Thursday, 9 May 2013

Depressing Dramas

Depressed FlowerThere used to be a time when Pakistani television was acclaimed for its brilliant masterpieces. That was the era when there used to be only one Pakistani channel on television. Then decades later, when media got liberated, a multitude of private television channels sprouted. Tough competition among these bustling media hawkers drove them to seduce potential customers by offering enticing entertainment. 

With the passage of time, Pakistanis dramas recorded a comeback in their appreciation score among the viewers. However, the quality and style that these new productions behold no-where-so-ever matches the crispness of the historic works of classical art. Worse even so, the content that the recently aired drama serials deliver is no less than a ticking time bomb that is steadily preparing to create social havoc.

A drama needs to be the hottest thing on television. The selling strategy of a soap opera is to essentially accentuate a plot that entices the viewer to stay hooked to the story through the chain of episodes. Else the drama serial would gradually lose appeal and subsequently lose its clients. In the aura of aggressive competition in the media industry, Pakistani media channels are exploiting ripe spicy stories from society – or more explicitly societal sins – to create overwhelming dramas to grab viewer’s unwavering attention. Moreover, they adorn the storyline with an ingenious amalgamation of spice and deception to appeal to taste of their audience.

As I am compelled to whiz through these dramas – since they are begged to be ‘popular demand’ – all I get to see is condemnable inhumane behaviour. Among jealousies, materialism, discrimination, arrogance, dishonesty, deception, mockery and snobbish behaviour, I find heart-breaking examples of divorce and second marriages and broken homes and frenzied children and spouse maltreatment and disgust and a burgeoning material race. The moroseness of such television serials and the gloomy stories that they narrate is suffocating. And yet, people are crazy about them. I fail to understand how such sheer depressing stories are winning popularity among the masses.

What shakes me to the core is to hear people justify these stories by acknowledging that this is what exists out there. “Well, this is what is happening out there. The drama narrates a story close to reality and then tells how the issues under discussion could be resolved.” I would not go by that argument to hold on to the negative undercurrents of a drama serial for a multitude of weeks to only eventually depress myself to death. Personally, it gives me no pleasure to see a husband divorce his wife to renounce his first family for another being. It beats me how people can enjoy seeing such grave atrocities with such calm and excitement.

The message these soap operas are passing on is killer. In several drama serials, I have been appalled by the blatant use of the word talaaq. Once upon a time, it was considered taboo to discuss such mortifying issues in public. I wonder what young minds would be gathering from such outrageous display when such barefaced exhibition of social life shakes me to the core. With the onset of globalization, divisions in the social framework have grown much further than the simple rural-urban divide. The changing society brings disturbances and undercurrents and the differences are highlighted in these dramas.

Media is a strong means of persuasive information dissemination. I feel sad because all that I see and gather is depression and feelings of extreme negativity. Dramas should be a source of motivation and positive inspiration. But sadly the ones under discussion are not. It makes me wonder whether these dramas inherently seek to diffuse a subliminal message that would eventually shatter the society into zillions of unidentifiable fragments. I wish we could be saviours.

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