Waris the classic PTV drama – an analysis

For those of you who have watched this Drama, do read this article. For those who have not and don’t want to, you may read; for those who do want to watch it, watch it first.

The purpose of this post is to talk about some themes in this classic Drama. This Drama was aired on PTV at a time when people from rural areas were moving into the cities, more importantly, it was a time when the world view of Pakistanis was going through a paradigmatic change: from a traditional to a modern.

The story revolves around a few central characters, all men, each one symbolizing a different kind of masculinity. The title of the drama Waris (heir) reveals many of the themes that appear in the Drama, each of the central characters is a heir of sorts:

Chaudry Hashmat Ali and his grandson Anwar: heirs to the age old feudal tradition;

Abid Ali: heir to both the old tradition and modern education and most importantly to revenge;

Maula Dad/Fateh Sher: fear;

Chaudary Yaqub: to tradition and the dark side of city life;

Chaudary Niaz: to the feudal tradition and education;

What I find very interesting is that this Drama was able to articulate all these complex themes and as the story unfolded it also dished out moral judgments, valorising one sort of masculinity and condemning others. Abid Ali is undoubtedly the Hero of the story, he is the ideal mix of the age old tradition and the city education; he is able to overcome his hatred for Maula Daad and also in the process he is able to reform individuals he comes in contact with.

Other characters, who were committed to the age old tradition, and the lust for power, were destroyed by their own hands. Chaudhary Hashmat, who was completely humiliated, but in his arrogance never admitted it; Anwar, blinded by his lust for power; and Yaqub, blinded by greed. Here I would like to say that Hashmat’s character is cloaked in ambivalence; I found it very hard to dislike his character. He stood for strength, loyalty etc, but his moral compass was a somewhat messed up.

This Drama poignantly tackled the identity crisis the country was facing at the time, and it is able to provide a myth that people could turn to for comfort. The feudal system was painted as oppressive (At the same time some elements of traditional masculinity were lauded.), but the fears of the city life were also foregrounded. Abid Ali and Niaz are presented as the ideal synthesizers, and this was necessary because prosperity hinged on rejecting the tradition (the theme of the Dam is interesting).

So, for that era the ideal masculinity was a creative blending of the traditional masculine values, of courage, initiative, honesty, independence and those culled from modern education.

This entry was posted in life in PK, Popular culture, Popular imagination. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Waris the classic PTV drama – an analysis

  1. Yasser Ali says:

    I was awaiting an analysis of Waris. I am someone who is an aspiring film maker myself. I enjoy and watch movies from all spectrums and cultures. So I am used to in-depth themes. Waris has stuck to me like the Godfather part 2 throughout my life.

    It is perfect, the camerawork, dialogue(contextually that is) and acting most importantly the writing. It is simply put a masterpiece.

    Well done for writing this.

  2. dilsenomad says:

    So far 300 people have checked out this post. I had just written it without much thought. But in the last month or two I have had many people coming to this page, I wonder why?

  3. Abid Ali says:

    Excellent Analysis and Above all an Extraordinary Drama.

  4. Mus says:

    Waris will go down as one of the greatest ever serials from PTV.The time this was telecast was a strange one for Pakistan and indeed as you said Pakistan was going through a phase of rapid transition.

    I remember the last episode was aired on 22 March 1980,as we were in Gujranwala that day to attend a family wedding and the baraat, supposed to arrive from Multan, was told to re-schedule their departure and delay it by a couple of hours so as to not to disturb people watching the last episode,which turned out to be as dramatic as the rest of the episodes.
    I think Amjad Islam Amjad has been given an overdose of appreciation for his penning the novel,Waris.
    A novel is nothing but a book you read.

    Actually it was Yawar Hayat who deserves all the praise for his superb direction and ofcourse the cast of the serial,a whole jambhoree of Lahore’s best actors contributed to make the serial a mega-success.

    Years later when Amjad was asked about his character Chaudhry Hashmat,he said that what he conceived in his novel wasn’t the one we saw on TV but what we saw on TV was much better than the one he conceived in his novel.

  5. Saghir says:

    Just to correct hte last comment by Mus::

    This Drama was actually produced and directed by Nusrat Thakur and not by Yawar Hayat

  6. akhtar says:

    I never have seen a superb drama more than Waris. It remembers me my childhood. May God rest souls of Mehboob Alam, Tahira Naqvi, Farrukh and others who are not with us now in this world but they will ever remain in our mind with love.

  7. sykes says:

    Im in total agreement with all the praises and comments on this great work i wonder regards dramas were it all went wrong in recent times.anyhow i would appreciate someone to tell me about the intro music its amazing i know its taken from somewhere but cant work it out the trumpet is top i want to get a clearer version for my ringtone!!my email is sykes786@fsmail.net im UK based

  8. Mus says:

    The inro tun eof the serial was lifted from one of James Bond’s movies starring Sean Connery.I didn’t know about it until I saw the movie a few weeks ago.

    The movie carries the signature tune all along.
    The introduction of the serial could have been better pictured.Its too fuzzy,blurred and shows a dog race in a village,couldn’t have been more boring but the actual substance lied in the serial itself.

  9. Fraz says:

    It’s a timeless classic. I would like to put it’s dvd right beside God Father 2 ,Scarface,Taxi driver and company in the top rack in my library. Where is that ptv now . Where are those beautiful 8-9 p.m. classics.

  10. Anees Ahmad says:

    well i have just finished watching waris drama….man its an awesome effort….first of all credit goes to amjid islam amjid, than to director and than to actors specially mehboob alam… i m in canada, once i met an old indian man here, so we were discussing different things…so i starting praising indian actor daleep kumar, he replied tht yes he is a good actor and made some good movies, but tell me how PTV at that time made such a drama serial like waris, it was a mater peice, than he said that at time he used to travel to border area of pakistan just to watch that drama serial, cuz the signals of ptv use to come there as well….all the actors acted so maturely, liked firdos jamal, abid ali just every one…specially the Moala dad and Sher muhammad twist was really awesome.
    Waris drama is simply the BEST.

  11. mati says:

    how did mehboob alam die. can someone please email me. mati777@hotmail.com

    • Mus says:

      The last episode was aired on 22 March 1980.I remember it because the next day there was a family wedding in Gujranwala and we traveled there a day before.It so happened that the guests were asked to re-schedule their departures so as not to disrupt Waaris’s last episode.Such was the following of that serial.
      Little is known about Mehboob Alam’s death.Till his last day,he couldn’t shrug off Chaudhry Hashmat’s character from him.
      He actually got seriously ill and he was reported to have said that ‘someone had done kaala jadoo on him’.Whether it was kaala jaadoo or not,Chaudhry Hashmat died a sad and lonely death.
      I will try to find out more about his death and will post it here.

  12. What can I say? Even after so many years , Waaris gives me goose pimples. What a monumental depiction! What superb acting! Such sustained mystery….and finally, the waters rising around the lonely Ch. Hashmat, shut in his tehkhana, to engulf the old man who would not leave his hearth & home, dam or no dam! There is a kind of valour in his stubbornness, the enormous pathos of changing times even as the old order changeth to give place to the new……..
    A classic drama serial indeed—-so characteristic of Pakistan Television.

  13. Mudassir Ijaz says:

    BEST DRAMA ever i seen, Simply comparable with Hollywood classics. CH HASHMAt was simply the BEST ….

  14. Mudassir Ijaz says:

    Can anyone knows the actress of character ZOHRA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s