Chit Chat & Chai ~ Are our ‘family-oriented’ dramas truly family friendly?

13If in 2015 we enjoyed the hot ‘n spicy Alphabet Soup then 2016 will be our year to do what we desis do so well ~ masaledar gup shup over a garma garam cup of chaiimages

Basically, the idea is to sit down with a cup chai, and talk about the pros and cons of some issue that we come across on our TV screens or films, something that give us cause to pause and reflect. This is not to say we aren’t doing so already – we are and always have been. The difference lies in that here we share our thoughts on a particular issue comprehensively, in an exclusive dedicated discussion, under one thread, rather than having bits and pieces spread out over various threads.

Just as chais are of various types so too will be our topics, yaani ke bhaant bhaant ke...

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From being very serious one time to talking about something totally random the next, we will not leave anything go undiscussed. Kuch garam tau kuch thandi, kabhi meethi aur kabhi namkeen, har qisam ke tabsaron ke liye ho jaiye aap taiyar! 

And but of course, jahan chai wahan samosas, sandwiches, cakes and pastries are sure to follow:

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Now that khana peena and preliminaries are sorted, let’s get to our first topic, something I know has been on all our minds recently:

Are our ‘family-oriented’ dramas truly family friendly?

With their casual and careless approach to very serious issues, normalizing of misogyny,  graphic depictions of violence, coarse language, perpetuation of problematic gendered stereotypes, can our dramas still claim to be ‘family-oriented’? Can these still be watched with children and parents and grandparents around? Are majority of our dramas qualified to air on prime time? Should there be a regulating body overseeing what our drama industrialists are churning out on daily basis? Has time come for our dramas to be rated for content and language?

Meant as prompts, I pose these questions as a way to open up what I know will be a serious but fun chit chat and chai session.

Ab let’s get going and get this tea party started!

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Written by SZ~

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54 replies

  1. @SZ No, no, no, no…I can go on in response to your list of questions. I am not in Pakistan anymore but every time I visit and the TV is on, I know I don’t want to watch with my brother or father or even my mother present there. We do have common-TV-room, ijtamyee-TV-watching ritual still. Chai or no chai,a lot of the content is hard to digest. I agree somewhat that a lot of what is shown in our dramas is a reflection of our society but its been a while I have seen Dusri Biwi in real life with so many tiwsts and turns thrown in as shown on TV.

    The language might be what is used but do we really want to show that in a drama that is put out there for family viewing? I totally believe in rated content just like it exists for the English ones. We know what to expect from them because of the ratings and its a shame that when it comes to our own dramas, we forget that most of it should not be viewed with and by the younger lot. Can we let children be just that without exposing them to bad language, twisted concepts with even more twisted logic behind them, totally helpless women and equally bully hubbies/men? Eevery time there is a refreshing mother-in-law or a hubby, I only get to read a positive comment. Can we not see more of those rather than leading our next generation down the “dirty” path of all that’s shown? I don’t have a problem with a couple of being shown in bed if done tastefully and needed as per the script but so much can be left to imagination. Let’s not make the audience cringe. A lot of stuff can be done tastefully and we have seen it in the past as well.

    Dramas like Chup Raho (I have not seen it but have read enough about it) should be rated. Even plays like Sadqay Tumharay. I really hope we can move to this new concept which is not so new in the world. And Sangat? Let’s not even go there.

    Zara hat kar, but please why do most of our heroines have OCD when it comes to their clothes? How many of us do that? Does bholi, seedi saadi, modest girls only wear one kind of clothes and repeat them in all our 30 episodes or so? Seriously?! I think for me part of the rona dhona dislike is linked to this. 😦 Here we are raving about technology and how it helps us stay in touch and in every drama we disregard it like nobody’s business. Does every play these days have to be based on misunderstandings? Originality please?

    I am pushing my luck in asking some TV actors also to be regulated! Sajal Aly really needs to stop with the same plays over and over again. Let’s not even get to Ahsan Khan. 😛 They are great actors but variety please? I am sure more ardent followers of dramas will have more names.

    There is still that is good and I hope woh new “trends” ki bhent na char jaye. As always my thought process is faster than my typing but I’d rather say than be lazy and just think and not voice my opinion.

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    • @AK: So sorry for the beyond late response!
      Your comment made me smile and reminded me of how I used to enjoy reading your comments in the Numm days.. ab kuch aisa dhoondh lo that we can watch together as a group!

      I agree with everything you say.. and you are so right about clothes .. its like the wardrobe dept decides on a particular look for a character and then bas .. no matter how many ever eps go by, agar heroine wore a patiala shalwar with a fitted kameez in the first ep, tau then you can rest assured that she will be wearing the same combo in the last ep as well! And then ofcourse the problematic stereotypes that are being constantly reinforced in terms of clothes.

