Obscene plays invade cable TV
PESHAWAR, Feb 9: Brimful of violence and vulgarity, Pushto CD dramas are being shown by cable operators right under the nose of the regulatory authorities.
Having all alluring ingredients of a Pashto action movie, these dramas, produced by local production houses, are getting popular among citizens.
“Hardly any different from Pashto movies subject-wise, the CD dramas are full of violent fight sequences, vulgar dances and obscene dialogues, and are shown without any censorship,” said a film critic.
Despite the existence of a Council of Complaints (COC) under the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) in the NWFP, these dramas are shown on CD channels without any check.
“The COC has the authority to take action on public complaints by seizing the system or imposing a fine of up to Rs100,000 on those running the channels showing vulgar CD dramas. However, Pemra is not as effective as it should be,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
Five to 15 dramas are released on CD weekly, said drama producers in Nishtarabad — a local market which has turned into a CD drama production centre of late.
A CD drama is produced at a cost of Rs50,000 to Rs100,000 and usually takes about a week to complete, according to data collected from Nishtarabad.
Local artistes, who had become jobless after the closure of Nishtar Hall on the orders of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal government, are now working in these CD dramas and earning quite a handsome amount.
“Working simultaneously on two to three dramas, some of the seasoned artistes are earning between Rs20,000 and Rs25,000 a week,” said a Nishtarabad source associated with the business.
Sarwat Ali, a TV drama artiste who has worked in CD dramas, said many junior actresses and extra artistes had no other option but to work in these dramas to earn their livelihood. She said since her experience of working in them was not very good, she was now staying away.
“Most of the producers and directors of CD dramas are illiterate and know nothing about art,” she said.
“Through these dramas, Pushto stage actresses have become dancers and dancers have become actresses,” she said.Ms Ali also criticised cable operators for telecasting such dramas without any censorship.
“Portraying women as sex objects, these dramas are plaguing the impressionable minds of our youngsters,” she said.
According to an official, a CD channel licencee is bound to show the stuff to Pemra 14 days prior to disseminating it through the cable network.
However, with the staff of only 12 people, Pemra could not keep an effective check on the 116 cable operators functioning across the NWFP, including 30 in Peshawar, he added.
“In many cases, the Pemra staff has to succumb to the influence of cable operators,” he said.
Director-producer Tariq Jamal alias Rokhanay, who is also the president of an artistes welfare organisation Awaz, said that non-professional people knowing nothing about art and production had started making CD dramas.
“Our organisation had raised the issue with the authorities concerned, proposing the constitution of a committee comprising senior citizens and artistes to scrutinise these productions, but to no avail at all. A response from the authorities is still awaited,” he said.