Calling Windows OS?

When you think about a cool mobile phone user interface, you probably think of Google Android or the more obvious Apple iPhone. Both designs are not only revolutionary in terms of technology but they’re simply easy on the eye and exceptionally user friendly.

However, if you think about the Windows Phone OS the same thought do not cross through your mind. Visually, Microsoft’s Windows phone OS get trampled by Google’s and Apple’s coolness. Likewise BlackBerry makes Microsoft Phone OS as if it’s from the Stone Age.

Just when it seems that Microsoft will lose a lot of its market share, the software giant firm decided to redesign the OS for the cellular market which can be installed on cell phones later this year and may boast a myriad of new capabilities.

Microsoft places consumers’ needs at the heart of its product design; with the Window Phone OS you can take pictures and access Facebook and Twitter, edit a Microsoft document or an Excel spreadsheet and email these files. This new OS will be particularly useful for consumers in the corporate sector.

The whole interface has had makers aimed at making the OS more intuitive and finger-friendly. In the latest OS, care has been given to the home screen.

The need to drill down to an application is eliminated. Microsoft will also initiate a series of related support products from an application store to Myphone, an online backup service that already works well in beta.

The inevitable question yet to be answered is whether Microsoft can compete with market leaders. The figures at this point suggest that it has steep catching up to do. Industry is densely competitive. Microsoft’s share of the cellphones’ OS market has fallen as the iPhone has wormed its way into corporations by licensing Microsoft Exchange so that it can handle Active Sync push notifications and calendaring.

So while users enjoy the sleekness of the iPhone or the coolness of the Android, Microsoft is brewing what it hopes to be its next big break in the mobile phone OSs market.


The people don't give a flying funk… but the band did!

Gumby, Omran, Khalid and Sheldon gather for a raw and wired jam session…

Once upon a time, jam sessions were all the rage. It was when The Munchkins led the pack and gigs happened almost every weekend. Those were quite the days for music. These days jam groups have coalesced and members of each often meet up and have special gigs like this one.

'I don't give a flying funk' was one such special gig held at the PACC Auditorium and featured the iconic Gumby on drums, Omran Shafique on guitars, Khalid Khan on bass and Rachel Viccaji on vocals. The line up also featured a trio of guest vocalists, namely Sheldon Emmanuel, Taimur from Lahore and Karavan's Tanseer Dar.

"I've been having these gigs on and off for about 8 to 10 years now. Every time it's something different and special. This time, after being busy with Coke Studio season two for so long, we had a couple of gigs including the 'Summer Jam' and we wanted to do it at least one more time," said Gumby to Instep.

Gumby then shared the idea with Omran Shafique, the groovy guitar man of Mauj who quickly agreed to the idea.

"All I had to do was to contact the others. Khalid is always around and is eager to jam," recalled Gumby. He also added that gigs like these give musicians like himself a chance to jam with younger musicians and at the same time, gives the young musicians a chance to perform a gig with Gumby, Omran and Khalid. "It's all about giving new people a chance to collaborate with us and if the chemistry's there, then we can collaborate on other stuff too."

Customarily, the gig started an hour late, but the crowd (that arrived late) hardly complained. Everybody was eager to check out the super jam group that was about to perform.

The gig kicked off with a cover of Kings of Leon's 'Sex on Fire'. Omran, Gumby and Khalid immediately settled into their individual instruments like hand in glove. Rachel Viccaji's vocals added an interesting twist to the alternative indie track whereas Omran's crunchy guitar drove the song ahead.

Then came Sheldon Emmanuel on stage, much to the delight of the audience. To be honest, I had only heard of Sheldon before and when I did hear him sing, I could understand what the rage was all about. His ability not to mimic a song but to emulate it is what makes him special.

'Superstitious', originally by Stevie Wonder, is one such song on which Sheldon truly let his vocals shine through.

As soon as the tune finished Omran, Gumby and Khalid steamed onto another crowd favorite, 'Foxy Lady' and Sheldon joined them without missing a single beat. Hendrix covers are very popular at such gigs, but not that many guitar players can do justice to a Hendrix performance and here Omran shows that he is not one of those many.

