I miss good ol’ PTV!

Published: November 11, 2010

PTV dramas like the popular 'Ainak wala Jin' bring back many memories for those who grew up in the '90s.

Remember the time when owning a cordless was the coolest thing ever? Cricket had just become a national craze and Imran Khan a living legend; Wasim Akram’s ‘Mein Cigarette Nahein Peeta’ ad had caused half of the teenagers to eschew cigarettes; Fanta had finally started getting accepted as a guy’s drink; Atari and Nintendo were the next coolest thing to a Ferrari – not to mention shooting a duck with an actual gun on your Nintendo.

How about playing Dave 1 on your brand new Windows 95 and finding out you couldn’t cross level three no matter what? Or perhaps the time when you’d rent out movies on VHS because owning them was practically impossible? Or the time when you were suddenly informed that the letter ‘H’ was no longer pronounced as ‘ach’ but had been changed in to ‘aitch’?

My friends mostly accuse me of being nostalgia prone, but if you were born in the 90s, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Out of all the above mentioned paraphernalia though, the thing I miss most about the 90’s are the PTV dramas.

While watching Grey’s Anatomy the other day, I suddenly had an aching feeling at the back of my head, as if I had already watched it somewhere. It wasn’t until I was reminded of a PTV drama in the late ’80s ‘Dhoop Kinarey’ that had led me to that feeling. I couldn’t help but notice the sheer brilliance of writers like Haseena Moeen, whose work was literally decades ahead of her time. As a matter of fact I wouldn’t be wrong to call it Pakistan’s very own Grey’s Anatomy — only two decades ahead of its time!

I still very vividly remember how Bil Patori from ‘Ainak Wala Jin’ would give me nightmares every time she’d say:

“Bil Patori naasa chori aadhi mithi aadhi kori I’m sorry I’m sorry.”

Zakoota was far less scary though:

Mujy kaam batao, mein kya karoon, mein kiss ko khaaon.”

PTV didn’t have much in terms of quantity but it had quality and the fact that they would cater to all age groups helped it excel beyond it competitors.

‘Dhuwan’ was another feather in the cap for PTV. It was the sort of spectacle that would make every other lad join the police and serve his country. You’d watch it over and over again and still not feel bored. Elite commandos fighting criminals and terrorists, rugged mountains, fancy jeeps, the latest gadgets and an innocent touch of romance — it had all the ingredients a Pakistani James Bond fan could ever wish for. Oh! And did I mention the live action sequences which surpass all expectations, even by today’s standards?

Still not content I’m right? How about ‘Alpha Bravo Charlie’, ‘Sunehray Din’, ‘An Kahi’, or ‘Tanhaiyan’. It was the likes of these dramas and others that helped shape up the mindset of my generation.

They taught us family values; they made us laugh, they made us cry, but above all – they imparted in us hope that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel; that nations require sacrifices; that every one of us has to rise against jobbery, nepotism and corruption in order to set things straight.

We need you back PTV!


Ahad Khan

A medical student at Aga Khan University in Karachi

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

  • AHR

    So true. Ironically, all these masterpieces were made at a time when restrictions/ censorship were very high. Leaves us with a point to ponder whether restrictions harm creativity or actually bring out the best in terms of cretaivity. Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/265/haris-masood-zubairi/ Haris Masood Zuberi

    I’m on the same page!

    Oh the peace in that 80s/90s air(waves)…!Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/264/huma-iqbal/ Huma Iqbal

    Good one. This can make up for a very good write up, as good memories are always to be cherished. And the old TV becomes more important in times like today where there is confusion and chaos around…too much of it actually. I cannot resist detesting the dramas on Pakistani TV channels these days. Yes I know they ‘depict the realities of life’, and ‘are good sensible productions’, I just wonder can’t they focus a bit less on marital disharmonies, for once?! Recommend

  • True Pakistani

    You forgot to mention the Dentonic AD :). Brilliantly Written. I really miss those days along with PTV.Recommend

  • sana

    omg i was so young at that tym when this Ainak Wala Jin drama comes, even i dont understand what they said and what was the scene going but the character outfit n their looks still on my mind and the way of horror laugh by on of the actor in the drama still remained in my mind. after so many years this picture take me back to those PTV dramas which i never seen now a days Recommend

