Risqué subjects get banned easily: Ushna Shah

Risqué subjects get banned easily: Ushna Shah

by Pakistan News
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Actor Ushna Shah recently engaged in a thought-provoking Twitter exchange with a user who criticised the Pakistani drama industry for its lack of creativity and outdated storylines compared to international dramas. In her response, the Parizaad actor shed light on the challenges faced by the industry, including budget constraints, production monopolies, and frequent bans and restrictions imposed by regulatory bodies.

The conversation began when a Twitter user wrote, “Watching international dramas really brings into perspective how limited the Pakistani drama industry is in terms of stories. There is literally no creativity.”

They further lamented the prevalence of stereotypical characters such as scheming saas (mother-in-law), wailing bahu (daughter-in-law), and clueless men in local dramas.

However, Shah offered a detailed response that not only defended the industry, put production houses and PEMRA in the spotlight, but also put the onus on the audience for not giving out-of-box ideas a chance. She said that the influence of the majority audience’s preferences often discourages producers from taking risks with unconventional stories.

“We are limited by budgets (you’d be shocked what we work with), a production monopoly and PEMRA,” Shah explained. “Producers don’t want to risk spending money outside the ‘formula’ that works, usually when they invest outside the box it doesn’t pan out so well, we can thank the majority of the audience for that as well.”

The Habs actor also pointed out the challenges faced when attempting to explore risqué subjects, citing the example of Sarmad Khoosat’s Zindagi Tamasha, which faced a ban shortly after its release due to its “controversial content.” She also highlighted that such incidents are proof that we need a more open and accepting environment that encourages diversity and experimentation in storytelling.

Nevertheless, Shah is optimistic about the future of Pakistani dramas with the young generation of filmmakers eager to break away from conventional narratives and explore fresh storylines. However, their aspirations are often impeded by a lack of financial support. “A young generation of filmmakers are itching to do something different, story-wise and screen-wise, just need someone to fund them in good faith,” she concluded.

Shah’s detailed response, now deleted from Twitter, sparked a debate on which Pakistani dramas have recently broken stereotypes and are worth watching with some “underrated” gems coming to the surface.

Users named Parizaad, Bakhtawar, Dila Na Umeed Toh Nahi and Masuri. A user even suggested story ideas for sitcoms.


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