Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Replay: The Year 2014 in film

year in review

From summer blockbusters to indie releases, fairy-tale weddings to cyber attacks, Hollywood kept us entertained aplenty in 2014. Instep takes a look back at its most memorable achievements through the year.

- Jennifer Lawrence continued to be her delightfully effervescent self while continuing to be insanely successful. The actress was 2014’s highest grossing performer, thanks to the latest installments of the X-Men and The Hunger Games franchises, with her blockbusters earning $1.4 billion globally this year.

- In a development that we totally did not see coming, 2014 turned out to be the year of the confusingly gorgeous (how and when did that happen?!) Chris Pratt, who was the highest grossing ($1.2 billion) male actor of 2014, and starred in the year’s two most exciting, entertaining, enjoyable movies, namely …

     … The Lego Movie, which made it hip to be rectangle, and told us that everything is awesome!

     … and Guardians of the Galaxy, which practically forced us to have a good time, no matter how hard we tried to resist its charms. Now we’re not quite sure how to hear the line “we are Groot” without bursting into tears. Excuse us while we find a towel.

- Transformers: Age of Extinction was one of the worst films of the year. Transformers: Age of Extinction was also the highest grossing film of the year. Trying to reconcile these two facts makes our head hurt.

- Captain America: The Winter Soldier was impressive despite not being wintery enough.

- The Grand Budapest Hotel was quite grand.

- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wasn’t very amazing.

- Birdman soared.

- Chef delighted.

- Godzilla was one of the better attempts at rebooting a franchise. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was not.

- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes left us wondering how Andy Serkis still does not have an Oscar nomination.

- Snowpiercer explored socio-political divides with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

- Maleficent tried to cast a positive light on Sleeping Beauty villain Maleficent, although it forgot to explain why her parents chose to name her “maleficent” (literally: harmful, evil) in the first place if she was a good fairy.

- Boyhood took 12 years to make and 3 hours to watch, and will take an entire award season to celebrate.

- The absolutely terrific Gone Girl’s dark, twisted, creepy drama left us wondering what it says about us if this is one of our favourite movies of the year. We think we might need therapy.

- The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything told the stories of two incredible scientists with stellar performances by Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch.

- Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Oscars and orchestrated a selfie that broke Twitter. She also got pizza for everyone, which makes us think we will get along really well with her. Alfonso Cuarón became the first Mexican to win the Best Director trophy while 12 Years A Slave won the Best Picture award.

- The McConaissance was upon us, as Matthew McConaughey took home the Best Actor Academy Award and then starred in Interstellar which was (quite literally) out of this world.

- It was declared compulsory by law for every single person on planet Earth to comment on Renee Zellweger’s new face.

- Angelina Jolie continued to look incredible even after she got chicken pox because the universe is annoyingly unfair. She also married the drool-generating Brad Pitt because the odds are somehow stacked in her favour.

- George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin to the endless fascination of everyone with too much time on their hands.

- Not content with simply doing a hat trick of terribleness, Nicolas Cage went the extra mile and released four awful movies in one year. That statistic is quite impressive in its own appalling way.

- Dumb and Dumber To: a project so dumb that they even got the spelling of “two” wrong.

- The world lost some of its brightest stars, including Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple, Harold Ramis, Casey Kasem, James Garner, Joan Rivers, and Jan Hooks.

- Everyone was so busy being overly amused by celebrities pouring ice water over their heads that most of us still won’t be able to tell what ALS actually stands for.

- Kickstarter resurrected Veronica Mars.
- Leapin’ lizards! The remake of Annie took some hard knocks from critics. Summary of what was wrong with it: everything.
- Based on religious accounts, Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings did not please the censors in various Muslim countries and were promptly banned.

- Selena Gomez tried (and failed) to have a movie career.

- Jaden and Willow Smith transcended to a whole new level of enlightenment never attained by an earthling before.

- Apparently Tilda Swinton was in some of the films we watched. We’re still not quite convinced that this is true.

- Dracula Untold would have been better left untold.

- Kirk Cameron’s attempt at saving Christmas (and then saving Saving Christmas from bad reviews) went awfully awry.

