Why Does Everything on TV Revolve Around Weddings?
If you turn on a Pakistani channel, there is a high chance you are going to hear the word “shadi” pretty soon. Whether it’s the news channels giving unnecessarily long news reports about a celebrity wedding, filled with some cheesy Bollywood numbers, or a Pakistani drama where heroines are only shown to battle problems revolving around marriages; and morning shows that organize Shadi Weeks and bridal makeup competitions; it would seem Pakistani media has nothing better to talk about.
Pakistani dramas of the past used to be internationally acclaimed for the complexity of plots and unforgettable characters. Case in point; Waris, Manchalay ka Sauda, Tanhaiyan and many more. However, with so many channels working to grab the audience’s attention, the quality of Pakistani dramas has visibly declined.
Using the same repetitive plots, and paying no attention to the current social problems, from comedy telefilms to soap operas, all revolve around marriages. Heroines are shown as diffident figures trying to land a good rishta or battling post-marital problems with an evil Saas. Some would say these dramas only work to put more pressure on already struggling liberal women of the day, who are trying to meet their career goals instead of limiting themselves to making gol rotis.
Its the 21st century and Pakistani media are still using weddings to get ratings. However, a part of the problem is our society loves all the gossip and pomp surrounding a wedding, and media is just using this national fascination with everything to do with weddings to get more viewers. The increasing trend of large, fancy weddings with their promotion on social media, is not helping matters.
The Pakistani film industry is in the process of revival, there is still a long way to go before we come anywhere close to our neighbors or Hollywood. Recently several people have begun to criticize the film industry that most directors are using formula films to do business on Eids and national holidays. As apparent from the major films released in 2019, there are two favorite topics; Pakistani army and you guess it; weddings.
A simple example; two of the most popular movies that released on Eid-ul-Adha 2019; Paray Hut Love, and Wrong Number 2 both had similar themes revolving around weddings, although quite different in stories. A vast majority of the population flocked to cinemas to see these movies and enjoyed them too.
The problem here is, it was the formula movies after the massively successful Maula Jutt that led to the decline of the cinema in the first place. Is it reasonable to try to revive it using another kind of formula? How long would the Pakistani audience enjoy the rom-com movies about weddings before they stop coming to the cinema again? A vast number of people tune in to morning shows. Instead of using them to instigate positive social change, media is pandering the same message of excessive spending on marriages, and promoting unreasonable beauty standards.
As we are nearing the end of the decade, maybe our media needs to set its priorities straight and use the dramas, movies, and news shows to help create a better, more tolerant society that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the developed countries of the world.
There are plenty of topics that can be covered by films and dramas. One great example is the upcoming Sarmad Khoosat’s film Zindgi Tamasha, which seems to be neither a rom-com nor does it only revolve around large, lavish weddings.