Dramas in 2020 will be remembered for their winning stories, or winning viewer ratings, unfortunately, the 2 rarely go together. Find out why!
There were 2 types of dramas made in 2020
Those with a story to tell…and those with ratings to boast… if you knew where you want to be, you script it accordingly.
Jalan might lie in the second boat but, that’s not to say it has no story. Oh it has a story alright. Just not one that many were happy to begin with…but hold on, that didn’t stop them from watching it … including yours truly!
Unfortunately, drama writers in Pakistan have had to bow down to channel pressures of producing content that delivers high audience ratings despite being highly sensational and, at times, (shallow)?
Hence they resort to a sure-shot winning formula to guarantee maximum views … it’s not hard, and we’ll show you how!
5 Ingredients that make Pakistani dramas a hit on the ratings game.
If you didn’t know this, you do now. We’ll use Jalan as a lab example. We could of course, have used Mere Paas Tum Ho, but let’s move with the times, and men (and women) – Emaad Irfani and Nisha are totally today, if you know what I mean! Fret not, we’ll throw in MPTH as a test sample too, so no one feels left out!
1. Add A Hint Of Extra Marital Relationships
Jalan picked up where Mere Paas Tum Ho left off. Nothing works like watching a prohibited relationship play out onscreen in the midst of your very sacred living room, where children might have been battling out a Rocket League or Minecraft play merely an hour ago. The human mind likes to go where it is forbidden. Many watched Jalan while criticizing the plot, under the garb of – because – we want to see what happens next?
Call it boredom, lack of creative ideas and scripts, or … an irresistible urge to give in to channel ratings – that’s how the formula wins, and so far, no one is changing it!
2. Make it more cringeworthy by throwing in a very, very close familial bond, and sullying it
Jalan might have followed in MPTH footsteps, but this time, they decided to turn up the volume (cringe factor?) by bringing in the behen and behnoi factor. You’d think it would be a turn off but no, – defend our writers. This is the winning ingredient – the one you must have to bag the gold & thrive on the ratings!
When last I checked, Jalan had crossed 5Million views on a recent episode and Mere Paas Tum Ho – well, they say the one who does it first does it best! And MPTH definitely wins in the views department there! (While Jalan, Nand etc. might just be cashing in on the spillover effect?)
3. Create a character that defies societal norms & family pressure to act like there’s no day of reckoning
Mehwish was carved from stone, chiseled, sculpted and shaped to perfection – and then came Nisha … wow, ever imagine what would happen if Mehwish and Nisha were to meet in the after life? Mere Paas Kuch Bhi Nahi Sirf Jalan Hai! – Oops Apologies for the cheesy title lekin aaj kal ka tau kuch theek nahi – Nand bhi tau chal raha hai aakhir kaar, and bringing in the views!
4. Kill off a key character
Danish kicks the bucket right in the final episode to finish off in epic(?) mode and Meenu did it earlier, perhaps to drive home the horror – but this prime ingredient – the death of a key cast member all but drives through commercial success for your (very) commercial and slightly (?) creative venture.
5. Make sure the hero has his day and the villain suffers
This will ensure the end game (and final episode(s) views peak to bring in the ahem – big bucks! MPTH witnessed the hero’s death, that too, is an end option, but not before relished the downfall of Shehwar and Mehwish. Nisha in Jalan follows in Shehwar’s footsteps, and is about to embark on the path of no return and bitter misery? Asfand of course, will follow repentance in due course as Ahmer is all set to draw in the winnings!
It is quite fantastical how many people will tune in just to watch the villain suffer, to ensure that he/she gets his day of reckoning – sweet revenge is perhaps sweeter in drama time and makers have definitely billed that as a sure winner!
So that’s it with our 5 ingredient winning strokes for dramas that made it to the top in 2020. Was this a cynical look at the state of our entertainment industry? No, not really, it was a true reflection of the state of our audience, who will be attracted to sensational content like bees to honey – and if we throw in a PEMRA ban for a week or so – you just aced that production – coz we’ll all want to know … what happens next??? The following episode is a sure winner!
Can we ever break the formula? It’s hard to tell. While some dramas have catered to sensational content, dramas like Bikhray Moti, Ghissi Pitti Mohabbat, Pyar Kay Sadqay have done their job, and gifted us breakthrough content. Perhaps classic drama reruns might help jog our memory to recall what our drama industry is capable of achieving, if only, we stop playing the numbers game!