Pakistani media has always been through many difficult times since the inception of country. Whether they are draconian laws by military regimes or the demands of ban and from the various religious and political faction of society
Pakistan news media, television and films often comes under the scissors of censors of which recent example is the orders to ban on-aired drama serial Jalan on ARY Digital by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) under section 27 of PEMRA ordinance, because of containing material which is against the social and religious norms of our society. They claim to take this decision after getting many complaints from public and several warning to the channel regarding changes in the script of drama according to Pakistani culture.
Earlier, the authority issued notice to ban re runs of drama serials Ishqiya (ARY Digital) and Pyar Ke Sadqay (HUM TV) on the same grounds. The latter got huge ratings and popularity from public.
Two of these dramas tell the story of girls having a fondness or affair with their brother in laws while one has a villain who openly desires for her daughter in law.
The producers of Jalan wrote petition in Sindh High Court, which gave them stay order against the PEMRA’s decision and the transmission of the drama continues.
The question arise her do the PEMRA or other censor bodies have the right to moral policing of the content on national media and or going beyond the jurisdiction law has designated it.
Media Analyst and the then Minister of Information And Broadcast Javed Jabbar, while talking to Pakistan Today exclusively on the role of PEMRA said “PEMRA has the right to warn and ban content on electronic media of country that is explicitly violent, vulgar and obscene in unusual way. But in the case of the recent ban on dramas, it has mishandled and misused its authority as none of these shows have any material which falls under the explanation of ‘against religious and social norms’ in the draft of PEMRA.”
He further said that what PEMRA could do was to abide the channels to mark it PG13 or PG18, if the program contain any sensational content so the parents and viewers should be cautious before consuming it.
Jabbar was of the view that there was a certain segment of society (a few in numbers) which is also political in nature shows their concern about these things to demonstrate their nuisance value and these censor boards and authorities instead of answering to their complaints, gets nervous and starts issuing notice to channels and filmmakers.
“In general, Pakistani viewers are very liberal when it comes to the variety of content on media,” he added.
Renowned Historian and columnist Nadeem Farooq Paracha said these kind of bans on drmas and films show the general middle class morality Pakistan which is confused between modernity and religion.
About PEMRA, Paracha said according to law, the authority has no right to intrude in what should and what should not be run on national television channels and to point out someone’s creation as immoral and irreligious.
“It is an open insult to the writers and viewers who have written it and watched it.”
Farooq asked would bar dramas and films and other programs lessen the ratio of consuming adult and porn material, abundantly available online or are these dramas the reason of climbing rate of rape and divorces in society.
He said it reminds him of the draconian rule of General Zia-ul-Haq, which had serious restriction and censors on state television and films.
“It shows incompetency of the government that instead of concerning about the real issues of country like health, education, utilities and law & order, asking PEMRA to issue notices to channels.”
Sultana Siddiqui, President Hum Network Limited, thought that drama serial ‘Pyar Kay Sadqay’ was a piece of art and should be placed in academy.
Siddiqui admitted that there must be some complaints about the said drama and PEMRA might be playing its role but there should be some logical support to their decisions.
“PEMRA also issued a letter ordering ban, when channel’s drama serial on child sexual abuse Udaari was on aired but in the end, it was called a historical play that raised the issue diligently. So the subject itself is not bad or good but the way you execute it.”
Siddiqui explained that the serial Pyar Ke Sadqay brought up issues like the complications arise from a second marriage of a woman, indicating man entering the house with ill intentions, and to guide women to raise their voice when a man makes unwanted advances whether he is her father in law.
Absar Aalam, Former Chairman PEMRA said, “PEMRA has the right to ban any program if it violates the interests for which the authority has been made the custodian to protect.”
He explained the function of Council of Complaint (appointed in Punjab and Sindh) under PEMRA which suggests that what action should be taken in the specific case.
The former Chairman said that in his time, PEMRA received a lot of complaints from public about Udaari, a drama serial on child sexual abuse for “the longer scenes of committing crimes’ so they issued only show cause notice to channel to cut those certain sequences short keeping the context of story intact.
Yashma Gill Raises Voice for Rape Survivors with new Project
The Phaans leading lady Yashma Gill has been making waves after her latest initiative ‘Ab Aur Khaamosh Nahi Reh Saktay’ – which is her way of standing up and using her voice for the victims of sexual harassment and rape.
