From Talat Hussain to Noman Ejaz - TV Icons Have Changed 360 Degrees!

Last month, when one of the most followed drama serial, Dar Si Jati Hai Sila (DSJHS) ended, I wondered if Noman Ejaz will be able to play this good a persona for some time to come!

To see Noman playing two totally opposite roles – a pathan in Sang-e-Mar Mar (SMKD) and a stealthy exploiter of women in DSJHS – hit the view bull’s eye that he is perhaps the best male protagonist on TV channels today!

But, this versatility, at the beginning of the second millennium, may yet be a very different one from the period comprising the 60s to the 80s. In that era, our TV actors were, basically, reflective geniuses, like Talat Hussain, Abid Ali, Firdaus Jamal, and Shafi Mohammad. If you look at them today, for instance, in long plays, they come across as literal philosophers, following their English proponents of Shakespearian theatre. They had enough time in those days to emote, even change their moods in reflective scenes, musing or pacing the floor, and giving expressions through close ups of the eyes and the face. Most top actors of that era are case studies if you want to learn how to appear on the screen. For instance, you can observe Talat’s inner struggle in a play. Shafi, too, easy-going though he was, proved his class through his deep voice. Abid Ali, incredibly, spoke his dialogues mostly with expressionless eyes, and yet got across. He had a smoky silence that scored over and above heavy dialogues. On the other hand, Firdaus Jamal was full of a range of emotions. In Neeli Chirya, for instance, he emptied his eyes of all emotions, as if he found no meaning in life. That was awesome!

In this new era, our stalwarts like Shabbir Jan and Noman Ejaz are given lesser space or reflection time on screen. Yet, these are brilliant artistes. Granted such artistes are getting fewer by the decade now. By the next decade, our one-dimensional serials may not bring out such versatile masters of drama anymore.