By: Rashid Sami

In the Third World, what matter most is politics. A government may change its policies within minutes and at times, even vanish without a clue. Be it sports, education, employment or media policies, politics spills into everything and is the main beneficiary.

The recent policies that the government has adopted on the Kargil issue has led to cease-fire and has angered the right wing elements of the country. One possible solution that the government can apply to cool the angered countrymen is to restructure its policies according to the wishes of the ‘lesser liberals’. Television, unfortunately, come first and foremost in the line of fire.

As a result private production have recently been subjected to a more strict censor code. All the female compares and hosts now have to cover their heads. Many talk shows, magazine programmes and dramas which were recorded in advance and even censored are being subjected to re-censorship before going on air. Guests in talk shows or magazine programmes and actresses, however, are exempted.

Censor is again not too comfortable with love themes or even titles suggesting such storylines. One official was overheard saying, “Aur bhi to dukh hain zamanay mein mohabbat kai siwa”.

A romantic by nature and by choice, too, is Najam-uz-Zaman, the person behind the successful re-make of Aik Mohabbat Sau Afsaney. He is now directing another re-make, Doosra Aadmi. This mini-serial was originally telecasted some twenty-six years back to be precise, and is an adaptation of the English novel Scapegoat by Dephine Du Murier. In screen adaptation, Farhan Ali Agha plays the double role of Aftab and Jamal, previously acted by Usman Peerzada. The female cast includes Shehla Qureshi, Sonia Khan, Seemi Pasha, Zoya Khan and Badar Khalil.

Another serial which is bound to make an impact on the viewers is Tum Se Mil Kay. Pervez Malik who makes his debut as a director on the mini-screen with it has put together an assortment of veterans and new faces alike, Imran Malik, Pervez Malik’s son, plays a journalist assigned on an investigative story who meets Vaneeza Ahmed, a doctor assisting Usman Peerzada. The first episode was impressive and has already established a conflict between the oppressed and the oppressor. Although the lighting and camera angles are impressive, the actors frequently face the camera which is definite no-no by television standards. Also, shot on local locations instead of the overly shot foreign masala, the serial which has been scripted by Hassna Moin promises good entertainment for the next quarter.

August may also bear witness the new slot of English business news. Market News of Pakistan (MNOP), will be producing a daily five-minutes update on the business activities in Pakistan. Finally somebody has realized that Pakistani business news is of no importance to a foreign importer.

Weekend World, marketed by Broadcast Marketing Network (BMN) is also bringing in Zeher yab on Thursday. The cast includes Humayun Saeed, Abida Zaki, Fazila Qazi (Nizamani), Tamana and Jawairiya Jalil.

The induction of private productions has definitely started showing positive results. Colourful visuals and graphics, fresh storylines and new production teams not only provide much-needed entertainment but also lend a liberal and creative look to Pakistan – now if only the censors would observe some sensibility.