Sheldon made his exit with Rolling Stones' 'Satisfaction'. The crowd seemed disappointed to see Sheldon go, but he left the stage with reassuring words, "I'll be back."

The band introduced a relatively new singer to Karachi, that is Taimur. He seemed nervous as she shuffled onto the stage, but as soon as the song began, it was pretty clear why Taimur had been given the opportunity to perform along with the band.

'Come Together', a Beatles number, is probably where things slowed down a bit. Perhaps it was the previous three song rollercoaster from before, but the band's energy seemed to wane. As for Taimur's performance, though one song is too little to judge from, his singing clearly shows that the young singer does have a special spark.

The band's next track was a real oldie this time, straight out of a Motown Classic; 'Baby Love' by the Supremes with Rachel on vocals. Rachel's singing continued after with Alanis Morissette's 'Ironic'. The band seemed to pick their pace once again as Rachel channeled Alanis' irony and the crowd had joined in too!

Keeping true to his promise, Sheldon once again came back on stage and once again, the crowd applauded his presence. Sheldon is a rare breed of singer, the kind that sings for the pleasure of singing. With each performance he seems to lose himself in the song and bring out the best from it.

'One Drop' is an old Bob Marley song that Sheldon and the band made their own. A change of pace brings out an all new song altogether, something that Sheldon truly appreciates. "If it's the same song when you sing it, then why bother covering it in the first place?" he asks and rightfully so, what makes a gig like this special is that you hear familiar songs with a breath of fresh air.

Sheldon himself is a practitioner of performing songs in single takes as much as he can, "I do a song once or twice just to get the feel and then just go with the flow." With his talented vocals it's no wonder why, but will we get to hear from him outside of gigs? "I don't think so, unless I get to sing in English, because my Urdu is very weak." It's a shame that a singer has to be limited by the language barrier but here's hoping that Sheldon does get his chance soon.

Continuing with Bob Marley, the band then performed 'Get up, stand up', though more interpretive and less emulative. Having said that, not many cover groups here would perform such songs and getting to hear them being performed is quite a treat unto itself. Hot Chocolate's 'You Sexy Thing' was up next and Sheldon continued to sing to his heart's content. It didn't bother him that there weren't that many people in the crowd to begin with-what seemed to fuel him was the fact that the people that were there were enjoying his singing.

Also on the playing bill was Tanseer Dar as a special guest. While he may have caused much anxiety and ache to the soul of Michael Jackson with his singing of 'Smooth Criminal', his performance of the Foo Fighter song 'Pretender' fared much better with the crowd. Finally, the band ended the show with 'Been a Long Time, a Led Zeppelin classic.

This was probably one of the better shows of the year so far, though it wasn't big as the recent Independence Day gig held at Carlton. But it came with a sense of intimacy and closeness. But that wasn't inviting enough to pull in a crowd. As Gumby said after the gig, "We didn't even break even. Half the people who showed up were on the guest list." Doesn't that show that the price tag for the gig was too steep?

"600 is a reasonable amount to give for a gig like this. I mean, don't people pay that much for a meal? Some people can even afford to pay 10 to 20,000 for a table at a prestigious ball," stated Gumby.

This time people lost a chance to see some great singers and some great musicians perform. But then, knowing Gumby and the others, this wasn't the last time we'll be hearing or seeing them again and perhaps more people will be there too.



The Original Guitar Hero

Think of the name Les Paul and images and sounds of an electric guitar that bears his name comes to mind.

One of the foremost influences on 20th century rock and roll sound, and responsible for the world's most famous guitar, the Les Paul model, Les Paul's prestigious career in music and invention spans seventy years. Though he's indisputably one of America's most popular, influential, and accomplished electric guitarists, Les Paul is best known as an early innovator in the development of the solid body guitar. His groundbreaking design would become the template for Gibson's best-selling electric, the Les Paul model, introduced in 1952.

