Stories about TV

10 things I hate about Hindi soaps

I have always been impressed by how Bollywood has emerged as an internationally renowned entertainment industry. People from all backgrounds, even in Pakistan, keep a close watch on the happenings in Bollywood, despite the silly India-Pakistan strife. I love India and Indian people, and let me make clear before I begin that I do not intend to attack or offend anyone through this post. I am merely highlighting some aspects of Indian soaps which I find amusing. So without further ado, let me begin my list of the ten things I hate about Indian soaps: 1. They are endless: To put it simply, ...

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10 things I miss about PTV

Some of you might be too young to remember, but in the not-so-distant past, there was a time when we had just one TV channel, Pakistan Television (PTV). This lone channel, too, did not air all day. In fact, it started at around 4 pm and almost always ended before midnight. We have come a long way since then as Pakistani media has grown into a huge industry. Undoubtedly, this has many advantages in terms of opportunity and exposure. But sometimes I can’t help but feel terribly nostalgic. I miss the simpler days of PTV.  Here’s a list of things about the ...

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News that is music to the ears

Every time a major political or controversial story breaks, our news channels make it a point to flash it continuously, spiced up with songs. And that irritates me a lot. It sounds non-serious, to say the least. Numbers like ‘Dulhan hum le jaiengay’ (we will take the bride) for Sania-Shoaib wedding, ‘Ye dosti hum nahi choreingay’ (We will not abandon this friendship) on PPP, MQM coalition after fall-outs really push the boundaries of what ought to be acceptable. It is so insane at times you wonder if they really are talking about real events and happenings. It’s a trend to ...

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The wondrous world of ‘badvertising’

You have just come home from a stressful day of work and decide to unwind by sitting in front of the TV and indulging in some me-time. Just when you find a show that seems to strike your fancy, the channel decides you subject you to a commercial break. You let our an exasperated groan, and the torturous attacks on your nervous system begins. From shaking their booties to annoying jingles (remember 09-00-78601?) to cheesy plots – Pakistani ads have it all. The most aggravating part is that every channel decides to take their commercial breaks at the same time. There is ...

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What Mathira and Paris Hilton don’t have in common

An article published in the Los Angeles Times describes notorious TV show host Mathira as “Pakistan’s Paris Hilton”. While the comparison does fit with regards to both women being sex symbols (don’t roll your eyes, Mathira’s got the oomph), to me she seems to represent so much more than that. In a country where a greater part of the population prefers to watch “family friendly” TV shows, Mathira brazenly landed up on the sets of VIBE as a host on Love Indicator, a show where she invited callers to share their relationship problems and make song requests. While many were ...

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Look, he’s got a camera!

The other night I was out with friends for dinner at a restaurant when a famous TV chef and his entourage entered the restaurant. As everyone started filling their plates the cameraman turned on a dinky light. I looked around and saw the celebrity chefs weren’t the only ones who were being filmed. Everyone in the restaurant was — of course, without unanimous consent. Surprisingly, I seemed to be the only one who had a problem with this. Suddenly, there was a wave of excitement and another spell of filming and clicking — local celebrity Zubeida apa (I hate calling ...

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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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Dr Aamir Liaquat: Defamation of faith’s Dr Jekyll

Indeed, during the days of Ramazan nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and the frighteningly charming and inveigling presence of Aamir Liaquat on our TV screens. What do we know about Aamir Liaquat? We know Liaquat brews a stew of savagery and sophistication. In one fell swoop, he can sauté his guest. We saw this in 2008, when Asian Human Rights Commission filed a petition deeming Liaquat’s cajoling and coaxing as having led to the killing of two Ahmadis, Pakistan’s most persecuted minority. We know that his admirers come in all shapes, sizes, income brackets. We know that Liaquat ...

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Why are women on TV so dumb?

Whenever I hear the word “feminist,” I become nervous and look for the nearest place to hide – talking about sexism makes prone to be tagged as a feminist. However, I sometimes think that most people who have an ‘-ist’ at the end of their title aren’t really looking for a dialogue. So just to start off, let me be very clear here: this is not a feminist rant; it is a call for dialogue. The prejudice associated with sex-role stereotypes is known as sexism. In terms of population, women slightly outnumber men in the world, yet throughout history, women have ...

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