      Haha! The misunderstandings – bhai ab us ke siwa hamar Urdu drama tau ban hu nahin sakta! And to that also add standing by the door and overhearing stuff .. weird how nobody ever shuts their doors when talking abt imp stuff and what not …

      Re: Sajal Aly – Uff! That girl needs to take a break and go on a vacation!
      Re: Ahsan Khan – he’s another one I would generally agree with, but after his brilliant acting in Preet Na Kariyo Koi he gets a free pass from me, at least for now .. Are you watching it? If not, I highly recommend you too step out of your comfort zone and watch kuch hatke kuch alag 😉

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  2. Great segment SZ… Looking forward to some meaningful chit chat here.

    I’e watched loads of dramas with my family like Aansoo, Des Pardes and even Manay Na Yeh Dil and Humsafar. I’ll just take the example of MNYD here – it gave us so much to discuss as a family. Seriously, it was one of the better-written dramas of Samira F in that there were no villains and no judgements. If I compare it with something like Mana Ka Gharana where you are told in no less than clear terms who you should like and who you should hate then I’d say I’d watch MNYD any day.

    That said, I cannot watch dramas with my family anymore. If I ever do, my kids ask too many awkward questions about the most innocuous scenes. I had to face one too many questions from my little one about Agha jaan ki beemari and Faara’s crying (I had to make up new excuses every time to explain that). Also, the number of times the words talaq, halala, doosri shadi, jaaiz/najaaiz aulad, manhoos, and the like are mentioned is alarming and the last thing I want is for them to be a part of my children’s vocab.

    For the older children/teenagers/starry-eyed tweens, I find the current trend of “if he abuses you, he loves you” trend terribly disturbing. Stalking, abusing, not taking no for an answer, and so on are being projected in a way so as to normalize it even in dramas touted as family friendly. I shudder to think about the subliminal messages going out to the younger generation who is lapping it up like anything. Even though a lot of websites have carried articles against it, Gul-e-Rana is still a highly rated drama over which all and sundry are fawning… it’s sickening!

    I think drama serials should be rated. A rating system in place should clearly tell the audience if the content is suitable to be watched by kids (and if yes, how old). Should we expect violence in it? But I foresee some issues here like who will decide this rating? (I’m sure a lot of parents would write off what our media persons see as ‘suitable for family’).

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  3. @SZ
    My answer is clearly NO. Most of our dramas are simply not watchable with entire family sitting in nor room.
    There are very many reasons. It’s not just the dressing, body language and bold scenes. Equally if not more important are the story lines and dialogues. And most of the times bold scenes are uncalled for, and objectionable language can easily be toned down.
    We have in past made more entertaining and higher qualities drama without resorting to unscrupulous means.
    Let’s see what comes next…. Aage Aage dekhiay hota hai Kia.
    Loved these pictures and mouth watering samosas.

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  4. Thank you so much for this! Uff, SZ, all the pictures and talk of chai and samosas made my mouth water and tummy rumble 🙂 Now, if only the offerings on our screens are as palatable…hmmm…

    OK, I would like to talk about two things: suitability of programmes for children and issues with adult programmes.

    Children (until 12/13 years of age) – it’s safe to say that there are currently no programmes targeted at this age group, at least in most of the Pakistani channels I watch in the UK (Hum, Geo – not sure about PTV or ARY). So when we say family-oriented etc we are actually excluding this age group. I am excluding Mr Shamim and programmes like that, which have children in them, but they are in no way suitable for a child audience.

    In fact, I am not sure we have programmes targeted at teens either. Those based in Pakistan can let us know if this is correct.

    Given the absence of children’s programmes, it is inevitable and understandable that children and teens will end up watching programmes intended for adults.

    Given this situation, where the whole day we have content that’s essentially for adults, but ostensibly being watched by everyone, some warning about the content and language is not just desirable but quite urgently needed.

    In fact, if we introduced a language/content warning now, almost every programme currently on air will end up carrying a warning! Most show thappars, hair-pulling and other assorted violence on a routine basis. The same with harsh language used. Add to it the topics – domestic violence, rape, mental health issues, suicides, etc etc – I doubt any programme is “clean” enough in language or content to be watched by the whole family without squirming.

    The first difficulty I see with introducing warnings or ratings is, who decides what is bad language or what actions are unacceptable? Given the number of plays on air, can one body really watch all of them and rate every single episode? And what happens to stuff like DeD, which does lip service to strong, empowered women and shows something completely different? Just because a play has a joint family, makers start touting it as “family-oriented”. Ab kya bataein…

    Acha, even if we assume we add these warnings, apart from telling us that such and such programme has violence or unsuitable language, will it really make an impact on the viewers? Will most viewers just not ignore that board and continue watching? And if almost every programme has a warning board, isn’t it as good as reading fine print? Do we really pay attention to such things on a routine basis? Please don’t misunderstand me (raincoat moment lol), I’d welcome ratings, but I question how useful they will be and how practical they are to manage.

