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.

Fatima Awan

Fatima Awan has been a part of reviewit right from its inception. She feels very passionately about Pakistani dramas and loves discussing them in detail. An enthusiastic writer, thinker, and political scientist, constantly trying to look beyond the obvious. Full-time mom.

  • Yes.A very strong one.Stop casting same faces again and again (Yes Haisam and A&B productions,i'm talking to you).I wish drama makers really read this article and get a sense!

    • You are so right about that and i would like to add that they should stop typecasting actors too, that can get very boring too.

  • All of your points are good suggestions which can perhaps take our dramas to yet even a better level. But one thong I would disagree is the comparison between jeans and shalwar kameez. I think clothes speak a lot about one's personality but I think we all know in our hearts that Islam promotes and likes shalwar kameez as compared to jeans. Being a male I can say that definately a girl wearing jeans is more attractive than a one in shalwar kameez even though I have no bad intentions for all of them. So a girl wearing shalwar kameez exhibits better values than the one in jeans but this is certainly not true for all cases. But the general perception among most of us is that a girl in shalwar kameez is more 'shareef' and 'bahaya' as compared top the one in jeans. This may be controversial but it is true. Lastly I think that a woman looks very beautiful in a well designed shalwar kameez rather than those jeans and tees.

    • Looks like you judge the book by its cover. So you are saying that a girl looks beautiful in shalwar kameez but you will still look at a girl in jeans. And I suppose Islam allows you to look at “attractive girls in jeans?” Wow! The things you say! When I read thoughts like yours, I really wonder where we are heading.

    • where in Islam says to wear kameez shalwar and not jeans.how come a muslim from western world would know about kameez shalwar.It is a pakistani dress and it has nothing to do with Islam.I know many muslim families and friends who are from different parts of the world and they donot wear kameez shalwar but jeans and they are perhaps better muslim then me.

    • I agree with you, brother! women can wear jeans but they shouldn't be so tight that they reflect the body, & they should never wear it with short shirts, as a girl I say that I wear jeans & shalwar kameez both but I take care that the rules mentioned in Qura'an are not violated

  • very good article.yes our dramas are good but there are still few things which need to be improved.casting is also the main problem here.watching the same actors in every drama on different channel doing same roles esp in a and b prods is also what is irritating.and also the sister rivalry dramas are being made so much now a days they should promote the love of the sisters.you mentioned it very well in your article that dramas should not be stretched to more than 20 episodes like for eg i was watching mera pehla pyar on ary and i thought that its 12th or 13th episode will be the last but they dragged it unneccesarily that i stopped watching it in the middle and i only watched its last episode and my another favourite drama zard mausam it was good but its pace was so slow that it ended in 24 episodes they could have easily ended it in 16 or 17 episodes.and yeah background music should not be so loud and ost's should not be played so much in the background it becomes irritating like in ek tamannah lahasil si when nadia cries then ost starts playing in the background which irritated me a lot.and lastly about the side tracks well i like only those side tracks which have an effect on the main storyline otherwise if the side track is for only prolonging the drama unnecessarily and has nothing to do with the main storyline then there is no use of having the side track.any ways great article and i hope that the drama makers will notice all these things and next time they will come up with a better product.

    • fahad thank you so much for such a well thought out comment. I totally agree with you there. faisal Qureshi is a brilliant actor but he doesn't work with anyone other than A & B productions. I can tell a drama has been produced by A & B just by looking at the cast. Totally agree with you about typecasting too. Did you read the article I wrote on A & B productions faces and Actors who are victims of typecasting? i would really like you to read them whenever you have time and share your thoughts there too:)
      Thank you once again for reading the article and for the comment, great to have readers like you.