- After watching Melissa McCarthy’s Tammy, we can honestly say, don’t.

- Adam Sandler starred in another award-worthy film, presuming the award in question is the Razzie.

- Jennifer Aniston continued to generate envy by being gorgeous.

- Young adults found themselves in dystopian settings a little too often.

- Shailene Woodley gained prominence for Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars.

- The Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer caused a kerfuffle because of a black stormtrooper.

- The massive interest in the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer made us weep for humanity.

- Photos of several actresses were leaked online.

- Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb marked an end to a franchise that we refuse to admit we secretly enjoyed.

- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was released, warding off fear that Peter Jackson might be tempted to turn the final film into its own trilogy.

- Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg tried to start World War III by spoofing the supremest of all leaders, his exalted highness, monsieur Kim Jong-un in The Interview. Bizarre events, quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, ensued. Sony Pictures was hacked, their documents and films leaked, and terror threats made, but ultimately sanity prevailed and the movie was finally released. Now we are glad we live in a world where we can exercise our own free will and choose not to watch The Interview.

- By Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 31st December, 2014 *

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rewind: The year 2014 in music

year in review

Instep rounds up the highs and lows in music as the year comes to a close

- One Direction continued being the biggest mass-marketed product pop group in the known universe.

- Ed Sheeran made our friends obsolete by giving us all the emotional support we need.

- Solange and Jay Z made the mistake of getting on the same elevator.

- The very generous Beyoncé gave us More.

- Miley Cyrus’ attempts to shock us became increasingly tiring as she pretty much ran out of ways to out-raunchify herself.

- Bruce Springsteen released an album called High Hopes that one should not listen to with very high hopes.

- Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, the two people least likely to release a duets album together, released a duets album together.

- Pharrell Williams and his hat continued to reign supreme.

- Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, a.k.a. the parents of “Dembabies”, separated, leaving us wondering how hard making a case in their favour in the custody battle will be for whichever parent came up with that moniker.

- Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, and Claudia Leitte performed the 2014 FIFA World Cup’s official anthem ‘We Are One (Ole Ola)’ which was declared the best football song ever by absolutely no one anywhere.

- Meghan Trainor released a faux empowerment anthem that ended up being the most irritating song of the year, which is quite a feat considering it was a year during which Iggy Azalea was active.

- Justin Bieber finally discovered something he actually has a talent for: breaking the law. Now if he could just stop pretending to be a singer.

- Maroon 5 released their fifth album, V. The first time we heard it was also the last.

- Demos of Madonna’s upcoming album were leaked.

- Taylor Swift broke up with Spotify. Prepare to hear all about it on her next album. Meanwhile, her latest record, 1989, sold copies by the bucket load.

- Robin Thicke tried to win Paula Patton back by making a creepy album and naming it after her. The logic behind that plan was lost on everyone, including Paula Patton, who filed for divorce.

- Bella Thorne released an EP because every Disney actress is bound by the laws of the universe to do so.

- Nicki Minaj was amazing. Or insufferable. Or amazingly insufferable.

- Lily Allen realized (quite rightly) that her new songs are rubbish, which means there’s still hope for her.

- Lea Michele’s debut album underwhelmed, much like everything else she did.

- Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter and New Kids on the Block’s Jordan Knight teamed up for an album, because two has-beens are obviously better than one.

- Boyzone released an album of Motown covers. No one knows why.

- Former Take That singer Robbie Williams live-tweeted the birth of his son (because why not) before releasing an album with a cover that made us wish we had the power to unsee things.

- Meanwhile, one of the four remaining members of Take That exited the band, leaving the group with only three members: Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, and the one who isn’t Gary Barlow or Mark Owen.

- Sam Smith was like the new Adele. Meanwhile, rumour has it that Adele continued to be the original Adele. We have been unable to confirm this unsubstantiated claim.

- Lana Del Rey said she wished she was dead already, much to the chagrin of Francis Bean Cobain, who promptly admonished the singer not to glamorize early death.

- So much ink was wasted on the now-married Kanye West and Kim Kardashian this year that the mere fact that we are writing another sentence about them right now should be considered a punishable offense. We’re sorry.

