Covered up, but exposed

When religious fervour sweeps this city, it seems all other considerations fall by the wayside. One in particular is the manner in which billboards outside cinemas are covered in black cloth. As a kid, I remember driving past Capri and Nishat on M.A. Jinnah road and looking at those gloomy covers. Now it seems that that commercialisation has taken over – this year Capri has been coaxed into displaying a banner advertising a Hajj operator.

This is doubly absurd – though I suppose one shouldn’t be suprised by the profiteering behind overt displays of religiosity. Karachi has long suffered from mosques built illegally – usually an organic process that starts with a small room and then in a few years mushrooms into a commercial hub with shops that support the lives of the mosque dwellers.

17 Comments so far

  1. JayJay (unregistered) on March 27th, 2007 @ 2:46 pm

    Cy, Thanks. Well said.

    The phenomenon of very ostentatious and public display piety is not confined to Karachi. It plagues the whole country. We excel in rituals but ignore spirituality, the basic ingredient of any religion.

  2. Sathish (unregistered) on March 27th, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

    Is it not an act of terrorism as well ?

    Terrorism = when commoners feel scared to be outside their homes unless otherwise necessary demand.

    Terrorism = when commoners believe their life and their material will get hurt.

    Terrorism = when everyone who wish not to be part of religious concerts is dubbed as kafir

    it is GROSS terrorism in the name of religion., no matter whose part & parcel is at stake.

  3. Zainub (unregistered) on March 27th, 2007 @ 5:34 pm

    I’m not sure I subscribe to your theory of this being ‘an overt display of religiosity’, if its done with the permission of the cinema owners – and they don’t have an objection to it, then anyone else should have no objection to them either.

    The case of illegal mosques is different, and that of invading roads and other public space, organizing events without due consideration of how they will affect normal every day life – all that should be condemned – but cinema’s being covered, or even being used to highlight whatever religious cause, Hajj or otherwise, now you can’t possible have an objection to that – unless the cinema owners them selves have admitted that this is misuse and abuse of their property – if they oppose to it, and say it being done against their will, than that is understandable – but if its only a cause of offense to you personally, then I’m not sure you have a case.

  4. Cy (unregistered) on March 27th, 2007 @ 5:37 pm

    Zainub, read the article I provided a link to …

  5. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 12:11 am

    Every PARTY is running a terrorist wing. Score of Street criminals are hiding and enjoy sponsorship from religious and political parties, in return they all CONTRIBUTE to PARTY Funds. As & when events require They act on the commands of their masters to ‘ENFORCE’ the wishes of their masters on common people.

    I know the owner’s of capri cinema – They are not the HAJJ operators For sure., and ofcourse they are not charging anything for the banner display either.

    NOW next question could be why only capri cinema, reason – simple all JALOOS turn left from that signal and head of empress market and then to victoria road or regal chowk.

  6. wasiq (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 1:59 am

    Mama iss sal muharrum kab katam ho ga….? ireland main toh celebrations bhi finish ho gaein…..!

  7. Zainub (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 4:08 am

    My views are still the same Cy, the report does say cinema owners deny any pressure – if they’re so seriously objected to it – I’m sure no one has actually put a gun down their throats and then forced them to display the banners – they can refuse, or take them off if its being done without their permission.

  8. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 11:29 am

    Zainub with all due respect, –

    How would you consume this dialogue

    “Kala kapra lagaoo aur sath mai iss poster ko lagaoo” warna,,,,,,,

    they ring the bells at homes in the street on intercom they ask Haleem Ka Chanda, Halway ka Chanda, Ghous paak ke neyaz ka chanda….. Baaji day dain warna app ka nuksan na ho jai ….. if you say go away, sorry…. next thing you hear is your intercome is broken

    believe me there are no guns around.

  9. UZi (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 5:17 pm


    *I* WROTE THIS!!! IT APPEARED IN DT!!! I *HATE* THESE PEOPLE!!! CY you should’ve have known better — YOU read DT, dammit!!!\26\story_26-3-2007_pg12_4

    Cinema houses display religious posters, not movie teasers
    By Urooj Zia

    KARACHI: One sign of an upcoming religious occasion in the city is when movie posters around major cinema houses are covered with huge sheets of black cloth, topped with “religious banners”. This year is no different, even though the banners are up earlier than usual.

    “These banners are displayed through mutual agreement,” Film Exhibitors Association President, Nadeem Mandiwalla, told Daily Times. “Neither party (the owners of the banners and the owners of the cinema houses) pressures the other. Cinema owners are requested to put up the banners, and they comply.”

