Haseena Moin gave us some priceless gems. And now, when I have to settle for less, I just can’t watch anymore!
If this is a rant then be it. I refuse to sit down every evening and watch a miserable face staring back at me because he/she has been tortured endlessly or is going through marital problems. I might do it once a week, but not 4 or 5 times. It’s not that we didn’t have serious dramas earlier. Yes, we did. But there was a healthy mixed plate of drama options Aangan Terha, Dhoop KInaray, Parchaiyan, Waris, Taal Matol to name a few. Even Anwar Maqsood would render social commentary lined with his indelible stamp of humour. Watch Half Plate and an entire relationship will unfold before your eyes in just over one hour. It will make you laugh, smile and even shed a tear or two.
Last week I happened to search YouTube for old Pakistani dramas. The ones I grew up on. The ones that would make me laugh out loud. The ones I could watch with my entire family. And the ones that did not make my teenage kids feel that they were being tortured into digesting mouthfuls of Pakistani culture at gun point.
The TV remote skirted over Ankahi. My mind did a quick flip back to the days of Sana Murad, Timmy and Moby. Oh what fun it was to follow the shenanigans of Sana and Mamu Shehryar. Ankahi it was then!
As I watched the first and second episode of this epic Haseena Moin/ Shoaib Mansoor creation, I fell in love once again with their simple, uncomplicated lifestyles. Genuine laughter escaped my lips. My children also giggled along, the comedy hit the funny bone and not only that, it subtly highlighted social issues as well. Have we forgotten how to laugh as a nation? – I quizzed myself. Here’s why our Pakistani drama writers need to take a page or two out of the books of the likes of Haseena Moin and Anwar Maqsood. The audience got its fill of social commentary and comedy rolled into one hell of a 30 minutes screen time.
Here’s 6 reasons why I’m drawn to the dramas that actually kicked some serious ass in the golden era of PTV! And why I can’t bear to watch what’s being passed off as entertainment on Prime Time TV in the present age.
1. Sana Murad wears little or no makeup. No filter, just the real me.
And it doesn’t matter! Sana is a normal larki. She wakes up in the morning. gets ready, combs her hair. Wears her regular shalwar kameez and goes about the day visiting the beach, playing pranks on her next door neighbour Timmy and making parathas with maamu in her kitchen. All this, with natural dialogues to match.
2. The dialogues and situations are seriously funny.
When Sana and maamu conspire to steal Timmy’s pet chicken and cook it for dinner and when the fraudulent kirayedar sneaks money out of maamu, the jokes are witty, the dialogue laden with humour, and the laughter comes easy. The characters deliver their lines with such hilarity that an episode or two of Ankahi can do wonders to drive the blues away. One episode of watching a Haseena Moin drama and you wonder why comedy is on a permanent vacay in Pakistani dramas now?
3. Catch phrases that take over family convos
Kya aap waqai sanjeeda hain? This takia kalaam of Jamshed Ansari’s (Timmy) was so catchy that it has stuck with us … after so many years. I have yet to remember a phrase from today’s dramas that stays with me. Perhaps Dr. Asfi’s raasta khatam na ho catches up but that’s about it.
4. Old dramas taught us how to live the simple life. e.g take a stroll down Seaview beach
If you wanted to have fun, the beach was IT. A day out? The beach in all its simple glory is all you need. Sun, sand and the ocean. Unfortunately the beach was also clean, litter-free and safe to visit. We hope we can bring back those times, perhaps the dramas can help revive them too?
5. No saas bahu ka jhagra and no mian biwi relationship issues
It’s about time we lighten up on Planet Pakistani dramas. Why does everything have to be about the other woman, the other man, the mother in law or daughter in law. Why can we not reflect a part of our lives that is fun, jovial and light-hearted? Because despite all the pain and anxiety, we do have moments of joy. Then why are they missing from the script? Writers are your lives so dark and morbid that you cannot see beyond the suffering? Agreed, writing great comedy is not everybody’s cup of tea, but if it could be done earlier, it can be done now. We have no dearth of talent, perhaps a dearth of courage – to those writers who are thinking of comedy, I would suggest – Go to your mentors. Go find Haseena Moin and Anwar Maqsood and run the script by them. They are a treasure trove of experience and knowledge – use them and raise the bar for everyone in the industry!
6. When dramas showed us that neighbours were like family
I remember a time when your parosi would drop in for a cup of chai, be your dearest friend, share confidences and even drop in to play at home, in the garden or carpool together to school. Timmy and Sana had just that relationship. With laughter, smiles and many witty dialogues, theirs was a relationship that gives us serious neighbourly love feels. #Neighboursbelikefamily. Will this hashtag ever trend?
The Pakistani drama audience is starved, and I mean starved to watch dramas that make us laugh. Just laugh. Agreed, our dramas are serving a very real social purpose of throwing the spotlight on the inherent evils in society. But we can do that with some humour as well. Or can’t we? Ankahi addressed the issue of a young girl’s marriage to an older man (who might even be a village gangster), yes, it might have been a tad unrealistic but the issue was certainly highlighted and resolved. Perhaps a family in a remote village in Pakistan might watch this (YouTube is everywhere, even if enlightenment isn’t) and draw some courage from the story.
Dramas reflect a part of our society. However they also serve to bring about change, and time and again, humour has been used effectively to do just that. Social issues, cultural norms, weddings, funerals, divorces – weighty issues stare back at us every time we switch on Prime time TV. Why can we not lighten up – art has another role too, doesn’t it? To change mindsets through comedy. Mind you – laughter is still the best medicine, but our writers might have forgotten the prescription!
Are we not, as an audience, entitled to laugh? Forget comedy, I don’t even spot too many thrillers or mysteries on the menu. Hoping that will change with the upcoming new lineup featuring Ehdewafa, Yeh Dil Mera and Alif.
What will Alif Drama hold for us? Find out here.