    What might be more effective is to have a watershed system, ie, some time until which programmes that have clean content are allowed (say until 9 pm). But even with this system, what are we to do when there are repeats at 12 noon or 5 pm of the late night programmes? I admit I’m stumped.

    I wonder how channels in the West manage ratings?

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  5. We are invited to a tea party (Sarah Palin is not) or chai per gup shup….. the china cups a r so inviting no one can say no to this chit chat for a cup of chai aur bara masaloun ke lawazmat……
    On serious notes let get to the topic A BIG NO NO TO THE SO CALLED FAMILY DRAMAS….. As SZ, DB N VZ has mentioned about the rating and prime time viewing are foreign language to our drama churning industry, their emphasis is only n only on making just money…… I would like to 1ST discuss about the writers, these are the same writers who have written some classic afsane for past 15 years with not a single spake of vulgarity and no misleading concept for younger generation in their writings but ab uki aankhien paise k liey chundhiya gaye hein…… There was this great witter RAZIA SULTANA who sold her script of DASTAN only on the ground that director or producer is not going to chance her story for any reason what so ever and that drama turned out to be a blockbuster( recal it)…
    2ND are the directors to be questioned can they watch their directorial with their children, their parents n sisters????? 3RD and by far the most responsible elements r the producers, will they like to feed their family with their product, just like what is happening to the milk production in Pakistan or ghade ka gosht being used for their ” kam o dhaen” ( like VZ my raincoat is out too) no na then why feeding new generation with dramas which should not be viewed by youngsters….. Cameraman is another aafat ki chees someone has to tell them what are appropriate angles to shoot a scene n not to make a slippery scene more obvious ke hazam ne hoske….. Molesters and rapists kab se hero ban gae hain zaidti aur burai ko mohabt ka derga mil gaya hey hahaha!!!!!
    As all members mentioned there’s no shows or plays for the teenagers so it is inevitable for them to not to watch what adult s watchig they r also watching what is available on prime time and getting exposed to the radiation of vulgar language,bold scence, domestic violence and rape scenes….Rating is sure to be imposed but as VZ said who n how this will work, will audience be ready to pay attention to them or just ignore it ??? Question is Billi ke galey mein kon si ghanti bandhi jae k wo drama se phele bjna shuru ho jae….. Apart from kidding, what are the possibilities to make higher quality dramas so whole family can have fun time @ the same time….. All good directors have taken off to movie production aur maze ki baat ye hey k apart from few directors all have give flops so far, I am not against the movies rather a great promoter of them, I just want to ask them ke kuch nazre karam in dramon per bhi ho jae tu acha hey, at least some dramas be produced worth watching ……Just watched Talkhiyan today and I was amazed by the dialogues of BEE GUL attne berjasta aur shushta k maza aagya….. Flawless acting by each actor be it Sanam Saeed, Shamim Hilali, my favorite Hina Bayat,Adnan Jaffer & child artists….. Kadus to Khalid Ahmed for his direction…. Each tv channel should conduct a workshop n screen these type of top notch dramas as part of their training……As usual I got really too jazbati in my CHIT CHAT N CHAI k cup per…..Thanks girls for all the flavours of the chai n yummy TITS BITS……

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        • Thanks, @VZ! This is what I love about this little nook that we have – how we have not only bonded over dramas but how the world has really turned into a global village for all of us as we think about each other when we hear of something happening in another friend’s corner of the world …

          Thank you so much for asking, we got lucky this time and escaped with very little snow .. ab dont want to jinx it so will keep and fingers ad toes tightly crossed that we dont get hit by another 100+ inches as happened last year!

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  6. No No No.,,, I would never have my kids watch a drama with me and good thing my daughter isn’t even interested and barely understands anyways.
    Having said that Not much on tv is very appropriate for kids, but you would lexpect from something made and based out of Pakistan and supposedly promotes our culture. It really does not a lot of the time.
    Violence, abuse /rape, marital affairs are not something I want my kids watching thanks very much. At least American movies are rated and you can choose not to watch but Pakistani dramas in the guise of family entertainment is a huge no no.

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  7. Only you could have come up with this creative idea.. If ABC Soup was light and entertaining.. This brings lots of food for thought things to read.. Thank you so much… Loved the idea!

    A big No for all that you asked… I don’t understand why is it so important to make dramas on domestic violence, rapes,multiple shadis and divorces… Why they cant make something entertaining and interesting at same point .. A good example for that could be Coke Kahani.. You dont to have be moral police always.. Making it simple is really hard for them seems like,. But chalo if they really want to educate audience in true sense regarding all these social issues then why not air on your sub-channel.. Every channel has its own separate sub-channel… Wahan pe chala do… Taake we should know ok agr kuch bhari bharkam dekhna he tou ye channel lagao nhn tou vo.. Dont know if im making sense or not.. But seriously i want to watch dramas to get my mood good not k ulta aur depression me chali jaon… I agree with all the comments above… And i think @VZ said it so aptly that even with warnings being attached.. The audience would hardly care..it won’t matter to them..

