Don’t let Turkish dubbed shows replace Pakistani dramas!

Published: December 19, 2012

I request, don’t let Pakistan’s drama industry meet the same fate as Pakistan’s music industry. DESIGN: ERUM SHAIKH

As a kid, I remember watching a Chinese drama dubbed in Urdu. At that time the only real impact was not on the ratings, but on my mind – failing to grasp the concept of dubbing, I found it fascinating to see Chinese people chatting away in Urdu.

While touring the US, I haven’t been able to watch the much-hyped Ishq-e-Mamnoon. However, based on media and reports of my friends who watch it, it appears to have surpassed Humsafar’s monstrous success – which, up until recently, had become the milestone for success as far as dramas in Pakistan are concerned.

Recently, I watched Lucman’s show, where several of our Pakistani drama artists appeared to debate on whether Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) should implement some form of regulation on this new and sensationalised transportation of Turkish dramas.

I think yes.

Regardless of the reasons why drama-watchers have such an affinity towards Turkish dramas – whether it’s the differences in appearance and location but the similarity in storyline or plot conflicts – there’s no doubt that whoever had the insight of transplanting these dramas into Pakistan’s entertainment landscape is brilliant.

But just because we now have a cheaper means of entertaining Pakistanis, does not mean we should completely eradicate and forego the interests of our own drama industry.

I fear that Pakistani dramas face the untimely end that the Pakistani music industry encountered (or is currently encountering). No surprise here, Pakistani music has always been displaced by Bollywood music. Our TV channels have disproportionately and consistently given Bollywood music more coverage.

As I tour remote parts of the US, I often think how it is nothing short of a miracle that our music has reached the ears and hearts of Pakistanis living abroad. Even Pakistanis who rarely visit and others who have very little knowledge about their homeland are aware of Pakistani music and television.

Pakistani-grown musicians and Pakistani songs, have made a place for themselves in a niche market that is dominated by a high-budget and shiny Indian industry. But music, as an industry in Pakistan has died. Or at the very least, is taking its final breaths.

That’s why Pakistanis were deprived of a Noori album for six years – because we fail to give the requisite amount of support. And that’s why some of our biggest music stars are known throughout the subcontinent, only because they have had the opportunity to sing across the border. And this is why the DIY music industry has to continue to survive, despite current dangers such as the inconvenient YouTube ban.

All in all, the Pakistani music community is neither strong nor cohesive. But the drama industry, which puts out dramas of high-calibre and brings out acting of the highest quality, should not have to suffer the same challenges as our music industry.

We should learn from the mistakes already made by one of our industries.

As I tour throughout the US, I become increasingly aware of the fact that people have fostered a home away from home through such dramas. It unifies communities – aunties come together to talk about these dramas while their husbands unwillingly sit through them but secretly enjoy them.

The amount of love and support I have received in this part of the world goes to show the importance of Pakistani entertainment in foreign lands. These people long for their language, they seek out common ground to bond over and the Pakistan’s drama industry provides that.

Maybe it’s because we have the privilege of living in Pakistan that we begin to take our culture, our arts, and our talent for granted. If governmental regulation is what it takes to keep a free trade of Pakistani and Turkish dramas more equal and give Pakistani dramas a chance to survive then I am a proponent of that.

After all, we keep eradicating our culture over and over again-we risk creating confused generations without the cohesive glue of identity and language.

I request, don’t let Pakistan’s drama industry meet the same fate as Pakistan’s music industry.

Are you for or against the airing of Turkish dubbed shows on Pakistani channels?

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Read more by Bilal here, or follow him on Twitter @bilalkhan

Bilal Khan

Bilal Khan

A singer who graduated from LUMS. He can be followed on Twitter at @bilalkhan and on Facebook at

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Choclat85

    @Author. Kyun Bhai ab aapko hamari entertainment say bhe problem hai.
    And about our dying music industry it’s not because of threat from across the border it’s because of the troubled situation of our country where no concerts can happen for the security reasons and singers,musicians earn major chunk of their incomes through concerts and tours not from album sales because people don’t buy them anymore. Be rest assured that our drama industry is not going to die because of these Turkish soaps instead it will have a positive impact on the quality of these dramas.Recommend

  • Javeria

    Hey Bilal. Love your music. When can we see you in Karachi? Would love to attend your concert here.
    A very nice article written. Very good prose and a very optimistic article.Recommend

  • Hassam

    If people long for Pakistani culture why did they shift to a Turkish drama? Even though 95% of the air time belongs to Pakistani Dramas? Why are Pakistani producers so afraid of a little competition? If they produce good entertaining material people will watch them regardless what else is on. Your argument is invalid. It’s people entertainment and PEMRA should not force people to watch a certain kind of culture or entertainment. People have the choice.Recommend

  • Msk

    To The Author
    Mr Bilal Khan I don’t know why you guys are saying all this now , Why didnt u guys ever say this when Indian dramas were airing on our channels or i must say they are airing on our channels u guys have no freaking problem with ,thats just stupid mate u have no problem with Indian dramas showing but u have a problem with Turkish dramas,
    So if u are actually concerned like other personal of our Media Industry they should protest against both not just Turkish if they want to be Bias then i guess they should stop protesting.Recommend

  • Faisal

    TV Channels seems entirely Behloolised nowadays.Recommend

  • burner

    How many times did you tour US?Recommend

  • Sharaf Zia

    That drama you used to watch as a kid wasn’t Chinese. It was Japanese and it’s name was ‘Oshiin’. My mom loved it for some reason.Recommend

  • hmm

    So, tell us more about your trip to US :)Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    What a breathtaking display of xenophobia.

