Goodbye 2014~Welcome 2015

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Abhi kal hi ki baat lagti hai jab I sat down to pen a goodbye 2013 post, where disillusioned as I was with the year past I had high hopes for a better, brighter 2014. I was looking forward to a year filled with original content representing out of the box thinking, honest stories,  memorable serials, breakout stars, waghaira, waghaira ….

That was then ….

Now 365 days later, as I write this wrap up 2014 post tau aisey lagta hai ke yeh poora saal palak jhapktay guzar gaya

I use this term “in the blink of an eye” very deliberately. Deliberately because I want to underscore the fact that much like its predecessor 2014 too was pretty much a washout year. As I look back I see a seamless continuation from 2013 to 2014. Be it in terms of the number of utterly forgettable serials, dragged out stories, formula based plots, same faces playing musical chairs on various channels in various dramas, garish sets, overly made-up actors, tasteless costumes, ear-splitting background scores, and last but not the least glycerine overuse, we saw it all, repeated and reiterated, and in greater numbers than before.

2014 was also marked by the continued mazloomiyat of our desi heroine. If 2013 was the year of the betiyon ki 10884507_10153473281348662_1374494153_nmajboor amma and the bechari larki, whose sole purpose in life was to get married, then 2014 was the year of the mazloom pehli biwi. No matter how good a wife the first woman might be – cooking for him, removing his shoes, keeping the house in order (everything Rafia said a good wife ought to do!) – the shohar was still gonna go find himself a doosri biwi. Neighbor, co-worker, a very young cousin, koi bhi chalegi.

Hamdardi, madad and majboori  were the operative words used used by TV land shohars to justify and rationalize their wandering eye and infidelity: Kiya karta aur koi rasta na tha, amma ne majboor kiya, bechari ko saharey ki zaroorat thi, main us ki madad karn chahta tha, main us se hamdardi kar raha tha ...

If by some odd quirk of fate our girl did somehow manage to find herself a faithful shohar, then the poor guy was given no other choice but to die. But wait, that’s not the end of the story. Sahab khud tau guzar gaye but before doing so didn’t forget to leave behind a wife who was pregnant and/or the unfortunate recipient of his hissay ki jaidad. I have never seen this happen as organically or regularly in the real world, but somehow these reality based dramas always have a handily available shohar ka bhai – married, unmarried doesn’t matter. Phir whether he likes it or not this bhai steps in to the marhoom’s shoes and gives sahara to the bechari bhabhi and does madad. mqdefaultAgain, note the use of becharisahara and madad.

I have no clue where in the real world does such a helpless twit of a twat aurat exist, but in TV land she thrives, aur woh bhi dankey ki choat pe. And why shouldn’t she? Given how much her tears are worth in terms of hard cash this dukhi aurat is least bothered by what you and I think. Critique her and she sobs that much more loudly: HUM jaisa koi nahin!

I’ve been covering dramas for a while now and have seen many trends come and go, magar in bechari behenjis ki tau koi aisi mazloomiyat hai ke khatam hi honay ko nahin aati! AR[a]Y bibi, jaan choro … Geo aur jeeney do!!

Thanks to international channels like Zee Zindagi, our local channels going global, and good ‘ole YouTube, our dramas are now watched across the world. I shudder at the thought of what the international audiences make of this bechari mazloom helpless Pakistani aurat. Earlier I used to joke about this but seems it is high time that we – the real Pakistani women – stood up and made ourselves heard:

Yeh Hum Nahin

 

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In addition to continued trends, 2014 also saw the introduction of some really hatke ideas. Different as in pehley na kabhi dekhin na sunein aisi baatein, magar thanks to hamarey reality-based dramas hum ne is saal kaafi kuch seekha. Here’s a sampling in no particular order:

  • Nosebleeds + unexplained body rashes + migraines = AIDS
  • If you wanna be considered a fashion forward gal then your wardrobe must match the furniture.
  • Keeping folded laundry in closets and dressers is very old school. New trend: Under the bed, behind the couch, in the oven, behind the frozen meats in the freezer….
  • If and when watching dramas, keep earplugs, :cool:, SPF 90 sunscreen, and a chatri on hand … kiya maloom kab kis ki zaroorat par jaye

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  • If you thought Pakistan was a poor country then I have good news for you. Stop fikar-ing about our socio-economic situation. These reality based dramas tell us we are not poor and also ensure no one will ever again mistake us for a Third World country... kabhi dekhey hain kisi ghareeb mulk mein aisey thaat? 