      • I totally agree with you about typecasting. Two things I have noticed. If a story or drama becomes popular then we are inundated with the same storyline in innumerable serials. After ' Maat' it was the two sisters story. One a witch while the other a saint. Now it is two marriages. They are almost encouraging men to marry again! The older wife is an ogre, the younger one is pretty, ' khidmat guzaar' and mazloom! Sickening! The other issue is the production houses having favorites. I love ' Aun Zara' but why should the director choose the same cast as ANC? Again A&B does the same thing. We have such a variety of actors and actresses, why not bring in a new face to your production house?

  • very good points Fatima, I think we all drama viewers notice one or the other point in most dramas, sometime it seems as a writer watched a drama and got an idea and started writing a drama with few things here and there, and same is about casting, if a person performed a negative role and people liked it bas g ab wo yehi karay ga. another point I would like to add is that bad language should be avoided in plays, I feel so bad when I listen to such bazari style dialogues , young viewers unintentionally learn language from everywhere , old PTV dramas also presented problems of lower class , and there were characters who very well represented lower class but we never heard such bad vulgar language. and thank you to let us read a very good article again:)

    • Mrs. Asim it is always great to hear from you:) I wrote an article once on the language, smoking, drinking, showing physical abuse against women….i find it all so Unnecessary and distasteful. I agree with you, our dramas should be family dramas.

      • yes i read your article about typecasting last year.it was a good article.not only those actors which you have mentioned in your article but also other actors like saba qamar who is my favourite but she is also being typecasted in many dramas where her husband hates her like thakan,ypnh,na kaho tum mere nahi and kaash aisa ho.only 2 actors i have seen doing different roles are yumna zaidi and shahood alvi.yumna she always do different roles such as evil sister in thakan,good daughter in khushi ek roag and as shararti larki in meri dulari.cant believe it that in such a short span of time she has shown her versataility.

        • fahad, I agree with you, Micaal Zulfiqar is always being typecast as a bad guy. He needs a break from negative roles.

  • Thanks Fatima for writing about BACK-GROUND music. I'm really sick and tired of this kind of music. I mute the sound and sometimes stopped watching noisy dramas. Drama'' Nanhi'' has a good story but impossible to hear what is being said. These people need professional training, and get an idea from the background music of "Talkhiyan" I think Khalid Ahmed is a very good director. I don't know why every other story is based on sisters' animosity, acting like enemies, so unrealistic?

  • Good article and I am thankful to you that u brought the issue of background music sometimes its so loud that u can't listen the dalogues and its very irritating……and also same topic is big issue nowadays…..mere harjai is the latest example of sister's rivalry …I didn't watch that drama after one episode

    • Same with me. I stopped watching 'Harjai 'after one episode, the other is 'Silvatein' the most annoying & abnormal sisters. What is wrong with these writers and producers? My sister recommended "Rehaee". based on real issues much better than these sisterhood stories.

    • Fatima & fda. Just watch "Nanhi "Viraasat' and new episode of Mirat-ul-Uroos. Geo tv is No 1 producing horrible background music and ruining the dialogues.

      • 100% correct about horrible back ground music, our music composer needed to go to any Music academy for learning the tactics of back Ground Music. I am not watching any more drama where there is Waqar Ali Sahib as Music Composer, coz I can not understand 50 % of dialogues, only loud music, music, and music.

        • Graceful, I agree with you 100%. I suggest that Geo, PTV & Ary must fire these so called Background music directors, just to save money. It is time they realize that they are annoying Viewers.

      • Please add, ' Adhoori Aurat ' in this list of background music. With due respect I'm asking Geo Tv Management, is it MUSIC or TORTURE ??????

  • Spot on Fatima, you pretty much summed up everything which makes one to swtich the channel .And I couldn't agree more with on your 'pormotiong the stereotype' point, I am also tired of watcing same sas bahu relationship, bad girl wearing jeans etc in every other drama. I think as a society we are very judgmental of others and we donot hesitate in doing it really quickly , we have our opinions on each and everything, if we do certian things in certian ways and others do the same thing in their own ways than usually we donot respect that and criticise it…..anyways…really good work Fatima..

