you are able to develop a train of thought. Otherwise, you cannot even imagine writing anything. In my opinion, if you want to write one page, you have to read a hundred, otherwise, you cannot produce anything worthwhile. As far as I am concerned, I lay no claim to having produced any special work. I’m indebted to Syed Zamir Jaffery, who advised me to test myself in writing. This is how I came to be.

Q: Humour is not any easy form of literature. What inspired you to opt for it instead of relatively easier forms?A: I did not intend to write humour. I just wanted to write in the language which is in vogue and which abounds in humour. My language is not the traditional language of other books, couched in grammar. It is local parlance done without preparation of any kind of notes.

Q: Pundits opine that one loses all fire for writing after penning a book or that craze for writing gets a new impetus. What is your experience?A: My craze is still alive and at peak. My second book is headed for the shelves shortly although I have yet to finalise the title. This book also deals with the lighter side of life, where the reader will be able to enjoy a fresh lease. I believe the majority of Pakistanis are not greatly tuned to reading. I have made a very deliberate effort to keep a lighter vein so that the reader is tempted not to leave it in midway. I have just finished a novel written in potohari language.I am also working on another novel which is based on my experiences especially in armed forces of Pakistan.

Q: Are you inspired by big names in Urdu humour?A: I think a lot of serious poetry and prose on romance has been written in Urdu, but the same is not true of humour. Yet, one aspect about this genre of literature is encouraging: although small quantitatively, Urdu humour competes favourably with international standards qualitatively and the credit for this goes to the big names. Pitras Bukhari, Mushtaq Ahmed Yousafi, Syed Zamir Jaffery, Shafiq-ur-Rehman, Colonel Mohammad Khan, Mohammad Khalid Akhtar are the torch-bearers.

Q: Which among these inspires you the most?
A: Khalid Akhtar off course. He is in league of his own.I also like Ibn-e-Saffi.He is probably one of the most under rated writers of urdu language despite the fact that he is the most selling writer even almost two decades after his death. His characters and his stories are awesome.

Q: Poets and writers enjoy recognition, globally. Do you think humorists also share the same limelight?A: No. In my considered opinion, humour does not conform to a way of writing that has a certain international appeal. Poetry on the other hand, is universal in content. Novel and romance also share a global slice. Whereas humour is always native, addressing the local environment. In a way, you can find a similarity here, with folk arts.

Q: Tell us about your skills on the canvas?A: Apart from writing, I also have an abiding interest in painting. I enjoy romancing with canvas, I was not able to go to some art school for formal training primarily because of my cadetship and PAF service but I enjoy painting.

Q:Have you exhibited your work?A: No and yes. I have not had a formal kind of exhibition. I normally paint and sell them.

Q :And how you ended up in Advertising and public Relations.?A:Somewhere in 1994-93, I met Director Public Relations ( P.A.F). Group Captain Naveed, he asked me to work for Yaum-e-Fizaya (Air Force Day). He offered me to join ISPR Air Wing and from then on I am in it. Later, Group Captain Sultan M. Hali took over as DPR (PAF), who had been my instructor when I was a cadet. We, by the grace of almighty became a winning team and together we implemented many changes and improvements. We produced several documentaries, videos and a very successful drama seriel based on life in Pakistan Air Force.

Q : And your writing and painting background helped?A:Off course- painting is about visuals- and it helped a lot. ISPR Air Wing and at Hawk Advertising where I was Creative Director, these skills helped.

Q: What is the story behind drama seriel Shahpar?A: The drama serial was planned in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country. Group Capt Hali and I did all the planning and requested noted playwright Mustansir Hussain Tarar to write the script. He very kindly consented to it. The production of the serial was assigned to me. For direction, senior television producer Qaisar Farooq was requested but the then PTV managing director did not agree to the proposal and instead asked Syed Shakir Aziz to do the job. The drama was a major hit, producing record business. I was responsible for the production and I also directed the aerial sequences.

Q: But there was lot of controversy also about 'Shahpar'?A: You see anything good is controversial. Some people raised some objections about the serial drawing heavily on romance. My response to such objections was that flying per se, is a romance. Through Shahpar we tried to portray the proud pilots of PAF as normal human beings, not supernatural creatures. We wanted to communicate that they are not mere mechanical parts, but wholesome human beings with feelings as strong or weak as any other mortal.

Q: How was your experience doing various PAF projects?A: Very challenging. Actually doing anything in air adds another dimension to the whole scheme of things. When you are recording a sequence on ground your characters and camera remain on ground. But when you are in the air, everything changes. Your camera is in the air, your characters are flying and the light source changes at every moment. It has a different dynamics altogether.

Q: Did you receive an award for Shahpar?A: Yes Musawar Award.

Q: You wrote drama seriel Sajri Sawai for PTV. Have you switched over to drama writing from production?A: You see, basically I am a writer. Senior PTV producer Syed Taufiq Shah is among good friends of mine, he asked me to write the script. It is a story of Pakistanis living abroad with a bent on the trials and tribulations of these expatriates.

Q: After Air Force how is NADRA getting along.?A: Well NADRA is something truly exciting. First of all every Pakistani, young old, living here or abroad is our audience. Then NADRA’s product is very unique. It remains with (you) always. All these things makes it challenging as well as exiting.

Q: Why these new ID cards?A: We are changing the system, as you know the previous system was manual and according to a safe estimate there were more than 10 million fake or illegal or bogus identity cards in circulation. However NADRA is not about just making ID cards, it is infact one of our by-products. The main target is to get registered each and every person in Pakistan through all available means.

Q: What is the response of the general public?A: The response has been overwhelming; beyond our estimates and projections. Till date more than 30 million application forms have been acquired. The rate of submission of filled-in forms is also very fast, it is faster than what we can easily handle.

Q: How do you see NADRA performance as far its goals are concerned?
A: In a short span of time NADRA has successfully completed the scanning and data entry of all the National Data Forms (64 Million) and has successfully used this data for the production of the computerized Electoral Rolls. NADRA is already issuing the new computerized National Identity Cards to the citizens of Pakistan. National ID cards for Overseas Pakistani(NICOP) and Pakistan Origin Crad (POC) is in the pipeline. The national data warehouse is a national asset.I am sure it will inshalla be a very effective decision support system in the future.

Q: How are you approaching your audience?
A: This has been a real challenge. And I had and still have huge tasks at hand. We are employing integrated approach for our mass communications effort using various above the line and below the line communications methods.

Q: What is your opinion about current media and advertising in Pakistan?A: We are witnessing major changes. Media ,advertising professionals and advertisers all must be prepared to deal with the new situation in the times ahead. Like satellite and cable TV have arrived in Pakistan but we still do not know what to do with them. In the same way we are yet to exploit the potential of internet properly. Our advertising agencies must be prepared to take up new challenges. There is an acute shortage of trained people in advertising industry. There is shortage of creative directors, good copywriters and visualisers. Karachi based agencies are more professional because of the availability of trained manpower and better infrastructure like studios etc. On client side, especially government media managers need to be more professional. I think we are moving towards more accountability. We need research organizations like Gallop Pakistan and Aftab Associates for devising media plans based on facts and figures.

Q:What are your future projects?A: As I have said earlier my second book is almost complete. I have just finished a novel written in potohari language, Drama seriel Sajri Seware was based on this novel. I am also working on another novel.It is a very difficult subject but I hope and pray, I will be able to finish it. I am in pre-production stage of a comedy drama serial. lets see what happens only Allah knows about the future.