Today, countless musical legends still consider Paul's iconic guitar unmatched in sound and prowess. Were it not for his invention, guitarists like Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Gibbons, to name a few, would never be who they are now. Their unique sound and their approach to making music was determined by the guitar and sound technologies crafted by Paul. He developed the technology that would become hallmarks of rock and pop recordings, from multitrack recording that allowed for layers and layers of "overdubs" to guitar reverb and other sound effects. His playing style, including licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many of the guitarists of the present day. Among Paul's most enduring contributions are those in the technological realm, including ingenious developments in multi-track recording, guitar effects, and the mechanics of sound in general.

Born Lester William Polsfuss, the man who would ultimately be known as Les Paul was both a musician and an inventor. This unique combination led him not only to become an innovator in the music industry in terms of performances but also creating new technologies and sounds. By age 13, Paul was performing semi-professionally as a country-music guitarist. Four years later, Paul played with Rube Tronson's Texas Cowboys, and soon after he dropped out of high school to join a traveling radio band. The year was 1931 and the sound of music would never be the same.

Paul was dissatisfied with the acoustic guitars that were sold in the mid 1930s and began experimenting at home with a few designs for an electric model on his own. Famously, he created "The Log," which was nothing more than a length of common lumber with a bridge, guitar neck, and pickup attached. He solved two main problems: feedback, as the acoustic body no longer resonated with the amplified sound, and sustain, as the energy of the strings was not dissipated in generating sound through the guitar body.

In the mid 1940s, Paul moved to Hollywood and played music with legends such as Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby. The latter would ultimately fund Paul’s experiments and the two also produced chart topping music together at the same time.

Paul initially approached the Gibson Guitar Corporation with his idea of a solid body electric guitar. The company showed no interest until their rival Fender produced a solid body guitar of their own. Gibson then immediately took Paul's suggestions and designed a guitar in the early fifties and presented it to him to try. He was sold on the guitar instantly, so much so that the model bore his name – the Les Paul – and Paul himself signed a contracted stating that he would never to be seen playing in public, or be photographed, with anything other than a Gibson guitar. The rest, as they say is history.

All over the world, musicians, guitarists, are paying their tributes to the father of the electric guitar. Keith Richards, the guitarist from the Rolling Stones and a friend, lead the tributes. “We must all own up that without Les Paul, generations of flash little punks like us would be in jail or cleaning toilets,” he said.

“All of us owe an unimaginable debt to his work and his talent.” Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi's guitarist and also a friend, said Paul was “revolutionary in the music business”.

"A legend of the guitar and a true renaissance man, Les Paul disproves the cliche that you can only be famous for one thing," said U2 guitarist The Edge. "His legacy as a musician and inventor will live on and his influence on rock and roll will never be forgotten."

Former Guns and Roses guitarist Slash said Paul was a vibrant person who was full of positive energy.

“Les Paul was a shining example of how full one's life can be,” he said. “I'm honoured and humbled to have known and played with him over the years, he was an exceptionally brilliant man.”

Paul’s influence was not limited to the international scene, even local guitarists acknowledged the influence of his invention in their music. Aunty Disco Project frontman Omar Bilal Akhtar said, "I think Les Paul was the first person to truly raise the electric guitar to the iconic status it enjoys today. Before it was a mere instrument, and after Les Paul, it became a work of art, much like a Stradivarius violin.”

Maaz Maudood, guitarist for Kaavish added, “Without him, rock and roll would have probably never sounded the way it does. Despite the fact that he went through a horrible accident, he never stopped believing in himself, and just because of that faith music is what it is today.”

Fuzon guitarist Shallum Xavier said, “I’ve never owned a Les Paul myself, but all of the musicians that I looked up to were Les Paul players; guitarists like Zakk Wylde and Randy Rhodes, were a particular influence for me as far as Rock and Roll. If they wouldn’t have played a Les Paul, they’re sounds would’ve been totally different and I don’t know if I would’ve listened to them.”

Perhaps it is Joe Satriani’s comment that best describes Paul’s contribution and musical achievements: “He was the original Guitar Hero.”

