Bombs and bullets are not a true depiction of the region
Our readers have their say about the Middle East and Bollywood
With reference to your opinion piece Jesus of Arabia’s lessons in tolerance have much to teach us today (December 24), as a resident of the UAE, I feel very lucky to live in an environment where people of all races and religious backgrounds can interact, live and work together, creating bonds of long-lasting friendship.
Little symbols of interfaith tolerance can be observed here. In the huge malls of this country, once the Muslim celebrations of Ramadan and Eid are over, equally festive decorations for Christmas and New Year go up everywhere, just as they do for the Hindu festival of Diwali.
Once the break for adhan (the Muslim call to prayer, five times a day) is over, hotels and shops resume playing Christmas carols and songs celebrating the current season.
In the beautiful parks, beaches and marinas here, I have been among audience members at countless music festivals and notice everyone sings along to traditional Arabic tunes, modern international popular music and Christmas songs with equal enthusiasm.
Tolerance, mutual respect, co-existence and peaceful co-operation are key values of UAE society that we, as residents, can all feel, live and observe, no matter what faith we belong to.
However, as a Muslim, I do sadly notice the surprise that first-time visitors to the Middle East express on observing all the above.
Their image of Muslim societies and the Middle East, shaped by international news reports about violence, extremism and religious intolerance, is very different when they first arrive here and then fortunately undergoes a transformation after experiencing life in the UAE.
Faraz Waqar, Dubai
From hero to zero: film scripts aren’t what they used to be
Regarding your story Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero leaves us with many unanswered questions (December 22), every hero and heroine goes through a transition. Success never sticks around for too long.
It was Salman Khan who first started the slide and shed light on how stars decline when scripts are below par.
Then Aamir Khan delivered the movie Thugs of Hindostan, touted as the most-awaited film in Bollywood with the casting of two legends. It didn’t click. In fact, Khan went so far as to admit it wasn’t up to the mark.
And so, with the inauspiciously titled Zero, we have the last instalment of star power gone awry.
It had to come. This malaise – related to poor scripting – is not confined to Bollywood. Hollywood is also spewing out poor remakes and equally bad stories.
Cinematic classiness belonged to the 1960s and 1970s, when filmmakers produced gems that showed their brilliance and had an extraordinary quality to them that moviegoers knew were destined for longevity.
The offerings of today will never withstand the vicissitudes of time, despite technological advances, high salaries and top class special effects that embellish cinema today.
AR Modak, Johannesburg
Updated: December 26, 2018 08:57 PM