Pakistani TV dramas as an industry have been growing and expanding significantly over the past few years with top-list dramas that we’re all fond of such as Humsafar, Zindagi Gulzar Hai, Mere Paas Tum Ho and so on. Many of these television series have included topics to raise awareness and contribute to educating the masses about social issues that take place within our community such as domestic violence, sexual assault, honour killing and revamping real-life events to demonstrate on a screenplay.
These dramas have a variety of categories that producers are following such as comedy, romance, thriller, suspense and so forth thus giving the Pakistani audience a wide variety of screenplays to choose from. While some shows are applauded worthy with exemplary plots, others have questionable storylines that might not sit right with the viewers. Nevertheless, new, and exciting dramas drop every single month because this industry does not take a break and continues to further develop on a progressive path! So, you might want to pause all sports and news channels between 8 to 9.
The Negative Traits: An insight on the unfavorable outcomes of Pakistani Television.
In this era, both media and television, in combination play a vital role in the development of thinking patterns present in our society and influence the way of their living as well as hugely impact the kind of manners that citizens gather and exhibit. Unlike the ways that were practised in the past, today’s norms are not derived from the culture of our ancestors but from the gurus of media. Hence it is fair to say that the content aired on television is as crucial in the construction of values existing in our citizens as much as educational institutions and social media platforms. A noticeable number of foreign countries have utilized the power of media to create content that breaks the negative aspects of traditional notions; however, it can be said with utmost disappointment that such is not the case in Pakistan.
The plots followed by many television adaptations revolve around mainstream and toxic themes that contribute further to the already, long-established patriarchal societal patterns. This may be attributed to the fact that the majority of the industry is dominated by male producers who then come up with storylines that indirectly or directly favour a chauvinistic society. The portrayal of female characters has always been shy, submissive, quiet, and innocent who cry themselves to sleep only to wake up the next day to endure even more torment. While men are portrayed as narcissistic misogynists who claim to be extremely eligible bachelors with no care in the entire world. The story? Irrevocable mistakes by men, unforgivable really, however, they’re forgiven in the end with a happy forever after. Characters such as ‘Zaroon’ in Zindagi Gulzar Hai and ‘Adeel’ in Gul e Rana or even ‘Amaan’ in Dil Kya Kare are noteworthy examples of spoiled men getting stabilized at the hands of women. The ‘heroine’ must forgive and forget no matter what the guy did, be it extramarital affair, scheming to murder or treating females in a harsh manner. This deeply embeds in our society the promotion of this saying, ‘mard toh hote hi aise hain’ (men are like this). There is no benchmark, no set of guidelines or rules that are set for men to follow. Just the ideology that it is a women’s job to fix their attitude.
Moreover, topics such as ‘Sexual Assault’, ‘Rape’, ‘Second Marriages’ and ‘Extra-Marital Affairs’ are no doubt extremely important to be brought to light through the means of media so that open discussions can take place and the taboo image is broken, however, these television shows misuse these injustices just to increase their TRP (Television Rating Point). Dramas like ‘Phans’, ‘Akhir Kab Tak’ and ‘Safar Tamam Hoa’ are only most recently aired with plots that revolve around a rape case with three potential sex offenders and the mega question is, ‘Who did it?’ Is this how we want such a sensitive topic to be presented in front of our citizens? Producing baseless dramas on suspense and thriller but no actual message for the audience. Similarly, second marriages along with extramarital affairs have been made into such an overused plot. These subjects should not be disregarded but directors and writers should keep in mind the negative aspects this brings to the table.
This adversely impacts the already married couples with the growth of suspicion and insecurities or promotes like-minded men to demonstrate the same actions that they have seen. Furthermore, this promotes the mentality that no matter what husbands do to their wives, they will be accepted with welcoming arms in the end. No accountability or answerability, just plain apologies. We can witness this in the plot of ‘Qurbatein’ and ‘Mohabbatain Chahatain’ where it was quite simple to dissect the final ending.
A Positive Take: An insight on the positive aspects of Pakistani television.
Despite all the negative aspects, the drama industry is no doubt thriving with the faces of new actors every day that bring something sensational to the screenplay. There have been dramas with stellar plot lines and performances that one must not miss. ‘Cheekh’ was a thriller-packed show, more so like a murder investigation and it showed in the greatest manner what it is to be a woman in a man-dominated society where rejection is not an option. The television drama, ‘Dunk’ has undoubtedly set new bars for future shows with its amazing story inspired by true events. It talks about a forgotten issue which involves the misuse of women card, raising awareness that men too can be the victim of false accusations and are prone to be as heartbroken as any other individual.
The audience learns the lessons to always keep an open mind when it comes to situations of harassment and verify facts before laying claims as these are sensitive matters. Moreover, the famous showpiece ‘Udaari’ was an amazing display of many topics such as the struggle related to second marriages, the struggle of a rising star and how incidents of rape affect the mental ability of a child. But mostly it empowers women, beautifully showing their strong abilities. Another television series presenting viewers with extraordinary production skills was our all-time favourite ‘Ehd e Wafa’. It encompasses all aspects that go on in our lives, be it friendship, love, betrayal, responsibilities, marriage or struggles of a poor man but above all the devotion that we hold for our country ‘Pakistan’. I bet you will want to join the army once you have finished watching this!
What is in the future: Upcoming views for the industry
Judging by the immense success and TRP that the ever-increasing dramas are receiving, it can be assumed that there is more in store for the Pakistani drama industry in the upcoming years. With well-written plots and quality performances, the world of TV drama can reach new heights for a fact. Producers must be encouraged to give birth to new ideologies and change the prevailing mainstream patterns that have been followed for years. An increase in women-centred dramas, stories based on true events or adaptations of famous novels and historical events can bring about a major turn of events in this field.