Sunday, November 29, 2015

Farhan Saeed: The comeback kid


Farhan Saeed is having a terrific year. The singer – who first came to prominence after being recruited by Jal as a replacement for Atif Aslam and then parted ways with the band to pursue a solo career – is riding high on the success of his song ‘Roiyaan’ which recently won him multiple awards. He has also been busy with his budding acting career, appearing in television dramas including Mere Ajnabi which saw him starring opposite his real-life partner, Urwa Hocane. In an interview with Instep, Farhan talks about his latest successes, venturing into the world of acting, and his upcoming projects.

Instep: Since parting ways with Jal in 2011, you have released a handful of songs, including ‘Khuwahishon’, ‘Pi Jaun’, ‘Kyun Gayi’, and more recently ‘Roiyaan’. Why have you only released singles so far and not a full-length album yet?
Farhan Saeed: Since I started doing music, I have seen the music scene of Pakistan changing drastically. When we started, Pakistan’s music scene was on a high and saw some of its best times. After around 2008–2009, it has been in a relatively difficult situation.
In my opinion, it was a technology shift. From CD players we went to iPods; from buying music we went to downloading it onto our iPods or smartphones later on. This whole technology shift disturbed the business model all over the world, but in the West and other countries like India, they soon got control over it and started paying the artists as their music got downloaded or played anywhere in the world in the form of royalties. But in Pakistan, as expected, no one really came out to help the musicians. Record labels lost interest as the numbers didn’t make sense anymore – everyone started downloading the music for free and CD sales went down to zero.
On top of that, YouTube got banned in Pakistan, which pretty much closed the international doors for Pakistani artists, especially the ones that were new.
With all this in mind, I thought this is a better way of producing music – release a single, make a video, and promote it, rather than releasing an album and not doing justice to each song as I would like to.

Instep: Are there any plans to release your debut album? How soon can we expect a full-length record from you?
Farhan: Honestly speaking, I am not thinking about the album right now. I’d rather release six to seven songs in a year as singles. If things get better and it makes sense, I’ll probably be the first one to do it.

Instep: ‘Roiyaan’ has become your most successful song to date, winning trophies at the Hum Awards and the Lux Style Awards earlier this year. Why do you think the song has been so popular and resonated with listeners and critics alike?
Farhan: Yes, by the grace of Allah, ‘Roiyaan’ has been liked by almost everyone and won me the biggest awards of Pakistan this year. I think it was a great team effort from the audio to the making of its video. I personally believe Pakistan’s audience has a great taste when it comes to music, and good work never goes unnoticed. On top of that, I have some seriously loyal fans behind me to support me through all this.

Instep: How was the experience of performing at the Masala Awards? And how much preparation went into your performance?
Farhan: It took me half an hour for preparation. I reached Dubai just a day before the performance due to my tight schedule. My song was already rehearsed by the dance group, I just had to go and do my bit. I enjoyed every bit of it so it wasn’t that difficult for me.
I loved the feeling of representing Pakistan at the Masala Awards. It was a proud moment. Thanks to Frieha Altaf (Catwalk) who approached me for this and made this possible.

Instep: How much value and importance do you attach to awards and award shows?
Farhan: I think it just motivates you a lot more when you come to know that your work has been appreciated and you’re contributing to Pakistan’s music industry in the best possible way. It just gives you that kick to keep going and make a lot more music.

Instep: You have also been working as a playback singer for Bollywood movies. What do you prefer, making your own music or playback singing?
Farhan: I think both are very important. When you’re making your own music, it’s like a one man army, from making a song to its recording to making its video till its promotion, whereas in a Bollywood movie, or any movie for that matter, you have a lot of people working as a team; it’s relatively easy, but having said that, you get exposed to the biggest audience which you probably wouldn’t be able to achieve on your own.

Instep: You are currently touring Pakistan and India, performing in various cities across the sub-continent. How would you compare the audience of both the countries?
Farhan: I’ve been lucky in that aspect since the start of my career, to be exposed to audiences around the world. Music generally has the same effect on everyone no matter where you are from, but it feels special to represent Pakistan across the border and present the softer image of Pakistan.

