Pakistan Television (PTV) has always been a trendsetter when it comes to making dramas, long plays, or Telefilms.
There was a time when PTV used to telecast dramas, special programs to celebrate national days such as Independence Day, Pakistan Day, or Defence Day. However, with the arrival of private channels, celebrations have gone slow and the rat race known as TRP (Target Rating Points), and the Saas Bahu sagas have taken preference. Edition PK brings to you patriotic-themed plays this Pakistan Day so that you can celebrate it with projects that have stood the test of times and are still a treat to watch. Read on:
It wasn’t until Sunehray Din that ISPR started taking interest in TV serials; with this drama they popularized the procedure of induction into the Pakistan Army as well as cadet life was shown and ‘advertised’ on national TV. Thanks to the genius of Shoaib Mansoor (who wrote and co-directed the drama with Mohsin Ali), after the drama aired on TV in 1991, people developed a new kind of love for the Armed forces.
Introducing Saleem Sheikh, Faraz Inam, Qasim Khan as well as Kiran and Aalia Kazmi, Sunehray Din was shot on locations unlike the PTV dramas of the 1980s and the 1990s. It also featured Mumtaz Parveen and Musharraf Ali Khan – parents of Moazzam Ali Khan of Sabaat fame – as the leading lady’s parents who are constantly at war with their neighbors played by Hameed Wyne and his daughter Azra Mansoor, who is also the mother of Saleem Sheikh’s Safeer.
And then there was Dhuwan, the action-packed mini-series that is still fresh in the minds of all those who grew up in the 90s. It comprised of newcomers in the cast, carried a patriotic message for the audience, and featured a stellar background score made eternal thanks to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Kise Da Yaar Na Vichre. It revolved around a diverse group of youngsters who, in an attempt to put an end to corruption, join hands and use their resources for the betterment of the country.
Written by Ashir Azeem who played the lead role as well, and directed by Sajjad Ahmed, it was a surprise hit from Quetta Television, and made superstars out of all those who were part of the cast. The scene where one of the friends Dawood (played by Nabeel) died in a gunfight was so well acted that many viewers believed that the actor actually died during the shooting. Thankfully, the actor is still around and making a name for himself in comedy these days; watching the drama today would take you back in simpler times, making you wish that those days are back!
ALPHA BRAVO CHARLIE
Faraz was back in Alpha Bravo Charlie where the writer & director Shoaib Mansoor also brought back Gulsher (Captain Qasim Khan) and Kashif (Captain Abdullah Mehmood) who played supporting roles in Sunehray Din. The play added to the charisma of real-life soldiers and made a huge impact on the audience’s mind; the scene where Gulsher takes Shehnaz on a date was later copied in an Indian film Pukar while Kashif’s heroic stunt on a helicopter was recreated in Lakshya.
It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that the ‘Charlie’ angle was elaborated in the Bollywood flick with Hrithik Roshan playing the carefree Kashif. It was shot in the northern areas of Pakistan (most notably Siachen) as well as in the war-hit Bosnia, and remains one of the most loved plays from the 90s PTV! Had Shoaib Mansoor not killed Gulsher at the climax, the drama would have ended on a happy note, than sad.
Whenever the history of Pakistan Television would be written, there will be a special chapter on the revival of drama, and Dastaan will lead that chapter. Aired at a time when Pakistani households preferred substandard Indian content, Dastaan changed the game with its perfect casting, nostalgic feel, and above all, strong direction. Be it Fawad Khan or Ahsan Khan, Saba Qamar or Sanam Baloch, every actor in the drama went onto become a star in his or her own right and credits the drama for their success.
Set in the pre and post-Independence era, Dastaan started the trend of high-quality dramas that showed the audience the real magic of Pakistani dramas. It was because of plays like Dastaan that Indian dramas are now a long-forgotten thing, and people expect every new play to have something extra to offer. It might be 11 years old now, but being a period play, it will remain fresh for as long as it stays relevant.
EHD E WAFA
Finally, there was Ehd-e-Wafa, HUM TV’s collaboration with the ISPR, which managed to break records and made the audience fall in love with the Armed Forces all over again. It might have taken ISPR to come up with something huge after a long time, but the wait was worth it. The makers not only made Faraz Inam reprise his role as ‘Brigadier’ Faraz but inducted the best actors in the industry led by Ahad Raza Mir, Alizeh Shah, and Adnan Samad Khan, all of whom played Army officers.
Although Ahmed Ali Akbar, Wahaj Ali, Osman Khalid Butt, Zara Noor Abbas, Hajra Yamin, Muhammad Ahmed, and Naeema Butt played non-Army roles, they were instrumental in making the drama a huge hit. The final two episodes were to be shown on the cinema screen before the special screening was canceled due to COVID-19, and people waited with bated breath as to whether their favorite character survives or becomes a martyr, and the happy ending gave the play longevity that it deserved.