Local Versions Unleashed…

Published Us Magazine, The News International. March 6, 2009.


It won’t be utterly unjust to conclude that we have emerged as the worst when it comes to defending our sovereignty, retaliating attacks or even countering acrimonies, but that’s not the end to it. There are some grounds on which we have proved our exceeding competence. For one, we now boast of a number of local versions of foreign people. From politics to showbiz, the Photostat copies can be blotted around everywhere. This is the brighter side of the news, at least we are proving to be a competition on this level, and though diffuse it might be. Therefore, unprecedented in its history, Us magazine brings into light some of the most popular copying locals. Here’s saying thanks to them for making our nation proud, and providing us with some of the best giggles many of us have ever had. The names in the list are advised not to react in the negative, it’s not intended to be a slander, remember fun? Even so, they should bear in mind the fact that despite their not-so-boastable doings, they’ve made it to such prestigious a platform.

P.S: Now it’s not only the Americans that can state, ‘We are a free country.’ Now we are a hypocrisy – sorry, democracy too, remember? And a democracy embodies freedom of speech. At least according to international definition it does, but things deviate a little from normal in Pakistan. Don’t believe? Follow on.

Pranab Mukherjee.

Local Version: Yusuf Raza Gillani.

Believe you me; these two lads don’t connote a word they say. Mostly, they are even helplessly unsure concerning what to mouth. Their perpetual love for the people (read camera) is what brings them flashing on our televisions screens recurrently. Though the two aren’t peers in office, there are common in lacking the ability to think. Scripts, is what makes them going. In our case, it’s the magic of a phone call. Both also suffer from an incurable reiterating habit. While our keeps on reciting ‘Bhutto…PPP…Bhutto…,’ the other one is obsessed with ‘Pakistan’. And both of them can be contemporarily seen pretending to be gallant heroes, while making speeches amidst full security and behind bullet-proofs. (Chuckles) Two men – One mission – No aim!

Who Wins: Certainly Mr. Gillani. Can’t afford to upset his majesty, especially when I hope to see this article in print! Ring any bells, WHS?

Sarah Palin.

Local Version: Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman.

Whenever either of these eventful persons is in the news, you can be sure of one thing: It’s for some wrong reason. Both are irritating to an extent that lowers the sides of your brows. Both keep on pretending they have been endowed from cloud nine, with their unique attitude and disbanding speech. When Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman was busy making news that he had bagged some thousand acre land from Musharraf, (illegally of course) Sarah Palin was flashing all around due to her notorious Zardari episode. When Maulana was to be seen keeping mum on the dreadful Taliban issue, Palin emerged as the grandmother of her unwed daughter’s child. And one more commonality, they are both politicians! Shocked, huh? I also didn’t know this one!

Who Wins: If this is a battle ‘for all the wrong reasons’, Maulana Fazr-ul-Rehman outmaneuvers Palin regarding the reasons. Recently, he was making waves through his brother, the new tourism minister of Pakistan, over banning of liquor and the Prado issue. The more reasons, the winner!

Aamir Khan.

Local Version: Shaan.

If you would ever deign to surmise what an air of being irritatingly complacent precisely is, don’t go any far. Aamir Khan and Shaan are two people who have done much to array the definition. Aamir Khan doesn’t lend an ear to critics or suggestions, deems his work to be perfect and remains self-satisfied. And guess what? Shaan virtually does the same! Both of them love making digs at others, and about almost irrationally.  One doesn’t attend the awards; the other doesn’t pay any heed to them. Close, no?

Who Wins: Aamir Khan does. He might not be the most obsequious guy on the block, his works are respectable. Our version, though following the former in demeanour, seems to go no far than Zill-e-Shah. Did you watch it?

Rakhi Sawant.

Local Version: Meera.

No, it’s not vulgarity the two women share. At least, it’s not just it. Both are innocently childish. Both are erratic in replies. You never know, you might ask one of these about their family background and you get the answer pertaining to their upcoming flicks. Both have nurtured various controversies. Both provide endless (non-family) entertainment value. And the most hurtful part: Both are occasionally made fun of. Though I denounce such attitude towards these vulnerable beings, the duo never seems to care. They continue to be what they are, never piqued or bothered. And this surely is what we love them for. Err… Okay… Some people might.

