The Wise Men of TV

(Women not al­lowed!)

Slogan - - NEWS - By Javed An­sari

It all started with Zaid Hamid when, some years back, he ap­peared in a pro­gram on TV One which was based on a fe­male ask­ing him ques­tions which he would an­swer in his full fury. The an­swers were not sup­posed to be di­rected at the girl. She would just set the ball rolling while his tar­get would be the world at large, par­tic­u­larly those who did not see eye to eye with him.

The pro­duc­ers of the pro­gramme must have thought that rather than have Zaid Hamid give a solo vit­ri­olic speech ev­ery time, based on his thoughts as to what was hap­pen­ing to Pak­istan and the Mus­lim world, the fe­male host would sim­ply serve to start the con­ver­sa­tion and in­ter­ject her thoughts in-be­tween. This would be enough for Zaid Hamid to launch into an un­stop­pable tirade. He would sim­ply let all hell loose, much to the dis­com­fort of those who didn’t agree with his views.

The for­mat was sub­se­quently picked up by Na­jam Sethi and con­tin­ues to this day on Geo TV in his pro­gram, ‘Aa­pas ki Baat’ in which he says he gets his in­for­ma­tion from a ‘chirya’ (also de­picted in the pro­gramme graph­ics). Here again, Na­jam Sethi projects his own views, but in a more co­her­ent and less fiery ques­tion-an­swer for­mat.

There was a short break when Sethi was ap­pointed in­terim Chief Min­is­ter of the Pun­jab, in the run-up to the 2013 elec­tions. In the be­gin­ning, Mu­nib Fa­rooq, Sethi’s in­no­cent in­ter­viewer, came across as a per­son who would ask harm­less ques­tions with­out adding any of his own thoughts. But it’s good to see that, over time, Mu­nib Fa­rooq has come into his own and con­ducts the pro­gramme in a more con­trolled man­ner. It’s not the wise man vs. in­no­cent ques­tioner for­mat any­more. Mu­nib is a lawyer him­self and car- ries an in­tel­li­gent line of ques­tion­ing for­ward in a very in­formed man­ner.

The Meray Mutabiq for­mat was started by Dr. Shahid Ma­sood on Geo News but he now acts as the ab­sent-minded, tan­gled hair pro­fes­sor on TV One. His Meray Mutabiq has been taken over by Has­san Nisar, an­other an­gry wise man who seems to care two hoots for any­one – ex­cept him­self.

So­hail War­raich, a tele­vi­sion face widely rec­og­nized for his Ek Din Geo ke Saath, who was drawn into pre­sent­ing Meray Mutabiq for some time, now gives his ex­pert and ‘wise’ views on a whole host of other sub­jects in var­i­ous other pro­grammes.

An­other wise man is Sar­dar Khan Ni­azi on Roz TV. A work­ing jour­nal­ist, Ni­azi has many beans to spill and he does it in a rather cryptic man­ner while his host gapes at him in dis­be­lief.

There is, in fact, no dearth of wise men com­ple­mented by dumb males - and fe­males - on TV th­ese days. It must be noted, how­ever, that wis­dom is a domain that is com­manded on TV by ‘men only’ and no fe­male is per­mit­ted to en­ter this hal­lowed sphere.

For ex­am­ple, Ju­naid Saleem, the host of Hasb e Haal, projects him­self as a very wise man but what he has only suc­ceeded in achiev­ing is ef­fec­tively turn­ing the com­edy show into a lec­tur­ing ses­sion. The co­me­dian and true spirit of the show, So­hail Ahmed (Az­izi), has also taken to lec­tur­ing th­ese days though he can­not sup­press his com­edy itch on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions. A lot of it is in Pun­jabi ( Hasb e Haal be­ing an Urdu lan­guage show) and the hu­mour is in­de­ci­pher­able for many view­ers. All that comes across is Na­jia’s out of con­trol and loud laugh­ter.

An­other show on the same for­mat that has re­cently ap­peared on the scene is the one con­ducted by Aftab Iqbal (for­merly of Hasb e

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