Is Pakistan’s Drama Industry Ruining the Society?

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Fairytales work on two levels. On a conscious level, they are stories of true love and triumph and overcoming difficult odds and so are pleasurable to read. But they work on a deeper and symbolic level in that they play out our universal psychological dramas and hidden desires and fears ~ Kate Forsyth

Fairy tales and stories were considered as something which can change human minds. These stories are now filmed and shown to the people as dramas and movies. The drama industry is essential for changing any nation. In Pakistan, dramas are a part of an everyday routine for the majority of homemakers. These women spend their day doing household chores while watching dramas. A famous Brazillian director said about theatre dramas that they are about the relationship between the performers and the people who watch the performances. After some time, the people sitting at the audience seat also become the actors. He implemented it even in the theatres by asking people in the audience to complete the unfinished story, which they have just seen being performed by the actors. I can see his ideology in today’s drama and movie industry. People see things, they pick their favorite parts and become an actor by doing the stuff in their real life. I consider the visual and performing arts, especially the cinema and dramas, as the most prominent teacher after school and university. People learn from the things they watch.

The drama industry of Pakistan also declined with time, like the film industry.

Pakistan once had a fantastic drama industry. People were inspired by the quality of dramas we produced. Our drama industry was considered better than the superficial drama industry of India. But now the television has changed from cable TV to Netflix, and the content which Indians are producing is impressive. Shows like “Sacred Games” and “Leila” have grabbed the audience’s attention from around the globe.  Unfortunately, the content that we are producing is immoral, misogynistic, and patriarchal that can be watched only by a few women of the sub-continent. The girls these days from other parts of the world are taking their inspiration from the character of Ervin Brockovich, who wore whatever she was comfortable in. She didn’t care about what the people think about her dressing. But she was a woman of substance who brought the change in people’s life. We unlikely are producing characters through which we promote that a good woman wears a particular dress, she suffers her entire life, wait for a happy ending, and she does what society tells her to do. How many dramas show a woman who is an entrepreneur, leader, job holder, or even independent. We teach women to stay in a state of misery to survive.

Dramas don’t depict society; they make society.

People say that this is the depiction of Pakistan’s society. It is not the depiction, but this is the society that we are making — the majority of the women who watch these dramas become melodramatic heroines in their life. A human becomes chaos when he/she throws the responsibility of his/her life happenings on some other person. I think it is imperative to know that you are the creator of your life. People hurt you when you give them the authority to do that. Remove the people you think are bad for you. It is okay to be cold than to be a fake warm person and considering yourself the victim. You are the master; you can leave anyone; by anyone, I mean anyone you have every right to chose your clan. Fake relations, either blood or human-made, will only bring heartache to you. I see in dramas it is shown that people are living in bad relationships, either blood or human-made relationship. This thing is glorified that humans being should not leave these relations; otherwise, it is terrible. And the results are that a person becomes a victim and not a warrior.

Victims become villains or miserable sufferers.

Victims in the movies and dramas keep on becoming the victim, and in the end, everything becomes perfect. But the reality is very different from it. In reality, if a person suffers for a long time, that person becomes a threat to the rest of the people. Such people spread the negativity and sometimes become the character, which is shown in the recent movie “Joker.” People were mean to him, and when the pain reached its threshold boom! He killed every person that made him feel miserable. Real-life victims are just like Joker and not like the ones shown in the dramas. But some of the victims start to enjoy their misery, and they like people praising their awful condition. I don’t know about others, but these victims don’t impress me; I appraise warriors who fight all odds and stand on their own feet.

Oppression is becoming acceptable.