    Ab actually i am dying to eat to all that stuff in pictures..

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  8. @SZ Bit late to the party but aray wah! kia mehfil jami hai. Maza agya! … Ufff I’m sooo hungry now!!! … @SZ when I saw the alert in my inbox, it reminded me of Such Gup’s chai party 🙂 .. b& tou tha but those were indeed the golden days indeed!
    Now that I have my plate ready and garma garam chai let me join in the convo.. I think everyone has pretty much said what was on my mind.
    @VZ raised some very interesting points. a) the younger audience hasn’t really got any choice .& b) How effective will be the ratings?
    I believe that the ratings will not change anything over night, but that system will, in long run, start educating our audience. It will be a step in the right direction. It’s like the ‘smoking kills’ campaign. It started off as a big joke but today it has become a phenomenon (atleast in the west). Not to say it has eradicated smoking, but at least there is an awareness. Right now our dramas are busy desensitizing /numbing /slow poisoning our audience every way possible. If it carries on at this rate, it will turn out to be an alarming and rather disturbing situation for our new generation.
    Remember when we were growing up and the satellite ‘dish’ was the hottest new thing around (as well as the hottest debate going)?!. At that time, although the new generation suddenly got exposure to a whole new world of content, we could still identify our cultural values and limits on our own media and channels and that helped contain the damage and maintain our limits. In this day and age when we have so many channels of our own unfortunately we seem to be losing that identity and our boundaries are getting more and more vague.
    To say that ‘who will look at ratings anyway’ is not really a reason to not have a classification system in place. Thanks to the world wide web our children are now exposed to all kinds of content online, and whilst there is parental guidance/policing/control options available (in the west) it can’t be enforced all of the time. But this doesn’t mean that the system is ineffective.. right??!! I firmly believe that eventually it comes down to awareness (in the society as well as in individual families)
    Coming back to dramaland, because we don’t have a classification system in place, from where I read the situation, unfortunately there are no real measurables.. Right now everything falls in one khaata.. hadd tou yeh hai ke , like @ SZ said, regardless of the content on offer, alot of the times the marketing is in fact aimed toward a younger audience to boost the virality.
    Hopefully if and once there are ratings in place, channels will be forced to create more age specific content to capture that audience, which will not only clean up their act but also open up doors to new genres… So ratings zindabad! lol
    Unfortunately channels pbbly read it as changing ways, more work, more investment, probably less profit, and a lot of time…. so I can see them doing what they seem do doing best these days.. brush all the mess under the carpet and carry on their walk of fame/shame..
    Abb you know being concise really not my cuppa tea, tou dil khol ke i wrote once again.. but I think i need second helpings now.. 😉 those samosas look yummm… and ufff i’m sooo craving for a chatpati chat right now!!

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    • FA, you are right about having ratings = building awareness over a period of time. And I think of course we need a system. But not sure how feasible it will be to administer one. And the idea of what is acceptable to show to what age group, or what words or actions or topics should carry a warning etc are also quite tough to categorise. Think about DeD – all about “family values” and “strong women” and “asli mard”. It was only us here who had a problem with it. Pyaray Afzal – another blockbuster, deemed quite a decent, family watch by many people I know. To me, the language and gaalis made that unsuitable for youngsters. So there’s plenty of room for debate. Then there’s the volume: on a daily basis there are so many shows, not sure how they will be vetted. That’s why I was wondering how it works in the West. Here toh industry people will be lobbying to get the best ratings and they will turn the whole exercise into a farce.

      Sorry for my gloomy take lol. Don’t trust these channel folks!

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      • @VZ def I don’t trust these channel folks either! but tbh these guidelines and system will have to be enforced from an independent authority.. someone like PEMRA?
        There has got to be a science behind the existing age rating systems around the world. Ofcourse we can’t follow that to the T in Pakistan. Eg Disney princess may have Universal ratings despite the kissing, which would be unacceptable by Pakistani society standards… yet still, these existing systems will def make a good guideline to start with and adapt. We can’t get everything right in the first go, but so long as there is a start, the system can be refined over time.
        We don’t have to start with a complicated age ratings system.. In the UK eg. there isn’t an age ratings system enforced for TV but we tend to get specific warnings before the programme starts / or in info section eg programme contains adult themes, violence, strong language, upsetting scenes etc.. And these warnings change from episode to episode.. So eg first ep of DeD might as well be ok for universal viewing but the kali raat episode had an adult theme so it should start with a warning.. That would be a good start..
        And there’s always the PG rating.. 😉
        Here are some interesting guidelines that bbfg uses for PG ratings (for films) : http://www.cbbfc.co.uk/pg

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  9. Only watching Teri meri jodi with my kids (n now Mann Mayal). Hardly anything family-friendly on tv…
    Interestingly DB writes about MNYD. That was the serial that brought my family back to watching pak dramas. My younger one still refers to Ayesha Khan as Roshni -though she was too young then to understand Roshni’s story but somehow that name stuck in her mind 🙂

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    • @Afia Apologies, took me centuries to respond, but I wanted to say thank you for sharing the very sweet anecdote about your daughter. What a perfect way to underline what we are all saying here, as to how sometimes the most randomest things can get stuck in children’s minds when we as adults dont even think twice about them … and hence the imperative for producers and channels to be very conscious of all the nonsense that they are injecting into the so-called family-friendly dramas or those dramas that propagate family values.

