Pakistan was introduced to Turkish dramas with Ask-i Memnu (Ishq e Mamnoo) back in 2012. But Diriliş: Ertuğrul is a whole other story. This drama serial has dominated the conversation in Pakistan like no other TV series. So much that now we are re-evaluating what we want from our television dramas.
With Pakistani content failing to adapt, and the introduction of alternatives like streaming platforms, local TV productions need to do better. It’s no wonder that local content creators feel threatened by the influx of Turkish dramas.
Pakistan Television was not even considered as competition by the numerous private channels here. Until they started airing the Turkish period drama Diriliş: Ertuğrul that is. Now there is hardly anyone in Pakistan not following the series.
People who have already seen the globally acclaimed series are re-watching it in Urdu thanks to PTV. Once again people from the biz are hating on foreign content for ‘stealing their jobs’ and influencing their culture.
It’s odd how the Pakistani showbiz industry advocates Bollywood content as being good for the big screens, but at the same time, fear Turkish content dominating the small screens.
If Pakistani content creators want to keep up they better take notes from the Turks. Here are a few pointers
Invest in Better Narratives and Stories
We’re really tired of the same saas-bahu storylines revamped in one way or another. Whether it’s Koi Chand Rakh or Jo Tu Chahay, it’s largely the same narratives that people are bored of watching again and again.
Turkish dramas’ cover a range of stories from crime sagas like Ramo, to parenting and modern families as seen in Baba Candir, even complex love stories like the one seen in Kördügüm.
Make Content for the 21st Century
Why do our dramas keep making successful female characters give up their careers for love? Drama serials like Rabba Mainu Maaf Kareen showcase how creators are still unwilling to push for progressive values.
Meanwhile Turkish series are about living with the times. You can see how they treat subjects like divorce and co-parenting. We also see strong female characters in Turkish dramas. Case in point, check out the series Aglama Anne.
We Need New Lead Characters
With the same stories, we’ve largely seen the same leads in Pakistani dramas. Men usually dominate the lead roles, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Women should also get their moment in Pakistani dramas.
We also need good Muslim role models. So far we have seen religious male leads in Alif, Khuda Aur Mohabbat, etc. Perhaps someone should do the same for female leads too.
Diriliş: Ertuğrul changed the kind of heroes we want. It also introduced us to strong female leads. We do not see ‘good women’ as docile and passive, but rather headstrong and determined in their own right.
When these things are done right, the Pakistani drama industry can reach greater heights than never before. We do hope someone is paying attention to this.
Get Better Sets for Period Pieces
Although all Turkish series are very well made, nothing beats Turkish period pieces. While series like Muhtesem Yüzyil (Mera Sultan) and Muhtesem Yüzyil: Kösem (Kosem Sultan) required a lot of money and technology to shoot, series like Diriliş: Ertuğrul are examples of investing in smart production qualities.
They made the most out of their budget with an emphasis on the story rather than grandeur. Meanwhile, despite breaking the bank, Pakistani drama serials like Mor Mahal tanked.
Pakistani producers should definitely concentrate more on quality than quantity.