    I bet the author’s home is stuffed with made-in-Pakistan refrigerators, air-conditioners and other electronic equipment. Because, you know, he wouldn’t want to hurt the local industries by purchasing imported equipment.

    And whenever he goes to the supermarket, he buys only locally manufactured food items. Is that butter from Holland? Blegh! (Dramatically slams it on the ground and jumps on it).

    The public seeks whatever is affordable for them and suits its needs best. If they find a Hollywood movie more enjoyable than Nikki Jai Han, they will watch the Hollywood flick. If they like Coke Studio better than Lady Gaga, they’ll listen to Ali Lohar.

    The popularity of one Turkish TV-show does NOT threaten the existence of your entertainment industry.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    Ridiculous blog.

    Competition creates better products. You can’t create have competition by killing the high quality foreign import.

    Can’t take the heat? Get out of the kitchen.Recommend

  • Masih

    When they show Indian dramas it’s “cultural invasion” but when they show Turkish dramas it’s “celebrating diversity”. Recommend

  • Omar Mazhar

    Not sure if anyone picked up on this, but this dude’s touring the US. wasn’t sure if everyone picked up on that…so i thought i’d put it out there. He’s currently touring the US. Recommend

  • Rabia

    Bilal, I love you and your blog!Recommend

  • doom

    The days when you could only watch what the TV channels decided to put on are fast fading, or maybe they’re already gone as far as the younger people are concerned. Does anyone get their music from TV anymore? I don’t. I choose it from the internet.

    With the internet and smart TV, people will only watch and listen to what they choose. So you can’t hide behind the TV coverage excuse anymore. On the internet the field is quite level – to win you just have to be better (or popular anyway). TV programs are going to be watched off the internet too in the future. Pakistani drama industry best start getting ready, and stop trying to hide from the competition behind pemra’s skirts.Recommend

  • H

    I think a healthy competition is always good,it will keep our industry on its toes and ensure quality entertainment.Recommend

  • Sajid I B

    What is next? Ban Toyota, Suzuki, Honda and Nissan because they threaten Pakistani designed boxlike Adam Revo? Did you study economics at all?Recommend

  • nomi

    Turkish dramas bring competition. If Pakistani producers are afraid of competition and cannot produce quality dramas then they should get out of this business !Recommend

  • M

    I hate this argument! The government already interferes in more aspects of our life than it should – please leave TV dramas out of it! All it does is give the viewers more choices to watch what they prefer, how can that be bad?Recommend

  • blah

    If we go on imposing bans on foreign products then very soon there wont be anything left for us to actually buy/use? Same implies for phones, cars, clothing. I have never seen designers asking for a ban on international clothing brands. Why?? Competition is healthy so deal with it rather than nag!Recommend

  • Anoushey Ashraf

    What I noticed being a VJ that, people don’t protest against Indian content running on our channels all day long. But a well made, technically sound Turkish drama serial has supposedly ‘ruined’ our industry? I’m not pro ‘foreign’ content in ANY capacity, but just picking on Ishq-e-Mamnun’s success speaks volumes about your own insecurity. It’s like saying, Indian cinema has ruined our own industry. I think people have gotten up and gone ‘back’ to the cinemas because of these films, it encouraged us to make some of our own too so its only been good. Bol or Khuda Ke Liye were huge hits, considering they had a Salman Khan starrer playing in the room next door. Quality wins! Thank God!!Recommend

  • Javeria

    I am an Economics student. Even in our economy, imports are encouraged because they lead to better diversity of products and give a healthy competition to the local industries to increase the quality of their products.
    I don’t see why this can’ be done for the drama industry as well. They will give more of a competition to the drama industry to work harder and produce better so that the population chooses them instead of the Turkish dramas.Recommend

  • Usman

    So what else did you do in the US?Recommend

  • Isma Karim

    As long as any show is not against our culture, it should be on-aired no matter which country it has been produced in! It’s not the issue regarding “Ishq-E-Mamnoon” but there should be a standard for the Pakistani programs as well. Sorry to say but some of our entertainment channels have dramas which need PG for children.Recommend

  • T

    Turkish drama serials offer good competition to our local industry…If the locals cant produce quality work then they should pack up their bags and leave…Recommend

