Writers, intellectuals call for end of cheap comedy

Making fun of Mughal Era in TV shows

Zubair Qureshi

It is said life is 3/4th seriousness and 1/4th humour or entertainment. In some countries people find more time to laugh and enjoy than work. In Pakistan, however, there are very few moments devoted to genuine entertainment. Most of the time, the comedy shows at private TV channels instead of bringing smile, annoy and offend us. Recently during a survey this has been learnt that most of our writers and leading intellectuals have disassociated with what is being shown in the name of comedy in TV shows. They have expressed their dismay at prevailing trend of ridiculing Mughal rulers in comedy shows. One can see every night from 11 p.m. to 12 Midnight, a bunch of comedians attired like Mughal rulers doing cheap comedy. The poor comedians seldom know that instead of making the viewers laugh, they are provoking them to switch off or move to next channel.
Mazharul Islam, the leading writer and intellectual of our country when asked to comment on this trend, said by ridiculing Akbar the Great and his associates, we are in a way disassociating ourselves from our golden past. Speaking high of the great Mughal rulers, Mazharul Islam said Musghals ruled India for over 300 years from 1525 to 1857 and contributed significantly to the cultural, political, economic and military might of the subcontinent. Even today, Mughal architect continues to allure people from all across the world. Besides the cuisine pleasures of that time are cherished and experimented by chefs of international chains of hotels. He called for change in mindset of those running the affairs of the TV channels particularly those at the creative side. When asked why we started ridiculing our past, he said this is not an overnight tendency, rather it is the result of cultural erosion that has taken place during the last three decades. First we discarded our writers and poets as our role models. Then we started idealizing the cricket and showbiz stars. Now we are looking at TV anchors and comedians with awe and inspiration, said Mazharul Islam terming it a very dangerous sign in society. The poor writers, poets and intellectuals are on the backburner and the space is free for cheap comedians and roaring anchors.
Another eminent writer, critic and intellectual Hameed Shahid also criticized the prevailing trend in our comedy shows. There was a time when our TV programmes, especially comedy shows were seen with keen interest not only in Pakistan but also in the neighbouring countries.
He referred to ‘50-50’ the all time sensation and a trend setter in comedy. Roads were deserted and people gave up all their activities at the time the comedy show, said Hameed Shahid. That was a comedy with creativity, he said while today’s comedy is abusive and dark. Our TV channels have brought stage artists who are mostly insensitive to the family sensibilities and keep annoying the viewers with below the belt jokes and pranks, said Hameed Shahid.
Hameed Shahid called upon the regulator and the management of the TV channels to put a complete ban on such TV shows as are creating confusion and misleading the people especially our youth.

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