  • http://shoaibtaimur.com shobz

    You do realize that Dhoop Kinarey was not exactly original as it was inspired by romance novels.However you are right about everything else. PTV had really good dramas once upon a time. I can never forget “Tanhaiyan” and “Ankahi”. The quality was amazing and you actually felt like you could relate to them. Unfortunately people seem to have lost the plot and we only get to watch crap on TV. Hence the reason why I have stopped watching TV. Recommend

  • fahad

    Nostalgia is the early symptoms of old age. People growing up in the 90s should admit that they are growing old. This reminds me of my dad continuously telling us how they bought the first tv in the whole mohallah and how everyone would come over to watch it and how the tv shows in the 60s were done live and were much better than the shows in the 90s.
    90s wasn’t betters than the 2000s, we’ve just gotten old. Recommend

  • MK
  • http://hammadmateen.wordpress.com Hammad Abdul Mateen

    Good work Ahad!
    Almost made me go back into the 90’s again.
    I wasn’t born in the 90’s but grew up in that time with the excitement of watching the shows you’ve mentioned in your piece.
    Sunehray Din, Alpha Bravo Charlie, Ainak Wala Jinn, Ankahi etc. These were all classics to say the least.
    Best of luck bro!!Recommend

  • Maryam

    aww………..i miss that time too……..

    i remember , me n my younger brother would wait for the hollywood movie PTV used to show on saturday late nights…..brave heart being one of them.
    8 pm was the time everybody would be glued to the tv….be it mum, me, bro or dadi….and all of us used to watch it together…ahh….miss that good old family time.

    i still remember the dentonic add and wasim akram’s add……..Recommend

  • http://www.billydesignstudio.com Bilal Tariq

    Got to love that time! I agree with all about PTV golden era and its delicacy; btw guys arnt’ we missing malbro (prob) ad “unity of rhythm” it was peaceful time! We have become so numb that its hard to find those ppl in us, we as a nation didnt learn much; we should spread awareness in our society and be polite to others and definitely share our old stuff with our youth. Some day! One day!
    Happy Days!Recommend

  • Talha

    I miss the old days too, wish I had a time machine so that I could go back and relive the 90’s.Recommend

  • Erfan

    Touched. Dhuwan made me cry …. I miss those days, Life used to be so simple. Never heard of Bomb Blasts in those days. The only tension we used to have was going to school.

    Dramas used to be pure class. Recommend

  • Erfan

    B/w Remember Pulse Global? The good printRecommend

  • Abdus Samad

    One of the most important reasons for the quality drama at that time was that at that time there was only one channel and the drama to be telecasted was chosen from the bunch of good dramas. Now we have lots of channel and they dont have choice to select a better drama from the pool of good dramas. That made a difference.Recommend

  • WhoWasThatMaskedMan

    I’m afraid, Fahad is right when he says we’re getting old :|Recommend

  • Hamood

    Now that was quality programming. Million times better than the shameful Indian crap on TV nowadays. Even the Pakistani productions of today are nowhere near the quality of those 70s/80s/90s serials.Recommend

  • http://www.billydesignstudio.com Bilal Tariq

    Dear Hamood i think we shouldn’t bring in Indian or any other nation; apart from dramas their film industry is way too strong and have strong economy too etc, i think we should just stick to ourself and work on weak areas rather than pointing out others, this way whats good in us will remain good but we will make improvements in areas we need to; i’ve most of the times people saying India this n that; sorry dear but the truth is they have gone way too far from us even when we started together (regardless of whatever the reasons are) and we’re still where we started off pretty much. If other shirt has spots on it, it wont make your shirt clean enough, whatever’s on there will stay there until you clean it. We should play our role to serve and take Pakistan ahead. May Allah bless our country and inshallah we will have lovely 80’s 90’s Pakistan back. Life is too short for hatred, we should spread love and respect in the society so we can keep our moral values alive. Allah bless Pakistan.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/AsmaMirzasPhotography Asma

    Such a nostalgic article … as the number of channels grew, the quality of art deteriorated in television. In 90s, we used to have PTV as the real big thing and NTM: the innovative and stylish icon especially for the youth of that era. I miss watching the 8 pm dramas daily … even though the sets of lahore were boring and not as glamorous as karachi’s but were still epic in their own genre.

    Gone are those days. Gone are those dramas and gone are those writers. Sadly, I dont see the galore coming back anytime soon.Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/X3alous Sarah B. Haider

    Reminds me of a character “Karnani” and her birthday song :PRecommend

  • Usman Ahmad

    Aaaaaaaaahh! I’m so nostalgic about 90s. Less violent and more peaceful decade!Recommend

  • Raja Junaid

    Wow… What a time that was.. We used to ring the bell of neighbor’s door after the load shedding of 9 pm. Really missing that time when after coming from school the other tension was to go academy! Life was so simple and beautiful.