Keeping in mind the ongoing debacle around victim-blaming, silencing, and rape culture, Yashma Gill used the theme of her own project ‘Phaans’ to come up with this project, where she is seen urging the victims to raise their voice, and the masses to stand with the ones who have been silenced. Her project ‘Phaans’ where she is seen playing the sister of the accused has been projecting the same opinions and values – which Yashma Gill is now taking forward.
With the Instagram video, the actress penned down an emotional note, saying, “I wanted to help bring a new perspective to this mindset and belief system that revolves around rape culture. I wanted to try to provide a platform and for the people of our country to understand that this blame game and stigmatisation surrounding the victim needs to stop.”
She has gone on to show her support for the victims and is trying to make a difference – letting the people know that it is important to raise their voice for issues like these. This is not the first time the actress has done something like this – as she is always seen using her platform to voice out her opinions regarding various social evils and problems that exist in our country.
Zubab Rana Steals the show in a fun new short film – ‘Twisted Sapnay’
When the 16-minute short comedy film Twisted Sapnay was released on digital earlier this week, there had been more than one reason we were looking forward to it. Though, the main reason that took us by surprise was when Zubab Rana (who has been stealing our hearts for quite some time with her gorgeous looks) also stole the entire show!
‘Twisted Sapnay’ as the name suggests, is a short comedy film about dreams within dreams – within dreams. Yep, that’s right. We won’t lie – how we actually ended up watching this film was also because of Zubab Rana – when a hilarious clip of hers started circulating on social media – where she is seen in an entirely new avatar and fluently speaking Punjabi. The whole scene turned into a meme, and it was downright hilarious.
Zubab Rana, in the film, plays the role of the housemaid – who walks in on the house owner and his girlfriend (who are clearly having an affair) – and well, that is when her hilarious monologue that has taken over the internet starts. Twisted Sapnay is, without a doubt, another great film that has come out of the digital sphere – with some great actors starring in the film including Faizan Khawaja, Sonia Nazir, and Maryam Fatima. The star of the film though – has to be Zubab Rana, an actress we have seen is on a roll lately. After some killer performances in Fitrat and Bharaas, her singing debut on Kashmir Beats, it looks like Zubab Rana is going to have the best year of her career yet! We look forward to what else the starlet would be doing next.
Fruit Chaat Reinforces The Notion Of Women Empowerment
ZEE5 Global, the largest OTT platform for South Asian Content, recently announced the winners of its 2021 Global Content Festival. The contest announced 15 winners and among them a Pakistani short film ‘Fruit Chaat’ secured the third place.
Singapore-based independent filmmaker Shilpa K Shukla has emerged as the Global Content Festival Winner with 3 entries in the Drama films category ([email protected], Tashi and Dots) while Love Beyond Boundaries, a collection of incredible love stories by Filmmakers Ruchi Undevia and Aarti Trikannad (Dubai) got runner up position.
Fruit Chaat t is written and produced by Tanzila Khan, who has also played the lead role of Shabana while Moiz Abbas has directed it. The film highlights the hopes of Shabana, a newly-minted yet disabled graduate girl in Pakistan looking for opportunities, and all the limitations that society imposes on her encapsulated in a funny, heart-warming story.
The Daily Paperazzi reached to this young and talented duo and asked them about their project and winning it contest.
Q Why did you name it Fruit Chaat?
Tanzila- Fruit Chaat happens to be a very cultural thing in Pakistan. It has a typical flavour and colour. That is exactly what the character of Shabana is implying, ‘I am much more than what the world perceives me as. As a disabled person or a woman, I can create something so beautiful like Fruit Chaat and can take care of every relationship.”
Moiz – Just like a plate of Fruit Chaat, this film has many underlying flavours. When we make this into a series or a sequel, the audience will see the relevance of the name.
Q What was the inspiration behind the character of Shabana?
Tanzila – Shabana represents a very important segment of the society that is women, and a woman born with disabilities. It was very important to highlight what a woman with such disabilities can go through the life in Pakistan and in South Asian countries to be precise. She has the same desires and wishes as any normal girl and her disabilities amplify her experience but do not make her an odd one out.
