f the purpose of Eid programming was to fill gaps in between commercials, then the job was brilliantly done. And if you thought morning shows lack substantial content but you love them for the mindless junk, you must have been ecstatic with Eid celebration shows. Dressed in wedding attire, stars promoted their films, others grab some limelight and chit chatted. Since all were recorded shows, you saw the same bunch of people in a new dress on all the channels.
In Hum TV’s Superstars Ka Super Show Hareem Farooq, Sanam Saeed, Khalid Osman Butt and Tooba Siddiqui threw balls in a box and played other brain-dead games. Feature films, instead of being scheduled in the day, were scheduled at prime time which incidentally is also the prime time for Eid socialising. The best telefilm of all was TV One’s Ladies Tailor written by Sameena Nazeer and directed by Tariq Siddiqui with Kaif Ghaznavi [singing and acting in a tailor-made role] and Nazarul Hassan, reminiscent of teleplays by Bano Qudsia and Ashfaq Ahmed. Urdu1’s Sab Se Mushkil Shaadi, presented Ushna Shah and Noor Khan as besties who plan their wedding on the same day which was basically a rip-off of the Anne Hathaway-Kate Hudson film Bride Wars. Aimed at a younger audience, it was at least entertaining. Asif Reza Mir and Saba Hameed in ARY Digital’s Pyar Ki Love Story were a real treat to watch in a rom-com about kids from broken families written by Faiza Iftikhar.
Alif Allah Aur Insan | Hum TV Tuesday 8.00
The riveting story by Qaisra Hayat runs on several tracks. A village setting where Shahzeb (Mikaal Zulfiqar) is engaged to Nazneen (Kubra Khan), spoilt-as-hell daughter of the village head Hashmat Khan (Usman Peerzada), Nazneen doesn’t give two hoots about her fiancé and is hell-bent on getting the handsome and educated Basit (Shehzad Sheikh), son of Hashmat Khan’s loyal servant in serious trouble by falling for him.
Juxtaposed is an elaborate Lucknow-style kotha [in the heart of Punjab?] where courtesan Nigar Begum (film star Sana) is the vicious mafia-style Don of her set-up complete with mujras and murders. Most intriguing in their roles are Imran Ashraf as transgender Shami and Ushna Shah as a beggar girl. In the middle of all of this is a mystic mullah (Qavi) who serves Shahzeb soul food from time to time. A classic Momina Duraid production with Ahson Talish as director and a beautiful OST by Shafqat Amanat.
Published in Dawn, ICON, July 9th, 2017