It is a frequent occurrence that our dramas have fallen victim to dragged plots and extended number of episodes for generating more revenue. Pakistani dramas have made a mark for themselves due to their excellent storytelling and engaging narratives, which gets compromised when the drama gets stretched due to increasing the number of the episodes substantially following good ratings.
The art of stretching a drama:
This has become common to the point that you start watching a good drama and 10-15 episodes in the thought would definitely cross your mind that what if this drama gets stretched like many others, and it is highly likely that further five episodes in, you will see the repeated occurrence of flashbacks-the favourite weapon of choice of our producers to extend any drama.
But wait there is more…there is the long running of OSTs in the background with no development in the scene. And it can get infuriating to the extent that you start to vex the song that you initially loved-for there is no denying in the fact that Pakistani drama OSTs have a fanbase of their own.
Then we also witness the introduction of new sidetracks in the drama or plot holes and irrational behavior of the characters that just does not add up.
The obstructive impact of dragging dramas:
While there is no fixed number of episodes a drama serial should be, but when it gets dragged beyond the number of episodes the writer intended it to be, either by adding more scenes or flashbacks it loses its original charm very quickly.
Firstly, it starts to agitate the loyal audience who are invested in the plot and the characters. Then it gradually loses control of the narrative it is resting on. Eventually the drama loses the factor that has engrosses millions of viewers.
Although, most dramas that follow this strategy continue to garner views and get the short-term attraction-thus the revenues-but at what cost? Well, for a drama lover you have butchered art and have also abandoned the idea for the drama to be considered a classic and be remembered for years to come, which viewers can watch after ten, even twenty, years down the line.
Case in point we have dramas like Cheekh and Ye Dil Mera which had compelling narratives but fell victim to this strategy. Other dramas include Mere Humsafar, Kaisi Teri Khudgarzi, Deewangi, and Nand which got extended way more than the story demanded.
In the short term this plan of action might produce fruitful results for the producers however, in the long run it damages audience’s trust and can thus adversely effect the profits also, aside from the compromise on art and creativity.
Amidst the chaos the breath of fresh air-dramas that concluded early:
It is worth mentioning here that there are certain dramas that concluded well on-time and remain our favourites till day. Beginning from the classics we have the ever-green Humsafar which comprised of twenty-three episodes and Zindagi Gulzar Hai, which ended on twenty-six episodes.
Recent examples include Meray Paas Tum Ho, which despite its hype, ended at twenty-three episodes.
Geo TVs Alif was also 24 episodes long and kept viewers hooked without dragging content.
We hope that the makers adopt the narrative-first approach and put emphasis on storytelling and let the story go on for as long as it permits rather than following a pre-determined number of episodes. Producers can also add short series to the mix, which are appreciated by the audience.
Short series including Jurm and Sar e Rah did a decent job gripping viewers and promoting a social message. The success of both these short series’ is also an indication of a move towards shorter, more concise content.
What is your take on this? Do share with us.