With the advent of the new century, evolutions in science and technology have taken a new turn affecting entertainment industry in its wake, causing a paradigm shift. Far gone are the days when a single channel was serving the much needed entertainment purposes in Pakistan. As Pakistanis, we all have the memories of the glorious days of PTV, when the transmission included news, dramas, occasional movies etc., which the whole household would sit together and enjoy. Pakistani dramas have successfully touched a point where they are appreciated not only within the country but across the borders as well.
Even today evenings are dedicated to prime time dramas of major channels that people like to watch. Being a vital part of Pakistani entertainment industry, Pakistan’s drama industry has been continuously evolving thus raising the bar for the channels, famous for producing quality dramas. Some might argue that not all the channels are producing good stories accompanied with seemingly faulty direction but having too many choices means you can always switch without much ado. The popularity of dramas is dwindling with the passing time, as most of them know how to hit the brief. The genre is expanding , the stories are becoming incredibly realistic, innovation is becoming a basic requirement thus pushing the boundaries towards success. Latest dramas like Meri Zaat Zara e Benasheen , Shahr e Zaat, Humsafar, Aun Zara, Zindagi Gulzar hai, Dayaar e dil, Main Abdul Qadir Hoon etc are some of the prodigious modern take on our society which are not only liked by Pakistanis all over the world but a sizable portion of viewers exist in India as well.
Moreover, enhanced internet access has made them available worldwide lime lighting the unpretentious charm of our actors and the iconic value they carry with their thought after characters. Famed from dramas actors like Fawad Khan , Mahira Khan, Mawra Hocane , Ali Zafar, Imran Abbas , Humaima Malik, and Javaid sheikh etc; are making colossal strides globally.
Although the choice is now extensive however, one cannot deny the nostalgic past most of us grew up experiencing. Comparing and contrasting the past with the present nonetheless can be very difficult. Those times are even though old but cannot be forgotten. Past productions reached greatness with their unconventional stories, focus on ubiquitous social issues, inspiring stories, thoughtful characterization, witty dialogue delivery and the beautiful depiction of Pakistani culture. Some of the cult classics which can never be forgotten are Tanhaiyaan (1985), Dhoop Kinaray (1987), Ankahi ( 1982), Waris (1980), Alpha Bravo Charlie( 1998), Ainak Wala Jin( 1993), Dhuwan( 1994), Angaar Waadi (1994) etc. These are some of the examples of the relentless efforts made by the entertainment industry to provide rock solid entertainment for the viewers.
However, this does not imply that there are no negative aspects of these dramas on our society. Especially, the modern take on some social issues are not depicted appropriately in some dramas. The glamour effect is increasing, giving rise to western culture and we are losing our cultural identity. Our dramas, which were a pride for our culture, are now failing to demonstrate the real eastern feel. It’s one thing to highlight taboos but some dramas took it too far for TRP’s resulting in scandalous turn by introducing issues which are not at all accepted by our society like Kitni Girhain Baqi Hain, Mujhe Khuda Pe Yaqeen Hai etc.
Addition of insensitive dialogues and outrageous potboiler stories like Sangat, where a rape victim was repeatedly ridiculed by glorifying the rapist, should be avoided to make our entertainment industry a mature and balanced medium of human understanding. On the contrary, dramas like Udaari and Roag are the example of brilliantly presenting the horrifying effects of child abuse and its consequences. Likewise, another defining concern in the length of a show as, unnecessary delay and extension can be a real put off for the viewers. Unlike sitcoms like Bulbulay, Nadaaniyan , Joru ka Ghulam etc, which tend to live long for their light hearted humor, the other drama types should be short and focused unless required. Man Maayal is one such example which started-off as a big hit but eventually the focus was lost due to its sheer size and lack of legitimacy resulting in a complete disappointment.
The dramas should hold the values of being entertaining, quirky, artistic, thought provoking and at the same time serve as a medium of spiritual awakening. It is important for any drama to maintain a balance and understand the sheer complexity of the subject that it is revolving around. A huge star cast and fancy locations are not the only requirement to fulfill the criterion. Aun Zara a huge success proved that even limited budget and a lighthearted story backed with great performance could be a hit. Modern dramas, which maintained high grounds of morality and a strong direction backed with a legitimate story always, stood above the crowd and reached the beacon of success.