Stories about TV

Sahir Lodhi needs to sit for his Pakistan Studies exam again, for Saba’s words were not hers at all

“Quaid-e-Azam aao zara tum, Dekho apna pakistan, Jiski bunyado ki khatir, Lakho ne di apni jaan.” (Quaid-e-Azam come, Look at your Pakistan, For whose foundation sake, Millions of lives were sacrificed.) So starts the poem penned by Urdu poetess Gulnar Afreen – the refrain of which has become ubiquitous thanks to its completion being denied to a young speaker very recently in a Ramazan transmission. Now while it makes perfect sense for the literarily crippled philistines of the country to know zilch about where the verse comes from, the fact that the farce was broadcasted on live television, specifically in the holy month of Ramazan, serves as something of an expergefactor. And while the masses in general and ...

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Mommy tips: How to raise a mini activist

When we hear the word “activist”, we immediately think of khadi clad, jhola carrying men and women braving water cannons and lathi charges. But an activist is one who campaigns for social change of any kind, someone who identifies the rot in society and speaks about it. There are various degrees of activism and similarly various ways of showing dissent. Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and any thriving society needs such voices. Such conscientious persons are not born but raised. One might feel that preteens are too young to grapple the socio-political dynamics of a complex society, ...

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Are Pakistan’s “still unmarried” women the leftovers?

The best ones get taken first. The ones that are second choice get taken next. Those who are still not taken are considered ‘left overs’ – something must be lacking. No we are not talking about the kurtas on sale at a pret store, nor the shoes on the rack of an international shoe store. We are talking about women. Talented, smart, intelligent Pakistani women, each uniquely beautiful, irrespective of whether she is poised to be a home maker or a working woman. It is shameful that this is how society perceives them if they are still unmarried. Being engaged or ‘in a relationship’ ...

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Bring back shows we want to watch, bring ‘Ringer’ back!

I am not a TV geek, there are only very few television shows that I follow. The kinds that I tend to keep an eye on are those with wicked, devious themes and those that are full of secrets. Nowadays, it’s all about shows like The Big Bang Theory or the Game of Thrones. But in all honesty, such shows have never enticed me as a viewer. They are quite overrated, if you ask me. The unfortunate thing, however, is that a show, such as the Ringer, was not appreciated or given any credit; despite the fact that it had a riveting storyline and great cast to ...

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Tyrant: A ‘modern day Arabian Game of Thrones’?

After Prisoners of War, upon which the much acclaimed TV series Homeland is based on, prominent screenwriter and director, Gideon Raff brings us Tyrant. Set in present day civil-war-torn and fictional Middle Eastern country of Abbudin, it tells the story of the main protagonist Barry or Bassam Al Fayeed (Adam Rayner), son of the ruler of Abbudin. Because he never got along or agreed with the policies of his father, who ruled the country with an iron fist, he moved to the United States to pursue higher education in medicine and also to distance himself from the politics of his country and family. ...

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Losing our religion one Ramazan transmission at a time

While browsing through channels after iftar yesterday, I realised that my TV screen had been taken over by multiple Ramazan transmissions airing on different (read: every) channel. Although the ‘shows’ have been airing questionable content for some time now, this year they seemed to have taken it up a notch. Previously, such transmissions comprised of learned religious scholars who would discuss Islamic issues and answer audience questions pertaining to religious teaching. This would be followed by a recitation of a naat or a dua, and the transmission would be over by iftar time. No shenanigans, no games, no quizzes – a simple programme on ...

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‘What is dead may never die’…except George R R Martin

There is a rumour afloat that strikes fear in the hearts of millions. It’s not the reports of the brain eating amoeba or SARS or an exotic epidemic. No, this is much more critical, infinitely more blood-curdling horrifying. The rumour is that (hold on to your dear ones. If you are a misanthropic loner then a pillow will do) George R R Martin may not be able to finish the last installation of his ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ books which form the plot of the wildly popular TV show, Game of Thrones (GOT). There, it’s off my chest. The ...

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Bates Motel: A cleverly plotted out thriller that is nothing like the movie

It was Friday night and I was really hoping to watch something different from the usual stuff that is shown on TV. It is then that I came across a series that seemed quite catchy solely by its title – Bates Motel. With modern alterations, it is based on the Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film ‘Psycho’, starring Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. I must say that the movie was a twisted thriller that was cleverly plotted out. I recently purchased season one of the series and frankly speaking, it is pretty darn good! The series stars Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates), a great, talented and fresh-face ...

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Losing our culture and identity, one drama at a time

Gone are the days when families would sit together and watch Pakistani dramas. Instead, today we get to see the ‘not-so-moving’ storylines that seem to be inspired by Indian soaps. What is worse is that our TV channels show things that are in direct contradiction with our cultural and social values. From pregnancies to abortions, from extra-marital affairs to illegitimate children and elopements, we have been exposed to all kinds and degrees of absurd content in these dramas in the name of modern entertainment. Even respectable relationships are not spared. I have seen countless dramas where a guy falls in love with ...

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Is Abb Tak’s Uzma Tahir the new Maya Khan?

There’s a new trend catching on – TV aunties raiding your homes with their camera crews and demanding to know who you’re sharing your apartment with. Say ‘cheese’, Pakistan! Uzma Tahir is a woman on a mission. The host of the program ‘Khufia’ on Abb Tak, takes in a deep breath and valiantly nose-dives into Karachi’s sordid core where men dress like women. It’s an exhaustive, but fruitful, day’s work of ramming her microphone into people’s faces and inquiring, “Ap Naila ke saath kab se hein? Tumhein pata hai ke who kaun hai? Khuwaja sera? Mujhe toh pata hai yeh khuwaja sera hai” (How long have ...

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