Coming up with a list for our ‘Top 5 PTV Classics’ video has been one of the most difficult things I’ve done for The Kollective. And while the titles mentioned in the video are all definitely worth watching. Still, we couldn’t stop there.
For this list, we’re looking at some of the best shows that aired on PTV. Rather than focusing on a particular genre, what we’re looking at is their impact and originality. Again, I have to add that I couldn’t have compiled this list without the help of my mother Saamia Kazi (thank you mom!) So here we go, this is our list of PTV’s best shows.
An early showcase of master puppetry, Kaliyan was a late seventies children’s programme with some surprisingly intelligent commentary. It utilised short sketches to raise pertinent questions and impart some timeless lessons into the minds of its young viewers.
Perhaps its most important contribution though was a puppet with a knack for sarcasm. Created and voiced by Farooq Qaiser, Uncle Sargam first appeared on Kaliyan and was such a hit that he eventually bagged multiple appearances on other PTV programmes.
4. Sohail Rana’s musical programmes
Sohail Rana will always be one of the country’s premier musical geniuses, in no small part because of the list of his students which includes Alamgir, the Benjamin Sisters, and Nazia and Zohaib Hassan.
The musical shows that he conducted for PTV for 19 years are also atop the list of his achievements. They introduced us to such classic songs as ‘Dosti Aisa Nata’ and ‘Sohni Dharti’ which have become vital parts of our national culture.
His children’s programmes were particularly significant as they unearthed treasures like a young Afshan Ahmed, who would go on to sing for a number of advertisement jingles and commercial songs.
3. Neelam Ghar
A game show that simultaneously introduced mass audience participation and opened up a new revenue stream for the network, Neelam Ghar was a game changer for a number of reasons.
While it relied on general knowledge and multiple question rounds, yet the addition of commercial sponsorships and extravagant prizes in a way not seen before in the region meant that it was unlike other game shows.
It was also loved for host Tariq Aziz’s enthusiastic hosting style. While it celebrated its 300th episode in 2012 (renamed Bazm-e-Tariq Aziz) still its pre-nineties run will always be how most people remember it.
2. Silver Jubilee
Anwar Maqsood’s hosting gigs for PTV will always have a special place in the network’s archives. And while he took up the post for a number of projects over the years, but Silver Jubilee continues to be special. It functioned as a variety program consisting of interviews and live performances. And with a guest list including the legendary Madam Noor Jahan, Waheed Murad and Mohammad Ali, and early performances by the likes of Sajjad Ali, it is easy to see why this show made it onto this list.
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Often when people talk about the ‘golden days’ of Pakistani television programmes, they are quick to single out a signature intelligence that seems to have disappeared with the bygone days. And since this list is laden with nostalgia, hence it seems only fair to reserve the top spot for a programme that relied entirely on wealth of knowledge of a handful of scholars.
The names Obaidullah Baig, Iftikhar Arif, Ghazi Salahuddin and Quraish Pur became the country’s most popular intellectuals because of the quiz show Kasauti. Their extensive knowledge of history, literature, geography and environmental sciences coupled with their distinguished personalities made this an act that would prove impossible to follow, and simultaneously make all the gentlemen household names.
It would inspire parodies (including one by Fifty Fifty) but could never be matched in its aptitude.
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