The epitome of Pakistani drama serials could be observed during the times PTV was in monopoly. When dramas were less technical and more logical, when the roads were found to be vacant during the time slot any of the dramas would be aired; when the content was suitable for both adults and children. Exactly these are the stories we often hear from our parents about the ‘90s, when either they feel nostalgic or get disappointed from the content of the current dramas on air.
I probably wouldn’t have been proficient enough to compare the worth of the dramas of the two eras until, I watched dramas of both the periods critically myself. It is pretty evident that today regrettably there is deterioration in the standards of the content.
Dramas today might be much more realistic on the scale of one to ten in comparison to the Indian serials but they are unfortunately stagnant in terms of the content. We witness a woman to be showed either as a weak and helpless person or as a subject of objectification. And the catch is that even if by any chance a serial has a better story-line, the pivot point of the story would always be either the harassment of women or her helpless state.
Interestingly, our audiences’ minds have been so engrossed by these types of contents that despite recognising the flaws in the story and pointing them out either verbally or on the social media, the dramas still manage to get ratings that touch the sky. The best example to substantiate would be to mention the most hyped-about drama serial, “Mann Mayal”.
I mean don’t we feel awkward that last night at a party we mocked on Mannu’s helplessness, Salahuddin’s indecisiveness, Jeena’s rants and Jameel’s change from being the most sensible character to finally displaying the “Mann Mayal” vibes. And yet we manage to stick in front of the TV every Monday at 8pm to check out Hamza Ali Abbasi.
Talking to one of the most insightful and experienced man of the industry, Sir Rahat Kazmi, I realised why charms like him are demotivated from working anymore. Upon asking why can’t we see him on TV dramas either as an actor or as a writer after his first and the last written drama named Teesra kinara. He with disappointment in his voice replied, “At this point in this industry where the content is only about women being merely an object of desire and a victim to atrocities from the in-laws, I feel like Ali (the character he played in Teesra Kinara) who couldn’t bear with the conventions. Hence, I’ve taken a step back.”
I think it is high time we start making dramas that induce logic as well as have a moral. And also give the authorities in the right hands, so that we don’t lose such significant people from the industry.