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I want to say this without jinxing it…

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) has really succeeded in bringing the nation together for some serious rejoicing. It’s such a good feeling to sit around the television – as many families do during a cricket match – and cheer the champion players as well as curse those who drop catches, drag their feet at the wickets and contribute to the overall defeat of their team. The best thing is, no matter which team wins, the victory is Pakistan’s and so there is no heartbreak. Not for the spectators at least; team owners may (and probably do) feel different.

PSL has reignited a love for cricket in a nation that had suffered too much despair and betrayal at the hands of incompetent players, politics, and corruption within the cricket board. All that may still exist but we’ll face it when we get to the next international tournament. What I’m loving about this time is the abundance of activity that is somewhat making the national level of dismay via politics a little palatable.

Also read: “PSL is an asset that belongs to Pakistan” – Najam Sethi

This is a time when there’s a lot to worry about but there’s also a lot to be optimistic about. Festivals, especially food festivals, have taken off in a big way. We started with the one Karachi Eat a couple of years ago and now that tradition has extended to several cities with the Lahore and Islamabad Eats and of course, the Coke Food Festival, also touring several cities. There are other gastronomical-driven festivals (if I’m not mistaken) and they have also brought back a culture of live performances and pop-up concerts. And food may drive the country mad but there’s also the odd music festival, case in point being the Lahooti Melo in Hyderabad, that is bringing music to the masses.

Music being made in Pakistan is actually thriving like never before. The one Coke Studio has proven to be the sound of the nation but it has also encouraged other platforms to emerge. We have the rivaling Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Nescafe Basement and the single most dedicated platform for music – the online portal Patari, that gave us the biggest hit star in Abid Brohi. All these platforms have either created stars or brought artists from a past (and perhaps forgotten) generation back. From music, movements have emerged music concerts and also, finally, music albums. While top artists have been resisting the urge to record albums – calling them obsolete and redundant – I find it so reassuring that Strings are recording their new album Thirty, to celebrate their 30 years in music. I do hope this will motivate others too.

The film industry is in non-stop motion and while it has been struggling, that struggle is seeing a rise in numbers now. There’s ebb and flow but there is movement, which is important. This year we have Mahira Khan appearing in two films – Maula Jatt and 7 Din Mohabbat In, Fawad Khan will appear as Maula in Maula Jatt, Ali Zafar will step out as Teefa in Trouble, Hamza Ali Abbasi will make it to the big screen as Noori Natt in Maula Jutt (which could be the most anticipated film of the year) as well as in Parwaz Hai Junoon. And of course, the most successful director of these times, Nadeem Baig will return with Jawani Phir Nahin Aani 2. There’s Fahad Mustafa in Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza’s Load Wedding and there’s so much more, from the delicious treat we’re anticipating in Cake and with Adnan Sarwar’s Motorcycle Girl. From action thrillers to animations, from biopics to sequels and remakes, this year in cinema promises to be BIG.