Instep: You’ve recently ventured into acting. How has the experience been so far? Has it been easier or harder than you expected? Have you faced any difficulties?
Farhan: I enjoyed acting. In the start obviously I felt it’s harder, but then I started enjoying it and surprisingly it complemented my singing too. I started enjoying being on stage even more as I kept switching between acting and music. I plan to do a lot more acting in the future.

Instep: You recently appeared in the drama serial Mere Ajnabi alongside your real-life partner Urwa Hocane. Is it easier or more difficult to work with the person you’re in a relationship with?
Farhan: It was definitely easier as we had the comfort level and that chemistry one would ask for as an actor. We’d help each other if needed in various ways.
The only difficult thing was our laughing fits which would just come from nowhere in a very serious scene and then [it would be hard] to control them. We’d laugh at any and everything; once it started, it was impossible!

Instep: Are there any upcoming music or acting projects you can tell us about? What can we expect from you in the coming months?
Farhan: There’s a lot in the pipeline: a couple of projects in Bollywood, working on my own music videos – I won’t disappoint my fans even in the coming year, Insha’Allah.
As far as acting is concerned, I have got some big offers, [and I am] working on them. One project is a drama with Hum TV called Silah. It’s a musical serial, directed by Aabis Raza. It’s almost completed; I’m looking forward to its release too.

- Sameen Amer

Instep, The News on Sunday - 29th November, 2015 *

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hotel Transylvania 2 - lacking bite

movie review

Not particularly inventive, animated film Hotel Transylvania 2 is still likely to hit home with a younger audience

 Hotel Transylvania 2

Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, and Mel Brooks
Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky
Tagline: They're back to raise a little terror.

Sony Pictures Animation makes another visit to Dracula’s monster-lodging establishment in Hotel Transylvania 2, a sequel to the 2012 film that found the overprotective Count (voiced by Adam Sandler) trying to dissuade his beloved daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), from going out into the world and interacting with humans.

Despite his efforts, Mavis falls in love with a mortal, Johnny (Andy Samberg), and as the sequel commences, the couple ties the knot and subsequently becomes parents of a son named Dennis (Asher Blinkoff). Count readily takes to his responsibilities as a ‘vampa’ — a vampire grandpa — and dotes on his half-human, half-vampire grandson, while hoping the child will inherit his traits. But when Mavis decides to move to a human neighbourhood, away from the dangers of the monsters’ locale, Count makes it his mission to help Dennis find his inner monster and convince the family to stay. He enlists his monster friends — including Frankenstein (Kevin James), werewolf Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade), a mummy named Murray (Keegan-Michael Key), and Blobby the Blob (Jonny Solomon) — to assist him in scaring his grandson, hoping fear will cause Dennis’ fangs to sprout.

There is nothing exceptional about how events unfold, nor does the film make any attempts to try something original or different. The result is amiable but not particularly inventive. With Genndy Tartakovsky returning as the director, the movie retreads the same ground as its predecessor, basically focusing on Count’s parental neurosis and delivering the same messages of acceptance and embracing change. The execution is obvious and safe, while the thin plot seems to have been stretched and padded with gags to make a full feature.

To its credit though, the film is — or at least tries to be — warm and full of energy. It is competently animated and does succeed in delivering the occasional laugh, but few of its punchlines are clever enough to merit praise, and some simply feel tired. On the whole, the movie will please younger viewers more than it will entertain their parents. (Grown-ups are also likely to find most of the voices overly familiar, a gripe that young kids will not have).

In the hands of a more creative studio and writers, Hotel Transylvania 2 could potentially have been a lot more impressive. As it stands, this animated feature is watchable but largely unmemorable and ultimately inconsequential.