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  • If you would like to be counted amongst the rich then know it is not nearly enough to wear diamonds at lunch, gift Mercs, dress like a Christmas tree, have an indoor pool, and sleep in monogrammed pjs on satin sheets. No. You will be considered rich in this naya Pakistan only if you have ba-wardi servers… aur woh bhi agar dau dau hon tau kiya hi baat hai! 

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  • If you are a guy looking to make a good first impression on your honay wali susral then wear nothing less than the blingiest, gaudiest sherwani in your wardrobe

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  • If you want to check your future samdhis‘ financial situation don’t bother with their bank statements. Bas go visit their house. Remember, primary colored furniture in prospective groom’s bedroom (no paisa to update decor), money-plant vines (hoping in vain  plants will bring money) and honay waley samdhi ji wearing ill-fitting checked pajamas, all point to impending bankruptcy. Most eligible bachelor or not, think hard before joro-ing a rishta there!

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  • If you think you’re lucky to have a lovey dovey shohar sahab then BEWARE! Get ready, prepare yourself kyonke a sautan is just round the corner (think Shukk and Doosri Biwi).
  • If a grown woman has a chest filled with puraney khilone and jars full of glitter under her bed, not only talks to fish but wants to be one as well, and doesn’t know how to use a cell phone keep away from her! Bewa bhabhi or not, such Allah miyan ki gayes  are not worth any sane person’s time (think Muhabbat Subh ka Sitara …. bechara Zeeshan!)
  • If you are considering two Amreekan rishtas for your ladli beti, donon restaurant owners and both equal on paper, then base your choice on their geographical location. Simply put, if the guy’s in Florida he can afford a huge lakefront mansion, have no real job but still afford a fancy car, and beti ji will hang around with artists (so what if they paint ugly pictures!). If, on the other hand, the larka is based in New York tau phir aap ki ladli beti will end up walking everywhere, will hang out with cabbies and live in a modest apartment in a nondescript building. Don’t believe me? Check out Firaaq and Jackson Heights farq saaf zahir hai!

This, my friends, was only a sampling of the kinds of important stuff I learnt from our reality based dramas this year. Feel free to share your favorite dramas, other trends you noticed, or life lessons you picked up from these dramas.

Note: I repeatedly used the term “reality based” because this is our dramas’ claim to fame, their USP. Ab yeh sab kis ki reality hai is a question I ask of the drama industrialists – the content heads, producers, channel heads, big bosses. I would love for some bigwig to shed light on this pressing question.

Even as the three big channels churned out one mediocre serial after another, they did come up with a few that kept us interested. Sannata, Pyarey Afzal, Bunty I Love You, garnered quite a following, but they too were victims of dragging at some point or the other. Shukk was another one that started off really well but lost its way really badly around the 17/18 episode mark. Stretched beyond comprehension Shukk ended up as a huge disaster.

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And how can I talk of disasters and not mention Firaq. This, ladies and gentlemen, introduced a whole new trend in the history of Pakistani drama serials: Buy One Get One Free. Ji, bilkul! The story we fell in love with and the characters we felt for, all disappeared somewhere along the line and we suddenly found ourselves watching a whole other story with new set of characters and their issues.

Amidst all the good bad and ugly that was dished out by the big three channels, credit goes to a smaller, lesser known channel for producing the gem of the year. Aired on APlus, produced by Seema Razi and Raziuddin Ahmed, written by Bee Gul and directed by Khalid Ahmad, Pehchan was, in my humble opinion, hands down the best serial of the year.

Jackson Heights on Urdu1, written by Vasay Chaudhry, directed by Mehreen Jabbar and produced by Six Sigma Plus, is another one on a newer channel that gets my vote, but since it is still airing I will withhold my comment on that.

