Friday, October 1, 2010

Youth, Women, TV with Reference to Pakistan

Youth, Women, TV with Reference to Pakistan
by Amer Rizwan Copyrights@amerrizwan
TV Drama in Pakistan has been used to target and impact Pakistan¡¯s youth. Idealized beauty standards, irrelevant cross gender relationship, and domestication are only some of the ways that young women in the media are portrayed today. This trends besides the inescapable negative fall outs on the youth in general and the young woman in particular has contributed in effecting a greater understanding among the different strata of the society as well. Although in most of the cases like in classical TV Dramas such as ¡®Deewarain¡¯, ¡®Jangle¡¯ etc. woman has been shown as an abject thing; a property of the dominant gender of the society yet some of the plays such as ¡®Unkahi¡¯, ¡®Tanhanian¡¯ have given her a new vision of confidence and a proper place in the traditional society. Let¡¯s be honest, the average woman/girl in this country does not look like Vaneeza Ahmad, Nadia Khan. Veena Malik, Mahnoor Baloch or Amna Haq. So why is it that average women are not represented in mass media formats? It¡¯s actually a simple answer. Idealized beauty standards are seen everywhere from commercials, to TV shows and movies. We are constantly being bombarded with advertising, opinions, images and stories which appear to be forcing us to conform to a specific image of how we are supposed to be, whether it be thinner, more intelligent or prettier, and no matter how much we try to persuade ourselves that we are...
The media industry in general and TV in particular is one that has a major effect on how young women are viewed in society. Young women often have roles as passive and vulnerable characters that tend to leave the tough, strong and assertive roles to men. Women¡¯s roles are written with irrelevant relationships – their characters¡¯ primary function is to please men. It is clear that images of young women in the media have a tremendous impact on young people everywhere. Whether it is through film, music, or any other mass media format the public is constantly pressured to fit into today¡¯s ideal of what beauty is. Young people are influenced to act like the characters they watch on TV. It seems that now more than ever in an industry obsessed with youth, there is no better way to describe what really matters than presenting feminine charms as the sellable commodity.
Fehmida Ki Kahani Ustani Rahat Ki Zabani is an unforgettable play and a yardstick to measure any future endeavours in drama writing, production and histrionics. The different strands of the story would centre round life¡¯s vicissitudes, characters from all walks of life, and lines that would be impregnated with philosophy and meaning that would permeate the heart, mind and soul of any viewer. The leanings of modern society depicted through strong characterization and brilliant histrionics would be handled deftly, and the end would portray a transfer of ideas and thoughts from the elderly to the younger, confused set. A complex of generation-gap issues and woman related dilemmas were handled in a most thought-provoking manner, something especially characteristic of Ashfaq Ahmed¡¯s plays.
The performance by Khurshid Shahid in this classical PTV plays continue to spellbind viewers even today, after several decades. One remembers her magnificence as an actor in the mother¡¯s role whose young daughter dies of depression. The play, Fehmida Ki Kahani Ustani Rahat Ki Zabani, is so compelling that despite being aired 20 years ago; it is still very popular with viewers.
Almost all of the scenes, including the last intense scene, were so moving that long after the scene was over, that viewers couldn¡¯t help crying. The story hovers round a middle class girl, Fahmida, the sensitive and pulsating daughter of a hard-working but school teacher called as Ustani Rahat. Fahmeeda tries to emulate the daughter of the affluent parents – their landlords and develops a sort of depression that ultimately takes her life.
Similarly, ¡°Baityian¡± is a typical drama highlighting woman issues. All the three daughters of a poor father are still to be wedded in a society where far from providing any social security, the social vultures are bent upon pouncing upon the poor souls. The hapless father is compelled to announce in the Masjid that he intends to marry off his daughters with any pious Muslim. The starkest social dilemma, the youngest one is married off to a person of the age of her father. More tragically, the so-called bridegroom has already a wife. One of them while looking for jobs, has to face many problems including getting permission to that effect from his father. When she gets one, she develops an understanding with a colleague, but the latter¡¯s parents do not allow him to marry her. The sister younger than the older one is of dark complexion and is unable to hunt any suitors for her.
Aahat (An Approaching Sound) is the story of a young couple, their dreams, social pressures and the consequences of having too many children too soon. The television drama of six one-hour episodes is an outstanding example of the success of the Enter-Educate concept in diffusing family planning messages. It marked the first highly visible collaboration between Pakistan TV and the National Population Program, signaling a positive change in high-level government commitment to family planning communication in Pakistan. As in many Muslim societies, family planning has long been considered too sensitive a topic for mass media. However, the overwhelmingly positive response that the drama received has quieted such misconceptions and given high visibility to family planning. Originally scripted in Urdu, followed by an English subtitled version, the drama was broadcast on Pakistan Television (PTV) beginning October 1, 1991. Aahat, a drama woven out of the human issues at the heart of family welfare, was shaped by key research findings on the process of family planning decision-making. The drama aimed at increasing husband-wife communication on issues of birth spacing and increasing demand for contraceptive services.

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