Twice a year, on Eid, regular programming is paused for three days and fans are put on hold until Eid celebrations cease – which is just as well, as most viewers are busy celebrating with their families. However, for those viewers who do not have large families, live abroad or, simply put, just choose to watch television during Eid and generally watch Pakistani programming are faced with an odd dilemma – what is worth watching?
The honest answer? Nothing. Eid specials tend to follow a very specific format: loud, exaggerated comedy with unnatural dialogues. The more chaos, the better according to the writers. Each channel tends to release one special or telefilm a day – generally speaking, that’s 3 telefilms or specials per channel. These telefilms boast of some of the bigger names in Pakistani television, so while one should be able to expect great acting, that’s rarely the case. It is as though actors are coached on how to perform in a substandard manner, just enough to get a paycheck.
This year, I made an exception to my “no Eid shows” rule and tuned in to Shaadi Impossible, a telefilm airing on TV One and boasting of a star-studded cast including Yumna Zaidi, Affan Waheed, Noman Masood and Saman Ansari. A special that should have been a sure-fire winner winds up following the usual, treaded path of such shows – overexaggerated, silly and takes the intelligence of the audience for granted.
The show actually does tackle an important subject – companionship and remarriage after the loss of a spouse. Zaid and Raina are friends that decide to go along with the pretense of liking each other in order to allow their parents to continue meeting. Raina’s father (Noman Masood) is a widower, while Zaid’s mother (Saman Ansari) is a divorcee. The story has potential, but is overshadowed by weak acting and over the top presentation.
The pace of the short film boasts of 10-minute long discussion scenes that needlessly drag on, lengthy frames of each individual character staring at the ceiling and walls and conversations that are unnatural. In a way, it’s a shame that this telefilm does not work, as the Affan-Yumna pairing would have been great to see again…..had the story allowed their chemistry to shine through.
All in all, this year reaffirmed my resolve to avoid Eid programming at all costs. While the standard set for Ramadan shows by the Baraat series was carried on recently by Suno Chanda, Eid programming continues to follow a low bar.