  • gujranwala789

    I do not think pakistan music industy is dying. The only music industry that is dying is western inspired pop music industry. The folk music singers are making big money in punjab and other provinces. The music that has its roots in the soil of a country does not die out by foreign influences, however western inspired or indian inspired music will definitely be washed away since it does not have its roots in the soil of pakistan. Same will happen to the so-called self proclaimed drama industry of pakistan which is hypocritical to its core. On one hand they are copying the same content of indian dramas in their own dramas and on the other hand they are crying against cultural invasion of foreign dramas. Another thing what I also do not understand is why there is a big cry against turkish dramas by so-called pakistani drama industry and why not against indian dramas. May be because turkish dramas have shown them that there are aspects of life other than that crappy saas bahu stuff that is usually the theme of 90% of indian and pakistani dramas these days. Recommend

  • Amram Ohri

    Well I just read the blog and read whole of comments under the blog first of all Bilal you are absolutely right and I agree with u 100 percent and talking about the comments a little feeling of patriotism will not harm you people as the people like you supporting Indian or Turkish industry is making a whole growing generation servants of the stupid foreign media as when they grow up they will only know Sharukh khan or belul but they would have no recognition of Moeen akhter , Bushra ansari and then another generation will watch the same Turkish or Indian crap as we have watched Indian movies and songs as our parents used to watch rather watching Pakistani movies .
    For God sake now our music industry is destroyed by our own radio channels and music channels who don’t at all play Pakistani music even the YouTube is banned so now we don’t even know which Paki song is out these days that’s why our industry died it’s not because the lack of concerts and stuff its only because we don’t have given recognition to our musical legends.
    For God sake save your own industry open your eyes and brains and start supporting our own content.Recommend

  • Insaan

    Author “Are you for or against the airing of Turkish dubbed shows on Pakistani channels?”

    Make better Pakistani dramas so that Chinese, Turkish, Arabs, Spanish would want to watch them. TV media tries to show things that bring in more viewers.Recommend

  • Nzaar

    They banned Indian movies and look at what happened to our film industry in the absence of competition. And our music industry isnt dying because of competition (it used to thrive in the 90s even though bollywood music was easily available). music is dying because of no concerts hence artists cant make as much money as junoon or junaid jamshed used to.

    At best such dramas should be regulated through taxation… To force Pakistani dramas to up their game while at the same time ensure there isn’t a flood of cheap but nice dramas on the air.Recommend

  • Fawad

    I dis Agree Bilal to some extent.. But i am sure if Drama like ALPHA BRAVO CHARLIE & DHOUWAN is on air at the same time any Turkish or Indian Hit soup you can make the true comparison..even todayRecommend

  • Mohammed Abbasi

    Anyway we can show Pakistanis how other people live/view things is a good thingRecommend

  • http://SA SA

    Can absolutely identify with Pakistanis living aborad and their craze of watching our own dramas…this keeps us closer to Pakistan and makes us feel @ home. Have not watched ishq e memnu because cant get enough of our own dramas. Excellent blog and makes complete sense.Recommend

  • Sry

    All the people talking about competition need to realize that with almost 7 billion people outside Pakistan, with tens of billions of dollars they will always produce more flashy and attractive TV material, and that it is simply impossible to compete.
    And those calling for Pakistanis to face up to competition also need to rethink what they are saying. Because the audience has a double standard! If Pakistani women (on tv or in real life) were to dress the way women in ishq e mamnun dress, there would be OUTRAGE; specifically moral outrage about obscenity and “Islamic values.” So, the Pakistani industry simple cannot compete because the same aunties who are obsessed with ishq e mamnun wouldn’t tolerate girls in their own neighbourhood dressing so “liberally”.Recommend

  • media professional

    i herd a telecom has hired the belul actress for millions. the shoot will be in turkey. thats a huge chunk of change gone from the local industry.

    it makes more business sense for channels to buy an ep of Ishq e mamnu for a lakh(approx) dub it for 30k (approx) and release rather than develop quallity content locally (6 lakh per ep approx)

    channels will always do what is financially feasible. it is up to the government to regulate the involvement and ensure local talent is not sidelined for corporations profiteering.

    understand, channels and large corporations are only in it for the money. only an outside body like a union or govt body can force them to change.

    Apart from that, Bring on the good educated wholesome foreign content. but ISHQ-E-MAMNU is a hedonistic sex romp that our families are desensitised with.