- After putting a paper bag on her head, Sia warbled some words, possibly while her mouth was full of marbles. What those words were is anyone’s guess.

- Jessie J made a banging comeback.

- Shakira and Rihanna couldn’t remember to forget each other, although many of us wouldn’t mind forgetting that song ever happened.

- Cheryl, who had repeatedly said she was never, ever, ever going to return to The X Factor, returned to The X Factor.

- Ariana Grande and her (reportedly) grande ego got her big break in the industry, leaving us with one more, one more problem.

- Soon after Rita Ora released the Calvin Harris penned ‘I Will Never Let You Down’, the couple broke up. In other words, that song was a lie.

- Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars revived the ‘80s with their contagious ‘Uptown Funk’.

- Kiesza revived the ‘90s.

- Beck, Damon Albarn, Kasabian, Jack White, and Thom Yorke impressed with their new releases.

- Nickelback continued to exist, much to everyone’s dismay.

- The Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, Blondie, Linkin Park, and Weezer tried really hard to be relevant again. Is it weird to still fancy Rivers Cuomo? Asking for a friend.

- Coldplay made a breakup album, as Chris Martin consciously uncoupled with Gwyneth Paltrow.

- Pink Floyd’s last album marked the end of an era.

- Eric Clapton got together with some of his friends to show his appreciation of JJ Cale.

- Not to be outdone, The Flaming Lips recreated The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with a little help from their fwends.

- U2 ate a slice of humble pie when it turned out that some people don’t want to listen to their music even if it is free, especially if it is shoved into their music libraries without their consent. Music spam was (hopefully) nipped in the bud.

- A second Michael Jackson posthumous album was released, making it two too many.

- MacCauley Culkin’s pizza-themed Velvet Underground tribute band The Pizza Underground failed emphatically, bizarrely enough.

- Weird Al Yankovic taught us grammar by pointing out our word crimes, and also released the best Foo Fighters song the Foo Fighters had nothing to do with.

- Foo Fighters made a TV series about making their new album Sonic Highways.

- And new releases by artists including St. Vincent, Tori Amos, Annie Lennox, Barbra Streisand, George Michael, Enrique Iglesias, Kylie Minogue, Jason Derulo, 50 Cent, Jason Mraz, Chris Brown, The Script, Boyz II Men, Olly Murs, David Guetta, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, and Garth Brooks also captured listeners’ attention.

- By Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 30th December, 2014 *

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Best of 2014: Movies

year in review

2014 may not have been a wonderful orbit around the Sun for the world in general, but as far as films were concerned, the year certainly had its fair share of impressive projects. The good ones took us on thrilling journeys to mysterious places, helping us discover more about ourselves and the world we live in. The best ones connected with us on an emotional level while exciting us with their ideas and visuals. So as the year draws to a close, we take a (subjective) look at some of its most distinctive and exhilarating cinematic offerings. Here are five of the finest films that 2014 had to offer:

There is a reason Boyhood is one of the most celebrated films of the year: it quite simply deserves to be. The most unique movie of 2014, Richard Linklater’s opus was shot intermittently over a 12-year period, following the same characters portrayed by the same actors for a dozen years in an ambitious foray into temporal continuity.
In the beginning, we meet Mason Evans Jr (Ellar Coltrane) when he is a six-year-old, living in Texas with his elder sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s real-life daughter) and single mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette) who has separated from their father Mason Sr (Ethan Hawke). By the end, Mason Jr is 18 and off to college. Encompassed therein, in all its messy shades, is ‘boyhood’ — the evolution of a little boy into a young man. The film subtly showcases the often mundane complications of human life, while exploring issues like divorce, alcoholism, and heartbreak.
With its footage captured over a decade, then collapsed into a piece that runs for nearly three hours (around 165 minutes to be precise), Boyhood is quite an experience. Its concept could easily have turned out to be nothing more than a gimmick; instead, while it is the approach that initially lures you to the project, it’s the emotional resonance that makes an impact and leaves you with one of the most memorable experiences of 2014.