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  10. @All: as usual I’m absent from my own [chai] party, but then what else is new 😦
    I was going to finish up my Preet review and then come back to respond to all these fabulous, thoughtful comments from you all. But this point, that @VZ and @FA, have raised is one I cannot resist .. so peeps Preet will be late 🙂

    Ok, so to ratings, I agree with @VZ, and had brought up the same issue myself on an earlier thread, in that who will sit and review every episode and there is so much that is a matter of perspective, DeD being a prime example.

    But, then I find myself nodding along with @FA in that we do need to begin somewhere …

    so lets say we begin with working out the parameters for deciding what’s a U, where U=Universal = basic cartoons and children’s programing and all others (exceptions will apply here too but we need a place to begin). Obviously our TV dramas just by that defn are then out.

    So then we decide on other categories … looking at things very broadly PG 13 is most of our dramas. Now here if a drama explicitly revolves around the subject of rape (Sangat, Chup Raho) then they automatically get an A=Adult and get aired after 10 pm.

    If dramas show explicit physical violence (upcoming Pakeeza, Ab Kar Meri Rafugiri, and so many others currently airing where there are scenes of maar kutai) then its again A=Adult

    If there is bad language – here we would need a body comprised of civil society, media representatives ( a group consisting of old and current media ppl like Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Rahat Kazmi, Sultana Siddiqui), and critics (ppl like us) who would agree on a list of unacceptable words like Sh**t, cr*p, b**lls**t, kamina, khabees, etc, again they would be marked as A=Adult

    Also, if a drama, which might otherwise be completely benign, is being promoted through one or two violent scenes that may work within the context then that drama too gets fined for promoting violence. Here I am thinking if the very graphic promo I recently saw of Pakeeza, where Aamina Sheikh is being thrown across the bed like a sack of potatoes by her abusive husband Alyy Khan. Now this may make some sense within the context of a story abt domestic abuse and the subsequent empowerment of the survivor (which is what this story looks like), but using that particular scene to titillate audiences defeats the entire purpose of the story. Here I am reminded of JH, where there we did see scenes of graphic violence where the abusive husband tries to strangle his wife, but that scene was never shown in the promos and never promoted as heavily as say for instance the Sangat promo where there were scenes of Saba Qamar being attacked.

    This ofcourse means that dramas like DeD still fly under the radar, but this where we need our “drama industrialists” to step up to the plate and take responsibility, which I know is an impossible dream but, again one has to start small.

    I realize this is not ideal but this is where we at least begin And no, nobody would supervise every episode or every drama, just that all producers will have to fill out a slip where they check off boxes and certify that their dramas meet the requirements for XYZ rating. And like it happens world over, if there is a drama rated PG 13, say for instance a Sangat, then the producers are fined a hefty fee for filing wrong info.

    This may sound extremely simplistic but thats how it works all over. and after the first few hefty fines the bad lingo will disappear, the graphic violence will either stay at pos 10 pm slots or get weaned out … the insiduous stuff makes its way in still, but that’s where we as civil society step in and act as media watch dogs and draw attention to whats wrong. Here, we might say who listens to us, but trust me they do, and what we say leaves a mark. Might not make a difference immediately but it will in the long run, and then everybody will run with these ideas as if they were the first ones to come up with these innovative thoughts.

    Ok, dont know if I make any sense here, but keep sharing your thoughts .. I am gonna return after Preet.

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    • Replying here to comments from both FA and SZ.

      I think if ratings are made compulsory, then I hope it will make the industry at least openly acknowledge the content they are showing, which is a good place to start if we want to move towards cleaner entertainment. As it stands, the stuff that’s on from 6:30 pm onwards is full of adult themes. And we get this stuff repeated throughout the day.

      Our “morning shows” too need to be classified too, depending on the theme that’s being discussed for the day. Either a warning comes on or the whole episode gets a rating. (I’ve noticed that between Hum and Geo, Geo seems to be better with the warnings, at least here in the UK.)

      I definitely like the idea of a watershed: so forcing adult-rated stuff to come on after 9 or 10 seems like a very good idea. That also means no repeats of such shows during the day.

