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'Old dramas depicted Pakistan's culture'.

Byline: Aftab Khan

KARACHI -- A session on the fourth day of the International Urdu Conference explored on Sunday the 'Journey of Television Drama.' Renowned scriptwriters and intellectuals said that writers in the past wrote dramas depicting Pakistani culture.

Speaking on the occasion, Ayub Khawar said, 'When great writers like Safdar Mir, Ashfaq Bano, Manto, Bajiya and Haseena wrote dramas, they trained society in ways that induced a positive change in our daily lives.'

Haseena Moin complained that when television dramas initially started being produced, the people involved were not only trained in the art but were the best at their craft. 'The writers at the time were literature lovers so the dramas were based on their understanding of the human condition,' she said, adding that the streets would be deserted when the dramas were being aired because of the quality of the content.

Ghazal, marsiya and nasri nazm discussed by leading poets, scholars

Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi President Ahmed Shah in his address said that dramas of the past were not a victim of commercialism, which is the case today. He exclaimed that there has been a shift in the thought process of the current generation. 'Storytellers in the past used to write stories keeping society in mind,' he added.

Iqbal Latif said that discussions used to take place as the stories would be developed but now everything is decided based on what will generate the most ratings. 'Our writers are forced to write a particular type of script in the hopes that it will generate viewership instead of producing quality work and letting it speak for itself,' he added.

Amjad Islam Amjad shared that when PTV was launched, the same three mediums existed radio, film and theatre. 'When we wrote stories, the entire team would work together and every drama was rehearsed four to five times,' he recalled.

'Urdu and other Pakistani languages suffering due to English'

Bushra Ansari was of the view that the only responsibility of the people writing in those times was to convey their thoughts to the best of their ability. However, she said that things were not all that bad. 'There are plenty of good dramas being aired as well,' she added. Meanwhile, answering a question posed by Mehtab Akbar Rashidi, Ansari said that she began her career in a children's programme aired from Lahore as a fairy at the age of 10. She said that the first thing that matters is the gifts that you receive from your parents. 'How strong the environment is at home matters a lot,' she added. She informed that she started loving music due to her father. She claimed that she had a great environment at home due to visits from famous intellectuals like Tabish Dehlvi, Sabt Hussain and Manno bhai.

She said that it was a matter of pride to have lived in this environment. She recalled that her father was very strict and did not like going out after 5pm. According to Ansari, Ibn Insha had also come to her house and the environment was one of books and music when he was around. She admitted that she could not understand his words.

Day's last session includes painting, book launch, tribute to writer and dance

Ansari said that she used to go to Ustad Fateh Ali Khan to sing songs. She revealed that in her family there are doctors and she was lucky to have been able to live with good people who helped her improve her pronunciation. Answering a query, she said that if 15 bad dramas are being produced then there are also five good dramas that are being aired. She expressed the view that commercialism cannot be termed 100% bad, but rather it is a good thing that artists are earning a good sum which is an advantage of commercialism. She said that she has completed her BA and whatever she has learned was through her practical life.
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Publication:The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 25, 2017
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