Gone Girl
After a woman (Rosamund Pike) goes missing, her husband (Ben Affleck) starts to emerge as a likely suspect in her disappearance. But nothing is as it seems in Gone Girl, and that’s what makes this dark, twisty tale one of the most riveting episodes of 2014. Gillian Flynn’s gripping screenplay (which she adapted from her own 2012 bestseller that bears the same title) meets David Fincher’s meticulous, stylish execution to take the viewers on a two-and-a-half hour rollercoaster filled with suspense. With casting choices that may seem peculiar at first glance (you don’t expect to see ‘Blurred Lines’ model Emily Ratajkowski in a David Fincher film), the movie brings out the best in each actor and puts them all to perfect use; the leads in particular deliver outstanding performances.
You can see it as a thriller about a sociopath, an intelligent satire of media circuses, or a deeper look at deception and entrapment, but no matter what lens you view it through, there is little doubt that you will be transfixed to the screen. This, ultimately, is what the perfect pairing of material and director can achieve.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Almost no other film this year can compete with the amount of acclaim that has been showered on Alejandro González Iñárritu’s dark comedy Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). Made to look like most of it is one long, continuous take, the film follows the story of a washed up actor (Michael Keaton), once famous for playing a superhero called Birdman, who is trying to reinvigorate his career. The movie hits all the right chords in almost every department — direction, acting, screenplay, and cinematography — and has emerged as an early favourite this award season. The reason it might bag many accolades in the coming months is that it blends its smart satirical edge with a spectrum of human emotions. The supporting cast is exceptional, and (former Batman) Michael Keaton is an inspired choice for the lead role, almost (but not quite) like art imitating life.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Its premise — akin to a Wodehousian farce on steroids — might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but anyone would find it hard to deny the film’s visual dexterity. The Grand Budapest Hotel is the whimsical story of a concierge (Ralph Fiennes) at an esteemed hotel, who teams up with the lobby boy (Tony Revolori) to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder. The composition of each scene, from the production design to the fluidity of the camera work is impeccable. The film has been shot beautifully from start to finish. There is no argument that Wes Anderson has created a visually stunning feast, but that isn’t the only thing about this project that makes it exciting. Quirky, well-cast and delightfully scored, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a stylish riot with more underneath its polished surface than initially meets the eye.

The Lego Movie
You  know what's awesome? Everything! It would have made all the sense in the world to be weary of The Lego Movie before it was actually released, but how were we to know that a 100-minute long advertisement could be this good?
We find ourselves in the Lego universe, where a construction worker named Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) lands in the middle of the quest to stop evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from using a superweapon called Kragle. A prophecy suggests that Emmet is ‘the Special’, despite the fact that everything about him seems to prove otherwise. Zany hijinks inevitably ensue. The result is smart, inventive, funny, silly, charming, touching and thoroughly enjoyable.
If there is a statement to be made about the value of fun, then The Lego Movies makes it very convincingly, and does so with much gusto (a characteristic it shares with the equally enjoyable Guardians of the Galaxy). The film is full of heart and clearly made with a lot of love. And it’s the utter passion it displays and the exhilarating ride it takes us through that makes it one of the standout movies of the year.

- By Sameen Amer

Sunday Magazine, The Express Tribune - 28th December 2014 *

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Theory of Everything - physics and chemistry

movie review

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking may have a theory on everything, except love

Stephen Hawking’s life has been nothing short of remarkable. Not only has the world-renowned physicist achieved a plethora of accomplishments and distinctions in his illustrious career, but he has done so by defying all expectations while traversing a path that has been profoundly inspirational. It is primarily this latter aspect of his story that is captured in The Theory of Everything, the biographical drama about the trials and triumphs of the cosmologist’s life.

The narrative spins around Hawking’s relationship with his first wife, Jane Wilde, whose book Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen inspired the movie.

It is the early 1960s, and Stephen Hawking (portrayed brilliantly by Eddie Redmayne) is still a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, where he meets literature student Jane (Felicity Jones). She is a devout believer while he is an outspoken atheist; yet they fall for each other. But then life throws a spanner in the works — at the age of 21, Hawking is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative motor neuron disease. The prognosis? An average life expectancy of two years.