This then, fellow DRNR-ers, was my take on the year that was. Here’s to hoping for a better year ahead.

As we count down the next year lets not forget the less fortunate and say a prayer for all those no longer with us. May the next year be a peaceful one, not only in Pakistan but throughout the world. Wishing you all a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

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Written by SZ~

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38 replies

  1. Happy New year SZ.

    Pehchaan & Mirasim were the only good serials this year. Both aired on A Plus therefore did not get due recognition.
    Both these plays started & ended strong, & ended within 20 episodes, something other channels desperately need to consider.

    • @Mona: Wishing you a very happy new year as well!

      True, about good products often getting short shrifted because of the channel. My hope is that channels see all what is happening and try to raise the standard of their programming, and the audiences too stop patronising the three big channels because of their mediocre programming.

      And on the issue of APLUs’ better programming, you might find this news interesting: Noor ul Huda Shah who was the head honcho of APLUS, and was responsible for Pehchan, Marasim, is no longer there. Rather she is now at HUM Sitaray, where was invited by Sultana Siddiqui to revamp that HUM subsidiary. Ab lets see what changes we see there ..

  2. @SZ,
    Wonderful recap of drama 2013. I’m sick and tired by all this raving and ranting about Pyarey Afzal. I somehow didn’t enjoy it that much.

    My favorite has to be Pehchaan, followed by Jackson Heights and Sadqey Tumhare.
    Shock of the year award goes to Firaq. Call me a cynic but 2015 won’t be different. Our writers are obsessed by ” doe Biwiyaan scenario”. Where is Freud?

    • @Farah S: Like you I too tebd to be cynical but dekhtey hain … how knows .. umeed pe duniya qaim hai and all that jazz 🙂
      And more than the writers I would blame the producers and channel heads for pushing these kinds of stories .. Take he example of Bee Gul, there is no doubt abt her brilliance, but then you get a Zid from a mainstream channel and you wonder … its so painful to see something so right being portrayed so horribly that it might as well be wrong! This latest episode of Zid had me cringing at Saman’s antics … I could see Bee Gul’s ideas poling their head here and there but al that was buried under so much of OT-ness ke if Saman wouldve been my daughter I woudve disowned her right there and then … ab yahan kis ki ghalati hai … yeh aap khud samajh sakti hain 😦

  3. I think one of the best dramas of the year was Mere Meherban with every character shining bright in their role and the moral of the story was absolutely accurate.

  4. Mere humdum mere dost was very good. Mohabbat ab nahi hogi was okay too. I heard some good stuff about shanakht and laa. Currently love watching sadkey tumhare and goya is fun too.

    • @shining23star: Laa was a very good story, sadly the director and producer made a complete mishmash out of it .. but I know many ppl enjoyed it .. Also Shankhat was a serial that didn’t work for me, but again many really enjoyed it, so I guess a matter of personal choice 🙂 Would love to read your thoughts on those whenever you are done watching those 🙂

  5. I don’t want reality based dramas. They are boring and limiting our potential. Please start thinking out of the box drama makers.
    A good read.

    • @Areeba Mohsen: Thank you, glad you enjoyed the piece 🙂
      Thats exavtly the point I was trying to make ke reality hai kahan in reality based dramon mein? Surely nobody’s life is so miserable as they make it seem, and neither are people quite as black n white as depicted in these dramas … My humble suggestion is to stop describing these dramas reality based and call them fantasy, horror, psychological, thrillers, etc …

  6. Waqai 2014 passed so quickly in blink of an eye… Abhi ki baat lagti he when we were waiting for Pehchaan to air soon as tab tk koi drama itna acha nhn lagraha tha.. And kal ki baat tou literally lagti he how we used to make fun of Shukk when it went haywire.. I literally loved your post and cant agree more.. And more over was LOLing on what u wrote about gaaye and poor zeeshan .. 😀

    First half of 2014 me only drama that i watch full n with interest was Pehchaan.. Like cmon maan ! i am sure there were plenty of dramas as well but full of boryat.. Then September onwards good chain of dramas started.. Ye tou ab haal he.. This year i was really fed up and pretty much annoyed with desparation of getting married… Shaadi, shaadi aur bus Shaadi.. Tauba he..

