Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Return of the Pakistani Drama Fan

Hey everyone!  Alright, I know you've noticed my absence (because I've received several messages of complaint) and I am going to start by saying this:  I'm not sorry.  Let me finish.

I've been experiencing some personal issues and they've basically overwhelmed my life over the last 6 months.  Writing?  Keeping up with dramas?  It was not an option, because my brain and heart just weren't in it.  However, I'm not even going to claim that's the entirety of the reason I stopped writing.  I think people who have read my blogs continuously noticed my flip-flopping nature, my bouts of not writing, my moments of disdain towards shows.....and at times, I'm sure you thought "Why does she even watch these shows when she has nothing good to say?"  Well, that's just the issue.

Basically, the content in Pakistani dramas, that I once so loved, had begun to dwindle.  I found myself watching 10, 15, even 18 dramas at a time.  Why would I do that?  Because it seems I was on the never-ending search of finding "that great drama" - one that was on par with the dramas being produced in 2009-2013.  "The great stuff," the stuff that was bringing in Turkish, Indian and other international audiences.  I was constantly just trying to find something GOOD.  And once in a while, it happened - stuff like Mere Humdum Mere Dost, Sadqay Tumhare, Shanakht, Alvida, Bunty I love you, Pehchaan, etc. actually are shows that I'd recommend in a heartbeat.  But....they were 1 or 2 in a group of 10, 15 or 18.

The Indian show ban in Pakistan made it so much worse.  Urdu 1 used to produce ONE GREAT Pakistani drama at a time.  In the midst of all those Turkish and Indian shows, you knew that ONE Pakistani show was a quality one.  But with the disappearance of Indian and Turkish shows, more and more Pakistani shows were being churned out.  "We need more stories, we need more stories!" obviously would backfire, because they were quantity over quality.  Watching these shows became a chore.  I would excuse it by saying "Technically, I'm only watching 1.5 hours a day, because they don't come on every day."  But when you have an active social life, guess what?  You fall behind.  I fell behind.  It was a task.  I had ZERO interest in watching the majority of those shows, but told myself "You started this blog.  You have to keep up with it."  I love Bollywood.  I didn't have time to watch movies.  I love Hollywood.  I didn't have time.  I love American television - NO TIME.  Guess what?  The joy was gone.

I came to that realization back in November (2016).  Then life circumstances simply forced me to retire it for a while, which in hindsight was a relief (not the troubled times, but the forced cut off).  I wasn't in a happy place and I found that the MISERABLE storylines were simply making my emotions so much heavier and....just affecting me negatively.  I've spent the last 6 months on a drama-detox of sorts.  I kept up with Yeh Raha Dil for a while, but the moment it took on a stupid turn (the girls being sisters), I stopped watching.  I kept up with Sammi, but somehow fell off that wagon as well.  Basically, I needed a break from "dumb television."

Now, 6 months later, I've picked up watching dramas again.  The condition?  If I feel the story is becoming too "evil saas"-based, too whiny, too miserable, too cliched, too unoriginal - I stop watching it.  I'm invested in quality shows.  I'm invested in good content.  I am invested in watching the great stuff again.  I'm invested in being proud of Pakistani content.  I have also told myself that I am NO LONGER ALLOWED to ever surpass the magic number 10.  EVER.  Even that number is too high.

So here I am, starting up my blog again.  I'm currently watching 6 shows, shows I feel are quality shows (at least at present).  And in watching those shows, a desire to write again has re-emerged.  So let's get started!

There are a FEW shows that I have watched with interest in this time, binge watched in quiet moments and then caught up later on a binge again.  And I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge them, because they were shows I REALLY enjoyed.

