Stories about television

Outlandish Kamran Shahid

I’ll be honest; I don’t like Kamran Shahid one bit. He’s brash, uncouth and thoroughly ungentlemanly; and if I were a woman, I’d make a deal with the devil before allowing myself to be found within a 100 meter radius of the guy who conducts a “serious” journalistic talk-show with his chest hair on display like it’s still the 70s. Seriously. A man who seems to have made it his “purpose” to make women cry on cable television is not the kind of man I was brought up to respect. I’m positively tickled by the fact that of all the people ...

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Humsafar: A comic review

If you’re a human being  and you know a Pakistani woman, then you’ve probably heard about Humsafar.   I could write pages on how this show is planting the seed of fasaad (trouble) in perfectly normal and happy households and how it’s basically just a guide on how to break up pretty normal marriages. The fact that most women like it says a lot. I’ll end the casual sexism now and just give you the review. Enjoy it! A couple of things to remember: this review is supposed to be funny. If you do not ...

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An open letter to Maya Khan

It started with this video. Dear Maya Khan, My name is Mehreen. I like browsing through morning talk shows when I’m waiting for breakfast made by my mom who, like your colleague said in a particular clip, is like my friend and I confide in her often. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I do. She’s never demanded an oath of eternal confidence in her. We’re humans, and we love our private space. You might be thinking, “Why is she telling me this?” I thought I should let you know about the knitty gritty of my personal life since you do enjoy delving ...

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Sim Sim Hamara: Sesame Street comes to Pakistan

Back in 1966, when the discussions about a television show to help young children prepare for school were under way, who would have thought that 45 years later, the resulting show would be preparing children for school all over the world; across 120 countries, through twenty independent international versions. The latest addition to the Sesame Street Franchise is Sim Sim Hamara. Sim Sim Hamara will start airing in Pakistan later next month. The four year project is a collaboration between Sesame Workshop and the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, funded by USAID’s US$20 million. It seems as though Washington is now trying to quash the influence of radicalism ...

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Does the BlackBerry girl convince you?

Turn on the TV, a commercial plays and a woman in her late twenties sits in a perfect posture on her perfect couch in her perfect home (read: extravagant) and talks on her phone. Her cream coloured dress matches perfectly with the cream-coloured walls and the sofa set. She walks outside and sits by her mega-sized swimming pool in her colossal backyard. As she turns off her phone, she tells you about the cheaper call rates, part of a wonderful new package introduced by some telecom company. Is this commercial for the public? No. The advertisement is stupid for two reasons; ...

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This is PTV: but for its glories ….

So much has changed. Leafing through Agha Nasir’s This is PTV is like returning to one’s ancestral home, or listening to old songs. It is not nostalgic trickery or old age delusion that tends to paint the past in golden hues. Pakistan Television and PIA were those few organizations that, though growing under the shadow of a harsh military dictatorship, were the saving graces of the time. We had something to be satisfied about. Here and there we had men in saddle, in bureaucracy and professions particularly, who were competent and wanted to do something. They were the regime’s counterweights ...

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Video blog: Why Toffee TV is awesome

I’ve always been concerned about what children watch on TV every day. The absence of quality, locally-produced cartoons in Pakistan has always been disheartening for me. I remember a teacher who went through a lot of trouble and spent a huge amount of money only to order a Spanish cartoon TV series Pocoyo for her pre-school children, because the ones that are aired here in Pakistan are not appropriate. A recent laudable effort by Rabia Garib and Talea Zafar, called ToffeeTV, was a welcome sign. The online initiative is based on promoting our ...

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TV hypocrisy: Conveniently religious

The newfound piety of morning show hosts and other television anchors during Ramazan is annoying, to say the least. Why have female anchors started covering their heads in the ‘spirit of the holy month’? Considering that many of these hosts only gingerly place veils on their heads (probably to prevent their backcombed hairdos from getting ruined), this effort at modesty appears rather contrived. Also, why have singers and entertainers suddenly transformed into naat khwaans, who solemnly give spiritual advice and efficiently relay religious maxims? I fail to understand why Ramazan must precipitate such ostensible religiosity on Urdu television every year. The ...

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HRK: The politics of pretty faces

The media coverage of newly appointed Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s Indian tour is proving to be equally offensive either side of the border. Given Khar’s youth and her inexperience, there were already plenty of ‘ifs and buts’ floating among Pakistanis regarding her capabilities with respect to her new role, but it appears the media’s fascination with her wardrobe has trounced all performance related concerns. Indian electronic and print media has recently been reported calling the minister everything from “model-like” (Navbharat Times) and “Pakistan’s Best Face” (Times of  India) extending to insinuations about her being “drool worthy” as well ...

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10 tips for surviving a riot in Pakistan

Earlier this month, Zulfiqar Mirza went on live television to irresponsibly air an opinion about the legitimacy of a leader. While Shahi Syed made attempts to pull him back from the microphone, Karachi erupted in flames once again. My friends, on their way back from the airport, saw cars turning back from Shahrah-e-Faisal, and people driving back towards the terminal for safety. The main road was overrun with protesters and so was the road leading towards Askari-IV and Gulistan-e-Johar. To the occupants of a Honda Civic – who had to ask my friends to lead them to safety, jostled and bumping ...

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