    Amen for your thoughtful wish 🙂 and a happy 2015 to you and all my virtual friends here. Stay blessed guys

  7. Firstly, a very Happy New Year SZ!! So grateful to have found you this past year! ❤️
    Secondly, your posts always make me smile in one way or the other, this is so beautifully written. Its so true, that it made me laugh! “If you are a guy looking to make a good first impression on your honay wali susral then wear nothing less than the blingiest, gaudiest sherwani in your wardrobe.” Loool I cannot even deal with this 😂👏👏 and that video is amazing 😂👏
    On a more serious note, I am fully sick of these same old shaadi/mazloomiyat/bechari type dramas and I don’t even understand how people still like them. You know I have banged my head over this uff how can our awaam not want change!?
    I have yet to watch Pehchan, but seeing as its your favourite of the year I’m going to have to hurry up and start that lol
    As for Jackson Heights, what can I say?! Fallen head over heals in love with that drama – by far my favourite of the year! 😍🙏
    With that being said, this post was hilarious and a great ending to our Pakistani Television of 2014. Here’s to the odd one or two dramas that we’ll love in 2015 (hopefully more)! If not, here’s to coming up to you to rant for endless hours 😂😂
    Thank you so much for sharing my love for Pakistani Television, more ranting in 2015 is yet to come 😂

    • Shameen: Happy New Year to you as well 🙂 Aww! I am equally delighted that you found us and here we are … looking forward to many rant and rave sessions ahead, IA! 🍻

      Haan you must check out Pehchaan .. if you’ve seen Talkhiyan then know that though it is from the same team, it is nothing like the former, but equally fab.. dekh lo phir we shall discuss further! For now madam ji, Salma is waiting for you! 😉

  8. My favorites this year were Pyaray afzal, sannata and Pehchan, although 2 of them were dragged beyond my liking.
    Plus i just finished GHUNDI… uf it was so fun to watch. After a long time i really had a good dose of laughter. and surely it was better than Akbari Asghari, but it dint get much recognition because it aired on Hum sitaray and dint have so called “stars” in the cast. Agha ali was so good in it and so were others. Oh i m huge fan of Faiza iftikhar and she always impresses me.
    Currently i m enjoying Digest writer among all..

    • @Atty: Naye saal ki mubarak ho aap ko 🙂
      I didnt watch PA so cant say abt that one, but Sannata was seriously dragged .. I think I just stopped waching it at some point and watched a whole bunch of episode together towards the end. ARY needs to clean up its act big time now … but ab tau its not jus ARY al channels are doing the same .. I am finding it very diff to sit thru Sadqey as well these days .. I think I’l give it a few weeks and then go back to it …

      Ghundi I had checked out when it first began but somehow that whole Pehlwani type humor was off putting, but again, because you recommend it I will put it on my check it out again list ..

      Re: Faiza Iftikhar, I think aaj kal sab writers ke saath yehi tragedy hai ke somehow or the other their works get messed up either by the diretor or the producer, and so I find it really difficult to say ke XYZ is always good .. Faiza had a few doozies (IMO) as well … her Main Dewaani, Uff…Yeh Muhabbat, Meri Zindagi Hai Tu, Khoya Khoya Chand.. all failed to make an impression …

      Samira Fazal had a similar issue as well … her Shukk started off well but went so badly haywire ..Chup Raho is another one with a potentially strong story but very flawed execution …

      Bee Gul gave us Talkhiyan and Pehchan then we get a ajoba called Zid …

      Kuch ajab hi haal hai aajkal .. lets hope ke 2015 is tau zara behter ho 😔

      • Oh thank God i have not even given a dekho to disastrous works of Faiza iftikhar, so i gladly remember her for Aun zara, Bilqees kaur, Akbari asghari, and now Ghundi…
        Re: Sameera fazal.. Sorry to say i dont count her in list of good writers.. Dastaan and Mera naseeb were dramatised from someone else’s novels.. And i don remember any other good drama of her..
        Re: writers not given free hand.. Exactly the reason y i m liking ‘digest writer’.. They r portraying it briliantly