    Gori Chamri ke deewane hain ham sab fitrat se, aurat ko marad taarne ko miltain hain, mardon ko mammey.Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Wow… what a delight to come on ET blogs first thing in the morning and see you right there at the top :) Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    @Faraz Talat you love putting bloggers down in the most funny ways… I find your critical comments rather funny :) but may I request you to lighten up? :)Recommend

  • Captain Obvious

    I think Bilal was trying to let us know he was touring the US just in case people weren’t able to pick up on thatRecommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    I can see the guys are getting somewhat jealous of Bilal…. hes a pretty famous singer guys… he doesnt need to show off about the touring US thing. :D CheersRecommend

  • malik

    thank God for turkish dramas… who wants to see a bunch of pakistani women crying on pakistani dramas… typical same story in every drama just the actors are diff… something to do with a woman being wronged. Recommend

  • zaki

    @media professional:

    Our families are not desensitized with Ishq-e-mamnoo. Ask anyone on facebok or twitter or even your neighbour. People loved it!! and would watch it again and again. I myself have seen some families watching Ishq-e-Mamnoo togeather. And this is the same thing that many of my friends have told me. So please keep such thoughts to youself and be a man and compete with Turkish dramas.Recommend

  • Osama

    Ayesha Pervez an hour ago
    @Faraz Talat you love putting bloggers down in the most funny ways… I find your critical comments rather funny :) but may I request you to lighten up? :)

    wat abt tht pessimist guy?girl? Recommend

  • Sameer

    The author will be the first to run away to our neighbour if he is offered a good deal. Also USA should not allow him to tour in their country as it will harm their local industry. Their local musicians have no chance when faced with competition from such an outrageous talent.Recommend

  • Saad

    they are better than Star Plus and Bollywood, we share a common religion with them and our industry needs to learn more if they are feeling competition with Turkey rather than Indian rivalsRecommend

  • Qasim

    Right On! Ban Turkish dramas but not the food Turkish food is awesome! Recommend

  • Amir

    The reason why we are watching imported dramas is because the quaility of OUR production has gone done. We started copying Indian style dramas, thus depriving people of variety. So people need somethig different. They need to see controversy.
    This our production can not handle and take head on…because of fear from our censor boardRecommend

  • Sarah

    I don’t agree with you, Bilal. The problem with us is that when we fail, we blame others rather than trying to figure out where the problem lies and how can we better ourselves.

    Dramas/shows get dubbed all over the world. Let me give you an example, friends, the comedy show was dubbed in so many languages but that didn’t stop the chinese, germans or the french to make thier own comedy sitcoms.

    Aski memnu has been dubbed in arabic, farsi and it has also been released with english subtitles but we don’t see anyone else complainig.

    Did you know that tanhiyaan was shown in Saudi Arabia with arabic subtitles because it was so good? What I am trying to say is that this is a wake up call for our drama industry. We have been producing horrendous dramas, which are very far from reality.
    We need to be able to come up with shows that can be broadcasted in other countries. We have done it before, we can do it again!

    ps. your show at cambridge was really good! and once again next time please come to UMass! :)Recommend

  • x

    @bilal khan, you’re really cute. but should leave the writing to someone else :)Recommend

  • Ihk

    What about Indian soaps that in the past 12 years have turned almost every household into Balaji Telefilms and the girls and boys into kashish and sujal and mir and that godforsaken dadijan who doesnt die even after 50 generations…Recommend

  • Shahalam

    Please let us watch whatever we want to watch. We have had enough of the monotous entertaiment and desperately need a change. Good Pakistani dramas only air once a week and they lose their essence and charm in this time period. Who will not want to watch GOOD entertaiment 7 times a week? They say that its destroying our cultural identity which is so NOT the case. Have you checked out the cheap “mujra” movies on Fimazia? DISGUSTING! I think that they should ban that channel for good! I think that the local audience will benfit much more by seeing series such as Ishq Mamnoon. Pakistan should man up in this situation and raise the bar of their dramas and should take this as healthy competition. These shows are enlightening the masses towards modernization which our country desperately needs. We can just see that where Turkey stands today and where Pakistan stands today. I think that it is our right as Pakistanis that we can have access to good entertaiment. Our local cable is so pathetic that we hardly get to see anything productive on TV and these Turkish dramas are a very good change!! Im totally for these!! Recommend

  • gp65

    Indian music industry killed Pakistan musc industry? I am guessing you mean Bollywood music? Well Bollywood music has not killed the devotional music, Hindustani classical music, Carnatic music, regional movie songs and folk music industry in India. That is because people buy CDs and also pay to attend concerts. If people in Pakistan fail to do so for Pakistani singers you can hardly blame Indian music industry for that. It’s not like Pakistanis are buying CDs of Indian artistes or going to their concerts.

    Your movie industry too died. At that time Indian movies were not even allowed in Pakistan – so why did that happen?


