What made those Golden age PTV Dramas so wonderful? This is the question asked by every Pakistani Television producer. After the downfall of Pakistan Television Corporation and the emergence of the private television channels. The television producers now had plenty of money and options but were unable to produce popular television serials. They tried every thing to recreate the typical PTV golden age charm. They made simple dramas based on middle class families, they made dramas on the more glamorous lives of the rich and famous, they copied Indian soap operas, they even tried to remake the classics such as ‘Khuda Ki Basti’. But they failed to get attention.
I feel that Hum TV has successfully found the formula. I am not saying that all their dramas are wonderful. No, I don’t think that they have revived the Pakistani TV Drama as yet. But they are on the right track. With the arrival of Momal Productions (Sultana Siddiqui’s production company), Hum TV has presented several high quality dramas, Like Dil Diya Dehleez, Malika, Meray Paas Paas, etc.
Hum TV is also my mother’s favorite television channel, she doesn’t like Star Plus and she is unable to enjoy the Dubai based dramas of Geo TV. She explains that the Golden age PTV dramas were loved because they portrayed the lives of middle class Pakistanis. She feels that today each and every channel is making serials on the lives of Aliens who live in Dubai, dress like Indians, and are just as wealthy as Bill Gates. How could Pakistani audience relate to these stories?
I don’t agree with my mother. For example there is this serial “Dil Diya Dehleez” on Hum TV which is based on the lives of a feudal family and even though the family is based somewhere between NWFP and Punjab but they speak and dress like Urdu speaking people. The women are all dressed up in expensive Saris, Sharara, Gharara and have their faces powedered for a party at all times. Even the maids in their castle speak Bamahavra Urdu. I can not understand such things but according to my mother you need to give them a little free hand to create beautiful scenarios that people could love. But why people can not love a real feudal family? Like there were classic PTV dramas Marvi and Waris that depicted the lives of feudal families quite accurately and people loved those dramas.
I agree with my mother that Dil Diya Dehleez is a wonderful drama. It has nice background music, original soundtrack with some great semi-classical songs such as “kahay ko tu yaad aay sajanya” and “Jhotay teray naina”. I feel that the glamour in this drama is different from what we see on other TV channels and Star Plus. It has nice dialogues, a well written script and since it is based on a best selling novel we know for sure that it has a plot and the director Yasir Nawaz knows exactly how to handle the story. There is that typical Pakistani simplicity in the story. It is a story of Honour, dignity, pride, sacrifice and love. But I think that such stories are common every where. The question is still unanswered, What are the elements necessary to make a great Pakistani Television Drama? I feel that by answering this question we can tell a lot about our National Character.