A return to glorious days

While looking through the old stuff, I stumbled upon the note scribbled on the upper corner of the frayed, yellow pages of my notebook: “Did you watch Labaik yesterday.” A lot of memories flooded back and I remembered how ‘Babar Ali’ became an overnight sensation when he made his debut as Muhammad Bin Qasim in 1996. In 1997, he portrayed as Hamayun Mirza in ‘Babar’.

Babar Ali as Muhammad Bin Qasim
Babar Ali

Historical Plays

It was a time, when PTV used to air historical plays and we enjoyed watching it with our families. We normally read about these prominent characters in our course books but visual content has a more profound impact on our brain than any other medium.

A message of honor, dignity, honesty, valor and bravery, and unflinching faith was hammered into peoples’ mind.

During the era of 80’s, PTV produced historical dramas based on Naseem Hijazi’s novels. Late, Saleem Nasir, one of my favorite actors, played the role of Jalaludin Khwarzam Shah in ‘Aakhri Chataan‘ (1980).  Another similar play was ‘Shaheen’ (1983) and late Ismael Shah made his debut in that historical drama.

A message of honor, dignity, honesty, valor and bravery, and unflinching faith was hammered into peoples’ mind. Nowadays, no such plays are on the priority list of media houses. A huge amount of budget is allocated for plays but a major chunk goes for advertising and dramas on familial scuffles and other social issues.

We do need plays on these issues but, first, we need to invigorate people’s thoughts, inculcate values into young people. Parents have resorted to other social platforms like ‘You Tube’ and ‘Netflix’ for their kids. We need our own stories, Muslim stories to be reincarnated again. It’s the moral responsibility of the state TV to make these sort of programs.

A recent drama ‘Alif’ was indeed a small step to stir up our souls. We can put an end to our inner conflicts by having a more resolute faith in Him.

Ertuğrul made a big splash

During Ramadan, PTV aired Ertuğrul which made a big splash with audiences nationwide. It has got admiration as well as criticism from different fronts.

cast of drama ertugrul

If we’re willing to spend handsome amount to make our kids watch ‘Marvel Movies’ in cinema, then why not this drama, however fictional it may be. Every play is based on a set of fictional elements to make it suitable for the aesthetic sense of viewers. How can we forget the hype created by ‘Games of Thrones’ a while back when almost everyone downloaded its episodes and teenagers became addicted to it, watching on their cellphones.

Whenever I got a time and watched the episode of Ertuğrul, I always felt a surge of humility in front of Him (Allah) and a more strong faith in His will. How beautifully family values are portrayed in this play!

This life is nothing but a temporary abode, we’re here not just for spending day and night in worldly pursuits but to live according to the prescribed patterns of Sunnah. We need to look into the positive aspects of this play. It’ll definitely move some, make others to have a more firm faith in Him and be contented with Allah’s will. We don’t need to delve into the matters of PTV policies on airing the foreign content because more concerned persons have had a take on it. There is a dearth of good plays so one more borrowed content from our friendly country (Turkey) is not a big issue for viewers.

Revival of Golden Era of PTV

We’re waiting for the revival of Golden Era of PTV, when every regional station (Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar) was apportioned a day for airing its drama. I’ve never seen those local actors on the screen because media houses have shifted to Karachi so local representation is somewhere lost in this transition. Though regional channels have made their way on TV, but a state TV has more balanced approach. Media moguls are interested in launching news channels because it generates more revenue. I still remember how PTV allocated time for kids, Islamic content, plays, news and so on.

It’s high time for PTV management to make a comeback and a return to the old glorious days.

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