  • Shahalam

    If people like that stuff Im sure they will watch/buylisten to it but cleary they have enjoyed foreign content much more so its time that Pakistanis raise the bar if they wanna succeed in this field. You produce excellent stuff and trust me people will watch [email protected] Ohri: Recommend

  • Shahalam

    Hehe dude! Excellent job on the com[email protected] Talat: Recommend

  • Nida

    I don’t know why our ppl r following Turkish dramas blindly, these dramas are r doing nothing but ruining our drama industry. I hate those channels which are promoting foreign content. Last night I noticed that from 8:00 pm till 11:00 pm Geo n Express were showing all foreign content, why our main stream channels are promoting such dramas? Rather this time slot is the most revenue generated slot n more n more local dramas should be shown because during this time all of family members sit n watch t.v. Why we always become our own enemy. I’m totally depressed, all industries are already letted down by these greedy politicians n now this is the time for our drama industry..may our drama industry soul rest in peace..Recommend

  • Sterry

    I’ld much rather have Turkish and other dramas than the silly Indian dramas and movies people are watching!Recommend

  • Fahad Zahid


    The way I see it, you’ve proposed a ban on Turkish dramas for two main concerns:

    1) Tough competition from these high flying Turkish dramas will kill our local industry, because it resist that pressure.

    2) Foreign dramas set examples which don’t truly represent our culture, and we risk creating confusing generation.

    Well, I think while given your background, and how’ve seen the music industry sent to the dogs because of what you call ‘bad decision’, your article, emotionally, might be understandable. But if we look at it from a layman’s perspective. Your first point is a clear manifestation of the ‘defeatist’ mentality that has plagued our society. We have protected several industries/organizations to ‘protect’ them. Be it the automobile industry, where we’ve constantly protected the local manufacturers from foreign competition, or institutions like the PIA. What have we achieved out of the? Nothing. Zero. All we have done over the years, by protecting these institutions and industries in the name of ‘saving them from fierce competition that they cant withstand’, is we’ve created lazy, unprofitable monsters. Had the same time and energy been used to change their mindsets instead, things would have been so different. Let’s change this mentality, and instead of propogating anti-foreign TV content ideas, shouldn’t people like yourself, who have the power to be heard, be talking about ways to improve our local TV industry? or how to make the base even so we can all have a healthy competition – resulting in better quality of TV production instead?

    As for the ‘confused generations’, really bilal? Look at us. Are we not confused enough right now? 99% of our drams, the ‘cool and hippy’ VJs across all Music channels – are the essence of our culture are they not? How are these foreign dramas promoting absolutely ANYTHING different than what we’re showing in our local content.

    People like you have tremendous power. You have generations who look upto you, follow you, and want to be like you. Use this power wisely, and in ways that is for greater good of ‘everyone’, not just a chosen few.Recommend

  • Another Pakistani

    Pakistani drama industry wont die. Please do not buy a Levi’s next time because the Stoneage guys next door would die out of unemployment. Though I do agree that Prime Time should be given to our dramas, rest its age of media and u cant keep it away. Similarly, every product has a market including our dramas and u cant keep it away either. Take it in as a healthy competition and make dramas that you can export to other countries. Even today you can make good money with your productions abroad. Just need to get out of the insecurities.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat


    Haha! Fair enough!

    I’ve been so fed-up lately of the constant attacks on the show by our moral and cultural thekedars, and the demands to regulate everything from phone calls to sneezes. I couldn’t take one more our art vs their art argument without transforming into a mushroom cloud.Recommend

  • Sanam

    So true! Glad, people in the entertainment industry are voicing their opinions and promoting our television industry over the foreign made shows. Airing of foreign shows will only lead to a steep decline of the television industry, just like our film industry had gone bankrupt and is now almost non-existent, when the masses sought preference for the Hindi movies and drew comparisons between the 2 formats. We’re failing to realize that every community/country has its set of culture and traditions which makes it ”different” and sets it apart from the other competitions threatening it to ultimately slow down and collapse. Im appalled that a premier Tv network has now under taken this duty and is laying the reigns to sow the seed of ”foreign invasion” by indirectly opinionating that Pakistani dramas are not popular amongst its viewership, which is another act of destroying a well built industry as the television. Let me put this on record that, our dramas are not only watched fervently in the homeland, but all across the world by people who understand both Urdu and Hindi, and they prefer them over the Hindi Telly soaps because of their real subject matters and classic portrayal of events. Our dramas dont sell a story, they teach us, make us aware of the many taboo issues in our society. They wake us up to the different mindsets in an environment thereby exposing us to the rich cultural experience and the delicate fabric of the core human relationships.

    They furthermore give our people the medium to showcase their talents and potential vis-a-vis as a technician, director, producer, and an actor and giving them a chance to further improve and improvise their capabilities. Performing Arts of a country put forths the cultural standards and heritage of our previous generations and become a medium of strong communication between the present. They tell the world of our values and ideals as a community. And Pakistan today, needs it more than any other nation of the world for being grossly misunderstood and having being falsely labeled as fanatics, only our Performing Arts will depict our true identities and strenghts without having to offend a particular community.

    A lot of people are taking up this matter with PEMRA, to put forward a notice of restraint to the particular television channel, and everyone should join in and do their bid to stand up for our sensibilities as viewers of the television medium. Recommend

  • http://Delhi Jat

    Did you visit Disneyland and Las Vegas ? Gosh you went to the United States, and then you had this brainwave !! This is divine intervention !Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    @Ayesha Pervez:

    Why? He is speaking the truth? His comments are like a breath of fresh air amongst the stink of Pak ignorance.

