Pakistani dramas

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Humsafar was a telenovela directed by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat. It starred Mahira Khan, Fawad Afzal Khan and Naveen Waqar in the lead roles. Humsafar was based on a novel of the same name by Farhat Ishtiaq and was one of the highest-rated Pakistani television series. It also won the Hum Honorary Phenomenal Serial Award.

Pakistani drama (Urdu: پاکستانی ڈرامہ‎) refers to the Pakistani television shows (which includes telenovelas, anthology series and miniseries). Pakistani television shows are not only popular in Pakistan but also in various other countries such as India and also the Middle East. They are also popular among the Pakistani diaspora. Majority of the Pakistani dramas are produced in Urdu while the rest are in various other Pakistani languages.[1]


Pakistani dramas are known for being short and usually end after a run of less than one year. This makes them shorter than soap operas, but still much longer than serials. Most Pakistani dramas are based on Urdu novels, however sometimes the story tends to deviate away from the novel in order to be television compatible. They have also been used repeatedly to transmit socio-cultural messages, by incorporating them into story lines. Traditionally, Pakistani dramas have been more appealing to women rather than men, however newer action dramas have slowly attracted younger male audiences in recent years and has overall helped in attracting a wide audience across the country.[2] Recent Pakistani dramas have evolved in the structure of their plots and in the themes they address. For instance, women are now seen having more non-traditional roles. Moreover, previously taboo themes such as divorce, sexual abuse and racism are now beginning to appear. Kissing on screen however is still considered unacceptable for Pakistani TV.


Pakistani dramas tend to fall within these six categories:

  • Middle-class melodrama set in urban regions and usually features a woman or man falling in love with one another and the hardships that follow.
  • Rural drama set in rural regions and tends to me more traditional and tends to portray a poor woman or man who falls in love with a rich man or woman. This genre is usually noted for its simplicity and strong dialogues.
  • Comedy drama have elements of comedy and drama, having both humorous and sometimes serious content.
  • Historical drama usually portrays the life of a famous Pakistani in the past.
  • Teen drama is a new genre which portrays the lives of teenagers and features coming-of-age related issues.
  • Mystery/Thriller drama typically portray a major problem (death, disappearance, stolen money, kidnapping) which may tear couples and families apart.

List of Pakistani dramas[edit]

Notable dramas[edit]

Pakistani dramas with the highest views of all time
Dramas Channel Date
Humsafar[3] Hum TV 24 September 2011 - 3 March 2012
Pyarey Afzal[4] ARY Digital 26 November 2013 – 12 August 2014
Khuda Aur Muhabbat Geo Entertainment 17 February 2011 – 26 May 2011
Aunn Zara[5] A-Plus Entertainment 18 June 2013 - 31 October 2013
Zindagi Gulzar Hai[6] Hum TV 30 November 2012 – 24 May 2013
Aasmanon Pay Likha[7][8] Geo Entertainment 18 August 2013 - 5 March 2014
Mera Naseeb Hum TV 1 April 2011 – 26 August 2011
Mera Saaein ARY Digital 1 November 2010 – May 22, 2011
Durr-e-Shahwar Hum TV 3 September 2012 - 10 December 2012
Meri Zaat Zarra-e-Benishan Geo TV 28 November 2009 – 22 May 2010
Daam ARY Digital 11 June 2010 – 15 October 2010
Dastaan Hum TV 26 June 2010 – 4 December 2010


See also: Pakistani music

Original soundtracks, abbreviated as OST, are explicitly made for each series and plays an important role in Pakistani dramas. They are generally pre-recorded by professional playback singers. OST have its own status in Pakistani dramas and play an important in enhancing the reputation/popularity. In a drama, OST has been used for many purposes including heightening a situation, accentuating a mood, commenting on theme and action, providing relief and serving as interior monologues.

Actors and Actresses[edit]



The annual PTV National Awards were presented by the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) to honor the best drama programs on Pakistani television of the preceding 12 months

The Lux Style Award ceremony is one of the most prominent events given for Pakistani Drama. The awards have been dubbed "Pakistan's Oscars" .

The Pakistan Media Award Over a year the ceremony garnered great attention due to the wide range of categories they presents for awarding.Pakistan Media Awards televised recorded in more than seven countries.

