During times when everyone including you, Idris Elba and Fawad Khan are self-quarantining, it’s only natural to look around for some quality entertainment on your home screens especially when theaters are closed and are expected to stay that way in the ensuing months.
That’s quite a lot for a film/TV fan to take in, in addition to the anxieties surrounding the pandemic. To resolve your dilemma, we bring you a list of classic PTV dramas to watch (or in some cases, revisit) that cater to every possible mood you might be feeling in the coming days and weeks.
There’s more good news: You can watch practically all these shows now on YouTube, in decent quality as they have especially been made available for the current lockdown lull. Read on, and trust us, you will not regret checking out these timeless shows.
Written by Haseena Moin and directed by Shoaib Mansoor, witty dialogues and strong relatable characterization made Ankahi a cult classic. Starring Shehnaz Sheikh, Javed Sheikh, Shakeel, Behroz Sabzwri and Jamshed Ansari, the drama follows the journey of a young and ambitious girl Sana Murad (Shehnaz Sheikh), and her aspirations to be rich. After the success of Ankahi, the same team collaborated for another PTV production, the legendary Tanhaiyan of course.
Fun fact: A Bollywood movie called Chal Mere Bhai starring several heavyweights (Salman Khan) from that industry is inspired by Ankahi and follows the same storyline.
Another classic from the above team (directed by Shehzad Khalil), Tanhaiyan is about two sisters who lose their parents and go to live with their aunt in Karachi in an effort to rebuild a new life for themselves. The drama is still being lauded for a progressive portrayal of independent women, something which present-day sob-a-minute serials can learn much from.
Fun fact: Indian satellite channel Zee TV telecasted both Ankahi and Tanhaiyian without any legal permissions from PTV, as a result, PTV moved to a UK court which ultimately ruled in PTV’s favor and asked Zee TV to pay compensation to PTV.
Written by Amjad Islam Amjad and directed by Ghazanfar Ali & Nusrat Thakur it is one of the earliest PTV productions to have met massive success. Waris was amongst the dramas which would bring a deserted look to roads and bazaars across the country whenever the drama would be telecasted. It is a realistic depiction of Pakistan’s feudal society and the struggles and tussles within.
The drama like other cult classics received multiple reruns and still remains a treat to watch.
Written and directed by Haseena Moin and Sahira Kazmi respectively, Dhoop Kinaray is a portrayal of the lives of doctors in a Karachi hospital, and how they work together despite the personal tussles and a gracefully depicted love triangle.
Starring Marina Khan, Rahat Kazmi and Badar Khalil, the drama was an instant hit among both the masses and classes. It made Rahat and Marina one of the country’s favorite reel couples.
Fun fact: Sahira and Rahat Kazmi are parents of today’s popular actor Ali Kazmi (Baaji, Dobara Phir Se and Laal Kabootar fame).
Alpha Bravo Charlie
Written and directed by Shoaib Mansoor, ABC is ISPRs most iconic and successful project to date. Said to be a sequel to another popular drama Sunehray Din from the same team, this cult classic tale follows three friends after they join the military and start their practical lives thus going through various ordeals and their respective journeys of self-discoveries. The drama put a new life into the then dwindling business of PTV bringing it huge TRPs that never seen before in Pakistan.
Fun fact: One of the audience’s most beloved characters from drama Gul Sher is currently a serving Colonel serving in Pakistan army’s Signal corps.
Starring Atiqa Odho, Huma Nawab, Marina Khan, Noman Ijaz, and Sajid Hasan this social drama explored the different roles of women in our society at various levels and also emphasized the importance of family planning. Like most PTV dramas of the era, it was a simple yet impactful presentation of our society and its rampant issues. The play was written by Asghar Nadeem Syed and directed by Sahira Kazmi.
Fun fact: The play was a joint venture between PTV and Johns Hopkins University/Population Communication Services (JHU/PCS).
Ainak Wala Jinn
The list is incomplete for 90s kids without this one of its kind TV series. Despite its very apparent budget constraints, the show is a brilliant amalgamation of fantasy, sci-fi and real-life drama where kids are taught basic life lessons about the power of truth, kindness, and compassion.
Following the titular character of Nastoor Jin and his adventures in the present-day world, it beautifully connects a parallel universe where a host other creatures join the fight the battle of good and evil. With popular characters like Hamoon Jadugar, Zakoota Jin and Bill Batori, the drama is a perfect choice to revisit the nostalgia of childhood.
Fun fact: The cast performed in front of Princess Diana and the patients at Shaukat Khanum Hospital when she visited Pakistan in 1996.
Starring Rafi Khawar(The iconic Nanha) and Kamal Ahmed Rizvi(who also wrote this drama), Alif Noon is one of the most memorable dramas of PTVs history. A socio-political satire, it follows two friends who are complete opposites of each other – Allan(Kamal), the shrewd and immoral entrepreneur and Nanha(Rafi)as a naive yet idealistic simpleton, and their adventures in a society that’s ridden with fraud, corruption, and other vices.
Fun fact: Due to its cult-level popularity, a film adaptation of the show starring Shehzad Roy and Faisal Qureshi is apparently in the works.
Ba-Adab Ba-Mulahiza Hoshyar
Written by Mirza Athar Baig and directed by Haider Imam Rizvi with a cast comprising of Qazi Wajid, Qasim Jalali, and host of veteran actors from PTV, the show, despite being a hilarious laughter riot, is also very intelligently written and conceived political satire. Set in the backdrop of the Mughal era, the drama actually satirizes the political and bureaucratic elite and how they exploit the poor while giving no heed to their sufferings. It still has relevance in today’s time with its clips circulating on social media on and off.
Khuda Ki Basti
The drama is one of PTV’s earliest and most popular productions which cemented the national television’s image of producing high quality and relatable content. With an unconventional storyline that explored contemporary social issues of the society, the drama wins you over for its simplicity and depth.
Fun fact: You can well imagine how classic this drama is by the fact that it was inducted as part of syllabi at various film and television academies like the one in Pune, India and even in Europe.
Marvi was a presentation of PTV Karachi with a stellar cast of Mahnoor Baloch, Qaisar Khan Nizamani, Hassam Qazi and debutante Ghazal Siddique while it was written by Noorul Huda Shah and directed by present-day Hum TV media mogul Sultana Siddiqui. The drama was a modern-day adaptation of the eponymous classic Sindhi folktale. The play had a strong feminist streak in its storyline and highlighted the struggle of a lower class young girl who stands against the misogynist feudal society for her rights — and (SPOILER) ultimately succeeds.
Fun fact: The drama was Mahnoor Baloch’s debut where she played a supporting character, whereas it was Ghazal Siddiqui’s first Urdu language play.