    The first cinema to display the banners this year is Capri on M.A. Jinnah Road. “Well, now that they’re up, we can’t do anything about it, can we,” Capri cinema owner, Chaudhry Asif Razzak, said. “What happens is that these people come to us and say that they want to put up their banners, and we comply. Usually, however, they’re put up a day or two before the 12th of Rabiul Awwal. This time around I was surprised to see them up so early. I asked our guard at the cinema, but he said he didn’t know when the banner was put up.”

    “It’s no big deal, though,” Razzak said. “As it is, cinemas are facing a slump these days. New releases have been held back because of the [cricket] world cup. Business is dead, and cinemas are closed once a week on Thursdays.”

    The banner put up outside Capri cinema advertised the “Karvan-e-Zia Noori International,” a company that deals with Hajj and Umrah operations, according to Al-Haaj Muhammad Imran Noori of the organization. The firm has a head office in Kharadar, and a branch office in Clifton.

    “We put up the banners outside Capri Cinema because it is Rabiul Awwal. A youth rally had to pass through the M.A. Jinnah Road on Sunday, and we didn’t want the children to see the movie posters. So we covered them up with black cloth and put up our banner. If you check, we have pictures of Madinah Munawwara on our banner. So it’s all in good faith.”

    “You do realize that these cinema-wallahs don’t do anything unless they’re forced to do it. They would’ve continued displaying their posters even during Rabiul Awwal,” Noori said. “We know some people who know the cinema owners. The banners were put up through them. It is kar-e-khair (a good deed). God will reward the cinema owners for it too. And everyone who looks at our banners will be happy because they get to see Madinah Munawwarah. Tomorrow (on Monday) we’ll be putting up banners outside Nishat Cinema and Prince Cinema as well.”

    The company, however, does not pay cinema owners for the use of advertising space, Noori said. He also refused to name the party acting as the mediator between his firm and the cinema owners.

    “We use personal ‘PR’ to get the banners up outside cinemas,” Karwan-e-Zia Noori International’s director, Saleem Akhtari, told Daily Times. “No money is involved. We offered to pay cinema owners, but they refused. Allowing us to put our banners up outside their cinemas is their way of contributing to a religious cause.”

  10. UZi (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 5:24 pm

    Ooh oooh and if you look at the Yahoo News waali story, you’ll see “Film Exhibitors’ Association president Nadeem Mandviwalla told Daily Times.”


  11. Monkey (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

    Does KMB have some sort of enmity with the Daily Times? Come on guys, don’t be sore over that Sea-view and start giving DT credit where due.


  12. UZi (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 5:47 pm

    No enmity @ KMB — heck, I’m part of it! Cyril i *will* kill, though! :P Fee-fi-fo-fum — I smell the blood of cyril! :@

  13. Cy (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

    Sowwy, Urooj. Will buy you a beer to appease you. Murder – isn’t there enough violence going around? :)

  14. UZi (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 5:57 pm

    Beer always tastes like the inside of a tin can that’s been left out in the sun for too long, dude! Scotch will do, though! :P

    About the violence, let’s look at it this way: the mullahs and I are opposite ends of the same spectrum (of intolerance). :D

    Talking to the hajj operators was so much fun, though! They hung up on me twice because something I said ticked them off. khekhekhe!

  15. Cy (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 6:02 pm

    Ahhh … a woman with good taste. Very soon I shall be in possession of the grandest of all drinks – single malt. I will toast to you.

  16. Hasan Zuberi (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2007 @ 11:47 am

    I have always posed this question to all …

    If Films (or least) posters are something bad … then why only cover it on specific days … we should ban them for good …. AND If they are not evil as approx. 5 days out of 350, in an Islamic calender year, they are exposed with all “Latka & Jhatka” postures, we shoudl not cover them at all.

    Still the best explaination is by the owner of Capri Cinema, as follows:

    Al-Haj Muhammad Imran Noori, who put up the banners, has an explanation. ‘We put up the banners outside Capri Cinema because it is Rabiul Awwal. A youth rally had to pass through on Sunday, and we didn’t want the children to see the movie posters. So we covered them up with black cloth and put up our banner. If you check, we have pictures of Madinah Munawwara on our banner. [b]So it’s all in good faith.[/b]’

  17. F. AHMED (unregistered) on April 4th, 2007 @ 12:13 am


    this sums up our nations character!:))

    it’s a sad thing but nonetheless true:)

    we are hypocrites!

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