Life practically hands him a death sentence but with Jane’s unflinching support, he defies all odds. They marry and have three kids while he continues coming up with groundbreaking scientific theories while searching for “one simple, elegant equation to explain everything”. It’s a beautiful love story, complicated by reality. The agony of the situation is matched by the strength of the human spirit, but even that can’t prevent the union’s ultimate dissolution.

As with many biopics, some of the wrinkles have been ironed and rough edges smoothed out. Every character is displayed under a positive light, stripping the story of some of its more prickly aspects. And the film is by no means comprehensive; those who are looking for an exploration of Stephen Hawking’s scientific work are bound to be disappointed by The Theory of Everything’s focus on his personal life. Still, the theoretical discourse that is presented in the film is finely weaved into the narrative, and director James Marsh occasionally employs some stellar, artistic shots and sequences that beautifully supplement its protagonist’s ideas.

The main highlight of the movie, though, is Eddie Redmayne’s wonderful performance in this very challenging part. His transformation into Hawking is remarkable, and he embodies the character’s charm brilliantly while conveying the emotional depth of the role. Felicity Jones is also terrific as Jane and carries her part radiantly.

Filled with love, sadness, wit and wisdom and propelled by Redmayne’s standout, award-worthy performance, The Theory of Everything succeeds in relaying an extraordinary story that emotionally resonates with viewers. Its overall approach may be conventional and both the journey and the science may have been simplified, but the film on the whole is impressively made and very affecting.

Rating: 4 out of  5

- By Sameen Amer

Sunday Magazine, The Express Tribune - 21st December, 2014 *

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Nightcrawler - breaking news

movie review

Some people will go to unusual lengths to make headlines

People in the news business rush around the clock to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the monster that is the 24-hour news cycle. They do this while simultaneously racing against their competitors to break the biggest stories and bring the latest visuals to our television screens. Inured viewers don’t pause to think about where the footage came from, who shot it, or how it was obtained. But perhaps they should. The breakneck pace and demands of the media machinery leave it susceptible to cracks that could be exploited by those with shaky morals, which is what happens in Nightcrawler, a crime thriller that shows what can transpire when actions are driven by a union of opportunism and depravity.

The story revolves around Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), an unemployed petty thief who ekes out a living by selling stolen scrap metal. By chance, he encounters a camera crew that is out chasing late night news stories so that they can sell the gory footage to local news channels. If there is carnage, the cameramen descend like vultures. Enthralled and inspired, Louis obtains a camcorder and police radio scanner and joins the hunt for tragedies to exploit, selling his clips to Nina (Rene Russo), a producer working the graveyard shift at a flailing network. He subsequently hires homeless drifter Rick (Riz Ahmed) as an ‘intern’, as his sociopathic tendencies start to take over.

Nightcrawler presents a fascinating character study of a disturbed person who is willing to profiteer off the misery of others, and if need be, orchestrate that misery himself. The film also satirises the television news business, taking a swipe at the media’s “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality by giving us a very extreme version of events and showing us how awry things can go if this morbid tendency is not kept in check.

In his directorial debut, screenwriter Dan Gilroy has proved himself a master of creating tension, gradually increasing the intensity of the proceedings as the film goes on till it reaches its climactic clash. He has also equipped his characters with distinct, dark personalities, and chosen very suitable actors to fill each role. Jake Gyllenhaal is terrifyingly impressive in the unsettling part for which he reportedly lost over 20 pounds, and he is perfectly paired with Russo and Ahmed as his partners in crime.

Overall Nightcrawler makes for an intriguing albeit uncomfortable watch as it takes the viewer on a dark journey into the life of a disturbed soul ambitiously following his newfound passion unhindered by things like morals and ethics. Louis isn’t given a detailed backstory, a choice that will please some viewers while leaving others wondering how he became who he is and why he thinks sounding like a cross between a business brochure and a self-help pamphlet is a good thing. Ultimately, Nightcrawler’s fascinating look at an extremely dislikable yet riveting protagonist and the workings of the murky universe he ventures into may not be pleasant viewing, but the movie is very likely to make an impression on viewers and give them something to think about.

