By: Rashid Sami

One place that can describe the abandoned present with the rich past of any abode is the verandas, walkways and studies of PTV stations. Once bubbling with actors, performers, writers, punters, advertisers, everyone and no-one from the media world. PTV stations at present narrate an epilogue.

Mini-screen in the country which started in the early sixties soon provided the masses with entertainment and to provide technical support an academy was formed. The technical staff, specially the drama directors were blamed soon after, of becoming the “little gods” who started using their officers for personal gains.

With the introduction of NTM, a small group of producers also got a taste of private production and whatever comes with it. The private channel who were better paymasters than PTV producers “escape” from the limitations in both budget and the censor. Though theses producers hid their identities, but everyone in the trade private production.

The infiltration in PTV did not stop here and with drama directors the technical staff also managed an extra “buck” in private production. With unions to support its members, the PTV employee soon started to concentrate on assignment and projects available outside PTV. This was the time when PTV production began to decline. Different stations were also caught in scandals resulting in the formation of a disciplinary, committee especially with reference to the female gender.

Satellite popularly known as colour in entertainment. What followed was series of rapid changes in both mini-screen programming, innovative technicalities and change in advertising and marketing trends. This was the time when PTV went through heavy losses to an extent that salaries to its staff were delayed. The new management with it brought “privatization” of different slots on PTV network and the two existing “footprints” PTV-2 and STN. Privatization with it brought both positive and adverse effects. On one hand where fresh minds and new treatment into the local television programming and the control of the privatized or sold slots went to selected few. At present almost all prime-time slots are sold to outside investors, PTV World is totally owned by private producers and investors and presentations are underway to offer channel-3 to investors.

Left with only current affairs, religious and regional programmes and two drama a week, PTV and its stations offer a deserted look. Unfortunately this story does not end here. With different satellite channels catering to the Urdu-speaking viewer and also the optic fibre taping the local mini-screen, future of PTV remains unpredictable.

A press conference held recently to announce the next PTV quarter by the PTV officials including Moneeza Hashmi and Athar Waqar Azeem, General Managers of Lahore and Karachi stations, hinted at the privatization/renting out the technical facilities, staff and studios at the PTV centres.

Dhool, scripted by Abdul Qadir Junejo and directed Ali Rizvi, revolves around a young female played by Khatija who is a daughter of banker. The double standers of people around her make her life miserable and force her into situations not acceptable to her. N the end it is her positive attitude in life which saves her. The cast includes Talat Hussain, Shakeel, Yasmin Ismail, Zeenat Yasmin, Khatija and Ali Tahir. Kafara which will replace Dhool is a story which focuses on awareness with regards to the discrimination of the female gender. The drama provides awareness to women with reference to their legal and social rights. Written by Qazi Fasih and directed by Kazim Pasha, the cast includes Badar Khalil, Adnan Siddiqi, Salma Zafar, Salma Tahir and Imran Qureshi.

Sahil Ki Tamana, written by Sajid Ali Sajid and Nayyar Mukhtar is a 25 mnute serial directed by Shahid Iqbal Pasha. This is a serial which again projects the female gender and the fact that it is not only male offspring which can provide support to the family later in life, but daughters too.

Other programmes include Mehaktay Geet, Subrus, Roshan Tara, Kacharee and Haya-lalfalah, religious programme.