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Our content was once glorious

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The print media along with the electronic media has the power to influence the readers and the viewers. It can reshape ideas and instill in the mind values that can uplift life. However, it has been observed that the electronic media has been showing content that takes away the curiosity from the mind. Television dramas that were once aired on Pakistan Television (PTV), during the 1990s, did have a realistic story and a steady character progression. These dramas have faded away with time.
What we witness today on the many privately-owned television channels of Pakistan is a plethora of mediocre stories adding fuel to commercialism. Furthermore, the talk shows do not present to the viewers any insights other than the amusement that comes in the form of debates and blame games. The guests representing various political parties do enjoy this camera time. Gimmicks to gain viewership, earn money, and elevate ratings have reduced the value of the content that was once adorned. The downfall became evident ever since glamor and show business began to overshadow the realities of life.
The same trend can be seen in print media. Even though the glamor and show businesses are discussed and shared in newspapers and magazine, it has avenues to discuss life’s important aspects that develop personality and broaden the mental horizon. There are certain newspapers and magazines – being circulated physically or being subscribed online and available free-of-cost over the internet that shares such content thereby sending readers into introspection. This element is missing from the content that is aired on television channels. There are only a handful of programs being aired on Pakistan’s electronic media that give rise to curiosity among the viewers. Otherwise, all programs are mere money magnets for television networks.
Content is the most important element for any media outlet, be it print, electronic or digital media. We may remember the programs aired on PTV during the 1980s to 1990s. Whether they were sitcoms, dramas, or talk shows, they highlighted social issues, provided healthy entertainment, and were watched with the entire family. Furthermore, one can remember how well articulated were the scripts of such shows.
There was cleanliness in how the dialogues were written and delivered. There was conviction in how the actors played these characters. The streets of Karachi and Lahore would give a deserted look when these dramas were aired. Such classic dramas include Hawa Ki Beti, Tanhaiyaan, Sona Chandi, Andhera Ujala, Chand Grahan, Nangay Paoun, Dhuan, Kasak, Dasht, Sitara aur Mehrunnisa, and the weekly Teletheatre. The viewers will also remember Shoaib Mansoor’s Alpha Bravo Charlie. Furthermore, Ainak Wala Jin was a children’s show that now only entertaining it also encouraged the young viewers to follow life’s moral values.
It is also unfortunate that the scriptwriters of today are following a trend whereby to create controversy in the characters’ lives and stir sensationalism among the viewers. One remembers that the dramas aired during the 1990s or even before that had dialogues that made a profound impact on the viewers.
Our TV drama industry once had such legends whose words stirred magic. Including these are Anwar Masood, Amjad Islam Amjad, Shoaib Mansoor, Bano Qudsia, Fatima Surraiya Bajjiya, Hasina Moin, Ashfaque Ahmed among others. Today, such writers who encourage the promotion of melodramas have overshadowed the industry. The sitcoms too have lost their touch.
During the golden days of Pakistan Television, there were such classic comedy shows as Kaliyan, Guest House, Studio Dhai, and Fifty Fifty. It is demoralizing to witness how the content decayed over the last few decades. It seems as if the essence and the spirit of our media have been lost. This was done only to earn ratings. While the content is king and it must be developed in a way to enlighten the audience, the content being produced today is far from being memorable.