The top five
It’s winter — the weather’s cooler, power outages are on an all-time low, and the party and wedding seasons are in full swing. And where there are parties, there is music — so here are the top five songs that absolutely must be part of your winter playlist…
Singers: Sayeed Quadri, Shreya Ghoshal, Udit Narayan and Vishal Dadlani
From the year’s biggest bubble gum fantasy (Student of the Year), Karan Johar’s coming-of-age Bromance, this is the ‘it’ song of the party and wedding season, and the perfect one to get you on to the dance floor. But, beware, playing this song may get you a few disapproving glances from the talibani relatives who are always present at weddings, since the lyrics do state “Radha likes to move that sexy Radha body.”!
2. Disco Deewane
Singers: Benny Dayal, Sunidhi Chauhan, Nazia Hassan
And where there is Radha there must be The Disco Song, a remixed version of Disco Deewane — (the unforgettable 80s anthem by Pakistan’s sweetheart, the late Nazia Hasan). Although the remixed version has engendered some rage amongst the purists, the song, which is also from Student of the Year, like Radha, is guaranteed to get you on the dance floor.
3. Hain Ye Silsilay
Singer: Zoe Viccaji
Serving as the ‘title song’ of the new drama Tanhaiyan Naye Silsilay (the sequel to the classic Tanhiayan) the song is perhaps one of the catchiest amongst drama soundtracks which generally tend to be filled with the rona dhona which is typical of most dramas that are being aired. Rendered against the tune of the original play’s background score, the song is upbeat and the lyrics too are pretty hummable.
4. Gangam Style
One of the most viral songs — and video — of the year, with at least a billion views worldwide, Gangnam Style has been defined as “a Korean neologism mainly associated with upscale fashion and lavish lifestyle associated with trendsetters in Seoul’s Gangnam district”. It’s catchy and great fun to dance to, especially if you know the right moves!
5. Phir le aya dil
Singers: Rekha Bhardwaj and Arifit Singh
While this isn’t one for the dance floor, this soulful rendition is just right for one of those quiet winter nights when you’re on your own, reading a good book, or just plain relaxing or waxing nostalgic. With wonderful, sensitive lyrics by Swanand Kirkire, the song is from one of the year’s top grossing movies, Barfi!
What to watch:
2012 saw plenty of hits come its way. Here are the top five which you must watch – or re-watch!
Student of the year
Call it what you will — shallow, excessive or just plain unrealistic — Student of the Year was an out and out entertainer. With Karan Johar at the helm, you cannot expect anything else. Yet, in addition to glossy sets and branded wear that even the supposed ‘poor’ protagonist wore, the movie proved to be a hit. And while it can be dubbed a ‘commercial’ film, it did carry shades of several films by John Hughes such as The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles.
Not only was this the Empress Sridevi’s comeback vehicle, English Vinglish was one of the most refreshing — and entertaining — movies of the year, not to mention one of the shortest Bollywood has churned out with a running time of about 120 minutes. With excellent acting, scripting and direction, the movie was a great reprieve from the usual Bollywood masala films; it was sensitively made, and proved that you don’t have to have item numbers and crass dialogues to ensure box office returns.
The Dark Knight Rises
The second highest grossing Hollywood film of the year, the Dark Knight Rises was also a huge hit in Pakistan, where tickets were sold out weeks before the film premiered here. Centring on (obviously) the brooding Batman, the film was a marked improvement when compared to the soulless Spiderman reboot.
Breaking Dawn 2— the twilight saga
With plenty of vampire beheadings, mysterious and supernatural children and gorgeous sets, while the movie may not have taxed your grey cells, it did manage to keep one glued especially during the anti-climactic fight sequence towards the end. And with foreign vampires adding to the star-studded cast, it didn’t leave the millions of 14-year-old girls wanting more. Not to mention, it was a drastic improvement when compared to Breaking Dawn I which literally caused seizures amongst audiences. All in all, it was a worthy send-off to our favourite pretty vampires.
With a cast that comprised Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherjee and Kareena Kapoor, one would expect a good movie. And Talaash didn’t disappoint — most people anyway. With a taut script and slick direction and a haunting soundtrack, the film was gripping, to say the least. And the ending was definitely a surprise — and although unrealistic, it was (somewhat) believable.
(If five movies are not enough feel free to add Kahani — a gripping thriller starring Vidya Balan in yet another memorable role — and the heart-warming Barfi to the list.)
What to read:
While the winter is ideal for all socialising, it is also the perfect time to curl up and revisit your favourite books of all time. Here are some favourites — while they are different in terms of genres and style of writing (at times drastically so) they are all thoroughly memorable.
Published 1943, The Fountainhead remains one of Ayn Rand’s most enduring works. It is set in 1922, and centres on Howard Roark, an architect whose work is scorned by many because it is considered radical. The love of his life, Dominique Francon remains one of fiction’s most enigmatic women; the novel’s philosophical undertones of individualisms (of which Rand was a proponent) ensure that the book remains relevant even after a passage of nearly 70 years. Interestingly enough, one of the best adaptations of the book in film or television remains the 70s Pakistani drama, Teesra Kinara.
The Adventures of Tintin
There has been a renewed interest in the Tintin comics after the release of the Tintin movie last year, which was directed by Steven Spielburg (although the movie for many avid Tintin fans wasn’t a patch on the comic books it was based on). However, the fact remains that the popularity of Tintin, the Belgian reporter, dates to the 1920s when the author of the 24 comic books, Georges Remi, who was popularly known as simply Hergé, wrote the first book in a comic strip format for a Belgian newspaper. Perhaps thanks to the movie, the comic books are now easily available in Pakistan, so do pick up a couple — or all of them — and discover what makes Tintin such a memorable character.
The magical world of Harry Potter has touched millions, whether in book or film form. And although there have been several book series that have been adapted into movies and television shows such as The Twilight Saga, the Hunger Games and The Vampire Diaries of late, it is the Harry Potter series that is truly magical (no pun intended) and chances are it will withstand the test of time. So if you have not read the books, do take the chance to do so; and if you have already, take the time to revisit JK Rowling’s magic world of Harry Potter.
The greatest show on earth
For Bollywood fans, this year has been a godsend for books about Bollywood, whether it is First Day First Show (Anupama Chopra’s collection of articles), I will do it my way: the incredible journey of Aamir Khan, Diptakirti Chaudhari’s Kitnay Aadmi Thay to name just a few. But the best book on Bollywood to be available in Pakistan this year is perhaps The Greatest Show On Earth by Jerry Pinto, since it brings together some excellent excerpts from various books on Bollywood, including the biographies of Hema Malini, RD Burman, Dev Anand, Yash Chorpra and Meena Kumari, revealing all sorts of scandals and secrets that are almost as unbelievable as Bollywood films.
A Christmas carol
One can’t help but mention this Charles Dickens classic in a list of books to read during the winter. After all, there’s nothing that defines winter as much as Christmas does. So take the time to revisit this evergreen classic, which boasts a host of memorable characters including Enenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future — you will definitely not be disappointed.
In the words of Tiny Tim: “And God bless us, everyone!”
(Published in Dawn’s All About Lifestyle)