There was a time when PTV was the only source of dramas- there was no HUM TV, GEO or ARY. The late 90s produced high-quality dramas that are still remembered fondly today. These evergreen Pakistani dramas had cultured dialogue and divergent plotlines. Here is a list of fifteen of them:
15. Sona Chandi
Sona Chandi was an episodic comedy-drama produced in the 1980s. Its essence is taken from the real-life couple named Sona and Chandi. They come to the city to find work and the drama follows the various ways they good-naturedly solve problems of their various employers. This couple was played by Hamid Rana and his wife Sheeba Arshad
14. Angan Terha
Angan Terha was a satire produced in the late 1980s. This show had an A star actors list, starring legends like Bushra Ansari, Shakeel and Salim Nasir, which considerably added to the polished script of Anwar Maqsood. The ambition to contribute to the high-end art on an easily accessible platform can be seen in Anwar Maqsood, the writer, breaking the fourth wall at the end of the drama. He appears in one of the episodes and tells the cast of the show’s nearing end, and thus adding an additional layer of artistic finesse.
13. Alif Noon
The 1900s sure produced some fine comedies. Alif Noon is one of them. This is one of our favorites in the list of the most evergreen Pakistani dramas. This episodic drama followed Allan, a shrewd immoral businessman who would convince his naïve friend, Nanha, to act out his schemes. The humor was derived from Nanha’s honest principles and his good-natured simplicity since he would end up spilling the beans right at the end of the show.
12. Khuda Ki Basti
Telecasted twice- first in the 1960s and then the late 1970s- Khuda Ki Basti is one of the most popular dramas. It was critically acclaimed nationally and internationally. Based on Shaukat Siddiqui’s novel by the same name, it offers a realistic portrayal of a poor woman in one of Karachi’s slums. It does not shy away from any of the hard bitter realities of poverty. Definitely, one of the finest evergreen Pakistani dramas.
Broadcasted by PTV in the early 1980s, Ankahi soon became one of the most popular Pakistani shows. The female lead, Sana played by Shehnaz Sheikh was the main reason for its popularity. Her ambitious witty personality and the well-crafted plot had a bit of everything in it- drama, comedy, and love. The well-rounded dynamics of the drama had a memorable cast, containing names like Shakeel, Javed Sheikh, and Saleem Nasir.
10. Dhoop Kinaray (King of Evergreen Pakistani Dramas)
Dhoop Kinaray is a testament to the variety of plotlines in the golden era of PTV. This early 1980s show revolved around the hectic hospital life and the eventual interlinked personal lives of doctors working in a hospital in Karachi. The couple played by Rahat Kazmi and Marina Khan became one of the iconic duos of Pakistani TV.
Check this list of Best Dramas of the 90’s offered by PTV.
09. Ainak Wala Jin
Ainak Wala Jin was the pioneer of fantasy-themed Pakistani dramas. It soon became a household favorite. A jin comes to Earth to get his eyesight fixed and gets into various adventures. Memorable characters like Bil Batori, Zakoota Jin and Ainak Wala Jin are references that are still widely used.
This late 1980s show has been aired several times due to its popularity. It revolves around two sisters supporting their families and learning to balance the different challenges they face. It is acclaimed for retaining the cultured essence of Urdu with its sophisticated and yet accessible dialogue. The love stories are timely developed.
07. Alpha Bravo Charlie
Alpha Bravo Charlie was so popular that it set records for TV ratings. Revolving around three friends who join the army, it was directed by Shoaib Mansoor. It is one of the rare contributions of Pakistani TV to the action genre. It episodically deals with the challenges and life lessons that the dangerous but worthy commitment to the army can lead to.
06. Taleem e Balighan
This 1960s social satire had a lot to offer to Pakistani television. Adapted from a radio show of the same name, it involves adults getting an education in a madrassa, and many of the widely held social principles being critiqued using Jinnah’s three principles of “unity, faith, and discipline”. It was written by the acclaimed Kh. Moinuddin.
Along with being the first colored serial to be broadcasted, it was an adaptation of Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady. When translated and adapted into a TV serial by Haseena Moin, it produced its own brigade of memorable, biting dialogue which established this as one of the most critically acclaimed television shows.
This 1980s drama was written by Amjad Islam Amjad and has been telecasted several times due to its popularity. It is considered a realistic portrayal of the inner feuds of a feudal family. It portrays the traditions and the consequent challenges of such communities.
03. Khawaja and Son
This late 1980s show was another venture into the comedy genre. Khawaja and Son give a humorous twist to a man being constantly criticized by his father, using the iconic “twisting the ear” corrective mechanism. His nine sisters take the humor a notch up, producing a lot of silly situations that have the audience gurgling with laughter.
02. Choti si Dunya
Choti Si Dunya follows the life of a villager, who after years spent abroad, finds it hard to adjust to the village life again. This culture contrast is dealt with humor, and ends with a hilarious contest of who can speak better English, and so is a delight from the start to the end.
01. Dhuwan (Queen of Evergreen Pakistani Dramas)
Dhuwan is another worthy contribution to the action genre and follows the lives of five friends as they join the police force. Written by and partially based on his real-life, Ashir Azeem also plays the main lead. This show was recognized for its gritty and realistic portrayal.
So these fifteen drama serials establish an impressive repertoire of the TV industry back then and if you want a taste of it, just go to YouTube and start binge-watching all of these!