    May Allah keep Pakistan safe Ameen. Recommend

  • Noor-ul-ain Hanif

    Ainak wala jin i miss that darma so much alpha bravo charliee awesome i miss all my childhood days. there was also a drama named zaib-un-nisamaster piece! :’):’)
    Love PTV!!Recommend

  • Noor-ul-ain Hanif

    very touchy write up :’):’)Recommend

  • http://www.thetrueperspective.com Hamza Malik

    I don’t normally “aww” but I can’t help but… AWWWW!

    Such an emotional write up! :)Recommend

  • R. Qureishi

    We should give all TV channels a task to produce such programmes and the ones that don’t, should be banned.

    I miss good old ptv but judging from the comments above, who doesn’t?Recommend

  • Amna

    MK, some of the points the writer mentioned are actually quite similar to the link you posted! “http://www.pakistantalk.com/forums/members-hub/7028-nostalgic-about-nineties.html”Recommend

  • Majid Urrehman

    I own “As a matter of fact I wouldn’t be wrong to call it Pakistan’s very own Grey’s Anatomy — only two decades ahead of its time!”Recommend

  • RS

    I MISS/LOVE ainak wala jin! and Khufya Jazeera! Recommend

  • http://absarahmed.wordpress.com/ Absar

    Voice of all those who grew up in 80’s and 90’s. By God, I am nostalgic!Recommend

  • Sobia

    PTV always made me feel stifled. Back then the cartoons would only come on for half an hour a day and that was always during my lessons with qari saab! I miss my childhood but I don’t miss the televised programming of those days….no thank you. Recommend

  • Narmeen

    I had a constant smile on my face while reading this article. Good work, Ahad!Recommend

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    very nice……….Ankahi, uncle urfi, shehzori, tanhaiyian, sunehray din………….and so many dramas are still memorable……….love the 70s, 80s, 90s era of Ptv……Recommend

  • Shahbaz

    nexus of old memories takes me to the golden period of childhood watching morning Transmission especially ” Chacha G” and 5 min duration cartoon segment,,,,,,,Ahhhhh! and 3 or 4 years earlier such Adds were the symbol of PTV …. ‘Norus’ ‘Binaka’ and ‘Kivi shoe polish’ as well as ” Andhera Ujala” an incredible t.v serial which i can never forget since the inception i grew up senses….. Recommend

  • http://www.pakspectator.com Sana Saleem

    Yeah ! There was a time when all of the family members used to sit in front of Tv to
    watch drama at 8 in night. And it used to be a great recreation.

    Now a days, I can find lot of channels and dramas on my TV but very few of them I find worthy of watching. I am least interested in watching them, unless I ahve no other option. All of these dramas have lost social and moral values and its some times difficult to watch them with the family !Recommend

  • AA

    Aaah!! Old memories :(:( Kia yaad diladia… unfortunately we can never ever bring back that period…u forgot to mention

    Neelam Ghar and Urdu Film on Thursday Nights
    Sona Chandi and Andhera Ujala on fridays early morning (they were not repeated and still people loved to watch them on weekend early morning,aajkal itna jaldi kon uthta hay)
    NTM’s cartooons (Ninja Turtle, Silver Hawks, Thunder Cats, Gumby)
    Studio 2 1/5, Studio ponay teen by anwar maqsood
    Fifty Fifty

    AAhh i feel like crying!!Recommend

  • parvez

    Born and grown up in the 90’s and feelin old and nostalgic. What’s your problem?
    The world was round then and now its flat and growing flatter by the day and the possibilities are immense.
    It’s good to remember the past but its bad to get bogged down in it.Recommend

  • shumyl

    those were the days.. :) Recommend

  • http://ahandfulofdust.wordpress.com/ Mariam

    90’s was great. Peaceful time and there were VALUES, which we are lacking now. Recommend

  • fghjyukluy

    It’s good to remember the past but its bad to get bogged down in it.Recommend

  • Yousaf

    One thing can be done, PTV can start another channel namely PTV classic and telecast everything starting from its birth.