Les Paul passed away on August 13, 2009, due to complications arising from Pneumonia.


Don't you forget about me— The life of John Hughes

If by any chance, you were a teenager growing up during the 1980s, you've probably seen a movie or two by John Hughes. Though you would have seen many movies during that time, you probably remember Hughes' movies because they spoke your language. Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Home Alone 1 & 2, and the Breakfast Club are just some of the movies that have inspired, captured, enthralled and entertained a movie going generation. Particularly the teenagers.

Hughes was known for this shockingly frank dialogue and quirky ensemble driven comedies which was a hit with the teen crowd of the era. And it just wasn't that, many actors and actresses owe their careers to the writer director, in particular, Judd Nelson, Matthew Broderick, Macaulay Culkin, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, John Cusack, Steve Carell, and Lili Taylor, just to name a few. It wasn't that he had a talent of spotting a young actor's potential, he could literally bring the best in them shine through on the screen. It's not just actors and actresses that owe their careers to Hughes, directors like Wes Anderson and Kevin Smith have clearly been affected by Hughes' career and filmmaking.

Hughes began his career as an advertising copywriter in Chicago. He would later pen a story for Lampoon Magazine, about the adventures of his family during their vacation trips. That story would ultimately become his first movie credit as a writer and was called, National Lampoon's Vacation. Starring Chevy Chase and directed by Harold Ramis, the movie would spawn sequels and ultimately become the successful comedy of its time. That was 1983 and a movie here and there later, in 1984, he branched out into directing. His first directorial effort, Sixteen Candles, won almost unanimous praise when it was released, due in no small part to its more realistic depiction of middle-class high school life, which were attracting more audiences than the screwball and slapstick comedies being made at the time. It was also the first in a string of efforts set in or around high school, including The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Weird Science and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Instead of continuing to make teen drama/comedies, Hughes showcased his other comedic storytelling skills by directing Planes, Trains & Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy. Followed by Uncle Buck, viewers didn't appreciate these Hughes films as his previous ones, but they did laugh. It was however, a comedy adventure about a boy who was accidentally left home when his parents went on vacation that would bring John Hughes to worldwide acclaim. Home Alone made a star out of its star, Macaulay Culkin. Home Alone would be the top grossing film of 1990, and remains his most successful live-action comedy.

As a director, he has only made 8 movies. His recent movies have been through writing, rather than directing. Drillbit Taylor, Maid in Manhattan, Beethoven's 5th, were all either his scripts or stories. Even his previous movies—which had found a home in the hearts of the teen of the 80s—the teens of the 90s and the 2000s needed the edgier comedies, such as the American Pies and the Van Wilders to make them laugh.

In 1994, Hughes retired from the public eye and moved to Wisconsin, rarely granting or giving interviews or photographs to the media save a select few interviews. In the later years of his life, he was a farmer in Illinois.

At the news of John Hughes demise, his close friends paid tribute to the writer director. Culkin expressed his profound sadness at the news of Hughes' demise, "I was a fan of both his work and a fan of him as a person. The world has lost not only a quintessential filmmaker whose influence will be felt for generations, but a great and decent man."

Molly Ringwald added to the tributes. "I was stunned and incredibly sad to hear about the death of John Hughes," Ringwald said in a statement. "He was and will always be such an important part of my life. He will be missed – by me and by everyone that he has touched," she added. "My heart and all my thoughts are with his family now."

Another actor Hughes made famous, Matthew Broderick, who starred in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, also shared his condolences with the director's family. "I am truly shocked and saddened by the news about my old friend John Hughes. He was a wonderful, very talented guy and my heart goes out to his family."

Much can be said about Hughes, but it is his own writing, or the characters that he created rather, that can speak for him. Take Ferris Bueller for instance. He's the epitome of coolness in a teenager, has good friends, drives a nice car—which isn't his—and an all round decent but clever guy, and he says, "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." And there lies the essence of John Hughes.

John Hughes died suddenly of a heart attack on August 6, 2009, while walking in Manhattan, where he was visiting his family. Hughes is survived by his widow, sons and four grandchildren.