Rating: 3 out of 5

- By Sameen Amer

Sunday Magazine, The Express Tribune - 22nd November, 2015 *

Necropolis - Delhi after dark

book review

Necropolis is a noir-crime novel meets supernatural thriller set in the Indian capital

Book: Necropolis
Author: Avtar Singh

Gangs of pretend vampires and werewolves roam the streets of Delhi as three cops find themselves pursuing a series of cases in Avtar Singh’s Necropolis, a crime drama that interweaves a supernatural thread into its peculiar yarn. In a literal instance of “digital crime”, an attacker terrorises the city by collecting fingers from a number of unwilling donors. His victims are “drawn from the ranks of the peripherally urban — rickshaw-wallahs, casual labourers and the like”. The perpetrator incapacitates his prey with a blow to the head delivered from behind, and then administers an injection to ensure the mark doesn’t regain consciousness, removes a finger, and bandages the hand to minimise the blood loss. Deputy commissioner of police, Sajan Dayal, a lawman “noted for his perspicacity in matters criminal”, heads the task force set up to deal with the matter. Assisting him is his immediate subordinate, “a slow-moving Punjabi” named Kapoor who is a legend in the Delhi police, and smart, idealistic young cyber crime officer Smita Dhingra.

Even though the novel commences with the discovery of the body of a young man, the thread is far from resolved. The same night that the body is recovered from a wooded area next to an old village in Delhi, the elusive Razia disappears without a trace. Known as the Colonel because of her vaguely military outfits, she is a prominent presence in the city’s nightlife, yet no photos exist of her; she may even be hundreds of years old and is suspected by some of being a vampire.

As the would-be vampires and lycans battle each other across the city, Dayal and his cohorts try to track down a specific member of the former group, a young man wearing a keffiyeh. Along the way, other cases — like the rape of a young woman, the murder of a West African drug dealer, and the kidnapping of a child — demand their attention, the resolution of these crimes often complicated by political pressures. As its criminal underbelly is exposed, the setting starts to seem more reminiscent of Batman’s Gotham than India’s capital. It’s a dark, decadent environ, rife with vice and corruption, with a bevy of bad guys causing trouble and shady characters mysteriously appearing whenever they see fit.

There is, however, disconnect between the novel’s style and content. The book finds itself battling its literary and detective sensibilities and ultimately satisfies neither. The attention wanders from the story to Delhi’s history and surroundings instead of focusing on the mystery at hand. Long-winded descriptions of the city’s past and present are peppered throughout the text, which make the narrative’s progress slow and uneven, draining the tale of much-needed intensity. Add to that the heavy prose and wordy style of writing and the book becomes a chore to read. After a while, both the style and substance start to feel repetitive.

But while its leisurely pace may not be to everyone’s taste, the novel leaves no doubt that Singh is both knowledgeable and passionate about his subject matter, and if you’d like to read about an enigmatic metropolis as it changes through the seasons, then it is this very element of the novel that you will find the most fascinating. The author also raises several social issues, with each tragedy highlighting a prevalent problem; even though the book doesn’t explore these issues in depth, it still leaves you with much to ponder.

The characters of the investigators are conventional but well crafted, although they are not as engaging as one would have hoped. Nor is there much reason to be invested in their stories. There isn’t much emotional depth to the proceedings, and it’s hard, for instance, to be interested in the drama surrounding Razia’s connection and relationship with Dayal or indeed her fate, even if what she ultimately represents is intrinsic to the story.

All in all, if you like your crime fiction fast-paced and focused, then Necropolis isn’t for you, but if you’re a fan of descriptive, literary writing and aren’t likely to be disappointed by unsatisfying mysteries, then you will probably enjoy this book.

- Sameen Amer

Books & Authors, Dawn - 22nd November, 2015 *

Friday, November 13, 2015

Licence to thrill

 cover story

Even after five decades on the big screen, James Bond still continues to rule the box office

His name is Bond. James Bond. And he is the most successful secret agent in the (cinematic) universe.

With billions of dollars in box office intake, Bond is one of the highest grossing protagonists of all time, and it is fairly easy to see why - the debonair spy is cool, charismatic, and classy. Armed with a licence to kill, he surfs through danger with the help of high-tech gadgets and gorgeous women, delivering bad guys their comeuppance along the way.

