Pakistani television has been actively diving in the various social issues that are prevalent in our society for quite some time now. However, while dealing with these rather heavy-duty issues it seems like our drama content has missed out one of the most universal emotions to exist – love. This is rather ironic considering how our audience continues to consume and celebrate any form of an inspiring love story shown on television.
Almost every year there is a reigning jori that shoots to popularity not just because of the chemistry the actors share but because of how convincingly they manage to portray the emotions of love between their characters. Even if some of the top most rated dramas of the year all have the same themes of saas-bahu scheming and a poor bechari aurat crying buckets of tears as she endures all imaginable hardships, the most memorable dramas are almost always the ones with a love story at the center of it all.
So why are we still waiting for a pure love story to be show on television?
More acceptance for romance?
The idea of love and romance in Pakistani society is still a topic that can agitate a lot of people. Just look at how the top-trend on Twitter on 14th February was calling people to boycott an immoral event like Valentine’s Day. But love continues to bloom and with so many of our celebrities using their social media presence to shower love and attention on their significant others, there is now emerging a more tolerant reaction towards love.
Unfortunately, Pakistani dramas do not reflect this trend. The love which can be inspiring and uplifting is very rarely found on TV. Even if a drama starts with a so-called “love story”, it takes no time in changing gears to become yet another miserable tale that proves the inadequacy of love. Local content tends to place more emphasis on relationships between married couples and any drama that is based on a married couple would naturally be more about the countless domestic difficulties they face.
Tears and more tears
On the rare occasions when a drama shows a healthy relationship between a husband and a wife that proves that love is a beautiful emotion that is uplifting and inspiring (Khaas, Cheekh), the end of such drama turns out to be a tragedy. It is almost like our dramas are perpetuating the idea that the easy, comfortable, uplifting, healthy love between a man and a woman just cannot exist within our universe! Pyar zinda rahega? Not really, according to our scriptwriters. The more tears, the better the ratings goes the mantra — and Meray Paas Tum Ho is a case in point.
With one miserable story after the other occupying much airtime on television, we have to take solace from the Instagram accounts of our favorite stars. Because while the characters they play on-screen might have us telling that love and romance are not to be pursued, their off-screen actions prove otherwise.
So much love off-screen
Danish Taimoor and Ayeza Khan have kept their romance alive and beautiful despite the years, and it can be seen in the pictures they share. The newly wedded Iqra Aziz and Yasir Hussain blissfully spent their honeymoon period and are not shying away from showing it to the world. Or the youngsters Asim Azhar and Hania Amir who recently made everyone swoon when Asim threw a thoughtful surprise birthday party for Hania. Even the usually shy about-to-be-married Ahad Raza Mir and Sajal Aly can be seen indulging in some adorable PDA on their social media accounts from time to time.
Times have changed, and so should our dramas’ approach towards the idea of love and romance. It is not behayai to show that a man and woman can be in love. The idea of spouses being supportive of each other is not some western virus that would corrode the essence of our society. Love changes with age and characters of all age brackets can feel this love. Our dramas have got to start focusing more on the positive side of love because there is a large audience for it as evident by how they make the actors in a drama remotely resembling a love story into overnight stars.
Love doesn’t make you just cry and it is high time Pakistani dramas leave this mentality behind. Falling in love is not a ticket to damnation and inviting backlash of society. It is empowering and uplifting; a well-written love story that focuses more on these aspects is quite literally the need of the time. After all, our actors are already proving that off-screen, why not give them characters that prove it on-screen?
Perhaps here, the reel can take inspiration from real and television content can move on from ‘trials of love/marriage’ phase it is stuck in now.