Pakistan has a weaker artistic and entertainment industry as compared to other popular industries such as Hollywood, Bollywood and Kollywood. It has not been able to make a mark in world cinema. However, its entertainment industry is still afloat – beating religious extremism and popular prejudices. Pakistani dramas began to be produced since the 1960s, and ever since they have been becoming more and more popular.
Most of these dramas center on a traditional theme. These can be divided into 2 major categories – telenovelas and anthology series. In the anthology series, every episode consists of a different story. In telenovelas, the same tales are continued across episodes. Most of these are shot in Urdu language, it being Pakistan’s national language.
Most of these generally revolve around the topics of famous people’s achievements, domestic issues and love. These days, dramas in Pakistan are also about social issues – such as domestic violence, child marriages, racism and terrorism. Many of the modern dramas also have other topics, such as betrayal, honor, romance and family ties. Most of the dramas are stories from novels that are adapted to be televised. Romance is one of the most popular genres of the TV series in Pakistan, and there are romantic TV series such as Zindagi Gulzar Hai and Aunn Zara that enjoy high viewership.
Generally, every drama does not go on for over 12 months. These do not have hundreds of episodes, as compared to the western soap operas. Other than this difference, these do not have seasons unlike the TV anthology series. The dramas have a shorter length to keep the interest of the audience preserved, and to avoid them from getting bored.
Most of these are produced by Pakistani TV channels. The majority of the TV series are shot in the city of Lahore, among the biggest Pakistani cities. Urdu 1, Hum TV, Geo TV and ARY Digital are some of the most popular TV channels in this country, where these soaps are telecast. Many of these can be viewed across the globe, although there are restrictions in some countries. Most of these are also uploaded on YouTube and other websites once these are telecast on these TV channels.
Today, these shows can be viewed even in countries such as India and in the Middle East. The Internet has made it more convenient for people across the world to watch these dramas.