  • Very good points. I would like to add that the makers of the dramas should also not repeat theme music of other dramas. Especially the very popular ones. There are many ways to work around background music if there is a tight budget.

  • It's a nice thoughtful article. I totally agree with you on the points you mentioned. Stretching the story unnecessarily is common. This is also being done in Zindagi Gulzar Hai. Interestingly, if you skip couple of episodes of these dramas after episodes 10 onward, you don't feel missing anything in the story and you can easily find out what had happened or nothing had happened in previous episodes. Watching dramas like Meri Behan Meri Dewarani, Mehmoodabad Ki Malkaien, Bulbuly etc are torture to watch.
    Another thing that bothers me is same people doing similar roles in different dramas at the same time. I am sure, these dramas are recorded at different time but not selecting them at the same time can be done. I honestly loose interest in watching these dramas anymore. For example, Saweera Nadeem in Bari Aapa, Mera Yaqeen and now in Varasat. I cannot watch Varasat because I don't want to see same actress again and again.
    Similarly, many dramas are being made at the same location. Same house and almost same maids and servants. That also annoys me.
    Subjects are almost similar with different actors. Too much repetition of subjects with minor changes.

  • Also they need to stop showing too many flashbackks some episodes are 30 mins flashback and 10 mins new story!!

  • Very good points are raised. One thing I want to add please change the topic. Every play revolves around love stories ,marriages and match making.Drama is a good way to teach public then why not we talk about values, religion,customs,influence of foreign tradition on our society ,how to train kids ,manners, education and list goes on and on.

  • Little things matter a whole lot. People sleeping in their street clothes, women covering their heads in front of their husbands, son in laws, women sleeping in their nice shalwar qameezes with full makeup. Middle class families eating lunch/dinner on their beds. Hospital/doctor scenes are really flat, doctors are shown having no compassion. Delivering their dialogues in really flat monotone voices.

  • Nice article, typecasting is really a problem in dramas.Sami khan is always play the role of a NAKAM aashiq. We should be very carefull about our dramas productions since we don't wanna loose our audience as we just got rid of indian soap dramas.

  • I think that drama makers should think about when they end the whole drama story in the last episodes (35 mins) it's a bit too much to digest sometimes . Sometimes I think there might be a next episode , so watch it on different websites to make sure I know it sounds a bit sad , but some really good dramas ruin it with the last episode "sara maza kharaab kartey hain " the drama Mein gunegaar nahin was good it rounded up the stories in about three episodes which made the last episode exciting to see who umaara would marry in the end

  • Nice article Fatima…. In my opinion, the first point that you have raised in your article is the most important point. I think 12 episodes are enough to sum up the story. More than the required length can spoil the whole story. ZGH these days is also being dragged unnecessarily even though it is quite popular. Durr-e-shehwar and mera naseeb could also be decently ended much earlier than the time they took to finish them off. Having written that, I must mention that these drama makers and actors are doing fabulous job as they are the only people left who are doing something commendable for Pakistan Television because we all know that our film industry is almost finished and our singing talent is not interested in singing in Pakistan any more. So, hats off to these guys and I hope that they will keep improving.

  • Excellent review Fatima , 100percent agree with you specially about dragging of episode unnecessary and stereotype and most imp bold script nd vulgarity od our dramas is on peak now it's no more family drama … Like I was watching virasaat , me hari piya in both drama pregnant ladies r walking here nd there with difficulty , showing girl in labour pain, kiss, hug is common in our dramas, I want you to write another article for this issue,,,, cheap dressing , even dupatta is gayub from our dramas , only poor people r in duppata, I m so astonished to see our senior artist in vulgar dresses like bbushra ansare Saba parvaiz and so many old artist

  • all points u raised r very good. specially bold scripts shud not be aired on prime time. mostly humtv is doing this. on ary therez only one bold drama series that is "kahani ek raat ki" they r showing it after 10 pm.

