Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Review


Fair warning. This is an outraged rant. Also contains a great deal of spoilers. If you haven’t read the book and intend to, do not read on. Otherwise please proceed and don’t forget to comment.

I recently finished reading ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ one of the greatest works ever to have been published. Its author Oscar Wilde very seductively managed to keep me hooked onto every word for two days until I finished reading. Everything about the book, the storyline, the characters, the various underlying themes prevalent in the text keep you glued until you receive a satisfactory answer to the whys and how comes.

After being completely mesmerized by the book, I clearly hadn’t had enough and decided to download the movie version. A friend suggested the 2009 one starring Colin Firth, the only version with a rating of 6.2. Now I really respect Colin Firth as an actor. Had my doubts about Ben Barnes of the Prince Caspian fame though.

Anyway bottom line, I was utterly disgusted by the movie. I kept telling myself that movies are mere adaptations of the book and that they are twisted to get an audience but Director Oliver Parker very successfully managed to drive a six inch stake through Oscar Wilde’s heart. Had he been alive, he would have stabbed himself right under the ear, like Dorian stabs poor Basil.

Here is a list of things where I feel the movie horribly failed to do justice to one of the finest pieces of literature.

  • The death of Sybil Vane. That represented the beginning of Dorian’s downfall. The movie failed to capture the moment in its entirety. Dorian had a very good reason for leaving Sybil. She disappointed him, in front of the very people he wanted to show her off too. He could not forgive her for failing at the one that had made him love her. The movie however suggested otherwise. The break up wasn’t even a proper break up. He just went away, nothing to suggest he wasn’t going to marry her. Certainly not enough to make Sybil kill herself.
  • Sir Henry Wotton. I really admire Colin Firth. I think he is a remarkable actor. But even he couldn’t do justice to the character of Sir Henry Wotton. True he had a significant hand in making Dorian who he was, but the movie blamed him entirely. His love for Dorian was also misrepresented. Over the years he acted not only as a mentor to Dorian but also as a friend and confidante.
  • Dorian Gray. I reserve judgement over the casting of Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray. He is not a bad actor, but as Dorian Gray he failed. Everything in the book comes down to the point when the self realization of the corruption of his soul hits Dorian and he decides to destroy his own picture, knowing what he is giving up. That alone makes the reader love him even after what he has become. The movie? Oh yeah totally destroys the essence. It isn’t Dorian who destroys the picture but Wotton! I ask you how in the world? And that too after he discovers that Dorian killed Basil. Wotton would have never killed Dorian over Basil’s murder. In his own words he found Basil ‘rather dull’ only catching his fancy when he confessed his adoration for Dorian.
  • James Vane. Sybil’s brother set out to take revenge from the man who took his sister’s life. He dies accidentally when the bullet meant to kill a rabbit strikes him instead. That poor men can be killed without it affecting the rich is the idea heavily surrounding the incident. The movie instead throws him in front of an oncoming train. Sheesh!

The point behind this entry: always read books. The movies based on books are sure to disappoint you beyond your wildest imagination!


A Revival of Craft


There is no shortage of talent in Pakistan. However, there is a serious dearth of recognition. The local artists and the handicrafts industry in the country suffers from the lack of care and genuine interest in the items. Talent, the skill to beautifully craft things is passed down from generations, often getting lost in the process when people are forced to resort to other means for survival.

Adorn – Artisans Development Online Retail Network, is one social enterprise ensuring a proper future for the local artists. The network came into being solely for the purpose of providing support to the artists and promoting their work through social media. This way, a genuine interest in their products is created and a proper channel to market those goods both nationally and internationally is formed. As a result most of earnings and benefits find their way to the pockets of the artists, not the middle dealers.

Adorn partners with various NGOs working in Pakistan particularly with women and children, teaching them valuable skills that can help them run their household. The list of products available by Adorn includes quilts, home accents, children’s bedding and other gift items.

Last week Adorn held an exhibition ‘A Revival of Craft’ featuring the work of the local artists. A number of NGOs participated and displayed their handicrafts. Organizations like Development In Literacy – DIL, SABAH Pakistan, Ra’ana Liaquat Craftsmen’s Colony – RLCC, Indus Resource Centre, Thardeep Rural Development Programme and Aik Hunar Aik Nagar – AHAN.

Once I entered the building, it was like stepping into a completely different world. The wide array of colours left me speechless. The beautiful bags, embroidered clothes, pouches, accessories made my wallet scream in protest. Stalls each bearing the name of the organization proudly exhibited their good and scores of starry eyed women made circles around each buying whatever they could.

My heart set on this gorgeous blue handbag by AHAN, which I unfortunately didn’t buy. But someone in front of me did, and I silently implored them to take care of it.

Creating a proper market for handmade goods which have a demand all over the world is a great way of connecting the artists with their buyers. This way not only do the artists reap maximum benefits for their hard work, the buyers too can be sure of the authenticity of the items they buy. This also is a great way of bringing to light the tremendous potential a country like Pakistan has and can offer if given half the chance.

People interested in viewing these products can either browse through their online store on Facebook page ADORN or visit their website