    Reading Talat’s comments keeps me sane.Recommend

  • ali akbar

    how was the US tour bilal khan?Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    Why you are touring USA, why not stick to Bhai Phairo.Recommend

  • Haroon

    If you are good enough then there is need to fear competition. If not, then let the better form entertainment prevail. Recommend

  • Rehan

    People are misunderstanding. Nobody is afraid of competition or wants to ban anything. Let the foreign channels come to Pakistan, purchase a broadcasting license, employ people, pay tax, and contribute to the local economy. Then they could show whatever content they want.

    But, for our channels to purchase their content, dub it in Urdu, and play it on Pakistani channels is an unfair business practice. Competition has to be on a level playing field.

    I’m a Pakistani living in the US, and Bilal is absolutely right. We overseas Pakistanis love and miss our home-grown content. It is a way for us to feel closer to home. My parents are older and less mobile than they used to be. And, the Pakistani community is fairly small where we live. So, Pakistani dramas and channels are the only way for them to still feel connected to their culture. Recommend


    To the 3 top comment over here, you guys need to open your mind and ears. You guys have not researched into the issue nor are fully aware of the logistics of the grieve. The issue is simply with regulations and broadcast system on purely economic reasons. Really in this country anybody can do what they want without any fear of the law so that is why we have this grieving situation and it is sad to know that most people are totally clueless about magnitude of the problem or just taking it lightly as a joke, when it’s not! It is the only growing industry here and it’s future is now at stake.

    The problem: Businessman sees incentive in showing a low cost drama as opposed to a high cost drama produced in Pakistan. With less cost, he is able to generate more revenue, to fulfil his own self interest.

    What is so difficult to understand? If BBC starts showing Humsafar in dubbed language by replacing their own local shows then of course their industry will have a problem too. But they’re Britishers, they have far morse sense that the top position management bodies here in Pakistan and their awaam is also more sensible than our awaam who, shockingly for me, actually think that they dont want them to see foreign dramas. Like awaam is really the last step in the ladder here so get your perceptions right!Recommend

  • anwar suhail

    Why all this fuss?! Our drama industry is pretty strong and bit of healthy competition is always good. Nation is being fed on Indian films and music for years. One Turkish serial seems to have rattled the cage.
    I think we are blowing it out of proportion. Media houses simply need to keep some balance.
    It’s refreshing to watch odd foreign dramas along with our home grown talents.
    Blog reflects xenophobia and undue insecurity.
    Enjoy “MOON” at GEO 8.30pm every day.Recommend

  • anwar suhail

    Rather naive and sentimental blog.


  • Fanta

    wow dude… for a LUMS graduate, your foundational economics is pretty, well, weak.

    by the way, best of luck with your US tour. i believe you’re touring there?Recommend

  • anwar suhail

    @Faraz Talat:
    Agree with you and liked the style of writing.Recommend

  • Intelektual

    The problem with our industry is that of unity and lack of support to the technical staff !!
    There are many brillient singers who need lyricists it cant always be a One man show no matter how extra-ordinary u r ! Our industry does not respect nor use the litrature nor supports it ! Every facet exists in an “inch high” closeted existance of there own…
    At the end of the day if some thing is good it will find its right place in the world ! This protectionism is belittling our industry ! its encouraging ppl to be lazy ! innovate take risks and dont limit the peoples right to choose what they like !! Masses are not stupid they dont need to be told what they should and should not watch and support !!Recommend

  • Sundus

    I enjoy reading all the comments more than reading the blog :) Recommend

  • JB

    I am sick of people whining so much about how our industry has died and stuff! Why blame the foreign dramas and music? Noori, EP, Jal are still around. The only reason why new albums have not come out is because they have been involved in other projects. Our music industry has not died. Almost everyday we hear a new song from a potential superstar. Go on the internet-Ahmed Siddiq, Charpayee, etc are all new comers and will take time making their fanbase.
    As far as our dramas go…has anyone tried to figure out why the public was watching those dramas in the first place? Are you going to ban english and indian movies as well ? There is a reason why that does not happen. Apart from one or two good movies, the Pakistani film industry has been plagued with the same old stories, plots, etc. And I feel the Pakistani drama industry is going the same way…the same old depressing story lines and plots. Come up with some new stuff. People watch TV to get away from the sadness and issues surrounding them. People crying and whining in dramas all the time is not entertainment 24/7!Recommend

  • pakistani dramas rock !

    @bilal khan. cant agree more !! right on buddy ! Recommend

  • Ali Karp

    I am Turkish. I don’t watch any Turkish soap operas or what you call “dramas”. I see it odd, however, to institute a ban on them.

    Let the Pakistani producers make ones with better appeal. If they have better productions, they may even be able to sell it to Turkish channels.Recommend

  • Working Woman

    I have a problem with Urdu Dubbing, LOLRecommend

  • T Khan

    Sorry can’t get it, which country is the author visiting these days? Recommend

  • doom


    HAH! No one in Britain would switch from British shows to watch a badly dubbed foreign show because BBC shows are much better – better than anything that’s going to come out of some place like Turkey anyway.

