A step-by-step guide on how to build a hit drama

After watching countless Pakistani dramas, studying their plots, and analysing their characters, I, as an avid drama viewer, have developed a recipe for making a drama a super-duper hit. So, come, let’s build a Pakistani drama.

Step 1: Genre

The first thing you have to do is pick a genre. You could create a romantic comedy or a melodrama. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, go for a thriller. 

Step 2: Plot

The next step to making a successful drama is picking a good storyline. There’s a wide variety of topics to choose from such as familial problems or harassment. To make your drama truly relatable to the masses, it must revolve around marriage. You could talk about unhappy marriages, forced marriages, broken marriages, infidelity in marriage or multiple marriages. Bonus points if all of the above mentioned problems are incorporated in one story.

You could also make a drama centered on harassment. It could be workplace harassment, harassment at home or if you’re looking for something that’ll really pull ratings; false harassment allegations make for a great story.

Step 3: Lead Actor

Now that we’ve got the plot out of the way, let’s focus on our hero. Your hero has to either be perfection personified or devil incarnate. Keep in mind that if he’s the devil incarnate, he has to receive a redemption arc that allows him to be forgiven at the end.

He could be a rich, handsome, spoiled-rotten business man with a heart made of ice who only listens to his mother. Another option would be the poor, adorable and slightly lafanga, mohallay ka aashiq with the resilience of a mosquito in Pakistani summers. The third option would be a serious, misunderstood middle-class guy who has the emotional range of a teaspoon but is quite reliable and shows zero character development throughout the show.

Step 4: Lead Actress

Next up, our heroine. A good Pakistani drama heroine has to have some basic qualities. She must be effortlessly gorgeous yet unaware of her charms. She must be educated but not too much. She must be an excellent cook and willing to slave away at susral. She must have the strength of character to endure all kinds of injustice in the name of love, servitude and honour. Most importantly, she must have an abundance of forgiveness in her heart for when her male counterpart eventually returns to her after countless transgressions. The “ideal” Pakistani daughter, in short.

While different physical appearances are being encouraged these days, it’s better to go for a fair, thin conventionally beautiful actress with lovely, long tresses and big, brown eyes. If you want to spice things up by adding a plus-sized character, invest in a fat suit or two instead of taking a chance on actual fat girls.

Step 5: Anti-heroes

Moving on to our villains. 9 out of 10 times it has to be a woman. If you want your drama to be an instant success, you need to truly believe that women are the root cause of all evil. Focus on the“aurat he aurat ki dushman hai” narrative to really make things interesting.

You could add a sister or step-sister that is the complete opposite of your heroine and wants to steal all the leads’ happiness for herself. You could also add a khaala/phupo ki beti who has loved the hero since she was 12 and is propelled into an unholy rage when the hero picks the heroine over her. The evil nand and/or saas who just wants to see the world burn is always an excellent choice too.

If you’re really feeling rebellious, your villain could be a guy. All the heroine has to do is reject him and he will be committed to making her life hell on Earth for the afront.

Step 6: Setting

Your show has to have a setting that truly compliments the story and characters. Based on your story, you can either pick a quirky two-storey house in a mohalla. An old-school ‘chatt’ is mandatory to facilitate clandestine meetings and a bit of romance. 

If this doesn’t suit your story, we’ve got 3-4 houses in defence that are perfect for the heroine’s maika and susral. And that’s pretty much all you need.

That’s a wrap!

If you keep all of these pointers in mind, you’re on your way to creating a super hit drama serial that will generate great TRPs and give you millions of views on YouTube. All the best! 


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