    PTV can ask the sponsors to shoot the ads in retro look, this way PTV can earn a lot of revenue and people like us will be very much happy. Recommend

  • Usman Iqbal

    Wow… I still cant get over with the 7 am cartoons i used to watch on my clumsy little sony television before going to school when i was like in 6th grade… Truely PTV laids the foundation of many serials played now… The actual concept of FAMILY DRAMA has just evaded and what is left is just a love story, depicted in many ways…!!!
    Oh and Sona Chandi and Khuda ki Basti were truely speechless… Now matter how advance our media gets, the older PTV is uncomparable…!!! We want PTV back…!!!
    Ameen bless Pakistan…!!! Ameen…!!!Recommend

  • @@

    Guess what I actually tried to watch an old PTV drama yesterday on PTV National… IT WAS SO GOOD & SIMPLE … Recommend

  • http://billaytoot.wordpress.com Bilal

    Those dramas were really good. Even the Sindhi dramas that use to come on PTV national they had cultural values and they were about peace and love. Recommend

  • K

    Kya yaad dila dia… those were the days. All those dramas show the highest level of creativity from everybody involved in the production. The shows were modern but not cheap, and those characters were nothing short of being role models. I can still watch Alpha Bravo Charlie, Tanhaiyan, or Dhoop Kinarey or anything from that era, well may be not Ainak Wala jin, I tried to watch recently and couldn’t get past the first episode, may be the kid in me has died… Oh and why does it feel like that part of this write up is from the Facebook group “You Know You Grew Up In PAKISTAN In the ’90s when…” ?

    PS — BTW Grey’s Anatomy got nothing on Dhoop KinareyRecommend

  • Munazza sami

    I read this article and i recall some points regarding 1990.I wanna share these with you guys…….read it out and tell us about ur experience

    You know you grew up in Pakistan in the 90’s when:

    • Evenings on STN/NTM were the highlight of your day.

    • The Jetsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Captain Planet were dubbed in Urdu.

    • If you were lucky, you had a dish, and you’d watch Disney Hour dubbed in Hindi on Zee TV and write to the host Vishaal. And you never missed ‘Hum Paanch’ (Pa-Pa-Pa-PAANCH!) or Tu Tu Mein Mein either.

    • You played “Kings” in school (the game where the first person to yell “Kings” would try to step on someone’s foot. Then that person would try to step on someone else’s foot and so forth).

    • Guys only ever played cricket and football, depending on what world cup was going on at the time.

    • The only co-ed sport that was ever played was KHO KHO and girls were actually pretty good at it.

    • You played Dark Room, Oonch Neech, Chor-Sipahi and Chupan Chupai.

    • Anyone owning a real Barbie or Hot Wheels was a source of envy and admiration.

    • “Bil Patori naasa chori aadhi mithi aadhi kori I’m sorry I’m sorry” means something to you. As do “ZAAAAAYYYMEEENAAAA!!!” and “Mujy kaam batao, mein kya karoon, mein kiss ko khaaon” and “Ulloo ulloo hello, ulloo ulloo hello.”

    • You wished you were Imran or Moattar from Ainak Waala Jin.

    • You had nightmares about Bil Patori and Haamoon Jadoogar.

    • ‘Idiot,’ ‘Shut Up’ or ‘Badtameez’ was your first cuss word.

    • You idolized Imran Khan even though he was retired when you were 2 or 3, and wiped your face with your Pepsi bottle or Frost juice because he did it in that ad.

    • Wasim Akram’s ‘mein cigarette nahi peeta’ ad made half ur generation vow to never smoke (the other half just missed out on good stuff).

    • You had to ask “Ma’am/Miss may I come in” before entering a class, and you had to stand up to answer questions during a lesson.

    • Cordless phones were the coolest things.

    • You went crazy when your dad bought his first ever mobile, and you wouldn’t shut up about it to your friends.

    • You begged your parents for a walkman and then bought tapes of Junaid Jamshed, or if you were really cool, Junoon.

    • You went to a Junaid Jamshed concert in a PAF building or a Junoon concert in PC.

    • You remember Fakhr-e-Alam hosting the Top Ten on NTM and his “Bhangra Rap” was always #1.

    • #2 was “Jaadoo Ka Charagh” by Awaz and #3 was “Dohlna” by Shehzad Roy.. #4 was “Mann de Moaj” by Hadiqa Kayani, the only cool female-singer in Pakistani (and that was her only song for a long time, till she sang Dupatta Mera Malmal Ka.”)

    • You remember waking up early in the morning on Saturdays and Sundays (back when they weren’t weekends) before school to watch English cartoons on Star Plus (before it got taken over by the Indians).

