By: Rashid Sami

The last couple of weeks before the start of first month of the Islamic calendar saw a great deal of activity by private producers and organizers of entertainment events.  They were in a rush to launch their tele-productions before Muharram. However, the events were more of PR exercise.

Daddy, Aab yeh mumkin nahin and Aab kae hum bichraey are among the more notable productions worth mentioning. Daddy, telecast on Friday on PTV World through Weekend World, is written by Zafar Meraaj and directed by Farooq Mengal. The story is based on an urban a Baloch sardari setup where egos supersede human values and relationships. Jamal Shah, who has made a comeback after a long turn plays a sardar who lives between feudal values and nostalgia. With a notable cast of Sadia Imam, Akbar Sultani, Humayun Naz, Shahnaz Aftab, Sabahat Bukhari and the new entrant Aftab Jabal, Daddy promises visual and entertainment value.

Aab kae hum bichraey is directed/produced by Najm-uz-Zaman and written by Naila Ansari foor Teleworld. It is the story of a flower girl played by Zeba Bakhtiar who is spotted by a linguist, Jehanzeb Gorchani who experiments on her by changing her identity. During the transformation, Mehro the flower girl falls in love with the doctor. Zeba plays her part well balancing her past and present. Jehanzeb, who has made a comeback after a long spell, is a refreshing change. Teleworld organized a reception at a local hotel to launch the serial. The evening was well attended by artistes and media notables. The cast includes Zeba Bakhtiar, Jahanzeb Gorchani, Ayesha Alam, Shahood Alvi, Hasan Raza, Juvaira Abbasi and Shahnaz Ismail. Though the team is impressive, it remains to be seen whether Naila and Najm-uz-Zaman have done justice to the serial or not.

Another launch at a five-star hotel was Aab yeh mumkin nahin, a serial directed by Atif Husain and written by Tazim Ali and Ahmed Husain. The serial-portrays a social issues of family ties. “It is going to remind everyone of the old PTV plays,” promised Atif Husain during the launch. The cast includes Rubina Ashraf, Noman Aijaz, Shagufta Ejaz, Shahud Alvi, Zeheen Tahira and Anwar Solangi.

Taking of the old PTV drama flavour which is indeed a thing of the past now, it is a surprise that a majority of dramas shown on PTV are not even shot locally, Bisaat was shot in France, Ansoo in Scotland, Tum hi to ho in United States and Befwafai in Turkey. Unfortunate as it is, there are several crews already on their way to shoot at least a dozen other serials outside Pakistan.

The private producers and investors on the PTV network complain of monetary loss due to the telecast of cricket matches. They say that their marketing strategies are directly affected when their programmes are dropped, as the sponsors take back their commercials. Pakistan Television, however, states that the droping of a programme is their right as per the clause which reads ‘unavoidable circumstances’.
With the speculations of new Pakistani-based entertainment and news channels, international manufacturer and agents of broadcast equipment are showing a keen interest in Pakistan. One Japanese firm has appointed its agents in the country offering the latest state-of-the-art broadcasting equipment to the local film-makers with back-up after sales service.

PTV station across the country were busy recording their respective assignments for Muharram, Sham-e-Ghariban and Mehfil-e-Musalman were recorded at the Pakistan Television, Karachi studios. Allama Talib Jauhri addressed the majlis, which was telecast on all the three local channels, i.e. PTV World, PTV Network and Channel 3.

Before the conclusion of this column, a reference to the precios column in which PTV’s Eid-ul-Azha transmission was discussed. It was alleged by a group of artistes that Ali Rizvi, one of the producers of the transmission, had ignored the senior artistes and invited the cast of Ansoo, a serial produced by Ali Rizvi himself. Ali Rizvi has refuted the allegations and states that he has invited a number of senior artistes including Talat Hussain, Jamshed Ansari and the Wastis. The Ansoo team consisted of two people only and not the whole cast.