Who Wins: Our version is a lot more covered, you see, even if it is due to the lack of opportunity. Meera wins. I have no real reason why. Maybe, patriotism speaks.

Shah Rukh Khan.

Local Version: Saher Lodhi.

Had there been consolidated some copyrights act of an individuals personality, Saher Lodhi must have been charged for violating it. The King Khan acts, dances, compares and sings. And guess what? Saher Lodhi does the same! Everyone admits Khan spells talent. Saher Lodhi is talented too, at least according to him, he is. And it is his confidence that has made him emerge. The million dollar question: What amount is paid to the audience to sit in Lodhi’s show and practically endure him for so long? Too ostentatious, isn’t he?

Who Wins: We despise replication. We abhor plagiarism, and the Ed agrees. So, the original one wins. But hats off to our version! Tough competition given!

Ekta Kapoor.

Local Version: Fahim Burney.

Engendering a TV soap is no fun, sprawling it’s tenure over a couple of years, especially in the sheer dearth of a script, is no kid’s play. And the most difficult part: to ensure people remain glued to it. This is all what Ms. Kapoor has accomplished. Lacking any kind of aesthete and sense, she even so has made her shows sell. Fahim Burney entailed her, hoping to make some bucks by doing the work no sane being would ever come near. The tragic part: he failed miserably. Ten points to any one who has ever followed any of Burney’s soaps! And one more commonality: They both have also tried their luck in cinema but as we can apprehend – to no avail.

Who Wins: Ms. Kapoor has revolutionized Indian television and carved out the title of Queen for herself. Mr. Burney, on the other hand, couldn’t make half of the camera panning. Yes sir, admit it. Hasn’t the audience impressed this upon you?


Local Version: Annie.

Never before has been witnessed such a shrieky facet of singing. The Spanish lass is a pioneer, with lyrics incomprehensible and vocals that bring contralto to tears, one wonders why she is the rage. Following her footsteps from our side is none other than princess Annie. Annie is the manifestation of 21st century singing: no taal and definitely no surs. Both also have an almost inhuman talent of producing agitated convulsions in their bodies. Besides the ability to endow upon us headaches, that no aspirin takes charge of curing, the two also boast of sporting the same type of hair. Yes, the same Maggie noodles type.

Who wins: No one does, actually. Their voices hurt and fall heavy upon our eardrums, and that’s a reason enough to disqualify them. Anyway, a standing ovation to Annie for clinging so long to a calling, that has never reciprocated. No offense, but she’s not the next Lata, is she? Not even the next Shahida Mini, as a matter of fact.

Himesh Reshammiya.

Local Version: Atif Aslam.

We just saw singing at its worst, now it’s time for nasal singing to get to its peak. That’s what Aslam’s and Reshammiya’s drudgery has been for. With amazingly incredulous voice modulations, the two have made it to our list. Both the original and local versions have come up with the message that no real aptitude is required for you to emerge as a singer; and the very fact has encouraged a number of bathroom singers. The irony of fate, however, almost every soul dwelling under the blue skies seems to be their fan. Shocking, yes! Moreover, they seem to suffer essentially from the same attitude problem, with our version in the ultimate lead.

Who wins: My apologies to Mr. Reshammiya. Though I don’t consider the local version to be any better, I am compelled to entitle him as the winner. After all, he has a prodigious fan following in the country, and I don’t want it to go berserk on me.

Jerry Springer.

Local Version: Zainab Qayyum.

While we were talking of the centuries old Jirga system and the tiresome family discussions, Springer, with his ‘The Jerry Springer Show’ came forth with a new idea: to discuss everything that disturbs your upper chamber in front of millions. The first to follow him was our side was supermodel ZQ, with the local adaptation ‘Maachis’ of the show. But one wonders when did our culture become so liberal, as to allowing us to discuss our family matters openly? Both individuals had nothing at all to do on the show, except to elevate the level of tension. And the most awe-inspiring part is that they always come up with the solution of the hulking problems till the conclusion of the show. I smell something, don’t you? How about some acting, perhaps…?

Who wins: ZQ wins, for providing a break to all those old grumpy women; by catering to them something more appetizing than their neighbours’ doings. She did the impossible. For the reason, people fell into depression when she was replaced on the show. And now you can see her again, shouting at the top of her lungs.


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