By: Rashid Sami

After reading Ayaz Aamir’s article ‘What is the point of criticism’ and then Ardeshir Cowasjee’s the previous Sunday, the point that arises is one’s mind is about the futility of writing in the Press. After giving it great though the conclusion is that it is not only an artiste who can express his feelings through performances, a journalist with genuine intentions can also contribute a great deal to the system.

There were questions raised in the recent past about the integrity and intentions behind the ambiguous policies practiced and applied by the media masters of Islamabad. Till the day of this article going to the press, censor codes and other media policies continue to be used ‘for and against the favourite  and ‘children of a lesser god’, respectively. A group of private producers allege that prime time slots on the three existing PTV channels continue being allotted or sld to select investors without proper and legal procedures of bidding. It is their slots worth crores of rupees are either allotted or sold without proper Press advertising or acknowledgement in order to eliminate producers and investors who are less beneficial to the media masters.

There is a new list of the latest victims of the sarkari operation at NTM and the prevailing PTV-NTM deal. Last week there were many press conference that needs special mentioning here was one by scriptwriter Mehmood Moodi who wrote for PTV and his serial was aired from STN. The other press conference was that of private producers whose claims on Faisal Sher Jan (presently hospitalized after open heart surgery) exceeds 7.5 crores and the third, by Multi Vision International introducing their five new serials.

Mehmood Moodi claims that he is one of many writers who had an agreement to write for PTV and his serial was aired form STN. His statement is that this act by authorities is illegal and PTV should re-run the serial Mannoos Ajnabi on PTV network or at-least on PTV World. The writer states that if he wanted to write for STN, then he could have done so for a private producer and earned a respectable amount, at least.

The Karachi Press Club was venue for another press conference held by one of the too many private producers’ associations. Qaiser Khan Nizamani spoke on behalf of the ‘victims’ and the desperate money matters made him speak without a script. Their claims of Faisal Sher Jan’s NTM exceed past the 7.5 crore mark. According to their statement, the private producers had invested their entire lifetime savings in the tele-productions aired by NTM. According to them, the MD, PTV, in a meeting with private producers refused either assurance of payment from NTM or an intervention in the ‘smooth’ transaction in transforming NTM/STN into PTV3.

Riaz Mirza and Qameruddin Ahmed of Multi Vision International, producers of Saharey, Manzilain and Aik Pal announced the launching of a set of five new serials, namely Koonj, Khushboo, Wapsi ka safar, Chalo chutti hui and Aag.

The latest from PTV3 is that the prime time programming slots have already been sold to private investors. The main beneficiaries are Media Vision Marketing (MVM) of Satish Anand fame and Broadcast Marketing Network(BMN) of Tahir A Khan, the blue –eyed boy of the PTV bosses, who is speculated to have grabbed the seventh day.

Last week also saw an end to the Independence Day celebrations on PTV. While the overall presentation was impressive, the contents were not up to the mark. The Independence Day celebrations were very well presented by Tauseeq Haider, Aneeq Naji, Huma Mir and Fazeela as the main hosts and Amjad Islam Amjad, Iftikhar Arif and Sadia Imam as the guests worth mentioning. There were special arrangements made to interview the heroes form kargil. The most impressive ceremony was the live transmission from the convention house, Islamabad, in which the President conferred Nishan-e-Haider upon Captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed of the Sindh Regiment and Hawaldar Lalak Jan of the Northern Light Infantry. National songs marked the event throughout the week but the most impressive were the re-makes of old songs, with original soundtracks by PTV Lohore producer, Tariq Hameel, Kargi kay heroes kay naam, with Moeen Akhtar as host, was telecast once again as many viewer’s could not watch it earlier.

Teleworld of Ghazanfar Ali fame seems to be doing all right in his absence (Ghazanfar is presently in Euroupe shooting a serial with fila star Nadeem). The productions worth mentioning of Teleworld are Family Front, Boota from Toba Tek Singh, Star and Styly and Aagai aagai daikhiyay. Directed by saaduddin and written by Azhar Azmi, Aagai aagei daikhiyay is aired every Tuesday after Khabarnama and is based on the lifestyle adopted in an advertising agency. Khalid Anam, Nabeel and Abida Zaki star in this 25-minute sitcom which promises light entertainment for viewers.

Ashfaq Ahmed has penned a sequel to Aik mohabbat say afsanay after almost twenty-fve years. Directed by Najam-ur-Zaman, the remaker of the series, Lambi seeti maar sajna is a story about acceptance of fate and destiny by a poor and lessw fortunate young girl played by Saadia Imam, It would be too early to make assumptions about the play but with the combination of Ashfaq Ahmed, Najam-uz-Zaman and a powerful yet simple storyline, it is bound to make an impact. The remaining cast of the play is also impressive, with Noman Ejaz, Hasan Raza, Naila Jaffery and Arshia, a newcomer.

Weekend World, marketed by Broadcast Marketing Network is adding to its viewership, owing to quality production and experienced marketing. Their programmes worth mentioning are Hit Sangeet, a sequel to Yehi to hai Lollywood. Ambassadors of Pakistan, hosted by Bushra Ansari, is a talk show with distinguished and successful Pakistanis living in the Unidted States. Home sweet home and Patthar ka chand is a four episode mini-serial directed by ‘Aliya Imam. With cast including Sadia Imam, Yasir Nawaz and Javeria Jalil, Patthar ka chand is a light-hearted, romantic story of a young, innocent yet ambitious girl.

Now over the production of the week, In this scribe’s opinion, it is Cinemascope less shown on Weekend World on Fridays at 8.30 pm. Written and directed by Nadeem Asad and M. Nadeem, Cinemascopeless is slapstick comedy based on spoofs of typical local films. The treatment of the script and play is very, very filmi yet simple and extremely funny.

Quality productions continue making their way t the smaller screen despite the usual sarkari modus operandi. However, if criticism made on the wrongdoings of the most powerful remain unchecked and bringing it to the Press continues to be termed as futile, then ‘the children of a lesser god’ might as well call it a day.