        • Atty main bhi same reason ki waja say DW dekh rahi hoon jo rona hum rotay rehtay hain wo first time tv per dekhnay ko mil raha hai aur ye kafi acha drama hai atleast hut k 🙂

    • @Sonia: Somehow could never get into Raima and Manahil … but maybe one of these days will do a ffwd mode mein binge watch to check it out 🙂

  9. Oh i love u and ur website SZ

    I am not a regular user of your website but every time i need to really vent ya pait halka karna hota hai about a drama, i look u up lol
    Then after i read reviews of the drama i am watching and find out that every one is on the same page. I calm down.
    Especially – today when i started watching dosari biwi, i was SOO MAD… and the more episodes i watched the angrier i got. And haha subconsciously i think i took all the gussa on my poor husband. Lol
    Anyway, keep it up with ur amazing writing, and ur intellectual reviews.

    • @Annie A: Hey! Long time .. LOL! Now that you put it that way I guess I should ask you to watch more bad stuff so we get to hear more from you 😉

      But yeah, I totally hear you …99% of these dramas are really really senseless .. and Doosri Biwi tau is begging for me to create a new category for it .. this and that Dil Nahin Manta and Tum Mere Hi Rehna … Stay away from them!!!

        • @Annie: I hope after watching DB your hubby doesn’t expect you to walk around with flowing hair and a vacuous smile, refusing his help with household chores and uff! remove his shoes because he is soo tired after spending the day interfering in his workers’ personal affairs .. taubah!!!

  10. Hi SZ, Wish you a very Happy New Year and 2014 was indeed happening for so many of us Indians especially with serials like ZGH and Humsafar which created raves over here and thank you so much for this space that allowed us to haw and hum,mush,gush and giggle……over FK,SS and Mahira Khan. I was happy to read about SS getting married recently…..hope she has a fulfilling married life….Please pass on my wishes if you can………..she was excellent as Kashaf…nailed it. I hope she continues to act and give us the pleasure of enjoying her performances. Also Hope 2015 brings goodluck to FK in his Bollywood filmy career…promise to watch each and every movie of his…..:):):):). Oh I could go on and on…….par ab to milte raheingein yahaan par….bye and once again SZ, thanks a lot. Also thanks a lot to all our friends over here with whom we shared so much….

    • @Laksh: A very happy new year to you and your family as well 🙂
      Indeed, even though the year ended on a very sad note, 2014 will always remain memorable for us here because thats jab we met, thanks to Zindagi – and truth be told that was a huge highlight for me personally as well .. I have truly treasured this opportunity to meet and become friends with all you lovely people – thank you for being so warm and open to us and our often crazy dramas 🙂

      And Im sure FK will love hearing this ke has such diehard fans who promise to watch all his movies – haha! Chalo ab us ka zikr hua hai tau let me share his latest ad here .. I;m sure most of you mustve already seen it but for those who havent … here it is 🙂

      And why bye? Arrey baba no goodbyes allowed.. yo have to watch stuff with us (no matter how bad;) ) just so that we can keep on building bridges.. one plank at a time 🙂

  11. I read this on new years night here and was literally laughing my head off.. buss been busy with hols so couldnt drop my two pence worth here.. but khair im back now!
    once again what a fun post! the vid is fab.. yes def yeh hum nahin!!!!
    & yes learnt loads of good stuff along the way.. Def need to invest in 4d sunglasses, ear plugs, high spf protection and a portable umbrella & wellington boots.. umbrella & boots not just for the barish etc but also for the dil ke arman jo aansuon mein beh gaye.. aour baar baar beh jate hain.. (flood warning!!)
    We should pool together to send the drama makers on some feng shui type courses.. warna we will end up with some permanent damage!
    @SZ haina! by the looks of it naya pakistan aa gya!.. tabdeeli aa gai hai!!..no wonder ppl have relaxed and are busy getting married, (btw in the new bling sherwanis – our dramas are trendsetters indeed!).. roti kapra makan choro.. 5 course dinners served by ba-wardi butlers, bling sherwanis & monogramed night suits, pool wala mansions… spot on!
    that reminds me, even the hair dressers in pakistan are living the high life.. just compare kukus loubtins and designer wardrobe with JH ki Salma”s rather basic/humble wardrobe..
    Re amrikan rishtas: lets not forget AA… Another bhaijan with a mansion and fancy cars, but no real job.. If its a niece ur looking after, just marry her off to this nikamma son of yours, forget about the age difference.. Amreeka ja ke khud handle kar le gi bete aur us ki pehli biwi ko!..
    And that reminds me if you have a son/brother, be ware!! : they can look the miskeen-est specie on the face of the earth.. (remember puss in boots miskeen face) .. yep dont fall for that!! (ref : AA & pehchan)
    Our men have a serious case of self-pity.. add to the list Bhatti bhai and Jamshed..

