The dilemma of Pakistani dramas

The theme and content of Pakistani dramas nowadays have done more harm than good to our entrenched patriarchal societal patterns.

In the current information age, television plays an important role in crafting the public perception. People’s way of living, prospect of thinking and manners of dealing is largely impacted by whatever the content is aired on television.

This is to say that unlike our past generations, today’s values and norms are derived not from our culture but from the media. Many a countries, keeping in view the power of media has created contents and scripts that would break the traditional dark side of the society.

The case is however, otherwise in Pakistan. The theme and content of Pakistani dramas nowadays have done more harm than good to our entrenched patriarchal societal patterns. It is believed that since most of the directors in Pakistan are male, they come up with the ideas of male as dominating member of society.

Theme and content in our dramas harmed our society more than addressing issue in a right way.

In almost all of our dramas, female characters are painted as innocent, submissive, quite, shy and least talkative. Contrary to that, males are portrayed as rich-spoiled boys having illicit relationships but finally ending up getting married to a pious lady.

The character of Zaroon (zindagi gulzar hai) and Altamash (Ana) who repeatedly says “mujhe larkion ki kami nahi ha” (I’m not short of girls), endorse and provide impetus to such an absurd idea in the society.

Taking inspiration from such characters, boys take pride in hanging out with girls, going to clubs, partying and finally getting married to a pious woman; a homemaker who would spend whole of her life loving and caring her husband.

It is noteworthy that, at one hand dramas are painting happy endings for fun loving and ambitious guys, while on the other hand depicting the gloomy picture of a girl who either speaks up for her rights, dare to choose her own life partner or resists against her family and go on pursuing her career. These female characters in dramas face dejection and at the end they would give up their ambitions and lead their whole lives as perfect housewives and a caring mothers: Happy Endings.

Females who dare to choose her life partner by herself, has to give up on her ambitions and lead rest of her life as perfect housewife.

I’m not hostile of the thought of woman being portrayed as a perfect wife and a mother. I’m rather an advocate of an idea of both man and woman being painted as a perfect couple. This is exactly what misses out from our scripts. Hardly ever a content has created that would exhibit husband as both understanding and supportive of wife to reach out her dreams.

This is high time for the producers to realize the flawed script of the dramas. The content must not be of man-centric but carry the theme which would draw the audience’s attention towards the husband’s responsibilities. A loving mother-in-law, dutiful husband and obedient children case scenario would altogether give a happy ending. Solely presenting wife as an emblem of a homemaker would only flame the already burning issue of female suppression in society.

Our dramas need to show husband’s responsibilities, a loving mother-in-law and obedient children, — it would also give a happy ending to any drama series.

This is merely a single flaw in our dramas that is adversely impacting our society. The upcoming dramas are dispersing illusion which has little or no connection with the reality.

Here I would like to draw a link between another critical issue; high divorce rate in Pakistan and type of dramas aired on television. As explained earlier, whole of our society draws much of their inspiration from media source, specifically from dramas.

The female character once again would portray as an exemplary mix of both outer and inner perfection. She would be soft-spoken and kind-hearted and at the same time having white skin color, perfect figure, long hair and big eyes. This is the picture of the perfect wife the dramas are giving to us. Coming towards the male character; they would be rich, tall, and handsome who finally fell in love with a middle-class girl.

In reality, it is extremely difficult for us to find such type of characters portrayed in dramas. Due to societal pressure, both male and female give into the family choice and get married. What happens next? Now that girl will be looking for Ashar in her husband and the boy would expect her wife to be as presentable as Khirad (characters from Hum TV drama Humsafar).

Humsafar Drama (HUM TV) 2011-2012

This is rooted in human nature that whenever their expectations are hurt, they would revolt and try to escape the reality. When both husband and wife find themselves completely opposite to what have been portrayed in dramas, they find it hard to live with the reality. The differences between them continue to grow until they divorced each other. This is the state of agony that the bond which is called as the most sacred of all, fall prey to ludicrous portraits of our local dramas.

Keeping in view these consequences, it is imperative for the script writers and producers to acknowledge all these points before airing any drama on television. One way or the other, they are feeding our young generation with new ideas and values that will then take practical shape in their lives. Themes that would call for gender equality; man’s sketch as dutiful and honest, presentation of ordinary characters in dramas (those who actually exists in reality) and lessons of patience and tolerance for both male and female are all indispensable to change the false perception of the youth of our society.