The Hum Award is reputed as an official ceremony of Hum TV. Hum channel present the awards only to its own channel dramas, but in Fashion and music, Hum honor all the artists from the country. Hum officially set this awards its annual event.

Award Year of Inception Network
PTV Awards 1970 PTV
Lux Style Awards 2002 ARY Digital
Pakistan Media Awards 2010 None
Hum Awards 2012 Hum TV

Popularity outside Pakistan[edit]

Middle East[edit]

The Pakistani drama Humsafar was dubbed into Arabic and broadcast by MBC in the Middle East, under the name Rafeeq-Al-Rooh.[9][10][when?]The show immediately gained immense popularity and after airing its first few episodes, became the most watched drama on the channel.[citation needed] Before this Pakistani dramas were not as popular in the Middle East due to language barriers and also due to the popularity of Latin dramas. Following Humasafar, other shows such as Malaal and Zindagi Gulzar Hai (aired as Asrar Al Hob by MBC) were also dubbed into Arabic and broadcast by MBC.[citation needed][when?]


Pakistani dramas have been hugely popular in India for a decades, even though the Indian government has imposed a ban on the airing of Pakistani television channels in India[11] for over 20 years now. In the late 1980s, Indians were noted for queuing up outside video shops to get their hands on Pakistani dramas like Dhoop Kinare and Tanhaiyaan. Many Indians even installed television antennas in a bid to access PTV to watch other popular shows such as Deewarein, Alpha Bravo Charlie, Waris and Jungle.[11]

In 2009, Pakistani Senate's standing committee, on information and broadcasting, appealed to the Indian Parliament to ensure airing of Pakistani television channels in India. However, one the ground of "cultural invasion", the same Senate in 2010, ordered Pakistani cable operators to stop airing Indian television channels.[11]

In 2012, due to increased pressure from civil society, India began debating whether it should reverse the ban on Pakistani government as well as private television channels, both news and non-news. India assured Pakistan that it will consider a proposal to lift the ban on Pakistani television channels. This was a consequence of a strong pitch by the Pakistani foreign secretary, Jalil Abbas Jilani, who proposed the same. However, as of yet, nothing has happened regarding the ban.[11]

On 23 June 2014, Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) launched its new entertainment television channel, Zindagi. The channel airs syndicated television shows from Pakistan. The channel and its content has been very well received by Indians.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22] The channel has aired many notable Pakistani television shows such as Aunn Zara, Humsafar, Kitni Girhain Baaki Hain, Maat, Mere Qatil Mere Dildar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai.[14][19][20][21][22][23] Zindagi Gulzar Hai became so popular that due to immense popularity and public demand it went on a re-run just nearly one month after it ended its premier run in India.[23][24]

Other countries[edit]

Pakistani dramas and television shows are also popular among the Pakistani diaspora. Pakistani television shows are aired on certain television channels in various countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.[25]

See also[edit]


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  11. ^ a b c d Parashar, Sachin (14 July 2012). "India looking to reverse ban on Pakistani TV channels". Times of India. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "5 reasons that make Zee's new channel 'Zindagi' a must-watch". dnaindia. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  13. ^ Srivastava, Priyanka (4 June 2014). "Pakistani TV shows to be back on Indian small screen". India Today. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Bye-bye unending television dramas, welcome Zindagi". Times of India. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "New Hindi channel Zindagi". Zee News. 19 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Zindagi Gulzar Hai: cross-border love on screen". Hindustan Times. 7 June 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  17. ^ "Imran Abbas glad ‘Zindagi’ will air Pakistan’s best shows". 17 June 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "You can soon watch famous Pakistani soaps on Zee Entertainment’s new Zindagi channel". DNA Webdesk. Daily News and Analysis. 22 May 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "Spotlight: A lifeline called Zindagi". (Asra Pasha). Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Sharma, Nandini. "Gear Up For Two New Shows On Zindagi". Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Zindagi channel treats Indian viewers to the best Pakistani dramas on offer". Dawn. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  22. ^ a b Nazakat, Syed (30 July 2014). "Why do Indians like Pakistani soap operas so much?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "Zindagi Gulzar Hai: Pakistani drama serials win hearts in India". Dawn. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  24. ^ "Zindagi Gulzar Hai is back on TV". Times of India. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
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