      I see both of your viewpoints that let’s at least start with a system in place, even if it has teething problems. Something to start the industry to think about the suitability of each of its programmes to the intended audience. Ideally, episodes with violence/bad language etc show a warning beforehand or, if this is not feasible, the whole show gets a rating. Rating a show is probably less demanding than going through individual episodes? Also, if the channel knows that a whole show can end up with an undesirable rating (given how much our channels like to flaunt how “family-friendly” they are), they might clean up their act faster (thinks the optimist in me).

      And yes, if a channel breaches the classification there should be fines and some sort of publicity about the beach, to deter other shows from breaching the code. Ideally, along with this, there must be a way for the audience to complain about content and language.

      I do wish the industry regulator gets started on this, it’s high time we took the bull by its horns.

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  11. Hi SZ
    I am very late at Chai pe Chercha( chitchat) . My Indian way . I am back from my country. But Missed you so much . I donot know what to watch, so I read about chai pe chit chat and say at least hello to you and everybody. You are the only one who can come up with this idea, and honestly I enjoy it . Pakistani drama are better then Indian drama . I am now in different time zone .but I am enjoying the weather . Cross your finger no snow !!! Please save some goodies for me . Thanks SZ

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    • @Ranjan: Hello Stranger! How’ve you been? Is so lovely to hear from you after a while. Hope you had a great trip, and oh I am so envious of you sitting in California with sunshine and warm weather .. here we had a relatively mild winter, but just as we were getting lulled into complacency we got a rude wake up call and its winter back with a vengeance!

      If you are looking to pick up a new drama I would highly recommend Preet Na Kariyo Koi… its very interesting and very different from our usual run of the mill kind of dramas ..

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  12. Where in the world is Faiza iftikhar?????? She atleast comes up with original storylines though granted they can end up all haywire( like Cinderella, Bilqees kaur to name a few). Need something like aunn Zara!!!
    Sz do an interview of her and find out what she’s up to

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    • @Sonia: sorry to jump in,.. But she has already written an original script named Dil Lagi staring Humayun Saeed and Mehwish hayat… Looking at pics.. Its out an out romantic story but you never know.. Oh yes Saba Hameed is also in it.. And according to Faiza, Saba is playing one of the most head strong woman character…Great you asked because i was meaning to share here 🙂

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    • @Sonia: Hi, Yes, as @Rehmat pointed out, Faiza has Dillagi coming up, and then another one, tentatively titled Nigarkhana, which will air from TV One. Nigarkhana is a (film studio) is a serial based in 1950s/60s in a film studio setting and stars Saba Q, Mikaal Z, Meera, and many others.
      Also she hasn’t really been out of circulation.. her Kaanch Ki Guriya kind of came and went without attracting too much attention.

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      • Rehmat, that’s a good one! Thanks so much for sharing! I hope this doesn’t start the trend of the doosri biwis in our dramas starting chai wars to win over their shohars, tauba!

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    • @VZ: LOL!! I have no clue why the media is making such a big deal out if it .. haven’t we gone through this before, with phones and calling cards?
      That said, I did think the FK ad made a lot more sense than HAA ad .. wth was that with the fake beard ‘n all??

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    • @VZ: Sorry, just saw this comment .. LOL! I am not a desi tea drinker (a coffee drinker who prefers Earl Grey by way of tea ), but saw both ads and have to say FK’s was way better .. HAA’s beard probably came from the same store HUM TV’s wardrobe and makeup dept is buying beards from .. did you notice the young/old friend’s beard in this latest ep??

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  13. Hello hello! Late for the tea party but here nevertheless!! Living through drama today let me tell you that our channel heads and media producers will never introduce rating – why would they when they are out to “sell” 3 talaq, halala, abuse, violence, zaalim susraal and the new phenomena, the anti-hero!! (watch out for Dil Lagi – made me sooooooo uncomfortable as I read the script and regretted to be a part of it). As an actor I feel stifled, frustrated, depressed and angry at the fare that is offered to me and the dramas that are touted as “hits”! I’m fighting a personal battle of not doing projects where such themes are glamourised and where I’m playing a negative character I still try to maintain some semblance of decency with the “right” message going out even through the negative character. It will have to be an independent body that can rate and monitor the content – without undue censorship but who and how is the question! And lots not even talk about children’s programming – I gave up on that years ago 😦

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    • @Hina: Hello back! Lovely to have you join us in our tea party 🙂 Thank you for always being so honest and for sharing with us your thoughts as an industry insider.. and after reading you it seems like there is no hope for any change coming our way any time soon.. I don’t know who these viewers are who are making these horrible dramas hits, but then the industry has to shoulder blame as well … why are providing us more of the same?
      These days there is only drama serial, out of the 10 or 15 that are aired every day, that I really look forward to, why is it that out of say 100 or so (15×7) dramas a week I can only find one good drama? Is it too much to ask for 7 good drama serials a week, one per day? Its not like Im asking for wholesale change .. 7 serials out of 100… that still leaves 93 where they can show whatever ..Maybe I’m naive, but I dont see how we can expect the masses to ask for different stuff if they don’t have other alternatives .. as it is nobody is going around asking the masses what they want.. Ab if we are shown only nonsensical stuff and asked to choose from that, then obvs we are left with nothing else but to pick one from the list, which is then touted by the marketing depts as the choice of the masses … ab why blame the masses in all this?