    Last year the magic number was 1 hence we got the anokha ladlas everywhere, but this year we have progressed….The magic number for this year in dramaland seems to be 2 : 2 biwi, 2 behen (rivals), 2 bhai (one of whom must die ofcourse for the sake of the bhabhi’s 2nd shadi), 2 shadi (at times two at a time – literally!) ,

    We always used to see old rishte wali aunties.. there is a new breed of young ones in our dramas, particularly interested (call it hell-bent) in fixing rishtas of their in laws… ref firaq, mehram, MHMD…

    And last but not the least ive learnt : for the sake of our mental health and sanity, under no circumstances should one go to a desi psychologist / psychiatrist!!!!!!!!!!! (case study : firaq, rubaru, mein diwani, kadoorat….)

  12. Sanu we lay chal naal way…

    Hello Hello belated happy new year 🙂 ..kaisay hain aap…winter vacations kaisi guzrin aur Christmas ? ..hopefully sub nay khoob enjoy kia ho gaa..serdi k kia halaat hain?

    Very nice article SZ 🙂 aur mjhay yaad aya last year bhi aap nay new year start honay per aisa hi article likha tha jis per humari pehli baar barhi lambi chorhi guftagu hoi thi…achi yadein phir say taza ho gain..shukria

    jin cheezon kaa aap nay shikwa kia oos mein say ziada ter k baray mein main sirf sunti rahi dekha nahi kiunk 2014 mein main nay har drama review perhnay k baad dekhna shuru kia yaa nahi dekha jaisay AM/ Dosri Biwi /Zid / Sultanat-e dil …so aap aur dosray reviewers ki dil say shuker guzar hoon jinhon nay thik thak torture say mujhay bacha lia

    mere faves mein Bilu Sannata (end mein thorha drag hoa lekin baad mein anay walay serials say bohat behter tha..drag ho ker bhi behter tha) Pehchaan shamil thay

    lekin ST/ JH bhi achay hain ab pta nahi oon ko kon say saal mein shamil kerna hai

    Shukk/ Mere humdum mere dost/ Laa say be-hud umedein thin aur inhon nay utna hi disappoint kia

    “Oonchi dukan pheeka pakwan” kaa award BM/ Ahista Ahista/ Firaq ko jata hai

    baqi tou aap sub sub kuch keh chukay aur kam-o besh mere khayalat bhi kuch aisay hi hain ..umeed hai 2015 mein humen behter dramas dekhnay k milen gay 🙂

  13. @SZ: hello 🙂 wonderful review indeed just like Maza he aa gaya.. you just refresh the mind with the memories of 2014.. waqai it looks like as if the years are passing in the blink of an eye!

    loved your description on each n every drama serial! ufff im such bored with all rooti dhooti heroines, each n every serial is looking like buss ik se barh kar ik.. expect few of the names u have mentioned all other were a whole of ‘nakaaras’.. Saba Qamar was brilliant in Sannata and Bunty i love u but she is completely failed in Digest writer.. Sanam Saed’s Firaaq is a faliure too! these two have disappointed a lot!

    Can’t forget my Sannata & Pehchaan! they were exceptional!

    Happy new year to u and all! sorry thora late ho gaya 🙂

    • @Ayesha Aray wah! yeh tou kamal ho gya! you are not liking SQ?! lol
      Frankly speaking I cant stand DW. Its a decent topic of a struggling writer getting the bechari aurat treatment / make over. Had loads of potential but…

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