By: Rashid Sami

Television may seem hollow for the diehard cricket fans but conclusion of the cricket season has brought a series of preview shows of television programming from the private producers and respective marketing companies. Now that television is almost privatized, many people, in the film making or media business, seem to be making a beeline for the mini-screen either as private film producers or marketing persons.

What privatization should bring to a trade is innovation and healthy competition. Private producers are seeking latest technical facilities good casts and new locations to make their productions look better to gain larger viewer ship. All these technical/visual innovations attract temporary viewership, but what most productions lack is depth in script, direction, topic and treatment. When you ask television producers the reason for “run of the mill” drama production, their answer is lack of good script.

Pakistan Television has given great scriptwriters to the mini-screen who have written Urdu plays produced on both sides of the border. One such scriptwriter is Haseena Moin who concluded her serial Des-Pardes recently. The serial was also the first venture of Sajjad Our’s Evernew Entertainment on PTV. His reputation as a great host reflects from his press and preview shows and this is the reason why Des Pardes’s grand finale must be given full marks for its presentation. Recorded in Glasgow, Scotland, inserts of interviews shot around the scenic beauty of Scotland added to the production value of the show. Here the credit goes to the producer Ali Rizvi and his team of cameramen. The audiene was impressive and enjoyed the Pakistani artistes who were in the show. With a very impressive backdrop Uzma Shah sung the title song, Ali Haider with his usual electric performance sang Urdu and mostly Punjabi numbers, as the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis in Scotland are from Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh, some settled there for generations.

The censor board also made its presence felt as ali Tim, the guitarist of the Aakash band had to wear a shawl to hide his long hair. The newcomer to the scene, Naeem abbass Rufi who might consider himself one of the true heirs to Nusrat Fateh Ali’s already much acclaimed legacy, performed so well that even the local white guests present there were impressed. The one thing that was missing from the programme ws the delightful folk dance presented by eight-year-old girls at the beginning of the show. Apparently the censor board decided that it might, morally, have a bad effect on the viewers watching little girls presenting a sedate dance. One can only think very seriously that PTV needs to change the people who are in the censor board for more sensible ones, as they clip things that need not be and let things go that need to be.

Anwar Maqsood asked straight questions of the guests that were invited on stage as he knew that his “between the line jokes” would be too much for the audience. Prodcers Tasmeena and Zulfiqar Sheikh all talked about as a great first experience. Asim Qureshi of he Evernew Entertainment referred to the serial as an ideal selling product that had all the masala for a memorable story.

Now coming to what’s happening behind the scene. Satish Anand and Jabbar Thekedar (of the Neelam Ghar fame) are said to have joined hands and have bought a major portion of prime time on the PTV and NTM. The first serial to go on air is Tipu Sutan.

Broadcast Marketing Network (BMN) has already released their fixed point charts for the Juy quarter and they are re-telecastng Angaar Wadi, a 15-episode drama serial with Atiqa Odho, Rauf Khalid, Shagufta Ejaz and others in the cast, focusing on the Kashmiri mujaheedin.

One only hopes that BMN is not praying for a prolonged war-like situation on the Kargil-Baltistan border to gain maximum viewership and thus sponsorship.

Teleworld headed by Ghazanfar Ali, on the conclusion of Payal is starting Bota from Toba Tek Singh on Tuesdays. Pakistan Television began recording a historic serial to mark the 200th death anniversary of Tipu Sultan. The new quarter has a Khawateen Hour which will begin in the second week of July.

With private producers contributin to the local television programming, the next quarter seems to be an entertaining affair.