From a slap heard around the world to the Maula Jatt legend at the box office – Life & Style

The outgoing year proved to be one with many cultural and entertainment firsts, both at home and beyond. On the home front, Pakistan’s film industry saw an impressive year, with its very first screening and win at Cannes with ‘Joyland’, the box-office success of ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt,’ and forging a path to Hollywood with Ms. Marvel.

The Oscar ceremony turned acrimonious, while the entire world came together to remember and mourn the longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

Here are a few moments this past year that caught our attention:

The slap:

Photo: Reuters

It was a slap that was heard around the world. The Academy Awards ceremony in March 2022 proved to be strangely shocking for the thousands attending and millions watching. And no, it was no stunt and was not rehearsed.

Actor Will Smith got up on stage and slapped comedian and host of the ceremony, Chris Rock, after he made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, during a monologue.

Apologies and regrets followed for months after, but nothing was as shocking as a celebrity in an altercation with another during a live ceremony at the industry’s most prestigious event of the year.

The star reactions in particular, truly, were priceless. Smith, who won an Oscar that night, was barred from attending the ceremony for 10 years.

The high road that could have been taken

The death of the longest-reigning monarch:

The death of Queen Elizabeth II soon after her Platinum Jubilee celebrations proved to be a long and somber event for all of England and the commonwealth.

Timeline of Queen Elizabeth II’s death

Photo: Reuters

Having spent 70 years as Queen, her death was a marvel in numbers. Nearly 250,000 people lined up for more than 24 hours in order to see her lying in state at Westminster Abbey. Not to mention the weeklong events that brought out people from their homes in England and the world over, culminating in a state funeral, an event that was attended by the world’s dignitaries and watched by 28 million people in the U.K. according to the BBC.

All eyes however, were on rogue royals Harry and Meghan, as they were present amidst the rest of the royal family as they collectively paid their respects to the beloved matriarch.

Britain and the world prepare to say last farewell to Queen Elizabeth

‘Joyland’ wins at Cannes

Photo: Reuters

Breaking records as the first Pakistani film to screen at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, director Saim Sadiq’s feature about a man falling in love with a transgender person not only received a standing ovation but also won the Queer Palm and the Jury Prize, along with being Pakistan’s entry for the Oscar’s, in the best international feature category.

On the home front, however, it was mired in controversy as its screening was briefly banned due to objections raised on the subject matter. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took notice of the matter and reversed the ban, however, the film then got barred from screening in Punjab.

Ban on film: LHC asks Punjab govt to decide matter in 15 days

‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ becomes most successful Pakistani film

The Punjabi-language film, which boasts one of the biggest budgets in the history of Pakistani cinema, opened to much critical acclaim and went on to smash box office records worldwide, crossing Rs 2 billion, according to earlier estimates.

The film released in the Middle East, the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Directed by Bilal Lashari, the film focuses on the legendary rivalry between local hero Maula Jatt, played by Fawad Khan, and Noori Natt, played by Hamzah Ali Abbasi, the leader of a brutal gang.

Reviews in: ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ lives up to the hype

The Marvel universe welcomed a Muslim superhero

The now-ubiquitous Kamala Khan played by Iman Vellani became Marvel Cinematic Studios’ first Muslim superhero in the live-action rendition of Ms. Marvel for Disney+, based on the popular comic book series.

In fact, two episodes of the series were directed by filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and featured Fawad Khan and Mehwish Hayat in various roles in the series. The sights and sounds of Karachi were also featured including artwork by local artists as well as musicians such as Ali Sethi, Shae Gill, Hasan Raheem and more.

Kamala Khan will next be seen in a Marvel movie starring no other than fellow superhero played by Brie Larson.

Latest episode of Ms. Marvel an ode to Karachi

Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard:

Photo: Reuters

Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard began in April in Virginia, bringing forth six weeks of painful testimony and media mayhem. Depp sued Heard for $50 million over her 2018 Washington Post op-ed detailing her experiences as a domestic violence survivor. She didn’t mention Depp by name, but his lawyers argued that the references to him and her previous public abuse allegations were clear, citing that it damaged his reputation and career.

Depp was subsequently dropped from the ‘Pirates in the Caribbean’ franchise. Both parties recounted accusations of physical, verbal, and sexual assault, as well as stranger-than-strange anecdotes. A jury ruled in Depp’s favor in June, awarding him $15 million in damages. Heard appealed the verdict, which she recently settled with Depp.

Amber Heard disappointed ‘beyond words’ after defamation verdict

Nayyara Noor passes away:

The ‘Nightingale of Pakistan’, as she was fondly known, passed away after a career spanning several decades after making a debut on Radio Pakistan in 1968. She was known for singing ghazals penned by famous poets like Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz and performed with legends like Mehdi Hassan and Ahmed Rushdi. She won a Pride of Performance Award in 2006 and a Nigar Award along with other accolades.

Pakistan’s celebrated singer Nayyara Noor passes away at 71 in Karachi

Harvey Weinstein convicted:

Photo: Reuters

Decades of reports of abuse by survivors and victims of sexual assault against the man who sparked the #MeToo movement, came to an end as a jury in February 2020 convicted him of first degree and third-degree rape, sentencing him to 23 years in prison.

A second trial on rape for additional charges began in Los Angeles in October 2022, which too delivered a guilty verdict, carrying a sentence of up to an additional 24 years in prison.

The saga began in October 2017, when The New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein. Actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd were among the women who came forward.

What followed was a barrage of accusations and revelations that involved many well-known names in Hollywood speaking out against him.

Harvey Weinstein says to appeal rape conviction

Legendary comedian Ismail Tara passes away:

Versatile artist Ismail Tara passed away after a short illness. He started working in film and television in 1964 and enjoyed a prolific career on stage and television.

Rising to fame through ‘Fifty-Fifty’, a comedy show which ran from 1979 to 1981 and inspired by American comedy show ‘Saturday Night Live’, was very successful and is still remembered as one of the best comedies produced by state-run PTV.

Tara was also recipient of five Nigar Awards for best comedian in ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’, ‘Aakhri Mujra’, ‘Munda Bigra Jaye’, ‘Chief Sahib’ and ‘Deewarein’.

Legendary comedian Ismail Tara passes away at 73

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