Moiz – The Inspiration behind the character of Shabana is Tanzila Khan herself because Shabana is Tanzila Khan and Tanzila Khan is Shabana in Fruit Chaat. It’s a story of Tanzila Khan in reality, just like the character she managed to complete her graduation sitting in a wheelchair and was treated the same way as the HR treated Shabana, when she was looking out for a job. Ultimately, Tanzila opened her start-up named Girly Things which is operated throughout the country.
Q Do you think that your short film encompasses the message of women empowerment?
Tanzila –I think the first thing that we need to do, is to humanize women, give them the due credit for the contributions they have made and then the empowerment will sprout out in its own way. A woman has same ambitions, dreams that a man would have, and she should seek the same respect for whatever work she does. It could be housework, or being a great mother at home or a good boss in the office. Just allow women to be themselves and that what I think is empowerment.
Moiz – Yes, definitely. Our movie gives out a very clear message of women empowerment and states that no matter whatever the situation is, you can always conquer, and it has nothing to do with your gender. It is about women empowerment, her education, entrepreneurship and other choices in life. What you see Shabana, a hijabi girl completing her graduation on a wheelchair and also appearing for an interview where the panel tries to dominate and neglect her, simply because of her disabilities and gender but she paves her way to victory in the university and the interview as well. This is where she gets the Idea of entrepreneurship and decides to open her fruit stall where she sells fruit Chaat. It is all about how we want to see our women progress in society.
Q Why did you prefer the genre of comedy and satire for your film?
Tanzila- As a woman with a disability, I have been through a lot of ups and downs but keep myself sane because of my sense of humour with myself. I think comedy is a tool for improvement and getting through the challenges in life. Comedy is my way of life; it is my choice. I like people to understand the humor that I have and also simultaneously understand my experiences through that.
Moiz- Whenever we have talked about disabled people, we have portrayed them in the way that their lives are miserable and they are depressed all the time, which is not right. We have an example of Tanzila Khan, and Ms Mizaari, though are on a wheelchair, they seem happy. However, ups and downs are an inevitable part of everybody’s life regardless of the fact if they are physically disabled or not. We have drawn the character of Shabana from the life of Tanzila, and you will witness how happy and empowered that character is. We wanted to give out the message that Shabana can not only sell fruits but can also make good Fruit Chaat and do several other tasks just like a normal person. She made sure that her disability does not come in between her dreams.
Q How long did it take to shoot your short film and where was it shot?
Tanzila- It took us a day to shoot the entire film. We did the auditions a day before and had some training sessions the same day. The shoot was divided in three locations; one was in office, other was Al-Humara Community Center for Arts in Lahore, and the third location was just a roadside Fruit Chaat stall.
Moiz- Being an independent filmmaker in Pakistan, it was really very difficult. When we approached big production houses for help, they all neglected us by saying there is no point in this script or the film to be made. We had a firm belief in the story since the beginning so decided to make it ourselves. Tanzila started to collect funds for the movie and after a yearlong planning we were in a situation, where we could take it to the floors. We shot this 11 minutes long film in just 15 hours at different locations of Lahore.
Q Tell us about sending and winning this film to the Zee5 Global Content Contest Festival?
Tanzila- Initially, we had shared this film with ZEE5 Global to be aired on 3rd December which is the international day of disabled people. They saw some spark in the film and pushed it into their Global Content Festival which was happening around the same time. We provided them with all the necessary details and were not expecting further contact from them at all, but very soon received words of being shortlisted. The final excitement came when we were told about our inclusion in winner’s list. It became so much valuable for all of a sudden. The entire idea of being an international contest winner, and India recognizing talent from Pakistan was a great feeling. Last but not the least, the disability got the space that it deserved. One billion people in the world are having disabilities and it’s a huge number. So, having that artistic expression, presenting disability and winning, it’s a huge win for all those one billion people. We have also paved the way for independent filmmakers to work on more varied concepts.
Moiz- One of my friends tagged me in a post and on opening I realized it was about ZEE5 Global Content Festival. I then decided to send our film in this without any second thought. I had a belief that we will win as our dedication in the project was at 100%. Winning it was such a nice feeling. I feel that more such Global Content Festivals like the one with ZEE5 should be conducted, as they give a big platform to independent film makers like me to show case their work. I am grateful to the whole team of ZEE5.
All the winning films are being streamed on ZEE5 and free to watch for viewers across the globe at http://bit.ly/ZEE5GCFWinners.
To watch these films, the ZEE5 app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store. The app is also available on Samsung Smart TV, Apple TV, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com.
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