His appeal is timeless, as is clearly obvious by the fact that the Bond series remains the longest continually running franchise in movie history, and even after 24 instalments, 007’s popularity is showing no signs of waning, thanks to the fact that his globetrotting, action-packed outings are chock full of thrilling twists and turns, guaranteed to captivate his fans. And the latest Bond film, Spectre, is no exception.

But how exactly did everyone’s favourite spy come into being? James Bond’s journey, like most good things, began with a book.


The character - an intelligence officer in the MI6 Secret Intelligence Service - was created by British novelist Ian Fleming (1908 - 1964) in the 1950s, and based on a number of individuals he came across while working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division during World War II. Bestowed with many of Fleming’s own characteristic and sharing a resemble with both American singer Hoagy Carmichael and the writer himself, 007 debuted in the author’s first novel, Casino Royale (1953), which garnered much success. Fleming ultimately wrote a total of twelve Bond novels as well as two short story collections before his death, two of which were published posthumously. The Bond saga - which has since been continued by other writers - has gone on to rank among the best-selling book series of all time, having shifted over 100 million copies worldwide, and has been adapted into other medium, including ventures in television, radio, comics, video games, and of course the immensely popular films.

The film series

The Eon Productions series which started in 1962 with Dr. No, starring Sean Connery as the first actor to portray Bond, has gone on to become the third highest grossing franchise to date with an over $6 billion haul so far, and is actually the single most successful series when the revenues are adjusted for inflation. Because of their continued, lasting appeal, these movies are usually among the most anticipated films of the year, and often give a boost to the careers of the unestablished actors and actresses who weren’t well known before appearing in these projects.

From the girls to the villains, the gadgets to the cars, the Bond style has been emulated by many other films, and the series is also cited for its influence within the cinematic spy realm, attributed with popularizing the genre.

The actors

Here’s a big reason behind Bond’s popularity: he’s very well cast!

Sure there have been some misfires (Hello Pierce Brosnan!) but the part has usually been played by suave Brits who have won the hearts of their audiences and looked dapper in the process. Six actors have taken on the celebrated role so far, and all viewers have their own opinions and preference about who played the part best. Sean Connery and Roger Moore (who appeared as Bond more times than any other performer) remain fan favourites, and Daniel Craig has also made a place for himself in this category, despite initially receiving unfounded criticism prior to the release of his first Bond film. Craig is now the most successful actor to portray 007; his film Skyfall (2012) is the highest grossing movie in the series, having earned $1.1 billion at the box office (the first Bond film to cross the $1 billion mark), and there has been much speculation about whether he will return for another film and reprise the role once again.

The latest release: Spectre

The secret agent is now on the big screen for the 24th time, and his latest adventure is called Spectre. The film finds Bond on a trail to uncover the titular global criminal organization but along the way reveals a chilling connection between him and his enemy. The movie does not use an original Ian Fleming title, and is not based as such on any of his stories, although it does draw on some of Fleming’s source material.

Sam Mendes returns for his second consecutive effort in the director’s chair, while Daniel Craig stars in his fourth portrayal of the lead character. The baddie, this time round, is being played by Christoph Waltz, who depicts the mysterious mastermind behind the sinister Spectre (which was originally stylised SPECTRE and stood for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion).

Of course no Bond film is complete without a bevy of gorgeous, exotic women. In Spectre, the part of the main sidekick is being played by Léa Seydoux, who appears as Dr. Madeleine Swann, a psychologist working at a clinic in the Austrian Alps. The Spectre Bond girls also include Stephanie Sigman and Monica Bellucci, the latter becoming the oldest actress to play the role of a Bond girl at the age of fifty.

Another popular Bond staple is the theme song, the track which is played during the title sequence of each film and has previously been sung by well-known popular singers including the likes of Shirley Bassey, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Tina Turner and Adele. The Spectre theme, titled ‘Writing’s on the Wall’, was co-written and performed by singer Sam Smith. Despite receiving mixed reviews, the song has gone on to become the first Bond theme to reach the coveted number one spot in the UK Singles Chart.