      More power to you for sticking by your principles and not giving in to the pressure to take on the supposed sure-fire hits or the mega-serials… I know for many of us here, when we see your name attached to a project we take it seriously and take it as a sign that the project has something meaningful to say .. and so we really do appreciate the fact that you are so conscious of your choices .. I hope these industry people realize that it is people like you who sell projects to viewers like us..

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  14. I am back again 4 the 2nd cup tea n some chit chat bcz this topic is so debate able k jetna bhi kaha jae kam hey….

    I wish to point out couple of elements that in my opion are the bases of the culture that media is so courageously showing regularly…. 1. The society has come to it worst, in tbazar, in streets & on the roadside one hears such a language that sunn ker dantoun ko pasina aa jata hey….. The irony is children, behan, beti maa baap al are silencing but no one are about it..
    2 . On the talk shows all the so called moezez hazraat during the argument put up such a show Allah! Allah! The ladies are shouting n yelling to males n the males in return khuteen ki ko tabiet saaf kerte hein all are aware of it…. This abusive culture is so acceptable in Pakistan that they are unaware of ratings…..
    3 . Our drama writers, directors n producers the out come of our society. These channel owners are just like Kings n Queens they treat their subordinates like slaves, gaali galoch dey ker bulatey hein n verbally abuse them n this considered a normal behavior no one realize what has been said, so their dramas too represents unconsciously that same abusive language, dhakaa mukaa style behavior….

    Now coming to the part what to be done about rating, what slots be given to what type of dramas as SZ has already categorized what dramas be shown @ prime time n which one be televised @ 10pm…… My suggestion is why don’t we likewise ppl put together a proposal to the officials of electronic media of Pakistan urging them to start RATING the Pakistani dramas n fine the ones who do not comply….. @ SZ I think you have some sort of ties with famous Mehreen Jabbar and power house of acting Hina Biyat, these ladies can support us in representing this proposal to the kerta dherta of drama industry….. These are all my opions n suggestions no offense to anyone.

    My poetry for all of you friends
    انتظار ہے ان ترسی آنکھوں کو
    ان سپنوں کا ان رتوں کا
    ان موسموں کا اس بہار کا
    جو آتےآتے پلٹ گئ
    سپنے بگھر گۓ
    موسم بدل گۓ
    تعبیریں گھو گئیں
    راہ بھی گم ہوگئ

    شین حے)

    Intazar hey inn tersi aankhon ko
    Unn sapnoon ka unn rutoon ka
    Unn moosamoun ka uss bahar ka
    Jo aate aate palat gai
    Sapney bikher gaey
    Moosam badal gaey
    Taaberan khoo gaen
    Raha bhi gum ho gai

    Sheen Heey (By Shamim Hasan)

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    • @Shamim Hasan: I havent yet gotten around to replying at length on this thread, but wanted to thank you for sharing your poetry with us – wah! I love how talented all our friends here are.. its such a treat to read the beautifully written comments, some humorous and others thought provoking, and now, thanks to you, we get original poetry as well!

      Re: asking HB or MJ for support, I’m not sure if you read it above, but Hina has shared her take on this whole ratings issue, and it seems like we are heading for even bleaker times .. Hina mentioned anti-heros, and we have atleast three serials that I know of that feature the ‘bhai’ type hero: Bhai, Dillagi and Mera Yaar Miladay… ab wait and watch as we will see a lot of guns and ghumda gardi 😦

      And don’t worry .. we are not easily offended .. its fab to read so many perspectives and the well-thought out responses that everybody shares 🙂

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    • Dear Shamim, I somehow missed this message of yours and your poem yaar. It’s so apt, thank you for sharing! 🙂

      I watched the first episode of Dillagi and I am still recovering from the after effects of that! Gone are the days when shareef men used to be heroes. Nowadays hero has to be “asli mard”, never mind what the definition of this is! After watching Dillagi, I thought asli mard toh asli mard, but the weird species of “empowered women” on air – tauba!

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      • @VZ: I am still recovering from the long chase scene and the slap in the library .. I couldn’t finish the whole ep .. The only part I enjoyed was Saba H in her chaudhrani avatar but her lines!?! I don’t mind different kinds of stories and contexts but there has to be a line which needs to be drawn separating family viewing from the rest of the stuff out there .. If we can’t have ratings then it’s def time we had channels like HBO and Showtime which could air the more left of center stuff … This was most def not appropriate for an 8pm weekend slot …

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      • @VZ @SZ uffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff!!!! haina wth was that?!?!?! I mean there’s no beech ki rah? in dramaland aurat is either shrinking violet type and mazloomiat ka ishtahar ya phir total opposite.. Either way she is aurat ke naam par dhabba!… Why does she have to become mardani to show that she can stand up for her rights.. And what possessed HS to make a come back to drama world with this nonsense??!!… me too #StillRecovering

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        • FA, SZ – no wonder Hina’s comment about how uncomfortable the script made her feel. Both FI (Farhat Ishtiaq and Faiza) have disappointed.