    Does the BBC try to block American shows? American shows have FAR, FAR more money than anyone in the world. But no they do not block. Because a) they have respect for freedoms and personal choice and the public would not tolerate having their choice curtailed. And b) because even the British comparatively low budget stuff – The Office, In the Think of It etc etc is excellent at times and eventually got bought-over by the Americans.

    That’s the trick you see: you just have to be good – and have your own style and originality. Then all this insecurity would go away.Recommend

  • Aisha

    Hi Bilal,

    y these people in the industry are so insecure of Turkish dramas? because they have the best story lines and the best way to show it to the audience. Pakistani dramas are creating nuisance in the society. they portray corruption in households for example, sister sister war in getting a guy for themselves. aunties dating young boys.. that;s so disgusting and that’s all they have to show it to the audience. Actually, the pakistani drama industry are scared to death as turkish dramas pose a threat to these. well, if you guys are soo darn scared then please improve urself dont escape or try to get rid of turkish dramas. you ppl should improve ur performance and get rid of ridiculous morning shows where woman are a big show offs. I love turkish dramas and I am up for it and they r many people like me. there will be a time when no one will want to watch pakistani dramas. there content is already dead. what r u talking about? Recommend

  • Aisha

    Because the best is always visible and followed. and turkish dramas have the strong storyline that pakistani dramas lack. Sorry but this is the truth. Recommend

  • Baji Please

    Why doesn’t anyone talk about the Indian content on our channels? Is that okay?Recommend

  • gp65

    By your logic India should ave stopped Hollywood movies because their budgets are much muchbigger compared to Bollywood movies. Plus Malayali , Telu and Tamil movies (all highly flourishing regional movie industries in India) should have gone under due to the much bigger budgets of Bollywood. None of that has happened.

    It also smacks of double standards that someone complaining about foreign entertainment in own country is actually peddling Pakistani entertainment in foreign countries via a concert tour. Should they also ban you Bilal?Recommend

  • CommonSense

    @Anoushey Ashraf, just about every one of your posts on any blog here starts off with you telling everyone that you’re a VJ. We get it, you’re THE Anoushey Ashraf, a VJ who used to be popular a few years back. Get over yourself.

    I think Noman Ansari and Faraz Talat raise some very valid points. The popularity of the drama just goes to show that most of the public is pretty sick of the kind of dramas our own producers are coming up with and that should serve as a mighty kick up the backside for them to make something worth watching.Recommend

  • anwar suhail

    We should respect the choice and intellect of viewers. Let them decide what they want to watch. If they go for refreshing and stylish entertainment, good for them.
    I’m thoroughly enjoying drama “Noor” at 8.30 pm every day.

  • zehra

    i feel cutting competition only stunts the growth, it is free media let the public choose what they want to see , and i am ok with foreign content, although personally i am surprised that it is only India content that most have problems with although the turkish content is far more open and far away from the norms of pakistan!! Recommend

  • Clear Black Bag

    When Indian movies,dramas and English programs of National Geographic and Animal Planet’s channels with Hindi dubbing can be played in Pakistan then why not Turkish dramas with Urdu dubbing?
    If Turkish dramas are banned in Pakistan then also ban Indian dramas,movies and other documentary programs with Hindi dubbing…..Recommend

  • Parvez

    This Turkish soap’s blah-blah that is going on simply shows that the people who control our TV media must open their minds and allow a bit of nonsense (like the Turkish stuff) to air on our shows because the people want it. If they didn’t they would not not be watching it.Recommend

  • morwa

    I think the turkish dramas are adulterous and too bold! totally unacceptable from religious point of view. i mean our Pakistani dramas might depict or portray similar issues of the society but they do it in a decent and not-too-open way. even my 7 year old nephew, who’s mom unfortunately happened to love that ishq-e-memnu drama and was a regular viewers, knows what an affair is, what being pregnant means and what happens when a woman gets abortion. these terms were totally alien to him prior to this. Recommend

  • gujranwala789

    I have a feeling that the criticism on urdu dubbed turkish dramas is originating from the indian lobby in pakistan so-called drama industry. Why they have never raised the issue of indian content in pakistani channels with the same passion as they are doing it now against urdu dubbed turkish drama. Turkey is our brotherly country whereas india is regarded as our national enemy by our security establishment. I can feel why indian lobby is feeling so threatened by turkish dramas.Recommend

  • Analyzer

    @Faraz Talat: And whenever he goes to the supermarket, he buys only locally manufactured food items. Is that butter from Holland? Blegh! (Dramatically slams it on the ground and jumps on it).

    Though I don’t fully agree with your point of view, thmbs up for that funny comment.

