Get Ready for Pakistan’s First Full-Length Feature Animated Film


In 2013, we said hello to 16-year-old Kamala Khan. More commonly known as Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan was Marvel’s very first Pakistani-American Muslim superhero. And if you were happy with just one Pakistani superhero, we have some good news. Three more are on the way!

11-year-olds Saadi, Amna and Kamil star in Pakistan’s very first full-length feature animated film, 3 Bahadur. The title, which translates to “three brave,” is quite a fitting description for our young heroes. When the three children suddenly acquire superpowers, they decide to rid their city of all the evil that plagues it.

The film was created by Pakistan’s first Oscar winner, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. In addition to her Academy Award (which she won for her documentary Saving Face), Obaid-Chinoy also has an Emmy, a Livingston Award and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2012.

“Almost 3 years ago, I had an intense desire to create an animated feature in Pakistan which would appeal to Pakistani children everywhere,” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy told NBC News. “As a nation, we have stopped producing quality content for our children. All of our content is imported and thus our youth grows up with mentors and heroes that are far removed from what they see around them in real life.”

Obaid-Chinoy had made it clear that she hopes to inspire the youth of Pakistan. In fact, the official website, which features exclusive content and releases weekly comic strips, allows children to submit stories which showcase their own “bahadury.” These inspiring tales will be considered for publication on the official website.

3 Bahadur is not just a movie. It is a movement,” Obaid-Chinoy explained. “The message we’re sending with this film is that ‘We shall overcome.’ Like these three kids (film main characters), we can face the challenges that come our way. You don’t need to be a superhero. You are a superhero.”

 3 Bahadur is set to release on May 22, 2015 across Pakistan.


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Pakistani Teens Become Viral Sensation For Singing Justin Bieber’s “Baby”

Like countless teenage girls, Saana and Muqqadas Tabaydar love Justin Bieber. Unlike countless teen teenage girls, they are achieving fame in Pakistan for their Justin Beiber love. It’s all thanks to their cover of Justin Beiber’s “Baby,” which has become a viral sensation.

According to BBC News, Saana and Muqqadas Tabaydar come from a very poor family and were forced to drop out of elementary school. But the girls have always had a love for music, so when they heard the song “Baby,” the Tabaydar sisters essentially lost their minds like teenagers are wont to do. Saana and Muqqadas decided to form a duo under the name “Justin Bibis” and worked hard to prepare for the video. The girls don’t speak English so they transcribed the lyrics by sounding out the words and writing them down in Urdu.

The Justin Bibis then filmed themselves singing “Baby” on a street corner, accompanied by their mom who drummed the background beats using a pot. After the video was first posted, the Justin Bibis were invited to perform on Pakistani news shows and their fame exploded. Of course, the girls say their ultimate wish is to meet Justin Bieber himself.

Here is their cover of “Baby”:


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Marvel’s New Pakistani Superhero

Lets face it– the presence of Asians in American media is not as prominent as we’d like. In fact, this number gets even smaller when we look at specific categories like the comicbook world. Luckily, this seems to be slowly, but surely changing.

We had put together a list of Asians in Comics to celebrate the Asian creators and characters who are making strides in the comicbook world and it looks like we have another big addition to make on this list.

Recently, Marvel Comics has revealed their reimagined version of the character, Ms. Marvel. Much to our delight, this hero’s alter ego is not a white, male millionaire. The new Ms. Marvel is 16-year-old Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American Muslim teenager.

Comics writer G. Willow Wilson says that Kahn “struggles to reconcile being an American teenager with the conservative customs of her Pakistani Muslim family. Like a lot of children of immigrants, she feels torn between two worlds: the family she loves, but which drives her crazy, and her peers, who don’t really understand what her home life is like.”

Creators say they will stray away from the “token minority” character and instead deal with some very deep personal struggles.

Of course, creators recognize the risks that accompany Khan’s character. Will others be against her ethnic background and religious beliefs? Will Pakistani or Muslim individuals feel a misrepresentation with this character?

The comic’s editor Sana Amanat admits, “I do expect some negativity, not only from people who are anti-Muslim, but people who are Muslim and might want the character portrayed in a particular light.”

But creators have decided to be brave and go through with the character. In fact, they claim they will address the various labels that society places on Kahn and show how such labels affect her sense of self.

Kahn is the first Muslim character to headline a book at Marvel. Ms. Marvel will launch in February 2014 and we simply cannot wait.



Burka Avenger: Teacher by Day, Superhero by Night

Burka Avenger, Pakistan’s first animated female superhero, is on a mission for girls’ education. Donning a burka and using pencils and books as weapons, she fights villains intent on shutting down her school, including corrupt politicians and an evil magician. The show promotes the value of women’s education in a region where the Taliban continues to attack female students and schools in an attempt to suppress their education. Just earlier this month, Malala Yousafzai spoke before the UN, urging world leaders to fight for education.

The show’s creator, Pakistani pop star Haroon, funded the Urdu-language cartoon with the help of an anonymous donor. Orphaned children outside of Islamabad were shown a sneak peek of the show and responded positively to its mix of slapstick humor and resounding messages.

Responding to questions about the choice of burka as superhero costume, Haroon said, “It’s not a sign of oppression. She is using the burka to hide her identity like other superheroes. Since she is a woman, we could have dressed her up like Catwoman or Wonder Woman, but that probably wouldn’t have worked in Pakistan.”

Here’s the English-language trailer for “Burka Avenger.” The show airs in August on Geo TV.