by HIRA SANGI
Weddings are celebrated with a lot of valor in our part of the world. It is not just the union of two people but serves as the ceremony to join two families. Moreover, weddings serve as the perfect occasion to have fun; from practicing for dances on mehndi functions to getting the perfect joras stitched in time for the week-long event. Last week I wrote about the weddings we see on television and their impact on society. All sorts of shows celebrating 'Wedding Weeks' to bring you the best of everything; designer dresses, exquisite henna, the perfect decoration, gift boxes to die for and wedding cards that would make people go green with envy. This holy matrimony is getting glamorous day by day, a luxury that not many can afford in present times and these shows with their dolled up hosts are just proving to be a source of increasing frustrations for the viewers. While on one hand we have a morning show host hinting people to buy a wedding dress worth a couple of lac rupees, there is one show that aims at easing the burden off those about to tie the knot.
Although I had occasionally come across the show titled 'Haan Qabool Hai' while channel surfing, I rarely stopped to see what was going on. The theme was clear – a couple who couldn't afford it, gets to have their dream wedding but this never caught my attention until I met a new bride who had actually benefited from the show. The shy girl was in her early twenties and came from a family of limited means. She works as a house maid and was quick to narrate her story since she was still clearly overwhelmed by the experience. Some members of her family had contacted on the numbers given at the end of the show; little did they know that the call would end up giving them the most memorable wedding of their lives. From makeup worth a few thousand and a wedding dress that far exceeded the bride's hopes, the team at 'Haan Qabool Hai' gave this deserving girl a wedding she could never have expected in her wildest imaginations. Hearing this girl's story made me realize that while television might be a source of spreading increasing discontent among people, some shows aim at doing just the opposite.
Speaking of wild imaginations, one play showed just how harmful discontent could prove to be. 'Kitni Girhain Baaqi Hain' subtly points at issues we deal with every day without realizing the gravity of the situation. One recent episode title 'Shah-e-Jinnaat' showed the perils that many women in our society are silently going through. The drama starred Sania Saeed and was about a girl who had crossed the age that our society has approved of getting married. She faces a frustrating dilemma at home as well; her mother can never think beyond getting her only daughter married while her father showed discontent over every single proposal that came their way. Unable to cope with the pressures, the girl developed a queer case of anxiety and depression. People started claiming that 'jinns' had taken over her and the only cure was to be found through spiritual healers. The girl played along and started enjoying the attention while silently hoping that she would be wed soon. 'Shah-e-Jinnaat' showed how ignorance can worsen such cases related to psychology as the character played by Sania Saeed was doomed to remain the same even though her family finally decided to marry their daughter off.
Such dramas highlight the evils of our society where a woman showing her eagerness to get married is seen as indecent and obscene while men proudly flaunt their number of wives and are not shy about hiding extra marital affairs as well. That combined with the taboos associated with working women increase the pressures the fairer gender has to face. That is why depression, especially among women who stay at home has always been prevalent in our society.
Taboos can take varying shapes; another drama that shows what superstitions can do to a person is 'Kaala Jadu'. The drama stars Abid Ali, Saba Hameed, Sami Khan, Aiza Khan, Sana Askari, Anoushey Abbasi, Hassan Ahmed, Ismat Zaidi, Saqib Sheikh, Humayun Ashraf, Qaiser Naqvi, Raheel Butt among others and is about the consequences people face when they try to mold their lives by practicing black magic. 'Kaala Jadu' also fosters them same phenomenon and projects the similar reality of our society, as Shireen (Saba Hameed) the pivotal character of the story has a profound inclination towards spells and magic for which she holds a blind faith on an exorcist, Qutub Sahib (played by Abid Ali). She wants to acquire all the wealth of her step brother for her own daughter and this intention makes her practice witchcraft against him with the help of her mentor. First she got Saman (Aiza Khan) divorced just after a few hours of her wedding and later conspired to get her married to Yousuf, her step brother. The drama shows instances of evil practices believers in black magic do. There is however, an underlying message to this drama that such acts only lead to more destruction and nothing positive is ever acquired from them. 'Kaala Jadu' has just started gaining momentum and will be in its full force in the coming few episodes. Viewer discretion is however advised because even if the message is good, such shows should not be watched by young ones.
Moving on towards what is to come, remember the Amena Shaikh and Noman Ejaz starrer? It was rumored that the show would be having a sequel and rumors have proved to be true! Shooting for 'Mera Saein 2' has started which will star Fahad Mustafa as the 'Chotay Malik Sahab'. While most people would have high hopes from the drama, I think the bar has been raised increasing the chances of failure. Sequels are always harder to manage and are prone to fail miserably; that is why it is sometimes better to end a show once it reaches its peak or things will start going downhill from there. The sequel of 'Mera Saaein' will have to exceed all expectations to be deemed a hit once again.
Another bit of news is about another morning show ready to pop up soon. Since Fahad Mustafa and Faisal Qureshi followed by Junaid Younus (Lead Singer Siege) have succeeded in ending associations between women and morning shows, another name will be popping up soon in the big bad world of morning mafia. Baber Ali, the Lollywood film star will be getting up early to entertain us live on a private television channel. Since he has not recently been seen on the small screen, he will have to come up with a fresh new strategy for a fresh new morning show. Even then, there are high chances of such shows to fail since Pakistanis have had enough morning masala to last us another sixty years!