I guess we’ve all heard our parents, or someone older talk about PTV dramas and general TV programs, about how they were SO amazing and just a class apart. By the time I was growing up, other channels were coming up, PTV shows had reduced in popularity, and soon enough became irrelevant.
Recently, some of the older PTV telefilms started doing the rounds on social media and I watched a couple.
The 80s-90s wala era was a different time altogether, societal values were presented differently and people placed emphasis on different aspects of being ‘good’ Pakistani. No matter how these shows are packaged now, one thing is for sure, these shows were incredibly feel good and had the right amount of humor, satire, and serious messaging. They are genuinely amazing family shows.
I remember a particular telefilm, ‘Tanhaiyan’, which my family and I found randomly on Youtube once. The story followed a dada abu, and how his family changed as he got older. When his pota poti were younger, he was their center of attention, they loved him, playing with him and being around him. Soon as life got busier, his role in the household shifted from ghar ke baray to ‘burden’. It was funny in the start, but transitioned beautifully into this tale of heartbreak and loneliness; the family only realizes how badly they wronged him once he dies. Yes, dark, I know, but it was a pure, raw and real family drama, which at least I, have not come across again.
With the commercialization of television channels, we here in Pakistan, have seen a general drop in quality shows.
The first shows to be affected by this were obviously the state television’s programming. With intense competition, and the TV industry growing so exponentially, PTV was unable to keep up and unable to maintain its quality, what’s worse is that this quality was not carried forward to private channels- stuff like ratings and ad revenues made telefilms and their scripts into something else, filled with cheap humor and other such writing crimes. Nowadays, telefilms play around Eid time, and oh God, don’t get me started me on those horrid bakra Eid shows; becharay bakriyan are ridiculed to no extent.
This argument can really extend to all TV programs that play on Pakistani TV aaj kal. Maybe it is true what they say, PTV was the Golden Era of TV. Maybe it’s high time the government makes media and television a priority also; we’ve really lost touch with a lot of great concepts and scripts.