  • well said about loud back ground music played during dialog delivery by artists. Why our producer do not pay attention to this point? I have seen many dramas, where dialogs were suppressed by back ground music, specially by Waqar Ali Sahib. May be he is great Music composer, but totally unfit for Dramas, I wonder he bags 80% Dramas to his credit !!

  • ALL POINTS ARE CORRECT XCEPT ABT DRESSING …. ACCORDING TO TEACHINGS OF ISLAM ONE SHOULD WEAR SIMPLE DRESSES BECZ INSAN JAISA LIBAAS PEHANTA HAI WAISA HE ACT KARTA HAI… jbi to hamare PYARE NABI S.A.W.W or sahaba karam (R.A) sadah libaas pehante the….evn islam me ye b hai k jab app koi b libaas pehnu to ye naiat kro k me ALLAH KI RAZA K LYE LIBAAS PEHAN RHA HUN… ME INSANU KO DIKHLANE K LYE LIBAAS NAE PEHAN RHA… is trha ki nait krne se ALLAH PAK KI REHMAT BARASTI HAI… jo shaks mehaz apni tareef or logon k liye libaas zaib tan karta hai, aur us me us shaks ki ye nait huti hai k log uski taraf mutawaja hun .. aise shaks par ALLAH PAK KA GUSSA REHTA HAI…AUR WO GUSSA TAB KHATAM HUTA HAI JAB INSAN WO LIBAASS UTAR K KOI AUR LIBAAS PEHAN LE………

  • Despite the fact that yes Pakistani Dramas are worth watching, the fact that their standard has started deteriorating is something very flagrant. It seems like the people have had enough of sorrows and miseries. I believe there should be an end to the very depressing dramas. They begin with nice happy stories and land being the worst plots with every problem shuddering on them by the end. There is an urge to put a stop to these torturous dukhi dramay. Secondly Ayesha Omer should definitely try some other role as we always see her as arrogant, proud, selfish and glamorized girl.

  • Most Pk drama actors are doing an exemplary job overall. However, a great many sound engineers need better training and equipment especially when these dramas are uploaded on You Tube. True, it's very difficult to hear the dialogue when the background music over powers the actor's voices. So I agree completely re discontinuing background music while actors are talking. And most of all, pleeeeez, all of you production teams – you need superior SOUND ENGINEERS! Other than this, most Pk dramas are well produced and well executed, despite the power issues causing disruptions many times during taping. Kudos to actors and directors- good work! Producers and Sound Engineers, plz get your act together, after all you have a billion Pk fans all over the world- you owe us this courtesy to be able to listen to actor's voice and dialogues with crystal clear sound delivery : ))

    • It is of no use to ask Sound Engineers and Music Composers in Tele Industry to impove their performance, coz they are not going to listen to anyone,untill the industry will collapse like Lollywood. Lollywood have gone down due to Performance of artists,music directors, & Directors,story writes etc.

  • One thing that I want to add is try to explore good n thought provoking writers. Umaira Ahmed is the best example. She gave insights to her readers and viewers. At least we get a new perspective of life when we see the dramas written by het. As a nation we get accustomed to spoon feeding and give rise to stagnant thought process that's why we are not able to comrehend our social media that our typical dramas with useless scripts really sucks. Please encouage incoming and talented writers. Thoughtful writers would produce sensible audience.

  • Another issue is giving the same role to the same artiste. Once an artiste plays a sister or friend she is offered the roles of sister or friend ONLY. The same servants are repeated in all serials. Why not give a chance to actors to grow ? We have so much of talent. It would be refreshing/ challenging for Haisaam to find a new lead pair and to give a chance to new entrants. We have a great Drama Industry. The Directors and Producers are the pillars of this industry. They need to be more bold about casting and should avoid repitition.

  • Hey, I believe that writers should focus on today’s world rather than day to day fight. Writers should bring the content from which today’s generation could learn something such as how parents pressurize to study abroad and expect to stay connected with our own culture and it’s just really double standards.

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