In the current information age, television plays an important role shaping the lives of people. People’s way of living, their manners, their attitudes and even their decisions are highly impacted by the television. It won’t be wrong to say that unlike the past generations, today’s values and norms are not derived from our culture but from media.
The media industry holds so much power that it captures the audience’s imagination. Many countries keeping the power of media have created scripts and contents which are either intellectual or follow their customs and country norms and overcame the dark side of society but unfortunately, Pakistan Television is diminishing since the rise of private production houses and TV channels.
The Golden Era of Pakistani Drama Industry
The era until the ’90s was the golden era of the Pakistani drama industry. Their scripts were motivating and inspiring in a positive manner. Their aim was to educate viewers, to create the values and norms from the scripts and visuals but now they are running after ratings, publicity, and blindly follow the trends no matter how adverse is the moral of the story. Pakistani television has got the credit of airing the best dramas in the Pakistani drama industry.
Some unforgotten classic dramas include “Alpha Bravo Charlie” which is a military-based drama and follows the lives of three friends in the Army. These serials inspired the lives of so many viewers and watched it with much passion and eagerness and were completely a family drama according to the traditions and norms of our culture. “Alif Noon”, although it started in the ’60s but lasted till ’80s. The story is about two friends who were completely opposite to each other but always remained close friends.
It also consists of comedy but also dealt with other issues like cheat, scam, and fraud. Another all-time Pakistan’s favorite drama “Tanhaiyan” aired in 1985 was written by legendry Haseena Moin is a cult classic. The story is about two sisters who struggle for a better life after their parent’s death. There are a lot more examples like Khuda Ki Basti, Sunehr-e-Din, Dhawan, Dhoop Kinare, Waris, etc. These dramas were most popular among viewers and got a great hit not only on the national level but also on the international level. That was a time when Pakistani dramas were considered as the best dramas of the sub-continent. Their dress code, body language, manners, visuals, and ethics everything was fantastically chosen that described our tradition beautifully.
Where is the Pakistani Drama Industry headed?
One must adapt and update with time but we are not in favor of portraying the wrong subjects. In this century production houses and TV channels are just following the trends which are a complete dilemma. They are promoting concepts in which a woman is most probably a negative character and we have no idea how adversely it affects our society and the minds of the young generation as we see in most of the dramas the character of women is always shameful like in drama serial “Jalan” what we see is that a girl is in love with her brother-in-law.
A Controversial Version of Love
In drama serial “Ishqiya” brother-in-law is in love with his sister-in-law; In drama serial “Deewangi” the landlord is in love with the poor girl. As she rejects his proposal then for the sake of vengeance he made her suffer a lot and plays with her emotions and ruins her reputation in the society.
In drama serial “Pyar Kay Sadqay” a father-in-law is in love with his Daughter-in-law and above all In drama serial “Dil Ruba” a girl is dating four men at a time and cheating all of them. Recently, the greatest hit in the industry “Meray Pass Tum Ho” whose the final episode was on aired in cinemas and it got one of the highest ratings in the industry and that story depicts the worst version of women.
A husband who truly loves his wife and he is trying hard to get her all comfort but she has chosen another man just because he is rich and wealthy and she does not even care about her husband, only child, and family. It is not wrong to marry a rich person but cheating your sincere husband and family is ethically and morally wrong. What sort of pathetic stories our industry is promoting that only endeavor rating and not considering the effect of conclusion on the viewers.
Characterization in Pakistani Dramas
Our dramas are full of such negative and uncomfortable characters and these kinds of stories have been very normal for all viewers because it’s been common now and if they experience similar incidents in real life that would be nothing new and different for them as viewers actually learn so much from media and most of the times they themselves took similar stubborn steps with knowing the fact that future results can be horrific but still willing to choose as their minds are captured by the stories of drama and they always expect a positive result which is a delusion.
It is not wrong to move towards new trends but we should not forget our roots. Even the Turkish plays dubbed in Urdu has a bigger market than local dramas that made us realize that we need to work extra hard and should come up with better stories to bring our audience back to our traditional roots.
Success of Turkish Drama “Drills Ertugrul”
Recently, In April 2020 a Turkish drama “Drills Ertugrul” dubbed in Urdu on aired on PTV got the greatest hit and ratings in Pakistan and as well as in other countries. It has become a sensation across the whole of Pakistan and won the hearts of millions of fans of Pakistan and even Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan urges the nation to watch this season as it is all about Islamic laws and rules and about people who sacrificed their lives for Islam and ruled all over because of their bravery and true spirit.
It is also available on Netflix and you-tube and people are watching all over the world. So many celebrities criticized its promotion in Pakistan but many of them appreciated and praised the visuals and story of series. Origin of drama shouldn’t matter but we should admire the fact that it depicts the traditions and culture of Islamic Civilization. It is based on a true story that consists of 5 seasons about the Rise of Ottomans, the great Muslim Rulers. The Ottoman Empire is one of the mightiest and longest-lasting dynasties in world history. There is so much wisdom in this series.
Dramas like “Zindagi Gulzar hai” are an Exception
We also have a good collection of dramas in which women characters are not only acceptable but they are often considered as motivational role models for young girls. One of the good examples is drama serial “Zindagi Gulzar Hai” in which Dr. Kashaf is a character who struggled to get through the university and join the elite DMG of Pakistani Civil service. Although, she was not financially strong her hard work helps her to get through difficult situations.
I am not hostile to the thought of a woman being portrayed as a perfect wife and a mother. In fact, I am a supporter of an idea, that the male and female including both painted as an ideal couple. This is what our scripts miss out. Hardly ever has content been created that would exhibit the husband as both supportive and understanding for his wife to reach out to their dreams. This is the Dilemma of the Pakistani television industry and this issue is inevitable now.
This is the time that the writer should realize the flaws of scripts; the content should not be only male-centric. They should take the responsibility to lure the audience’s attention towards the right concept by generating a script in which there is a loving mother-in-law, a responsible and loving husband, a faithful wife, and obedient children. Rather than focusing on extramarital affairs writers should focus on other social and environmental issues like education, hospitality, buying habits, poverty, how individuals should react with other communities, etc. They can also generate content about Islamic history, norms and values of our culture and I would like to say that our media industry should offer content that helps to eradicate the concept of Islamophobia. This issue is much deeper and only media is not sufficient for this but a media has much influence in our community that it can definitely bring a change and ends the concept of Islamophobia.
This is not the only dark side of the Pakistani Media industry, we have so many other issues that influence our societies and communities in a bad way but here I have highlighted only one issue that needs to be corrected.