- By Sameen Amer
Sunday Magazine, The Express Tribune - 7th December, 2014 *

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Soch - keeping the dream alive


After the success of their contribution to Ek Villain’s soundtrack, Soch is coming back for more…  

Some artists are very visibly driven by fame, going out of their way to employ every gimmick and chase every avenue that is likely to get them noticed. Others prefer to let their music do the talking, choosing projects that focus on their musical talents, content with creating songs they can be proud of and hoping their efforts also make a connection with the audience. Soch is proud to be in the latter category.

Still as humble as they were when they first appeared on the scene in 2009, the Lahore-based musicians have managed to create a loyal fan following by making melodious and inspirational pop tunes and being true to themselves. So far, their journey has seen them release a handful of singles, participate in the talent show Nescafe Basement, and appear on the soundtrack of the Bollywood movie Ek Villain.

“Soch does not claim to be absolutely different and groundbreaking,” says Rabi Ahmed, the group’s guitarist. “We simply make music and tunes that are based on our everyday life. We try to give voice to a common man’s problems; we try to raise our voices for people who cannot raise it themselves. With our tracks like ‘Bandeya’, ‘Jinnah’, ‘Uth Jawana’, and ‘Khabar’ (which was part of the Chambeli soundtrack), we have tried to make music with the intention of not only entertaining everyone but also getting them thinking.”

“Money and fame are never on our list,” adds vocalist Adnan Dhool. “We went into Bollywood with just one purpose in mind: to promote Pakistani talent and music. The pride we felt when ‘Awari’ took the Indian charts by storm is something we can never explain. And being referred to as the ‘Pakistani’ boy band in the Indian and foreign media fills us with pride.”

Soch has since been busy making more music. They recently released their latest song ‘Neray Neray Vas’, a mid-tempo ditty about the yearnings of love. “’Neray Neray Vas’ is a melodious Punjabi track. Anyone who loves or has ever loved can relate to this song easily.” The group also recruited a fellow Basement alumnus for the project, getting Season Two singer Ruttaba Yaqub to contribute backing vocals to the track.

The duo says there was no specific reason they chose to write the lyrics in Punjabi, and that the choice just naturally applied itself to the song. “When Rabi and I get together, we brainstorm, make tunes, groove on the guitar, and simply go with the flow. We don’t intend to make songs in Urdu or Punjabi,” Adnan explains. “The look and feel of the songs always end up being completely different from what we actually start with,” Rabi adds. “We also rely on the feedback of Murzie bhai (Murtaza Niaz), our manager; we would be nowhere without him.”

Adnan and Rabi wrote, composed, arranged, mixed, and produced ‘Neray Neray Vas’ themselves and are happy with being fully in charge of their own sound. “Our approach is not always DIY,” says Adnan, “but we have had our own setup, PMR Studio Works, from the very beginning. Considering the financial and time constraints, we decided to do everything ourselves and master these arts too.”

“And believe me the DIY formula is rocking for us,” enthuses Rabi. “In fact, we have other pretty established artists and musicians coming to us for recording, mastering, and mixing now.”

A video for ‘Neray Neray Vas’ is in the pipeline, but before that, the band plans to release the clip for their song ‘Arz’. “‘Arz’ is a beautiful ballad, and we have got a tremendous response for the audio of the song. The video is going to be superb,” Adnan promises.

The guys confirm that their album is also in the works, but they aren’t sure when it will be released. “Our music industry is going through bad times,” opines Adnan, “and releasing an album at this point is actually not a very good option, not only for us but for any other artist too. We are waiting for the right time to release it. Unfortunately Bollywood is what rules our music scene at the moment. I must say, I pretty much blame our TV and radio broadcasters too; they need to be more responsible and start giving Pakistani music a major portion of air time.”

Rabi points out that this is not the only issue plaguing the Pakistani music industry. “Piracy is killing us!” he says. “And the situation right now is really bad, with absolutely no room for concerts and gigs and nothing original coming up, no genuine singers and composers. With all this, we are pretty much headed down the hill.”

Things are, however, looking up for Soch. Their imminent plans include a tour, as well as more audio and video releases. “We have Bollywood offers on hand, and a few Pakistani soundtracks and movie offers as well. Plus the ‘Arz’ video will be out soon, and it’s absolutely amazing; you really need to hang in there and watch out for that!”

- By Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 4th December, 2014 *