Showbiz this week



What's in a tweet?

You’ve heard of Facebook, been through the days of Orkut, well now get ready for Twitter.

Twitter is a micro blogging service that allows users to make short posts, consisting of 140 characters only. Users can post anything on their mind or even news or events as they happen. They can also follow each other, to be up-to-date on their happenings.

Compared to Facebook or Orkut, this may seem miniscule, but lately this blogging service is getting a lot of attention thanks to its ease of access and news reporting capabilities.

Because people can Twitter through SMS and their mobile phones, the service has broken many news headlines in recent times. In January 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 crashed in the Hudson River, New York. A rescue worker on one of the rescue ferries took a picture of the evacuation process and uploaded it on to Twitter before any news media did. In June 2009, following allegations of fraud in the Iranian presidential election, protesters used Twitter as a rallying tool and as a method of communication with the outside world after the government blocked several other modes of communication. These are just some of the moments where Twitter has been instrumental in getting the news out to the world and fast.

Besides the news, Twitter can also be described as “word of mouth” for the 21st century. People discuss products, TV shows, movies, music, and anything and everything that they’ve just discovered. Most of these are everyday people; however, politicians, celebrities and even government institutions are now part of Twitter.

For example, Nasa’s Lunar Observer has its own Twitter feed, which is updated with all the latest images from the Moon. The Whitehouse’s Twitter feed deals with everyday policy making to announcements being made. News channels such as BBC and CNN both have their feeds on Twitter but also rely heavily on users for their sources of information. But there is call for authentication of users as propaganda and misleading information can also spread through Twitter.

Since social networks are all the rage these days, its no wonder people are twittering around the world. It’s simple to join up and very easy to maintain, all you need are 140 characters or just a line or two to explain how your day went or what you did. It is its simplicity that makes Twitter so much easy to take on.

Facebook and Orkut might have proven that the world is getting smaller and smaller, but Twitter does the opposite. It shows you the world in under 140 characters.

The Price of Freedom

What do a lawyer, a PR manager, an editor and an aspiring politician have in common? Well, it's not the set up for a punch line, far from it. These four represent the subjects of a documentary titled Made in Pakistan.

It features a raw, unedited and a verbatim look into the lives of these four Pakistanis and how they react to the ever volatile situations around them. Volatile situations that had led Pakistan to be labelled by a magazine as "the most dangerous nation on earth."

Nasir Khan, the writer and director, recalls his reaction when he read the infamous article. "I read it from start to finish—each and every word, and I had an instant emotional reaction, and that reaction is this documentary." Immediately Nasir began to work on the documentary which would become Made in Pakistan, and Nasir is no stranger to filmmaking, especially documentaries. A graduate from McGill University in Canada, Khan started work in television at the World Affairs TV Production shortly after he returned to Pakistan and established a production house, Talking Filmain. His first documentary was Muslim Gear, which documented Muslim fashion in the western world. In Pakistan, his reality television show “Pounds” was aired on a local satellite channel in 2008 and his serial “Na Jane Kyun” is currently on air on national television channel.

In Made in Pakistan, almost immediately, one can figure out that the two men and two women show a distinct bifurcation of Pakistan as a whole. The working class man and the struggling, minority—yet growing—working woman. In this case, its two working women, Tara Mahmood, the PR manager and Rabia Aamir, the teacher and magazine editor. They represent the modern Pakistani, the glamorous elite whose worlds are either hidden from prying eyes or at the forefront of 21st century Pakistan. Tara's world is perhaps the most modern of them all. She casually admits how socially advanced the parties are but at the same time, she's dedicated to her work, which she carries through many hurdles.

Rabia is Tara's complete polar opposite—save the fact that they are both dedicated to their jobs. As a magazine editor, she carefully manages her team and as a working mother, she takes care of her young daughter. Together Rabia and Tara show that while it may not be easy being a woman in man's world, they both are quite comfortable in their shoes. Hence, their lives do not reflect the true struggle of the Pakistani woman working in a Pakistani man's world. "We went in not knowing how Rabia or Tara would be, it was by pure chance that we got two women whose lives were successful and they overcame all the obstacles," said Nasir Khan, also agreeing that the documentary missed out the opportunity to highlight the difficulties. And though the documentary does miss out on this key aspect, there are many others that it covers at the same time.