So, movie buffs, head to your nearest cinemas and enjoy the latest adventure of one of the world’s most famous characters; it promises to be an action-packed, thrilling ride!

The Bond actors and their filmography

- Sean Connery
6 films: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

- George Lazenby
1 film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

- Roger Moore
7 films: Live and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983), A View to a Kill (1985)

- Timothy Dalton
2 films: The Living Daylights (1987), Licence to Kill (1989)

- Pierce Brosnan
4 films: GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002)

- Daniel Craig
4 films: Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015)

The current Bond

Daniel Wroughton Craig

- Born on the 2nd of March 1968 in Cheshire, England.
- Has an older sister, Lea.
- Parents divorced when he was young.
- Began acting in school plays at the age of six.
- Started training at the National Youth Theatre in his teens; then attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at the Barbican, graduating in 1991.
- Made his film debut with a role in The Power of One (1992), and went on to appear in films including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Road to Perdition (2002), Sylvia (2003), Munich (2005), The Golden Compass (2007), and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).
- Was chosen to portray James Bond in 2005, a decision that initially received criticism before the release of his first Bond film, Casino Royale (2006), which subsequently went on to become the highest grossing movie in the franchise, a record that was beaten by his third Bond instalment, Skyfall (2012).
- Is the first actor to portray James Bond to have been born after the Bond series started, and after Ian Fleming’s death.
- Has been married twice: to actresses Fiona Loudon (1992 - 1994; divorced; they have a daughter, Ella) and Rachel Weisz (2011 - present).
- Is a fan of football and rugby.
- Was appointed by the United Nations as a global advocate for the elimination of mines and explosive hazards in April 2015.

Spectre trivia

- Had a budget of around $300 million, and is the most expensive film in the series.
- Sees James Bond drive an Aston Martin DB10. Is the thirteenth movie in the franchise to feature an Aston Martin vehicle.
- Chiwetel Ejiofor was considered for the role of the villain.
- Penelope Cruz, Helen Flanagan, and Kate Upton were all rumoured to be in consideration for a Bond girl role.
- Sam Mendes was originally reluctant to work on another James Bond film after Skyfall (2012), but was ultimately convinced to return as director. Christopher Nolan had reportedly been considered as his potential replacement.
- Score composed by Thomas Newman.
- Is the first Bond film not to feature trumpeter Derek Watkins who passed away shortly after the release of Skyfall (2012).

- By S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 13th November, 2015 *

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Scream Queens - apocalypse dreams

tv series review

Scream Queens

Starring: Emma Roberts, Skyler Samuels, Lea Michele, Glen Powell, Diego Boneta, Abigail Breslin, Keke Palmer, Nasim Pedrad, Lucien Laviscount, Oliver Hudson, Billie Lourd, and Jamie Lee Curtis
Tagline: Pretty evil.

Right on the heels of MTV’s attempt to bring Wes Craven’s Scream to the small screen, Ryan Murphy and co. unveiled their own slasher series, the comedy horror anthology Scream Queens, on Fox. But even though the former very vehemently proved that doing slasher in the form of a television show is not without its challenges, it was still hard not to be excited about the latter.

The brain child of Murphy and his working partners Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, Scream Queens seemed like a hybrid of American Horror Story (lite) and Glee (minus the show tunes) by way of Scary Movie, a combination that had the potential to land the show on many a guilty-pleasures list. Add to that a very talented cast that includes the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, and Abigail Breslin, and it’s easy to see why the show was one of the most anticipated television series of the fall.

The premise, too, seemed promising. The story revolves around the members of Kappa Kappa Tau, a sorority headed ruthlessly by Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts), the queen bee and leader of her posse of mean girl minions – Chanel No. 2 (Ariana Grande), Chanel No. 3 (Billie Lourd), and Chanel No. 5 (Abigail Breslin). Much to their chagrin, the Chanels are forced by the university’s dean, Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis), to accept all the pledges who want to join the exclusive house, allowing freshman Grace (Skyler Samuels), her roommate Zayday (Keke Palmer), and scoliosis-suffering Hester (Lea Michele) as well as a handful of other misfits to become a part of the club. But the sorority sisters’ luck takes an even worse turn when a 20-year old murder mystery resurfaces, and a serial killer dressed in a red devil costume starts targeting people linked to the Kappa House.

