By: Rashid Sami

The British after their departure from the subcontinent may have left a divided region in Southeast Asia, but despite separate entities Urdu remained the main dialect across the Indo-Pakistan border. But through the years Indians have been demanding that Urdu –replaced by Hindi as spoken language, especially through films and now recently television.

Examples of their ambitions here portrayed through their programmes Kaun banega crore pati, and baneza das crore pati and –Chappar phar kay in which ---use bhartiya bhasha and most of the questions are based on Hindu mythology and culture. In addition, several dramas, aired ---the satellite channel con---by Indians, portray negative aspects of Muslim society.

Moreover, with a rightist political party now ruling India the Muslim investors in both mini and ---screens have been targeted and labeled as representing the ---world, forcing them either to have India or limit or cease their operations. However, despite all ---“assaults”, Urdu has survived and is still used as the spoken medium on the Indian silver screen and television.

Private producers and scriptwriters in Pakistan have been ----for the lack of depth in treatment especially when producing a television play, but what the critics refuse to acknowledge is the lack of training and experience. However with time private production in the country has started to show improvement in both script and treatment. Urdu is one tool which, if used and treated properly, can provide Pakistani channels the niche enabling them to compete with other television channels in the region.

The new censor board for television has also issued circulars informing the private producers and other software suppliers to use only Urdu titles and end credits of a programme. Now coming to the programming. Talat Hussain’s comedy series Sath sath ya alag alag is being aired these days. This series revolves around four characters living in an urban set up. Vaqaas, played by Sheneel Khan, is living on his own and is regularly visited by female friends Nasreena and Naima, played by Azra Siddique and Zareen Ghazzal. Masood (Rehan Sheikh) is a village person who arrives in the city to live with Vaqaas. The series revolve around the four characters. The stories due to the treatment and script provide humorous entertainment to the viewer. Scripted by Hasan Ali and directed by Talat Hussain, Sath sath ya alag alag is a 25-minute comedy series aired every Saturday at 6.45 pm from PTV network.

Pas-e-aina is back on the mini-screen again with almost the same term. Haroon Rasheed is directing the series with his wife Rubina Haroon producing it. The stock characters are played by the same actors including Rubina Ashraf, Farida, Nasreen Jan and Yasmin. The play is based on social issues with emphasis on problems relating to women. The producer promises awareness for the message and especially women with reference to their social and legal rights. One only hopes that the treatment of the play would be up to the mark because this time it is competing not only with local productions but also the satellite.

Fankar is yet another play offered by Teleworld which promises quality treatment. The cast includes Usman Peerzada, Nima, Farah Shah, Ahsan Najam and Musarat Misbah and the play revolves around Saima, played by Misbah, Saima a passionate middle aged boutique owner gets romantically involved with Javaid (Ahsan Najam), a guitar player, and helps him in his career. the story takes a dramatic turn when he ditches her for a society person. The play is written and directed by Aftab Iqbal.Colony 52 has made an impressive entry into the weekly programmes and has been well received by the viewers. The first episode was interesting and the sets, lighting, script and all-over grip of the director S.Suleman, ensure a keen following of the viewer-ship on to the next episode.