Mohsin Warriach, the aspiring politician, and Waleed Khalid, the lawyer, represent the real Pakistan—at the grass roots level. They are the struggling class and the ruling class; the two of the largest and powerful classes in Pakistan. Warriach's political aspiration is captured at every moment, from him meeting with reluctant and hesitant voters to him meeting the people living in destitute areas. The look on people's faces range from hope to hopelessness. They either trust him or do not—whatever the case, Warriach keeps his head high.

As a lawyer amidst a situation of lawlessness, Waleed is probably the most interesting of the lot. His determination shows with every scene he's in—someone truly affected by the crisis of the emergency rule on a personal level and wanting to do something about it. Waleed can best be described as the everyman who wants to make a difference. Not only is he a practicing lawyer, he also teaches law, and it is his discussions with his students that we are privy to are the some of the most interesting moments on film.

Nasir Khan captures many galvanizing moments from each of the individuals in this documentary, against the backdrop of the nation under a state of emergency. And from the start it's pretty clear that these subjects were not chosen at a random. Each of them had their purpose and each of them makes this documentary interesting to watch. As a Pakistani myself, I found myself smiling to the ironies presented here and often thinking about the all too familiar troubles faced by each of the subjects. Thankfully, Nasir steers clear from mimicking Michael Moore's guerrilla style documentary filmmaking and only lets the subjects speak for themselves.

One might think that Made in Pakistan paints a very rosy and serene picture of the country, even with all the trials and tribulation, a fact that Nasir quickly addressed. "The thing is, we wanted to portray everything, even the negativity, but our subjects were so positive, their tone was so positive, that at the end of the day, when you look at it, they really are the spirit of Pakistan—and show that no matter what, they, us, we'll all get through this."

The only downside to the whole documentary screening was perhaps the lack of enthusiasm shown by the audience. After a much hyped first day, Karachi showed a muted response to the documentary during its remaining days and missed out on a great documentary. Nasir said, "Sadly, we don't have much of a documentary culture going on here, perhaps it'll pick up because of this, at least we hope so."

The production house, Talking Filmain and Nasir's team, have had tremendous support from the production company that have released the documentary across the three cities, Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. "I can't stress enough how much Still Waters Production have helped us carry this through," said Nasir Khan. "Their support has made these shows possible—and we're looking forward to showing the film in Lahore and Islamabad."

Speaking about the release of Made in Pakistan, Head of Productions at Still Waters, Naad-e-Ali Zaidi has said, "Made in Pakistan brings forward Pakistan's upper middle class in a documentary which explores the country through four individuals. It allows us to perceive this under-represented class as a realistic part of our social fabric, which despite modern misconceptions, co-exists within the same space as the stereotypes of terror and fundamentalism with which Pakistan has come to be associated. Made in Pakistan accepts that we are living amidst social, political, religious and economic unrest from one situation to another, and shows that life goes on."

Made In Pakistan is a tremendous effort that speaks for itself in volumes. Easily one of the better if not best documentaries made, it is neither shocking or unsettling, in fact, it provokes the viewer into thinking, as a good documentary should, about what it really means to live in Pakistan and to be made in Pakistan.

Showbiz this week



The Hangover

Two days before Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) is about to get married, his friends take him to Las Vegas for one last get together. Or so they think. After awaking from a drunken and drugged stupor, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), discover that their friend—Doug—is nowhere to be found.

As the three friends wake up, they have subtle clues as to where the groom may be and just exactly what might have happened. Stu is missing a tooth, Phil has a hospital bracelet and Alan discovers a baby in their hotel room—not to forget the wild tiger locked in their bathroom and to top it all off, their hotel room is a disaster area. What follows is a hilarious adventure across Las Vegas to try and find the Groom and to return him safely home to get married.

