The dramas currently airing on TV were mostly shot during Covid times but none of the characters are seen following the SOPs
Every TV channel claims today that their content is a reflection of reality but the existence of some bitter realities is completely denied on screen. Ever since the pandemic started, followed by closures and lockdowns, TV dramas have had a larger audience. The industry resumed its activities soon after the restrictions were eased. Everybody knows that dramas presently going on air were shot during the Covid times. However, none of the characters are seen wearing masks and it feels as if all these plays depict pre-Covid days. Is it because the pandemic is a harsh reality and TV offers an escape from it? Then what about the scenes shot outdoors or at public places? In some restaurant scenes, we spot waiters in the background wearing masks and get surprised as this protective covering is a very rare sight on the television. Honestly, as a viewer, I feel really bad seeing actors being forced to play their roles without any SOPs. They are physically close to one another in the studios and have to go ‘mask-less’ when shooting at crowded spaces like shopping malls and hospital corridors.
One other reality that never makes it to the screen is the influence and reach of social media. This reality is not bitter but can definitely ruin many over-exaggerated stories making up most of the 8 to 9 watch time. Even in this digital age, when social media is accessible to the majority, we are viewing content which appears far from the present-day reality. There was this drama titled Ishqiya where a toxic lover marries his ex’s sister and nobody finds that out until almost the last episode. How could this happen in this age of social media? How come the wife never got to learn that before tying the knot? This is one such drama. Most of the TV content is based on very unrealistic stories that even a fifth grader would laugh at today.
This reality is not bitter but can definitely ruin many over-exaggerated stories making up most of the 8 to 9 watch time. Even in this digital age, when social media is accessible to the majority, we are viewing content that appears far from the present-day reality.
The drama, Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay, has an amazing cast and is enjoying a high rating, but the point that telephone is the only means to connect the three cousins living in different countries hardly makes sense. They are all seen using smartphones and laptops but don’t seem to know even a bit about social media, as one of them easily fools the other into believing that she’s a high achiever, claiming all the main character’s achievements as her own. On the other hand, the sought-after-in-a-love-triangle boy falls into the trap. Someone who’s foreign educated and working abroad completely fails to read any signs. How is this possible in this age where everyone is connected through social media? How come those three close cousins never added one another on Facebook or Instagram? Is one cousin too shy to post about her awards online, or is the other taking the fakery to the next level by confidently posing with somebody else’s trophies and medals in presence of other social media contacts. Verifying these things has gotten pretty easy with social media. University websites are regularly updated whenever there’s a large-scale contest being conducted and so are the winner’s details. Everything’s made public. I just fail to count how many possibilities this drama purposely overlooks.
All the characters are seen using emails and Whatsapp and are engaged with technology but they’re correctly tracing IP addresses. Social media seems to be a decade or two from there. As a critical observer, I believe that dramas based on novels must depict the time when the story was originally penned, otherwise such loopholes become evident and the present-day audience can’t relate to the reality it tries to mirror. This is the reason why Cinderella and Snow White no longer captivate young readers.
The writer teaches writing, communication and linguistics at FCCU. She can be reached at [email protected]