Paki Oprah Winfreys

Pakistan and its obsession with politics is not coming to an end anytime soon. With colourful characters like Altaf Hussain (the drama queen), Asif Ali Zardari (the ultimate don), Imran Khan (the bad boy-turned-messiah), Zulfiqar Mirza (the underdog/wannabe hero) and Nawaz Sharif (the old fogey)… the storyline beats any Star Plus drama! But one of the root causes of this obsession stem from the lack of entertainment in the country. Almost all talk shows broadcasted on local channels consist of a greasy looking, right wing host pretending to show an interest in what the issue is, when in fact, they’re more excited to be able to view their political guests fighting like rabid dogs in the flesh. Our infotainment news hardly ever consists of anything Pakistani, perhaps because due to security and moral issues that our arts have died a sad death – Zia must be celebrating in (heaven or hell, depends on where you stand with regards to him).

Oh fudge!

But there have been efforts to distract the nation from this unhealthy obsession and no, I am NOT talking about those mind-numbingly boring cooking shows. I’m talking about our very own desi versions of Oprah Winfrey. Nadia Khan, Zainab Qayyum and Juggun Kazim are but a few examples of dealing with issues that plague our society apart from politics and providing some form of relief and in certain cases, headaches, for Pakistani viewers. Good or bad, one has to applaud their effort (and the ability to take themselves seriously – Nadia *cough* Khan *cough*).

She’s cute (according to some…) and she’s got a good mouth… while talking, that is. Nadia Khan’s ability to talk non-stop is unbelievable and not only did it get her viewers and popularity but it also got her into trouble (more on this later).

In roughly 3 minutes, this girl could go from greeting her viewer(s) in Urdu and English, instructing them to enjoy their breakfast, before breaking into a sermon about Ramadan, continuing with her weekly agenda ,to whining about not doing her show when she’s ill, to lecturing her viewers that when she’s sick they should still be grateful because they still get to see other episodes, to complaining about how they depend on her too much and should be able to live without her… *gasp* … to listing off the people she’s had on her show in the past week, to advertising some super hit drama with a super hit cast which has a super hit storyline and a super hit style…*gasp*… and she goes on to list her ‘intellectual’ guests she’s had on her show, to admitting to not undertstanding what a particular motivation speaker was talking about (either he’s really bad at his job or she’s just a dud!) and I quote she says about the experience, “Mujhe kya baat karni chahiye thi aur kya ho sakta hai”.

Famous. Last. Words.

Because it seems it was this very mouth and her blabbering which caused Nadia Khan’s downfall. And all her popularity in the world could not save her either. Pakistani actress Noor was to appear on the show and just before heading onto the set, her husband showed up demanding to know why she was there and what the interview was about. Upon seeing Noor being harassed by her husband Nadia Khan decided to step in and ‘save’ her guest by threatening to call the police and telling the man off that this was not “his country“ where he could treat a woman in such a particular manner. The entire scene was caught on camera and supposedly broadcast on the show.

Consequently Noor’s husband filed a lawsuit againt Nadia Khan, which eventually culminated in a ban on her show by the UAE government.

Zainab Qayyum is best known for her Jerry Springer-esque show. Aptly named “Maachis” for its fiery background and topics, Zainab Qayyum (or ZQ as she is popularly known) went into the deep end of television when she decided to take on sensitive and at times frivolous issues, which actually end up doing substantive damage. On and off screen.

Bringing on families to discuss the filth that characterised their daily lives and leaving the judging to the audience, Maachis was often sad and provided little entertainment in terms of a laugh. But it was an important show because it gave an crucial insight to what the real Pakistani mindset is, beyond the glitz and glamour that “enlightened moderates” are so eager to promote. And what shocking insights we got of the people of this land of the pure. Pure sadness. Issues that seem so mundane in the global affair of things but are firm obstacles in our country’s progress will continue to plague us. Too bad this show came to an end. Unfortunately, the video format for this show was such that we couldn’t upload it, but you can watch all three parts here, here and here.

Juggun Kazim, that chirpy voice, the dazzling smile and of course natural beauty… she seemed to have all the aesthetic qualities needed for a talk show host. But Juggun also has substance, something which she began developing when she hosted her first show, Beanbag.

But what makes her show enjoyable is that unlike a couple of other talk show hosts, she actually allows her guests to answer her questions and gives them the room to put in their two cents. Juggun’s friendly nature, on and off screen, easily puts her guests to ease causing them to relax and not answer woodenly which is so important in a live show . Here in this clip she interviews the controversial Veena Malik. But what makes it enjoyable is that despite the controversial figure she brings forth a softer side, a lighter side causing views of all backgrounds to appreciate the host and the guest in a positive manner. – something which other shows, political or otherwise could try to achieve.

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Categories: Celebrities, Movies & TV

Author:Mehr F Husain

Mehr F Husain was Features Editor of The Friday Times. She lives out of a suitcase.

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