Stories about television

Morning shows: Nothing more important than dancing and remarriage ceremonies?

Usually while watching the idiot box, I flip through channels and dwell upon a few for news, views and trends before continuing with my flipping exercise again. Recently, however, I had the misfortune of stumbling upon the repeat telecast of certain morning show programmes. The shows were so horrific in nature that I wished my TV remote had the capacity to erase the debacle taking place on my television screen. The scene began with a female host, who jumped on the sofa from the kitchen counter behind, did a jumping jack act and finally sat down, all the while grinning, laughing ...

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Remembering Ashfaq Ahmed: Through his stories, he will live forever in our hearts

On September 7, 2004, while sitting in my office and doing my routine work, I received a call from a close friend. Without the usual ‘Salam dua’ he exclaimed, “Ashfaq sahib is no more; just got the news.” It was a short sentence, but it had many aspects attached to it. The feeling of a great loss, sweet memories of so many stories, dramas and plays, of colourful travelogues, funny incidents, thought-provoking quotes of Sufis and other baabay (mystics); nostalgic recollections of a life well spent, and fully lived. So much came to mind and passed like a breeze, leaving me numb and motionless ...

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Ayub Khan and the Pakistani film industry

A leading film-maker once asserted to me that Pakistani cinema had actually thrived through the advent of Ayub Khan’s military rule. This thought is part of the broader belief amongst some quarters that the dictatorship eras have provided a certain amount of socio-economic growth and development for Pakistan. Interestingly, for film, this has never been the case. In fact, Pakistani cinema has always been built through the efforts of dedicated individuals who, despite the lack of structured support and resources, developed methods through which some sort of a film culture could develop. This culture was, in fact, undermined by the ...

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Aamir Liaquat did exactly what we have been doing to Taher Shah

The notorious Amir Liaquat invited an equally notorious Taher Shah to his Ramazan show, and well, had quite a bit of fun at Taher Shah’s expense on live television. Here’s a video of what he did: This treatment of Taher Shah has triggered an unpleasant response to Aamir Liaquat and his show; people believe that what he did was absolutely detestable.  According to them,  Shah is also a human being who didn’t deserve to be treated with such disrespect – especially on live television. In other words, Pakistanis are now defending someone they themselves took great pride in ridiculing when the song Eye ...

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Remember Zakoota Jin and Roohi Bano? They need us now.

Reports circulated earlier this week about the dismal conditions Roohi Bano was currently living in. The former television actress was said to be residing without access to gas and power and there were widespread calls by television personalities and other members of the society, beseeching the government to interfere and provide adequate support. This was identical to the reaction witnessed, in the aftermath of similar reports originating a couple of months ago, regarding Munna Lahori, popularly known as Zakoota Jin, also of television fame. The bigger question that needs to be addressed here is that of state patronage for artists ...

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‘Muni badnaam hui’ is never appropriate on a news channel

I hate watching news on TV, not just because the lead stories in Pakistan are too depressing, but also because their treatment is mainly frivolous. The argument that our electronic news media is young, is years old now. Even if we do buy that claim, sadly there is no sign of growing up. Despite having a body to regulate the workings of our media, the performance of our news channels has always been disappointing. The regulatory setup and channels are to be equally blamed for the low quality. However, a few simple changes here and there can, of course, help set a ...

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The good the bad and the ugly of Pakistani dramas

What makes a drama last a lifetime in our memories? Is it stories that reflect our own lives or the ones which allow us to step into a whole new world through a looking glass? The very best ones make us love the characters, argue their dilemmas and root for their success- no matter how far removed they are from our own experience. 2012, has been a good year and we have seen some of the best productions of recent times. My insincere apologies if I missed out on some of the staggering work of a creative genius but I ...

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Pakistan inspires Hollywood, but for all the wrong reasons!

Spoiler alert: Contains Law & Order SVU spoilers from episode 299 ‘Acceptable Loss’. Also contains several cringe-worthy face-palm moments. TV’s new villain is a virginal seductress from Waziristan. Hollywood is making efforts to humanise militants and would-be terrorists from this part of the world. A recent Stanford-NYU study might have had something to do with this. Call me masochistic, but I love crime (as long as it’s within fiction). I grew up reading Agatha Christie and have had more than my share of Law & Order shows, whose story-lines are often inspired by actual news reports. SVU marathons sometimes make me sick to my stomach, but ...

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Is Aşk-ı Memnu, the next Humsafar?

Remember the time when Hum TV’s show Humsafar became the talk of the town? Be it the song or the characters, the show got thousands hooked onto television screens with its twisted romance, plots, and of course, the indelible Fawad-Mahira chemistry. As of late, however, there has been another TV show that has been gathering audiences in a similar manner. Surprisingly so, it’s not your everyday ‘saas-bahu’ Star Plus-type show, but from an altogether different culture and genre. It is none other than newbie Urdu1’s Aşk-ı Memnu or Ishq-e-Memnu (forbidden love). Set in the beautiful locales of Istanbul, ...

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Maya Khan and the barbaric arrogance of fundamentalism

It is apparently not enough anymore to discriminate against religious minorities in our laws or to attack their houses of worship or places of residence in random, unprovoked acts of violence. People like Maya Khan now want to use the few remaining religious minorities in the country for entertainment too. Many publications have rightly pointed out that the televised conversion of a Hindu man named Sunil to Islam was an act that was incredibly insensitive to religious minorities in a country where forced conversions and abductions are far too common. But I have a far deeper problem with just the ...

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