The Wise Men of TV
(Women not allowed!)
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