          Kya yaar…

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  15. Back for another cuppa 🙂 and some updates. I know Teri Meri Jodi is not airing in USA yet (since its a collaboration with Zee it has to air in India before it can be shown on Geo’s international beam) but when it does start airing plz do watch it! It has none of the clichés being shown in other serial and has a lot to offer including an unlikely heroine and me playing a Punjabi baybay 😉 It’s truly family viewing – wothout any bias

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        • @Hina Khwaja Bayat: Haha! You’re such a good mother, supporting your ‘son’s’ endorsed brand 😉

          Thanks for recommending these upcoming plays.. Mor Mahal is very much on my watchlist, you look so regal in it!

          Re: Tum Kaun Piya, With this being a KURQ script I am certain we are in for a treat as far as dialogues go, but can’t help but be wary that this will be yet another blend of scripts past… but will def keep an eye out and give it a serious dekho before passing a final verdict.

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          • @SZ “Tum Kaun Piya” is not by KURQ – its written by Maha Malik. A simple sweet story with Ayeza Khan coming back after her hiatus. For me it was interesting to play a very typical woman – not very educated or well to do – who may not be a bad person as such but follows certain beliefs because she needs to stay in control. TKP casts Ayeza with Imran Abbas and Ali Abbas with Yasir Nawaz directing. It’s a fun ride on set with a bunch of good people 🙂
            P.s. I was drinking Tapal daanedar long before FK endorsed it. Beta maa se seekh gaya! Lol

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            • @Hina: Oh yes! My bad! I keep mixing this one up with Zara Yaad Kar, the KURQ script, which is also coming up soon with Zahid Ahmed and Sana Javed in the lead …
              Ok, now that I have it clear in my head I will be sure to check in on this one 🙂
              Haha! Now beta owes you a percent of the check .. after all maa ka haq banta hai 😉

              Like

            • Beta to ab maa ko pehchanta he nahin – bohat bara ho gaya ha na! Salam he kar lay bohat hai – cheque main percenatge ki koi khwahish nahin 😉

              Like

    • @HKB “Teri meri Jori” is a regular for us on tues and wed. Thank you so much for it. The kids love it too. My teen was greatly offended when one aunty passed some rude comments about the heroine (the aunty’s been tagged a racist, judgemental etc)…that is how much she likes Jiya (hope I have the name right). Love seeing you in that Punjabi avatar, and Ashraf Khan sahb too is classic in it. Kudos to you all!

      Like

  16. Oh, and Mor Mahal on Geo is on its way too alongwith Tum Kaun Piya on Urdu1 – you and your families will be able to see them together 🙂

    Like

  17. Hi all. I can’t speak to watching dramas with kids, since I don’t have any. But I wanted to add my 2 cents about worthwhile content. I love intelligent, unusual stories, good dialogue, and all the great elements of direction/screenplay/acting etc. So my only plea would be to keep up such quality that this industry has produced, is capable of, and caused me to defect in the first place! If there are elements I can’t stomach I just don’t watch.

    ZGH was my first Pakistani drama after which I was super excited about the possibilities. I have since learned I have to search for dramas that interest me. I often go back in time to find what appeals. Recently, I have been watching a show called ‘Sanwari’ from PTV. Raises interesting existential questions with spiritual themes that have kept me watching. No big names among the actors but beautiful natural locations. If anyone has similar recommendations pls. share.

    Pardon me for being off topic. Let’s just say I couldn’t resist those lovely teacups…and the mention of samosas!
    Speaking of samosas, if anyone is interested, there is a good article on “The Political Economy of the Samosa” [yes, my friends, I’m totally serious] by Virinder Kalra, Manchester University. Journal: South Asia Research.

    @SZ. Thanks for recommending Dukhtar. Watched it on Netflix. Loved it!

    Like

    • @JR: Thanks for the article rec.. can you send it to me, please?

      Re: drama recommendations, if want some really old drama recs, I can recommend Ajaib Khana (if you like stories revolving around questions of spirituality), also these you might have already seen but just in case: Aanch, Parosi, Jalpari, Bilqees Kaur, Tum Ho Ke Chup, Ulloo Baraye Farokht Nahin (by Amna Mufti, writer of Preet), Aur Zindagi Badalti Hai… these are in totally random order, just writing names as I am thinking of them ..

      Re: The teacups: Uff! they are lovely aren’t they?!

      Do check out Na Maloom Afraad on Netflix as well .. 🙂

      Like

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