In a lighter vein: Showbiz
Discussion between a TV Producer and a Serial Writer

By Rafiq Ebrahim
Winfield, IL


TV Producer, adjusting his glasses and turning the pages of the script on his table, says: I have carefully read your script and have few suggestions to be considered by you and incorporateed in the script.

Serial Writer: I am too anxious to hear about the suggestions.

TVP: I have read your script carefully, but do not find any triangle in it.

SW: What triangle? Do you mean that which has two sides larger than the third one?

TVP: No! I mean the third person who comes in between the two love birds. It is a commonality in all hit drama serials, and one should not deviate from something that makes a serial smashing.

SW: I see. I’ll put a rich boy in the script

TVP: And yes, nowhere do I find a jug of orange juice on a dinner table. This is also a popular sight in all good dramas.

SW: Sir, I don’t have any rich family in the script. How can poor people have the luxury of drinking orange juice?

TVP: Well, the rich boy you are introducing is addicted to orange juice so whenever the family sits for dinner, everyone sips the juice.


SW: I think you are right. Orange juice will surely be introduced in the script.

TVP: Good! Now, I don’t see any accidents in your script, or anybody going to a hospital in a critical condition, nor a stretcher on which the person is carried to the hospital. Make someone really sick or injured. Let him or her be taken to the ICU and show a few white overall-clad individuals moving here and there, looking anxious, before taking the patient to ICU. Put some emotional dialogues to be uttered by the relatives or friends of the patient. Show the patient lying on a bed with an oxygen mask on his face. If the patient in your script is badly injured, show an operation theater with about four doctors and a couple of nurses, and a specialist performing the operation. After a long lapse of time, let a doctor come out and inform those waiting for him that all is well. The patient has been saved. Put in the happy emotions of the relatives and friends, and the scene is complete.

SW: I see. You want some major changes in the script.

TVP: We will have to do that. As I said earlier, this is a commonality for a serial to be a hit. (After a short pause). Where is the open door to a house? You know, in reputable serials, the door is always open, and an intruder can always come in to surprise the inmates. As I see you can introduce the father of the rich boy, entering the household of a poor girl and threatening to smash the happiness of the family if the girl is not married to his son. Put this dynamic scene in your script.

SW: I will try.

TVP: Don’t try, do it! And I don’t see any dominating mother in the story. How can you ever imagine a story for a serial without a dominant mother? Viewers hate such mothers and the more they hate the more they love the drama. There are so many older performers, like Saba Faisal, Saba Pervez, Shamim Hilaly, Atiqa Odho and Ismat Zaidi, dying to get such a role.

SW: Done!

TVP: And what about a cruel, powerful father? A man who would not hesitate to ruin the lives of his children. Talat Hussain, Mahmood Aslam, Usman Pirzada and Abid Ali would love to perform such a role.

SW: Very good suggestions, Sir. I am so grateful to you. You seem to be such a constructive and creative critic. No doubt, the serials produced by you are so much appreciated and get high ratings.

TVP: (Smiling). Go ahead, make the desired changes in your script and submit the story to me. I shall definitely produce a serial based on your beautiful story. And yes, we will shoot all episodes in Murree.

SW: Thanks, Sir. Give me a week’s time and the revised script will be on your table.


The TV Producer gets up, signaling that the discussion is over.

The Serial Writer, mentally confused, rubs his eyes, massages his head with his fingers, adjusts the few hair that are on his head and makes an exit. He realizes that if he carries out the suggestions, he would kill his creative brain-child and be on the beaten path. But, he knows that he must do as asked by the producer as he has to earn his bread and butter. - .



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.