By: Rashid Sami
According to the news from the media scene in the United States, scriptwriters and actors belonging to ‘above forty age group’ are planning to sue television and the silver screen producers and film makers. This group of almost fifty media people claims that they have been refused work as scriptwriters and artists because they have reached an age where they cannot cater to a youthful audience. It is expected that up to seven thousand such media personalities may join the judicial campaign against producers.

Producers of television comedies Spin City and Friends had officially restricted the age of artists and scriptwriter to twenty-nine and had contracted young graduates for colleges for the purpose. This statement is being presented in front of the judge as legal proof by the artist group in their legal proceedings.

Youth has always been the “prime target audience” for television networks and advertisers and sponsors. It may also be true that for a television programme centering to your people, the script, treatment and presentation should also be apt and vibrant.

The local desi scene is pretty different. The present television dramas on the local mini-screen still provide ample “opportunity” to artists introduced to Pakistani television three decades ago, as “heroes”. The list of the “Youthful” actors participating as leads in drama serial presently aired on the PTV networks include Izhar Qazi, Abid Ali, Frdous Jamal, Nadeem (still referred to as film star), Shahid (yet another film star), Jahanzeb Gorchani, Behroz Subzwari and many more.

It is unfortunate but, as a nation we are a confused group of people whose decision making has, for the most part, been made by others. International monetary funds decide how much we should pay for our utilities. Western donor agencies decide our meal menus. Parents decide what profession a youth should choose. Life partners are selected not by the “eligibles” but the elders who are the main decision-makers. Thus ammas, abbas and dadis of the local media scene continue the govern the entertainment channels of the country.

The media scene, however, has hope. There are young people who have taken the challenge and at interval, come up with promising productions. Azhar Ali and wife Salma are amongst a handful of local media a scene. Sub set hai, directed and produced by the young couple and written by youngsters Mani and Mujji, the series casters to the youth. Sub set hai is based on storyline including four characters, Bobby, Imran, Nadia and Pinto living in the same lower middle class mohallah since childhood. They are a group who share joys and sorrows, emphasizing the fact that you don’t have to be biologically related to be able to go out and be together, as generally portrayed by the PTV censor board.

There are hardcore issues that have been dealt in a very impressive manner. In one episode Pinto, played by Tipu is drawn into joining a political party and transforms from a dreamer into a political activist. Yet another episode has Man leaving his mohallah, to live at his aunt’s n Defence and transforms from a normal youngster into a ‘burger’.

Basically a light romantic comedy where the romantic track between Imran (Azhar Ali) and Nadia (Salma) provide a soft touch to the treatment, Pinto (Tipu), Bobby (Mani) and occasionally Mujji, provide comical relief in a delightful and youthful production.

Media vision Marketing (MVM) in association with Haroon Khan of Media IQ, has also announced to air Mohabbat ka ek pehar, which will replace Aini on Thursdays on PTV network. Media IQ is London based telecommunication company which intends to invest in Pakistani entertainment business: Mohabbat ka ek Pehar being their first project on the local mini-screen. A thirteen-episode serial directed by Tariq Meraj and scripted by Asghar Nadeem Syed, Mohabbat ka ek Pehar is a story which revolves around urban family issues. It discusses the problems of three children who, after losing their mother at the age of twelve, sixteen and twenty respectively, come across different situations and dimensions in life. Even the decision of the father to bring another mother creates rippled in the already shattered family life. The father is played by Nadeem.

Producer Syed Mukhtar Ahmed and MVM promise a pure family saga for the viewers. The cast includes Nadeem, Sajid Hassan, Hissam Qazi, Savera Nadeem, Laila Zubairi, Nida Pasha, Nighat Chaudhry and Syed Mukhtar.