Held back by the past

Imagine dangling in mid air, with no ground to place your feet and nothing to hold on to. Even if you keep on trying to find some sort of support, the pain, the suffocation and the darkness ends up engulfing you and everything is finished. Just like that, your identity vanishes. That is what happens when you let go of your past. Or most people think it does.

Admittedly, it is hard to leave old ways behind. Sometimes people don’t even realise that their precious customs are what’s holding them back. Such is their loyalty to the past. Those who do realise it, refuse to accept that and hold on to old practices even more fiercely. For them, letting go of the past is an unimaginable horror.  But the bitter truth is that the past, no matter how precious, is gone, and nothing you do can change it. To try to remain in the a time that is long gone is a futile exercise that only results in you being cornered by the society since you fail to keep up. Surely there are things that must not be forgotten. Lessons, both good and bad, must be learned from history but that is that.

Being regressive is like a fatal disease. It stunts growth. Holding on to traditions blindly is one of the reasons of this malady. Yet many of us tend to follow this practice. We refuse to move forward and then complain when others get ahead of us.

Change is vital. Everything, human nature, ecosystems, norms, laws needs to change with the passage of time. To expect, to try to keep things the way they were before isn’t healthy. Inability to develop and evolve only leads to extinction. So while people think they are preserving their identity, they are actually ruining it. Stagnant water is always a source of germs and diseases. It is always the water that keeps flowing, that stays clean and sustains life.

Till people, and society as a whole, learn to accept change and move forward, they will continue to serve those who leave their past behind and will eventually perish. As Iqbal puts it:

To be afraid of the new ways, to insist on the old ones

This is the only difficult stage in the life of nations

Zindagi – reactions across the border

Zindagi, an entertainment channel launched in India a while ago, has aired several Pakistani serials, all of which were popular with audiences on both sides of the border. It’s a very proud moment for us, we have a strong drama industry and this move is certainly going to improve relations between the two countries as they will be able to see the similarities in the lifestyles of the two populations and india will be able to see the real face of Pakistan, one that is positive. All in all, Zindagi’s effort has garnered positive reactions from both the rival countries and has helped in breaking stereotypes. All of this has been said over and over again.

While I’m very happy that our serials are receiving their much deserved glory, I can’t help but notice a vast difference in the reaction of Indian and Pakistani audience. The Indian audience welcomed the new content instead of protesting against it and weren’t hesitant in admitting that our drama industry is stronger than theirs. They openly appreciate that the serials aren’t endless and stick to a storyline till the end instead of wavering here and there.


As Zindagi Gulzar Hai’s ‘grand finale’ aired in India last night, viewers poured their reactions on Twitter and on Zindagi’s Facebook page biding a bitter-sweet farewell to a much loved serial. Zaroon and Kashaf had become part of their lives and imagining their evening without them is plain heartbreaking for most.

“British Pakistani Actor-Model, Sanam Saeed is one of the strongest actors the Pakistani TV and film industry has to offer. She has played many characters that have been critically acclaimed, including her role in Zindagi Gulzar Hai and Mera Naseeb. Her character of Kashaf Murtaza in the show Zindagi Gulzar Hai (ZGH) that aired on Zindagi channel became extremely popular and she says that people still call her ‘Kashaf’ sometimes…” Sanam Saeed’s intro on dnaindia.com.

Similar reactions were seen when Aunn Zara ended on 12th of July.

This is in stark contrast to the reactions we get from Pakistan’s audience every time a channel airs foreign content, especially Indian dramas. The latter takes seconds in resorting to abuse. The biggest argument is that showing ‘Hindu’ culture on our screens is actually corrupting our traditions and values. Anyone who dares to ask them to define what exactly they think is Pakistani culture, is labeled as an agent of the enemy.

However, they don’t seem to have any problem in rejoicing over ‘Muslim’ culture being aired on an Indian channel. Yes there are Muslims in India, a huge number of them, but there are more Hindus than Muslims and they have the wits to appreciate the difference in culture, whether it is digesting the fact that Kashaf’s father had two wives or that Aunn’s dadi reads Quran every day.

The reaction of the media on both sides is different as well. When Urdu 1 aired Turkish dramas, UPA held constant protests and condemned the channel on social media as well. Despite frequent reiteration that our industry is better than most, the fraternity felt insecure. On the other hand, since the time Pakistani serials have gained popularity on the other side of the border, top news papers and websites have done features and articles supporting the new channel along with publishing several interviews of Pakistani actors who were a part of serials that were aired.

Samina Peerzada’s interview on india.com

Reasons to watch ZGH

Indian celebs reaction to Pakistani serials on Zindagi: Bye-bye unending television dramas, welcome Zindagi

More to come on Zindagi

Connecting with artists across the border

and much more.

Admittedly, it’s a fantastic breakthrough for Pakistan’s television industry since it offers an all new audience that is eager to watch the serials that they find refreshing after their endless soaps. Hopefully our industry will grow and be appreciated internationally. And hopefully the Indian audience will like Maat, Noorpur Ki Rani, Behadd and all the amazing serials lined up for them on Zindagi. And even more hopefully, it will serve as a reality check for us and encourage us to be more accepting and tolerant towards change.

This summer’s agenda: Finding Na Maloom Afraad

I’m never really excited about the release of a Pakistani film.  Even though the movies are good, most of them show what we see in our daily lives: destruction in Pakistan. There is no fantasy, we are not transported to another world and once we are done watching the movie, we are more depressed than happy. The ‘feel good’ factor is missing. This summer, however, things are different. With so many movies, all of different genres coming out, I can’t help but anticipate the release of most of them. One of those movies is Na Maloom Afraad.

Let’s start with the cast. The film brings both old and new faces on screen, many of whom are renowned for their talent on television. Fahad Mustafa, Javed Sheikh and Mohsin Abbas Haider play the leading trio of miscreants who struggle to get away with their eccentric and destructive plans, undetected. Urwa Hocane is the female lead who will be playing Fahad Mustafa’s love interest while Salman Shahid will appear as a villain.



The film is set in the most happening city of Pakistan. Yes you guessed it: Karachi. Fahad Mustafa’s character seems to be the lead miscreant who leads his friends in bizarre situations that usually lead to havoc. Javed Sheikh is the innocent one, who keeps trying to fit in and stay away from trouble at the same time. Mohsin Abbas Haider is apparently the chill dude who just likes to go with the flow without giving a damn about what would happen later.

Now, if the cast is not enough to excite you, I don’t know what is. Oh no, actually I do. Mehwish Hayat, the glamour queen, appears as guest star and will apparently be doing an item number. Now you are perking up.



But there is more coming. Have you seen the trailer yet?

Na Maloom Afraad’s trailer is one of the most exciting ones I’ve seen so far. And yes, that includes Kambakht’s trailer too (it doesn’t mean I won’t watch it though). It starts with a dramatic ‘kehte hain hartaloun mai sab ka bura hota hai. Par hamara bhala hone wala tha,’ accompanied by clips of burning buses and people running in panic and is followed by a tensed Fahad Mustafa and his two peeps. And then begins the excitement.

The trailer includes all the elements that would encourage you to make plans to go and watch the movie when it comes out. It makes the viewer anticipate how much more the story holds and how each character will develop and affect the situation at hand. The 2.50 minute trailer is jam packed with chaos, romance, dance, humour and glamour and ends with the three mischief makers sitting on a roof identifying the unidentified persons that are so common in Karachi:

‘Na maloom afraad? Wo kahan se ayen ge?’

‘Wo ham hain!’


Email: farwa.rants@gmail.com