Patriotic productions

August 14, 2022

The entertainment industry in Pakistan has churned out some interesting patriotic productions over the years

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he media influences our ideas, beliefs and perceptions. Whatever we watch on TV or theatre leaves a mark. The broadcast media is a key source of information, especially amongst younger demographics. Film and drama have helped many viewers understand the Partition, the meaning of independence, the feeling of patriotism and the sacrifice for their homeland. The entertainment industry has come up with many patriotic productions including real life stories, and strong fictional characters.

Alpha Bravo Charlie is one of the most popular plays in the history of entertainment television in Pakistan. Produced by Shoaib Mansoor, it was aired in 1998 and is still popular. The story follows three friends, Faraz, Kashif and Gulsher - also known as Alpha, Bravo, Charlie - as they pass out of the Pakistan Military Academy and start their careers as army officers. It is set against the backdrop of the Siachen campaign and civil war in Bosnia. All three characters experience trivial difficulties in the beginning. Eventually, life strikes them in different ways. Gulsher and Faraz fall for the same girl, Shehnaz, She chooses Gulsher. Kashif is sent to Siachen where he has near-death experiences but captures a peak. He loses his arms and legs in the fight. Gulsher goes to Bosnia and during an operation is captured by Serb forces. His family is informed that he is missing in action and he is declared a martyr. Fast forward 20 years, Gulsher escapes from the camp but gets killed. Shehnaz goes to Bosnia to look for him. Kashif and Faraz live happily with their families. The tragic events in the separate lives of the army officers creates depth in the plot and leaves viewers with strong feelings.

Dastaan is another patriotic production based on Bano, a novel by Razia Butt. It follows the story of riots and chaos during Partition and independence. Broadcast in 2010, the play starred Fawad Khan, Sanam Baloch, Saba Qamar, Ahsan Khan, Saba Hameed and Qavi Khan. Their brilliant performances and a strong storyline made the drama a big hit. Some viewers still remember it as the greatest drama in the history of Pakistani cinema. The action begins with a blossoming romance between Hassan and Bano ahead of the Partition. While Hassan is away in Rawalpindi for his studies, the law and order situation deteriorates around Bano.

The broadcast media is a key source of information, especially amongst younger demographics. Film and drama have helped many viewers understand the Partition, the meaning of independence, the feeling of patriotism and the sacrifice for their homeland.

The play showcases some of the atrocities committed during the Partition riots. After some gut wrenching events Bano reaches Pakistan five years later, carrying a son from her Sikh husband. Hassan suffers from depression and ends up being engaged to a girl called Rabia. Bano reaches home and finds out about Rabia. The drama ends with Bano refusing to marry the love of her life. Instead, she takes up welfare work. She kills a man who tries to assault her and ends up in jail. This drama gave many in the audience sleepless nights and was a huge success.

Sipahi Maqbool Hussain is another patriotic production portraying a soldier’s courage, patriotism and determination. It deals with the life of a soldier during the 1965 war and his four decade long imprisonment in India where he suffered torture. Maqbool Hussain had disappeared near Azad Kashmir and ended up in a prison cell where he remained for forty years. While in captivity, he was subjected to cruel punishments to make him reveal Pakistan Army’s secrets. Despite the intensity of torture, he refused to give up any information. Due to the isolation and punishment, imprisonment and continuous abuse, Sipahi Maqbool Hussain became psychologically unwell and was finally sent back to Pakistan in 2005. He scribbled the number 335139 to reveal his identity as he was unable to talk. All his family members were dead by the time of his return. What remained was an empty house and a few graves with his loved one’s names on them.

A play on the life of army cadets, Sinf-i-Ahan was released in 2021. It showcases the role of female officers and their contribution to the military. It is the story of five goal oriented women who embark on a treacherous journey. Woven into the tale are observations on patriarchal norms in the tribal society and episodes about men pulling women down to prevent them from doing something big. It also explores the pressures of marriage. The other themes it takes up are exploitation of minorities, issues stemming from poverty and societal attitudes. There are also some positive male characters, like Maj Usama and Daniyal, who support the women around them and do not let their egos get the best of them. Rabia, Mahjabeen, Shaista, Parwish, Arzoo and Nathmy face many hurdles, hardships, betrayals and sleepless nights but achieve their goals. This serial also features comedy scenes, beautiful Kakul scenery and insights on interpersonal relationships. The title track, sung by Zeb Bangash and Asim Azhar, is the cherry on the top. The moving lyrics and their beautiful voices make the show memorable.

The writer has a background in English literature. She can be reached at

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