Tragic dramas – and their just as tragic titles!

Pakistani TV – unfortunately – loves to cash in on tragedy. Some slapping around for a few minutes, a bit of screaming, plenty of waterworks and lo and behold, the ratings sore.

A very popular TV drama producer (who shall not be named) once observed to me that most of the drama watching audience in Pakistan was female. Many of them sadly endured domestic troubles at some point in their lives. “When they see another woman being tortured on TV, they empathize with her. They want to see what she is going through because they themselves have gone through similar troubles. And they are happy when she gets her happy ending in the end because that means that they, too, will ultimately get their happy endings,” observed this very astute producer.

Consequently, the dramas winding through the saddest storylines are often the most popular and also, most common. It is apparently what the audience wants to see.

A contradictory argument comes from iconic playwright Anwar Maqsood. “The purpose of TV used to be to educate an audience and elevate its intellect. Now, the purpose is to just churn out mindless content that people will see, because they don’t have any better options.”

Leaving a few exceptions, TV dramas right now are serving tragedy in heavy, heavy doses; the cheating husband, the cheating wife, the despotic in-laws, incest, nasty stepfathers, a bit of black magic, the whole shebang. And assuring audiences that they are in for a sad, sad time – which is what they like, according to ratings – are the drama titles.

Often, the titles are just as tragic as the storylines. Here are some prime examples:

Kaisa Hai Naseeban?

 

Image: ARY Digital

The title translates in Urdu to ‘What is this destiny?’ Quite evidently the story of someone – a female, of course – questioning her misfortune. Driving her misery home is the title poster, showing Ramsha Khan – wearing a bridal red and staring morosely at the camera, one eye blackened. Muneeb Butt grins next to her as does Uzma Gillani, who plays Muneeb’s mom and Ramsha’s mother-in-law as well as her paternal aunt.

Lots of torture happening in this home, quite obviously. A title well-calculated to tempt our masochistic TV-watching audience.

 

Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein?

 

Image: HUM TV Network

 

Translated to the woeful query, ‘What sort of woman am I?’. Evidently the story of a woman who is up to no good and wonders to herself, sometimes, if she is a blot to womanhood itself. Tsk, tsk.

 

Khushi Ek Rog

 

                                       

Image: ARY Digital

 

 

Translated to ‘Happiness is a disease’. Yes. Try not to be happy. And if you are happy, watch a weepy Pakistani drama and you’ll get cured. This drama dates all the way back to 2012. Yes, our fixation with sad titles can be traced back to many, many years.

 

Malaal-e-yaar

 

Image: HUM TV Network

 

‘The regret of one’s beloved’. Regret, guilt, grief, tears. Standard TV fare.

 

Pachtawa

Image: ARY Zindagi

Another word for regret. It’s quite a favorite TV drama emotion.

 

Mehboob aapke qadmon mein

 

Image: HUM TV Network

 

‘Your beloved at your feet.’ This drama title is laden with hints about the storyline. It’s a love story, maybe with a bit of voodoo thrown in so that you can control your loved one and have him at your feet.

 

Mera kya kasoor?

 

Image: A Plus TV

‘How is this my fault?’ A lot of helpless sadness in this one.

 

Qaid

 

Image: GEO Entertainment

‘Imprisonment’. Of the marital sort of course, because it’s a Pakistani TV drama.

 

Soya Mera Naseeb

 

Image: HUM TV Network

 

‘My sleeping destiny’. Because sometimes, your destiny just simpers off and goes to sleep, leaving you crying …. for 20 episodes … until finally, when you’re a psychological mess, you get your happy ending.

 

Tera Yahan Koi Nahin

 

Image: HUM TV Network

‘You have no one here.’ All about that girl who has no one to help her.

 

Dard Rukta Nahi

 

Image: Express Entertainment

‘This pain doesn’t stop.’ Why? Maybe because you’re watching too many tragic Pakistani dramas?

Sad. And yes, all these tortures are endured in real life as well. But do they always have to be the central theme of most of our TV dramas? When will we see a crime thriller, a horror mini-play or content for children?

That’s food for thought. For now, though, Pakistani TV is in ‘qaid’ because ‘soya usska naseeb’. Yes. The titles are rubbing off on me.

 

 

 

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Tragic dramas – and their just as tragic titles!