Irrelevant of my childhood spent outside Pakistan, a key entertainment was when Baba Jaan would bring home VHS series of latest Pakistani TV dramas. The lone telecaster; Pakistan Television (PTV), was the platform which introduced me to characters like; Kabacha, Zoya, Jahan Ara Begam and of course Alif Noon! 

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Fast forward to 2017, Television has come a long way. No doubt there is no lack of channels and shows that are aired in abundance. Some are just time fillers, some are remarkable. Yet for me the old is still gold.

Let me tell you my bachpaan -hood fascination with my favorite urdu shows.

1. Tanhaiyaan

Be it the reason that it came around when VHS was allowed to be sold in old Jeddah, or that a series was so innocent yet appealing to the masses, Tanhaiyaan has gone on to become a cult classic.

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Zara & Sanya were the perfect portrayal of contrasting sibling characteristics, which resonated with a younger audeince like me. Truth be told, I accepted as a minor, that my Bhai jaan is not at fault to be not like me, as even TV stars are stuck with the same dilemma.

Beside the amazing storyline, the idea of women stepping out of their comfort zone to work, was a fascinating idea at the time indeed. The perfect amount of humor from Marina Khan, and, Behroz Sabzwari, complemented the serious storyline. There are one too many situations, dialogues and emotional exchanges in this drama to pick just one as a favourite! I recall being overjoyed when even Channel 2 in Saudi Arabia aired this drama during Ramadan in Urdu once! If I am not wrong, this was in the late 1980’s.

Overall, I could not bring myself to watch the sequel, as I did not want to ruin the memories of such a fine classic.

2. Aangan Terha

Aangan Terha was my first introduction to the fine writing skills of Anwar Maqsood. Also the dynamic of Mehboob Ahmed, Jahan Ara Begum and Akbar, where too good to not to enjoy.

For myself, growing up in a conservative society, the character of Akbar was most fascinating. Each show would result in me bugging my mother with a plethora of questions on how on our visits, we are unable to find this kind in our own families.

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The use of each episode to tackle new topics common to majority of Pakistani muhallas fascinated my young brain. Each episode showcased the exchange of desi gossip and lessons, in a unique mannerism of unrestricted boundaries.

The last episode especially tugged at my young heart.

The idea of lonely elders who are overjoyed to make a thief as their guest, clearly shows the loneliness that many of our elders face. Also, the entry of the writer himself at the end of the series to inform that the show is over, was uniquely shattering to my image of this muhalla ,which for me would have really existed.

Yet, now I find it a brilliant as it was many years before The Truman Show came along with a similar idea.

3. Dhoop Kinarey

Call me biased on this favorite, as this show had two strong women writing and directing it; Haseena Moin and Sahira Kazmi. Or the fact that the cast was not so bad to look at!

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The story had the touch of empathy building from the beginning, when Rahat Kazmi is shown having flash backs of his foster father. The father figure was for me a version of Santa Clause, who adopted and loved this child as his own. The flashbacks shows a rare glimpse of father-son relationship building, uncommon in mainstream entertainment.

The role of Marina Khan as Zoya was interesting, as it is similar to what Robin Williams played in his acclaimed movie; Patch Adams. Before you jump to conclusions, the hollywood movie actually came almost a decade after our PTV classic.

This show was interesting for me as it showed the softer side of a man and his insecurities.  It still remains one of my favorite romance series.. sorry Humsafar fans, this classic beats all hands down!

So readers.. tell me what are some of your absolute favorite PTV dramas? I know the list is too long.. but give me names to binge watch on youtube soon 😉