The popularity of Pakistani dramas has been huge ever since the beginning of their production in the 1960’s. These television shows gather large audiences in front of the TV screen not only in Pakistan, but also in India and the Middle East. Thanks to the modern means of communication, they can be watched from any corner of the globe. Traditionally, they have covered topics such as love and the achievements of famous people, but recently they have started to touch upon various social issues as well.
The Main Features
Most Pakistani dramas have traditional format. They fall into two main categories. These include telenovelas, which tell one story in many episodes, and anthology series, which tell a different story in every episode. There are also miniseries, but they are not as common as their counterparts. Most series are in Urdu, but there are ones in other languages spoken in the country as well.
While these series have traditional formats, they have unique length. They typically end in less than one year. They do not have hundreds of episodes like the popular Western soap operas. They do not have seasons like the traditional anthology series. The small length is actually considered a benefit since the risk of audiences getting bored with a show is extremely low.
The drama series cover a range of topics. The traditional ones include love and romance, family ties, betrayal and honor. In recent years, the shows have began to cover socially important topics like domestic violence, child marriages, racism and the fight against terrorism. Most series are based on novels which are adapted for television, but this is not always the case.
The Main Genres
Romance is undoubtedly the most popular genre for Pakistani dramas. It includes recent award-winners like Zindagi Gulzar Hai and Aunn Zara. It has two main subcategories. The first one is middle-class drama which typically tells the story of two people fighting for their love in an urban setting. The pastoral dramas take place in a rural setting and focus on the romance of two people who come from different social and financial backgrounds and fall in love.
The adolescence or teen dramas are focused on the difficulties associated with the transfer from childhood to adulthood. The historical dramas usually tell the stories of famous people or describe important historic events. The thriller series most often include crime resolution. Dramedy is a genre which offers a mix between drama and comedy. Its popularity is constantly growing thanks to shows like Rasgullay.
Production and Airing
The TV channels in the country are the major producers of Pakistani dramas. The series have traditionally been made in Lahore. It is also known as Lollywood as it is the film production capital of the country. Each one of the major TV channels including ARY Digital, Hum TV, Geo TV and Urdu 1 airs its own series. Most of the channels can be watched internationally as well as locally. It is also possible to watch the episodes of the drama series online after they have been aired on television.
Given its long history and its major growth, the local industry is producing ever better Pakistani dramas in terms of script, direction and acting.