Directed by Todd Phillips (who also directed "Old School," "Road Trip") grabs attention right from the get-go with an edgy-funny beginning which leads into the story itself, which is set entirely in flashback. The script borders on the almost crudeness but ingeniously deters from going overboard with its comedy. Written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore provide one ludicrous moment after another as the groomsmen frantically scramble to retrace their steps so they can reconnect with the misplaced (or, quite possibly, waylaid) groom.

Piece by sordid piece, the night starts coming back to them: the hospital, the police station, the wedding chapel, and, in keeping with its theme of overindulgence, much more. Some bits are better than others, but one of the best comes when former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson enters the picture, his right hook still deadly and his version of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" already a YouTube classic.

Another highlight of the movie is the soundtrack. The music provides its own narrative score, whether an oldie such as "It's Now or Never" that has that born-in-Vegas feel, or Kanye West whose song plays as Vegas' neon skyline unfolds in front of us.

Their humour-filled journey brings them in contact with, among others, Taser-wielding cops, angry Asian gamblers, a perky dancer (Heather Graham) with newly forged ties to Stu, and a surprise cameo by former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson (played, in a bold stroke of casting, by Tyson himself).

The Hangover is truly a “buddy” movie, intended to be watched and enjoyed with friends. Perhaps one of the best comedies of this year so far.

Spirit of the Studio

At two more episodes than the previous season and nearly twice as many artists from last time around, the sheer awe factor of Coke Studio 2 artists is certainly undeniable. You also have to give credit to the artists for not only experimenting with their own songs but tackling new ones too. The fourth session is titled Spirit and with such acts, it's obvious why.

Mai Ni Main – Atif Aslam
I can only imagine what was going through Atif's mind as he sang this song. It would be a daunting task to be in his shoes to cover a song previously sung by maestros such as Hamid Ali Bela all the way to Reshma, and Atif flawlessly sings the classic tune. He's definitely one Coke Studio artist that continues to shatter people's perceptions of him and his musical prowess.

Bulleya – Riaz Ali Khan
This is probably the most covered Baba Bulleh Shah poem there is and rightfully so, with its poignant lyrics and its underlying tones. Like the many artists before him, Riaz Ali Khan makes Bulleya his own. His voice carries the lyrics and tones of the poem and give them a life of their own. In addition to the poem, Riaz Ali Khan brings raags of his own composition within the track, a pleasant addition indeed. One of the crimson studio's lighter tracks, definitely pleasant to the ear, whenever the time, whatever the mood.

Chup – Zeb and Haniya
This is the title track that made them famous in the first place and Zeb and Haniya once again prove why it was so. This isn't as glorious as Paimana, however it definitely is groovier, thanks to Omran Shafique's guitars. Given the house band talent at their disposal, Zeb and Haniya could've taken the song into a completely different direction, which, in the spirit of Coke Studio, would've been a pleasant surprise.

Saari Raat – Noori
Noori's the kind of band that you listen to at full volume. Their energy is at best obvious and overwhelming, in good kind of way. Coke Studio gives them a chance to show a much more mellow side to them, especially Ali Hamza, who appears at home and ease at this slow pace, his other half, Ali Noor still brings in the loudness every now and again, but that's just enough so that you know you're listening to Noori.

Mahi Ve – JoSH & Shafqat Amanat Ali
Bhangra songs are quite the acquired taste, you either love them or love to hate them. This, however, is not a bhangra track at all, and that's all thanks to Shafqat Amanat Ali's brilliant contribution to this track. His powerful raags echo and evoke a completely new feeling to the track. It's interesting to hear JoSH change their trademark pace and shift down to second gear for a change. This is definitely one of their pleasant performances yet.

Though the artists continue to put out some great music, most of the performances came out with a more 'manufactured' or 'staged' sound than the previous season. Perhaps it's because it was made for a TV audience rather than a live one—and the change felt from the first season and the second one is obvious for everyone to hear. And they are hearing it by the hordes, keeping the spirit of Coke Studio alive and well.