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A Few Suggestions For Our Drama Makers

Let me start by saying that I take pride in the fact that the Pakistani drama industry has come a very long way in the past few years in particular. Our actors, directors, writers, producers and technicians are doing a commendable job. There was a time when our drama industry lost its charm and many viewers started watching dramas from across the border. Our directors and producers also started copying those dramas and I still remember the days when we saw our actresses clad in saris and heavy jewelry all the time on-screen. But gone are those days, we are not following anyone’s lead now and that is exactly the reason why these dramas are not just being watched by Pakistanis living all around the globe but also by many people from across the border too. There are still certain shortcomings in some of our dramas or one can say that there is always room for improvement. So here are a few suggestions which I would want to give to those people who are involved with making our dramas. Please feel free to add to the suggestions and also give your opinion about how you feel about them.

If a story can be summed up nicely in less than 20 episodes then why drag it to 20 plus episodes? I think that this has to the biggest problem with most of the dramas nowadays, the story is dragged unnecessarily and even the most engaging of dramas tend to become repetitive and the story becomes stagnant. I think the editing should be crisp and none of the tracks should be lengthened unnecessarily. I remember Mera Naseeb and Durr-e-Shehwar were very few of those plays that kept me glued right till the end and when they ended I felt like everything had been wrapped up very decently. Other than that there is a long line of plays, some of which were immensely popular, which just seemed like they were being prolonged without a reason after 15 episodes or so.
The producers know that once a drama hits a home run with the public, they will watch it till the end even if few of the episodes are not as engaging and entertaining as the drama might have been as a whole. But I strongly recommend that this stretching of the storyline unnecessarily should stop because I am quite certain that many of the viewers would much rather not watch the few episodes that have very little content or action.

Dramas should have a clear focus; focusing on too many things can be difficult to handle both for the writers/directors and for the audience. Most of the plays that go on air nowadays bring to light many social issues; some deal with adoption, others with marital problems and there have been quite a few dramas recently that deal with the issues related to women folk in our society. It is obviously a great effort by those who work day and night to make these dramas but sometimes I feel like the writers are trying to highlight so many issues in one drama that none of the issues being discussed is given proper attention. The result is that these dramas fail to leave an impact on the viewers and we are left with confusion, more than anything else. I am all for multiple sidetracks in one drama as long the focus does not constantly keep on shifting from one to the other without keeping a balance.

Please stop promoting Stereotypes.
Sadly enough most of our plays promote many stereotypes for example a girl who wears Western dresses can never be as good as the one who wears shalwar kameez or a duppatta on her head. A Mother-in-Law hardly gets along with her bahu and most of the bahus are way too mazloom. Rich people do not have the religious values intact and now the latest trend has to be that the first wife is always evil and the second one is the victim. I think we should not promote such stereotypes in our dramas and maybe the next time a modern girl wearing jeans can be shown as someone whose family values are intact too. I am not saying that all of our plays promote these stereotypes but many of them do.

Background music should compliment the scenes and should not seem overpowering. In many of our dramas nowadays at times the background music is so loud that it is very difficult to make out what is being said. There are also plays in which almost the entire OST is played at least once. I know that a lot of effort goes into making these OSTs and some of them are so melodious too but I honestly feel like sometimes these songs playing in the background seem forced and unbearable.

Dramas with bold scripts should not be aired at prime-time. Prime time is the time when usually everyone would sit together to watch a play or if not that than most of the television sets are placed in a common room in homes so whoever is around will automatically take notice of whatever is on television. Some of the dramas that are being aired at prime time nowadays have very bold scripts and it would be better if they are shifted to a slot later in the night. They are not the kind of dramas that people can watch with their families; therefore the viewer ship for such dramas gets effected too.

Continuity bloopers should be avoided. I do understand that different scenes in a drama are shot at different times and sometimes there is a gap of months even between the shootings. This is the reason why we see all these continuity bloopers where a person maybe wearing different clothes in a scene and also sometimes some of the accessories are missing. These are minor glitches but ones that have a great impact on the audience. I think it should be the duty of the actors and directors both to ensure that these continuity bloopers can be avoided.

Are there any suggestions that you would like to give to the people who make our dramas? Please feel free to share them here and who knows someone out there may pay attention.

Fatima Awan.