The conversation around the Turkish drama Diriliş: Ertuğrul, that took the Pakistani drama audience by the storm, still continues on. Even as Pakistani dramas carry on raking in views in the millions every week on Youtube and the rating graph for channels never seems to decline, the demand for a Pakistani drama like Ertuğrul can be noticed all over social media.
It wouldn’t be right to assume that our drama industry is unaware of the audience’s demand for such a particular kind of drama. So, why haven’t the Pakistani dramas been modified to reflect the sentiments of this popular dizi that the audience is so loudly demanding for? Well, according to the actor Muneeb Butt it is all because of the audience itself.
Muneeb Butt recently gave an interview to Rafay Rashidi for his online web show Behind The Curtain With Rafay Rashdi. Muneeb, who has been part of many dramas that were a huge ratings hit, talked about the projects that he has done and what satisfies him as an actor. But before he got into that, Muneeb addressed the trending topic of the Pakistani drama industry being criticized for not making Ertuğrul quality drama shows.
Muneeb called Ertuğrul a rare show and said that dramas like Ertuğrul are seldom made, to begin with. And when dramas set a certain kind of standard, it ends up pressurizing the entire industry.
“Just like how Mere Paas Tum Ho was the kind of drama that had the entire nation in its grip. Everyone watched the show. Ertuğrul did the same.”
Muneeb continued to say that it has ended up in the industry and the artists being criticized and bashed. He addressed the issue and said that it is important to let the people know just why the industry is unable to produce such shows.
“I have been deliberately telling people that I’m meeting nowadays that if the industry is to be blamed for not producing such shows, the audience is to be equally blamed for it! The public doesn’t watch these kinds of shows. Channel owners sell what the public is willing to watch.”
The rating race
Giving the example of Alif, a show based on the them of spirtuality, that was aired around the same time Mere Paas Tum Ho aired and was its direct competition in terms of airing-day and time slot, Muneeb explained that despite being an amazing show, it didn’t get impressive ratings.
“I love Alif. When I had watched the show, I was blown away by how amazing the drama was. But when it came to the ratings, Mere Paas Tum Ho constantly beat Alif on the rating chart. Although Mere Paas Tum Ho was a very well knitted story, its central theme was infidelity. Yet, people loved the show.”
Muneeb said the power to choose what content channels and production houses make is all in the hands of the audience. Talking about how often the industry is blamed for limiting the content for the audience so they have no choice but the consume whatever is being dished to them, he clarified that the audience can choose to switch away from the content at any time.
“It’s all a business. If the audience will stop watching this kind of content that they are criticizing on social media, the makers will stop producing them. The remote control is a small but powerful thing. But if the audience is not switching away from the channel and is continuing to watch the dramas, it means they are interested in it. And until that interest is there, the dramas will continue to be produced.”
Well, this topic is definitely something that needs to be discussed thoroughly as there are various points to be considered here. We are just glad that conversations are now happening where artists are also making valid points based on their experiences. Will these conversations and discussions lead to a change in the Pakistani drama industry? Only time can answer that.