Kuch Na Kaho

This show ran for 47 episodes.  FORTY SEVEN EPISODES.  In my mind, as the number increased, I thought "What's up with this?  Is it ever going to end?  Is this a soap?"  That being said, there was not a single dull moment.  The story was interesting, the acting was good and the episodes were fast-paced.  I looked forward to watching this show and would wait for new episodes with anticipation.  Was it without flaws?  No.  But was it possibly my favorite show this year?  Definitely.  Naveen & Emmad looked incredible together and their chemistry as at-odds spouses was riveting.  I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Khuda Mera Bhi Hai

When people credit Alif Allah Aur Insaan with "breakthrough ideas," I have to yell from the rooftops "NO!"  Because Khuda Mera Bhi Hai deserves that credit.  Ayesha, Jibran, Aly Khan, Saba Hameed, Furqan Qureshi, Irsa Ghazal, Mehmood Aslam......this entire cast deserves applause for their performances in this drama.  The situations depicted were heart-wrenching, the emotions heart-breaking and it made you feel passionate towards the issue of the treatment of "hijras" in Pakistan (and India).  How the birth of a third-gender child affects and essentially breaks apart a marriage and affects several relationships is the crux of the story and it was played out beautifully.  I am all praises for this show.

Nazar E Bad

This is one of those shows that I'm on the fence about.  It gave me anxiety.  It got me riled up.  Some of the situations would make me angry.  But I appreciated the subject.  Black magic exists in our society and it was nice to see a story depicted where someone falls into black magic out of misery.  Azfar Rehman, who has been struggling with mediocre roles for a while, finally showed his capabilities as an actor.  That being said, there was a lot of OTT business going on in this show.  Why did he HAVE to grow his hair, wear surma and change his outward appearance?  Wouldn't it have been more riveting to see him remain normal looking?  That's what happens in reality - you don't know who is doing what behind closed doors.  I would've enjoyed that more.  But these are small criticisms.  I enjoyed the show overall, despite complaints here and there.

I stopped watching Kaisi Yeh Paheli with Azfar Rehman and Sohai Ali Abro immediately after the first episode, after realizing it was yet another rehash of While You Were Sleeping.  Despite having a great cast, I already know the story.  I already know where it's headed.  No thank you.

I MAY pick up Sammi again soon, but let's see.

Until next time (which won't be in 6 months, rather next week!)!  Happy watching!


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  2. Good to see you back because you literally write exactly what I'm thinking most of the time! I'm also very disappointed in current drama quality, but I haven't quit my 10-12 dramas at a time yet despite considering it a few times. I have to admit I'm watching 12 right now and four of them mainly because I'm too much of a fan of someone starring in it to quit but cringe at the story line or acting most of the time. The two current dramas I am invested in with quality acting and (at least somewhat) original story lines are Yaqeen Ka Safar and Woh Aik Pal.

    Sometimes you write something regarding the industry that I had no idea about and it's like a lightbulb goes on. For example, I didn't know the reason Urdu 1, Tv 1 and A Plus combined would have less dramas airing than Hum or Ary each did at a time and why they were suddenly churning out several dramas with mediocre stories and less than impressive quality acting by what I consider very good actors.
    Hope everything is going well now and you will be writing more.

    1. Thanks for always appreciating my posts! It's nice to see someone actively reading and responding. =) I'll be making an active effort to write more now, InshaAllah. =)

  3. Sophia G, I am new to Pakistani Drama, started to watch it on Netflix due to lack of quality Bolly fliks, completely in love with Pak Drama, intensively deep and superb. Landed on your Blog absolutely spot on and love the way you write, makes reading fun ��. Can I get your opinion, Sanam Saeed, a superb person but really has no screen presence nor depth, watching her leaves me empty and unconvinced, is it just me? Also since I am new to Pak Drama, can I please ask you to do a regular (monthly), review of your Top shows, this would be wonderful for starters like me to decide shows to watch as opposed to not. Thank you, always look forward to your Blogs ������

    1. Thanks so much for appreciating my blog. =) I'll be doing regular blog posts weekly from now on, hopefully, so keep an eye out!

      Sanam Saeed is a directors actress, in my opinion. When she works in quality shows, she gives quality performances. Her shows like Talkhiyan, ZGH, Mera Naseeb, etc. have all been incredible. However, when she works in substandard shows, she does not excel, for example Ek Kasak Reh Gayi, Firaaq. She needs a quality team to deliver. That's just my opinion, personally. =)

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