The series embraces its over-the-top slasher spoof cheesiness from the get-go, skewering horror tropes, sorority clichés, and youth culture with aplomb. And the cast – Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis in particular – seems committed to their roles, no matter how preposterous their arcs may be. The lack of logic and cohesiveness are, of course, to be expected from the genre, and since we aren’t expecting realism from the series, its lack doesn’t really detract from the fun.

Where Scream Queen falters, however, is in how it presents its characters. In their eagerness to cast suspicion on everyone who appears on screen, the writers forget to make us care about any of their characters. And in a series where people are getting picked off one by one, it would help to give them some redeeming qualities that would inspire viewers to be invested in their fate. But Scream Queens gives us no such reasons. Even the principals fail to generate any empathy; Emma Roberts’ Chanel is incessantly obnoxious and Skyler Samuels’ Grace – the good girl to Robert’s mean girl – is simply bland. The humour too is unrelentingly, tiringly mean-spirited, and the series definitely isn’t for the easily offended.

Whether it gains momentum or loses steam from here on out, of course, remains to be seen, as there is still more than half the season to go. So far, Scream Queens has tried a little too hard to shock viewers with its politically incorrect humour, and the result has been quite uneven. The show certainly isn’t a masterpiece, but if you think you’d enjoy a blunt, offbeat slasher spoof, then you might want to give Scream Queens a try anyway.

- Sameen Amer 

Instep, The News on Sunday - 8th November, 2015 *

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Everest - falling short

movie review

Everest fails to make it to the top because of lack of details and limited depth of characters


Starring: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, and Jake Gyllenhaal
Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur
Tagline: Never let go.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the inherent danger in the quest, thousands of people have tried to summit the highest peaks in the world. But the smallest misstep or misfortune can leave climbers exposed to the severest elements of nature, struggling for survival. Everest is the story of one such ill-fated attempt that ended in tragedy.

Based on real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, which, until last year, was the deadliest day on the world’s highest mountain, the film tells the story of a group of climbers that were caught in a severe storm while trying to conquer the daunting peak.

The movie commences as several commercial expeditions — most prominently the teams led by guides Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) — set off to ascent the summit of Mount Everest. Hall’s clients include pathologist and mountaineering enthusiast Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), mailman Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), who is making his second effort to climb to the top, experienced climber Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori), who has already scaled all but one of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains of each of the seven continents, and journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), who has been poached from Fischer’s team.

Amidst delays because of overcrowding, Hall persuades Fisher to cooperate during the mission. But a series of misfortunes await the mountaineers. Soon after summitting, the climbers find themselves in the middle of a fierce storm, leaving them in a life-or-death struggle in brutally harsh conditions.

With Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur at its helm, the film does a terrific job in capturing both the splendour and the hostility of Mount Everest. But despite a considerably slow build up, the movie doesn’t really explore or define its characters beyond unoriginal archetypes. Not many of them are given much back-story, and the lack of details and personality makes the characters seem underdeveloped.

To his credit, Kormákur doesn’t ‘Hollywoodise’ the disaster by slathering the proceedings with over-sensationalised cinematic peril. But as affecting as the story at Everest’s core is, it has already been told numerous times through various mediums, including books, documentaries, and even a made-for-TV movie, some of which present a significantly more comprehensive look at the events that unfolded during that fateful expedition. If you already know the tale that this film is retelling — or even if you are just expecting someone to thrillingly save the day — then you’ll find the film lacking in suspense, bereft of a cliff-hanger.

Still, while it doesn’t quite keep you on the edge of your seat, Everest does succeed in conveying what a harrowing experience it was for the climbers to be trapped by a blizzard near the summit, and is, on the whole, worth a watch, thanks largely to its solid cast as well as spectacular cinematography and the gripping real-life circumstances it is based on.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

- By Sameen Amer

Sunday Magazine, The Express Tribune - 1st November, 2015 *