Apr 14, 2013

Belated response to a Muslim reView of Confessions of a Gambler

When you write a book or a script and make a film it generally gets reviewed. If the writer disagrees with the reviewer about the content he can respond to the review or let it die a quiet death, which is better. Some would say that one should not really take reviews seriously as it would appear that you cannot take criticism for your work. However, getting ready to move to New Jersey and unpacking boxes and a stack of old mail I found a review of the film which I must have missed at the time it first came out.

Insolence and sexuality

I was astounded by the review. It was scathing to say the least and the more I read, the more I marveled at the reviewer’s ability for accuracy and detail, as well as his preoccupation with Abeeda as a gambler, adulterer and confessor rather than as a character. No doubt, the publication of the book surprised a large majority of Muslim readers who thought the book was an outrage. Women on the other hand loved it and wanted more of the same. They loved the main character Abeeda who was insolent, immodest, had low impulse control, and was getting off far too easily. Should “sinners not at least hide their sins and be more severely chastised in society?” 

Confusing fact and fiction

A review of the reviewer showed his personal dislike and frustration for the kind of woman Abeeda was and that sometimes he forgot that she was a character and not real.  His job as a reviewer is to deconstruct the character and the plot and tell us why she was so impulsive and why she did what she did. She is brash because she is supposed to be.  It is a film, and make-belief. In real life, the writer/actress has moved on and is a reformed gambler.

Film Review - Muslim Views - May 2008 - Sadiq Keraan

Apr 5, 2013

Is there life after a split with the person you love

Is there life after a split with the person you love

Yes, there is, depending on the amount of emotional and psychological damage accumulated over the years and how many times one must forgive the same mistakes. Some parties can take forever to forgive and punish you over and over for the same infraction and others are not interested in your tale of woe and pack your things while you are still at work so that you do not have to return to the house to get them. Whichever way that is done, breaking up is hard to do, is hard for the kids, and can be handled with less malice and more compassion and understanding.

In the old days
Unfortunately, relationships for the most part do not get the kind of analysis and marital repair that grandmothers and grandfathers used to indulge in. They call a family meeting of the brothers and sisters of the couple and everyone puts in their sixpence’s worth.  Sometimes these methods were well received and the couple tried harder and sometimes you were told to mind your own business. Still, the parents offered a way for the couple to meet and do some repair work on their relationship and tried to help.

Workshop your breakup
·         Treat the discussion as if you want to repair your relationship rather than just take your things and split. The other party will see it as you not caring whether you are in the relationship or not. And if you are not you should be honest and tell him or her that it definitely does not work for you anymore. Do not keep the person hanging on. 

·         Have the same respect for the other person that you had when first entering the relationship. Do not raise your voice during the discussion, wait for a break in the conversation before you jump in and smile occasionally to show that you are not bitter and trying to handle it. The worst thing you can do is fling out some past behaviour to make the other person look bad.

·         Try your grandmother’s advice by asking her outright during the meeting what she thinks. She will be flattered that you seek her advice and that her advice still matters to you and will tell you the best thing to do. Trust me. David Letterman still asks for his mother’s advice. 

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Mar 24, 2013

Review of Shahs of Sunset

Bizarre! Disgusting! Incredible! These were the words heard by viewers to describe the latest episodes of Shahs of Sunset, the latest in a series of reality programs which had popped up to whet our appetites for the bizarre. I was disgusted as I watched but needed to write a review. I had been married to an Iranian some years back, had two children with him, and felt a sort of pride that I knew a little about the Persians and their customs. 

Watching the reality show was like being at one of their parties, listening to gossip, popping truffles, sipping wine, exchanging gifts; the girls were beautiful, their dresses exquisite, hair coiffed and decorated with combs and beads. They all had fathers bankrolling their expenses; one such father drew up a list of items his daughter had bought only two days earlier – it was a shocking amount. The one daughter is responsible, the other wants to know why she should go out and work. They were gorgeous girls to look at but vapid and shallow. They know how to find a man; they do not know how to engage him. But then you don’t need much to engage the other characters.

Their lives revolve around sex, clubs, fashion, food and drink, with a dark-haired Persian leader Reza Farahan to lead them in their daily pursuits for more and more fun. By the second season their reality show is in array with expletive going back and forth. Reza and the sexy and pouty MJ (Mercedes) are great characters and have known each other a long time. They fight and squeal but always make up. GG is the slim, hot-headed one in a bikini who is quick on the draw. When she loses an argument and things become heated, she asks you, “Do you want me to take this outside?” She challenges you; she makes her voice big, but she never throws the first punch.

Of course Reza has a man in his life as well. He wants it both ways; sandwiches and wine on the beach, and a man to go with to the parties. The girls will do their shopping.  Asa will do her Persian priestess thing, talk about having no money, and plan another event not many people – other than Iranians want to see.  The person I enjoyed watching the most was Veda, the mother of Mercedes, who said to her daughter that she was not marriage material and that she would put pins in her eyes before she went out with her. This mother eats her young.  All in all Shahs is an exciting watch and despite the characters’ lifestyle and behavior, you can’t stop watching.


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