There was a time when Pakistani drama writers used to come up with story lines which attracted the attention of people of all age groups. There was something for everyone in these dramas whether that person was 15 or 50. A young person could enjoy watching characters like Kabacha and Saniya in a drama and the older lot could relate to the struggles of Zara and Uncle Farhan’s character. Others enjoyed watching characters like Bibi and Aapa begum. That is most certainly not the case any more and we will probably never go back to that period now. Most of our dramas nowadays bank largely on highly dysfunctional marriages and twisted relationships to take the story forward. Most often we see complicated people on screen who have issues which of course exist in our society but which most people cannot relate to – people like me and many of you. Therefore most of the times people like me – a normal person with their every day struggles – do not get to see their own stories unravel on screen.
We talk all the time about things we do not want to see in dramas and also that we want to see strong female leads in our dramas but here are some other things which I think most of the viewers out there would like to see in Pakistani dramas.
Most of our producers and writers insist that large majority of women who watch Pakistani dramas are housewives therefore marriage and issues related to marital life should be the topic of discussion in dramas. Even if that is true then I must say that not every housewife has problems like the ones we see in our dramas. Most marriages are not forced on women and even if some are, not all of them end up like the ones in our dramas. Abuse is not a normal part of every relationship and there are plenty of husbands who do not cheat on their wives. Many of the marital couples have misunderstandings (which do not involve another woman!), communication problems, differences and other problems which do not involve abuse or cheating. Therefore a lot of these women who are watching the dramas nowadays want to see couples with these problems in which both parties are partially to be blamed and gradually they understand each other and manage to develop a relationship which is healthy. Doesn’t this sound like a story which can be interesting? It would involve marital issues and in the end when we see a happily ever after, it will be more relatable!
The viewers I am certain would also love to see a husband who understands his wife and goes out of his way to support her. Some good male role-models are being badly missed in our dramas. While we have a long list of females who have compromised to make their marriages work in the dramas there is hardly a male character who has gone out of his way to do the same. Our dramas insist on teaching women to compromise but we hardly ever see a man who can be a role model for all the husbands who watch these dramas. I am sure many wives out there would feel much more comfortable watching a drama with such a role-model while they sit with their husbands and watch these dramas instead of husbands who treat their wives like they are their property and threaten them of divorce every chance they get!
For once the viewers would like to see a man who loses everything because he decided to marry for a second time even though he had a perfect relationship with his first wife. Every time a man gets married to another woman, he is never the one who loses his relationships in the end but it is always one of the wives (usually the first one) who is somehow turned into the villain in the end. Can our dramas please show that men can be punished for their mistakes as well? Mera Naam Yousuf Hai has to be one of those very few dramas in which a husband did lose everything because he decided to get married for the second time even though his wife had always been loyal to him. Other than that I can’t think of a single drama in which a man had to pay for taking a wrong decision.
Raising kids is yet another important aspect of a woman’s life. Being a mother might be a natural instinct but anyone who has children would know that it is something that requires a great degree of commitment and there are many mothers out there who have to struggle with a lot of things on daily basis. I would love to see a few mothers in our dramas who raise their kids in a way which gives women who are watching these dramas the right kind of guidance. Dramas that emphasize how important it is to trust your children, to teach them right from wrong and most importantly to have a healthily relationship with them could actually be very helpful to a lot of women out there. We see struggles of mothers on screen all the time but how many mothers can actually relate to these characters?
Pakistan’s political history might be turbulent but it is very interesting as well. If our intelligent writers taken even one phase out of all these years and write a story on it, many people will get a chance to watch something different and appealing. The way history is taught in our schools and colleges is quite boring but making a drama on it would not only teach people about Pakistan’s political history but could also help us see the mistakes we have made in the past which might help shape up a better future.
Although our drama makers insist that housewives are the only ones who watch Pakistani dramas, I know for sure that there are many college going girls who watch these dramas as well. It would be good to see a drama based on girls that age but not one in which they dream of finding a rich suitor some day but one in which we see a girl who has a real purpose in life. I am quite sure that there are a lot of young girls out there who can get inspiration from such characters. There are many girls who come from low income households but they work hard to achieve something big in life. Surely, a struggle of such a girl if translated intelligently on screen can be a source of inspiration for many and will give other girls like them something to relate to. Our dramas insist on showing only those young girls who are forced into getting married or who are struggling to get the love of their life, when actually the focus of such a girl’s story should be her education, her family and perhaps her friends!
I strongly believe that dramas have a big impact on people. Apart from being an entertainment medium, dramas can also play a pivotal role in breaking stereotypes (instead of promoting them) and in educating the masses. Every society has a dark side but that does not necessarily mean that we completely stop showing the other side of the society and focus on the negative alone. Pakistani dramas are being watched all around the globe now therefore it is more important than ever that we show something other than women getting abused in our dramas and our men acting like they are the final authority!
What do you want to see in Pakistani dramas? Please feel free to share your thoughts.