    I feel that the Turkish play is doing so well due to the basic fact that people need something new every now and then, and the Turkish play being technically sound doesn’t really have much to do with it. That the local producers feel threated is understandable, but I expect the fad to wear out soon.Recommend

  • Analyzer

    @ET: Please delete that second comment as it was submitted due to page load error after first attempt. Recommend

  • Fahad

    Dont stress out about something as trivial as this, my friend.Recommend

  • Analyzer

    @Fahad: I don’t really like to repeat myself :)Recommend

  • Amram Ohri

    If u talk about excellent work I am sure that no one even know which new talent is coming and which Pakistani song is released these days I bet if u search some websites which are promoting Pakistani music you will find real good upcoming music because no one is going to air those videos on television or play those songs on the radio because you people just want to listen Indian music and you will make the channels to play Indian songs. What I am saying is just own your people if you can own others y not our own people y the hell our musician needs to go to India to make you hear them even the musicians now know that no one is going to air their songs and they have to come in foreign media to make their own people hear them. And now u want the true hardcore Pakistani actors to go abroad and get appreciated so that their own people own them. Ultimate level of hypocrisy double standards,
    how did Indian movies get in every houses in Pakistan? Because we let them in and we gave the Indian movie chance to enter our homes did Indian people have such big hearts like our people have? so that they can let our dramas go in every home in India. I can bet there people have a habit of owning their own people and they will not except Pakistani dramas airing on their channels now if u talk about dramas like bandhan or dhuwan or waris or other brilliant dramas were they ever on aired in India????
    They own their people to such extent that other countries start owning them. Talking about the filmazia channel I think that channel is doing a great job supporting our own industry and if Pakistani mujra and Pakistani stage dramas are vulgar to you then stop watching movies like murder and jism and dostana with your families and don’t make your children sing sheela aur munni badnaam hui and every other song which has vulgar lyrics or girls showing there belly button around. Wake up now or except the fact that this country is not for such people who don’t want to know their own identity else stay confused and frustrated.Recommend

  • Saman

    Pakistani dramas will not face any problem if they keep on making good dramas. Recommend

  • Abbas Ali

    All I read was:

    “As I toured through the US”

    “While touring the US”

    “As I tour remote parts of the US”

    Ok Mr. Bilal Khan, we get it… you toured the US – you’re a big deal.Recommend

  • Sumaiya

    IT’S ISHQ-E-MAMNOO’ PEOPLE, NOT ISHQ-E-MAMNOOOOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Danial G. Mohiuddin

    I didn’t went thorough all the discussion, comments and text… But why for Pakistani Dramas you have placed Asher of Hamsafar…. That is seriously annoyning… :(Recommend

  • pakistani

    @media professional: i hate people like u when u add up every one in one category its u who will cry bored when u will watch third class local films or tv dramas.Recommend

  • farhat

    turkish serials rockxxxxxx love ishq memnu fatmagul loveee themRecommend

  • Hmm

    I find numerous flaws in your argument. Let me correct you first. Our film industry had Indian movies banned from the cinema and Hollywood flicks were never as popular. The only few I remember running in the cinema from my childhood were JURASSIC PARK, SINDBAD, etc. So to blame the failure of Pakistani film industry on foreign imports is absolutely RIDICULOUS and pathetic. Let’s accept the truth – our industry FAILED to produce something creative. When competition started again recently, we produced excellent films that were even popular across the borders. KHUDA KEY LIYEY and RAMCHAND PAKISTANI are two prime examples. Same goes for the drama industry. A simple lesson in economics will teach these people that competition is a healthy thing. 95% of our television content is Pakistani. If producers think this is not in their favor then they need to wrap up and get out of business. You don’t hear the Arab world crying over foreign dubbed shows. Stop. Entertainment means entertainment. You can’t force people to prefer local shows if they find them boring. That is called ZABARDASTI and it doesn’t mean that Pakistanis shows are of good quality. It means we suck and we are forcing people to watch something. Even China, which is famous for all its protectionist measures, allows 25% foreign content whereas Pakistan only allows 10%. Iss 10% mein bhee aap sab ki jaan nikal gayee? Wah Pakistani Wah!Recommend

  • Go Turks!

    has anyone noticed how BBC food is missing from all local channels for quite a while and we have a barrage of local cooking shows, cooking the same haleem in yet another mind boggling new way (you think?) and getting a massive overload of callers as well?

    maybe its just my cable wala (both in karachi and islamabad) who have a personal dislike for the channel. but i always thought they had amazing content and great presentation quality. still better than what we are producing.

    point is..not everyone is the same and while i might dislike the above scenario, there are a whole bunch that loves it. ditto for sub par morning shows, sub par talk shows and sub SUB par research pieces done locally. so if the audience loves a show that is different from the daily dose of bore, then lets learn from this and improve (read “improve” NOT “ape”)

    if a good drama airs at 10 in the night, im sure people will give it the deserved viewership and bump it into prime time slot. so chill, sit back and enjoy “the behlul show” ;)Recommend