    • You remember celebrating when they changed the weekends to Saturday and Sunday because it meant Friday was a half-day.

    • You played Sega-Mega Drive, Atari and Super Nintendo.

    • You played Mario Brothers like there was no tomorrow.

    • You remember the Nintendo game where you had to shoot ducks with an actual gun-shaped joystick and thought it was the most amazing thing ever.

    • Your life was never the same again when your first Windows 95 was set up in your house.

    • You played Dave 1 and thought level three was the hardest thing in the world. Then you upgraded to Lion King (probably from a Power Games CD bought out in the street).

    • You shafted Polka Ice Cream when Walls became popular. And yes, admit it, you used to wait for the Ice Cream wala in the afternoon and bought Paddle Pops from him.
    • It’s ‘copy,’ ‘rubber,’ and ‘dustbin.’ Or rather, ‘duss-bin.’ And ‘desk’ was once ‘dex.’

    • Your childhood was over when they made you stop using pencils and start using fountain pens. And you always made a mess filling the ink.

    • You were on the top of the food chain if you were made monitor (and you very easily abused the power too, by chucking chalk and dusters at people).Recommend

  • Munazza sami

    heyyy dont forget about MANIMAL and Air Woolf with music WOWOWOWOWOWO WWOOOO WOOOOO WOOO WOOO WOOWWOWOWOOW WWOOO WOOO WOOOO) Recommend

  • Munazza sami

    There are so many things which we forget like JURASSIC PARK, Girls used to play GHAR GHAR and…………..yaarrrr there are a lot of things which belongs to that age Recommend

  • Majid Urrehman


    I think that you should mention the reference to your post which I believe is Hijab Shah’s famous group on Facebook “You know you grew up in Pakistan in 90’s when…”. You should give the devil his due.Recommend

  • http://faisalarshad.wordpress.com Faisal Arshad

    @Munazza sami: Nice collection you have of the memories…Recommend

  • K

    @ Munazza
    you may recall that you “recall” those points from your list from the facebook group “you know you grew up in the 90s…?”Recommend

  • sidra

    hehehehehe i totally agree with the ‘ach’ being turned into ‘aitch’ :P it was so badly beaten into our brains that time that i still cringe wen i hear ppl pronouncing it as ‘ach’ :PRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/ahadkhan Abdul Ahad

    Dear Readers,
    Thank you for all the kind words and support. Means a lot to a rookie like me. For those of you pointing to the facebook group; Yes! the page was an inspiration behind the article.


  • Ayesha

    I don’t live in Pakistan anymore but after reading your article, there’s NOTHING more that I want to do in this world! What a wonderful world it was. I remember watching these shows as a child, not understanding at that time how beautifully crafted they were.

    Your piece made my day! Thanks :)

    P.S. Does anyone remember the cigarette ad inspired by Indiana Jones? (It used to air during cricket matches… where the tomb suddenly starts collapsing and the main guy rolls out of it JUST in time. Please post a Youtube link (if it exists)!

    Thanks Recommend

  • Asif

    can u tell me about the name of the cartoon with two idiot characters doing some homework repair etc. things played in the morning time in 90’s what was the name of that cartoon?.Recommend

  • Ushi

    That cartoon in which two idiots screw up EVERYTHING in the world was ‘a ji to’.

    And how could you people forget that Morven Gold ad ‘the rhythm of unity’? Crazy times. The best. Mitchell’s Jubilee, BP toffee, signal pop and of course, the Aladdin sticker book.

    Kids these days don’t know what they’ve missed.Recommend

  • Naeem Baig


    thanx for reminding me such vivid time of mine and every one’s life.
    do u remember any other English movie series that used to air on PTV ?? in that series peoples were thumb size and they used to do some task like to free someone from prison … that’s what i remember and have searced alot but haven’t got such thing back …. can u help me plzzz ???Recommend

  • Naeem Baig

    1 more english series in which a guy when he gets angry becomes a giant same as what we see today as “HULK” … do u remember that ??Recommend

  • Naeem Baig

    i remember that add and i tried my best to search it for u but couldn’t find it on youtube. but will work on it … surely get it soon….Recommend

  • Rizwan

    sorry guys but i could not control myself from crying
    i really got emotional
    Miss you PTVRecommend

  • http://www.bonfriends.org/2011/01/03/how-to-get-internal-satisfaction/ Marina Khan

    awesomeee….old days were the golden days.Recommend