Our drama industry has eulogized the people oppressing other people due to the superiority based on their relation. Like fathers are shown controlling the whole house and suppressing their children, especially daughters. Sometimes mothers are also shown in such character. Nobody has a right to control another person’s life. It is a free world; it should be free. People should respect each other’s space even if they are in a setup where they are superior to some other person. No one should abuse their power. Every power is temporary in this world. Once it is lost, you will fall on your face if you have treated people under you unethically. Children should be free to choose their lives after they have passed their teenage, and no person should be enslaved. In our dramas, this oppression is shown so frequently and casually that our society accepts it. It is considered okay if a parent does any harm to a child because it is for his/her betterment. Scenarios are created in which people who are not controlled by their parents turn out to be impolite. That is not true in reality. The people who are born in a supportive and free environment are always happy people. They also have hardships, but they don’t develop psychological disorders like other ones who are controlled their whole life. Parents should support their children instead of ruling them. The practice of controlling people has become acceptable due to our dramas.

The past Pakistani industry of drama was far better than today.

Pakistani dramas were very liberal in the past. Once a father-daughter relationship was amicable, like in “Dhoop Kinaray.” The father was supporting her child to become somebody instead of somebody’s. The father supported her daughter to become independent. Once a woman was shown having a right to select a spouse and  was supported by the family in becoming an entrepreneur like in “Tanhaiyaan.” The moral values were very high in the old dramas. But the drama industry has changed for worse now. Once I was watching television with my mother, she was watching a drama in which a boss was harassing a woman in his office. I have seen this concept in many Pakistani dramas. I was thinking while watching it that my mother is a homemaker, she has never been to a corporate office she and woman like her might perceive a corporate culture to be like it. These dramas don’t show women progressing and ruling the world, but they love to show a woman’s anguish. Our drama industry is going nowhere, and it will soon become obsolete.

Dramas predict the future.

Dramas are not for the present, but they make things acceptable for society and create a future nation. Like the famous season, “Friends” showed things which were completely alien in the 90s like surrogacy, same-sex relationship, a child without marriage, but the things become acceptable afterward. That is the power of dramas.

Due to seasons like “Friends” and “Gossip Girls,” the tourism in Newyork was also increased. It is an alarming situation for our drama industry that what are we producing. Are we ready to create a future for us that will be like our dramas? Will our woman stay in the suffering condition forever?

The content of the dramas is destroying our society.

Very sub-standard content is produced these days. There was a lot of hype of the new drama serial “Alif.” I was also interested in watching it because of the Sufi theme that was portrayed. But the drama came out to be a total mess for me. It portrays the thinking of Zia, who made our cinema obscene. In “Alif” the cinema is linked to vulgarity, and dance is considered as a prostitute’s business. Art is already suffering in this country, and if we make dramas like these, it will further dismantle this industry. Yes, I am against item numbers and objectification of women or the other gender, but we need to educate our audience that cinema is not only about it. In the “Alif” drama, a woman is shown guilty of her job, because she is an actress. She does it solely due to financial pressure. But we need to understand that an actor is the most influential person who can change not one-two but millions of minds. So acting is a very noble profession. Cinema is a university in itself. Hollywood and Bollywood have recognized this fact, and they are now making a productive cinema. But we are still stuck whether it is halal or haram.

Dramas are writing the wrong destinies of people.

Another drama is getting hype these days. In which a man is portrayed as an innocent being, and a woman is a villain because she left a man for money. She was called “Do takay ki” (worthless woman) because she cheated on a man and left him. This dialogue gained all the attention because of how a woman can cheat, and if she cheats, she deserves this title. We show in dramas that if a person left someone and chose somebody over that person, it is a crime that will welcome a disaster in the life of a person who has left and moved on. We don’t see that it’s okay to leave people if you don’t love them even if the person gives you everything, the person is the best person on earth, but if you don’t want to be there, you can always leave. It is perfectly alright. But our dramas tell us that no, you have to stick in a relationship unless you are not maltreated in it. But it’s okay you can leave even if everything is fine, but you want to have something different or also if you want to be alone. We have created some unnatural standards in our society which have destroyed the lives of many people.

Change the dramas to free people’s minds.

Cinema and dramas can make a nation, and it can make humans humane. The industry will change when we stop promoting things which have an un-educated content in them. Don’t encourage dramas which are bad for humans, bad for culture and bad for society. A drama should highlight the unspoken issues, but it should not create them. Dramas should provide a solution to the existing dispute. It should show a society that we want to see in our future. Dramas don’t frame the present but they predict the future.

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