Stories tend to exist within the author’s fingers, making the words sway and dance as they manipulate and caress them, in the end they create and destroy the readers in the process. Amazing story telling was one of the strongest traits that the Pakistani media possessed, from the Anwar Maqsood’s to the Umera Ahmed’s of story telling, what isn’t there to be grasped by? So why after several decades the existence of these stories has begun to deteriorate?
The inception of these dramatized stories had taken over by storm, it may be even hard to imagine that there was once a time where there was only one channel that provided the public with quality television, and that golden ticket was PTV itself. Their simplistic sets and engaging dialogues kept the audience captivated, dramas like Waaris, Dasht, Mann chalay ka sauda, aik mohabbat sou afsaanay, andhera ujala and several others that possessed the minds of the people. Whenever Waaris came on air the streets were completely vacant, no soul could be found on those rocky muddy roads. So what was it about them that completely took over? Was it the fact that their stories were so compelling that you couldn’t draw yourself away or was it the mere fact that the word ‘drama’ was a new and addictive pass time for everyone? Amazingly enough both of these factors went hand in hand. Several stories that introduced themselves that still remain to be revolutionary to this day, topics like rape, abortion, religious indifference, war, and betrayal, all of these characteristics began to manifest and spread like wildfire, these dramas influenced the people and were brought to the public, just to make a statement. One drama in particular that introduced us to a completely new form of story telling was Dhoop Kinarey; not only did it provide us with a proper insight on how women are not only capable of being more than a home maker, but it also introduced us to the attribute that not all men are as strong and amazing as everyone claims them to be, breaking stereotypes was a difficult task during that time, especially in a country where the gender gap is massive. These dramas went into the depth of their characters and brought out the most real and raw version of any human being possible, whether they are the hero or the anti hero. The villains were always venomous and yet entertaining, but even so they knew how to make people hate them! Their presence and aura was always that strong to begin with. But even if we speak of the golden years of Pakistani dramas, where did all of this go? What happened after all those magnificent programs that caused the people to not know the difference between good and bad presentation?
As we come into the modern days of television we understand that many of the dramas that do exist now are only revolving around these topics, marriage, secret second marriages, fertility, the common ‘beta hi hona chahiye’, divorce, the ‘mazloom maa’ or ‘aurat’, The in law dilemmas and so on and so forth, strangely enough these common themes don’t evolve, they just continue to remain the same and they just spiral into stupidity and madness. Everyone still remains to be captivated by these typical storylines that fail to present themselves through their dialogues and their visualization. These ridiculous dramas have become quite unbearable just by the name itself, current sitcoms and dramas such as ‘Naataq’, ‘Jethani’, and other horrendous ones such as ‘susral mera’, ‘sanam’ and ‘mann mayal’ remain to have a high viewership regardless of the fact that the story is stagnant and completely disgraceful. The characters have no other purpose but to fall in love, get married, have kids, and if not then deal with the mother in laws that are apparently the epitome of evil and vengeance that cant bear to lose control over their son and their households. Is that all our stories are worth? Women were given a better platform to present themselves that they are capable of being more than the feminine way they were raised to be, but in the end the only women that are actually ‘good’ or ‘marriage material’ is if they manage the house, in some cases be a step mother, wear proper dressing and- the obvious feature- be absolutely stunning even though their faces have layers and layers of make up. None of the genders possess a personality that can be called worthy or in other terms memorable, only a few minor dramas still tend to provide us a glimpse of how good the industry used to be and how the stories have not completely perished in the process. Sangg e marmar is one of the most recent dramas that took us by surprise, not only was the story undeniably gripping but it brought the audience to tears, it dwelled over topics of loss, frustration, and most importantly how the mentality of a community ends up affecting the truth, not only were the characters equally cruel to one another but it presented a perfect depiction of how humanity lacks even within families.
Even if the classic writers have not remained in this progression it seems likely that not all of them constantly live in a bubble where all there is left in life is marriage and second marriages and third marriages etc, some writers are still capable of presenting themselves with brilliant stories and unexpected plot twists, and the only way we can still hope for good television is to be patient, the current atrocious dramas that do exist may only be a phase for the writers and a vague attempt to just earn an ample amount of money, maybe there will finally be a time where money does not act as the motivating factor for these writers and they finally realize how much the people need to appreciate good and realistic stories, but for the time being the only thing the public and the socially conscious can do is be patient.