Published in The News Blogs. July 3rd, 2012.
Television these days, perhaps, is evolving from remaining that idiot box it once was so mercilessly bashed for being. The content and presentation of television software is undergoing a surgical make-over; and is not merely a house-wife’s delight anymore. Some reality shows, especially, have taken up the task of highlighting social problems and carving out means to solve them. The most feasible programs to go with this introductory insight would arguably be Amir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate, which excellently brings out the tribulations eating away at India’s core. But as media, both local and foreign, goes to considerable lengths to hail Khan’s idea; another show, far less discussed and under-rated is often missed out on. The show in question, if not better than similar shows, is by no means inferior to them: SOC Films’ ‘Ho Yaqeen’!
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, the woman who brought Pakistan its first Oscar, can be definitely accredited with creating a culture of documentary film-making in the country. After the Academy Award winner, ‘Saving Face’, Chinoy this time beings to screens a reality series hovering around the lives of ordinary Pakistanis doing extra-ordinary work. The show, sponsored by Coca Cola (whose other rage, Coke Studio, is soaring across its fifth season) is innovative for Pakistani television in so many ways. With two episodes already gone on air, there will a total of six; with each episode focusing on a different person. Planned to conclude this October, one episode is being shown each month.
The first episode of ‘Ho Yaqeen’ features Sabina Khatri, a Karachiite who runs the a chain of schools in Karachi’s volatile locality, Lyari. Oblivious to the dangers surrounding her, the lady serves the community to the fullest; not only educating and securing the future of Lyari’s children but also grooming their parents for good. The second episode shifts to Muzzafarabad, where we are introduced to a city still dueling with the ghosts of its past and Zahid Amin – who is shown working tirelessly to safeguard his people against the dangers still posed to the area as a result of the massive destruction caused by the 2005 earthquake. Amin, who had lost his own wife to the calamity, isn’t at all indignant; but is rather hopeful and striving for a better day. The third episode, which isn’t up yet, shall be about a woman of Peshawar – and her appreciable work as always.
‘Ho Yaqeen’ carries a very positive message for every Pakistani. Poignantly told, the stories are so relevant and encouraging that you won’t be able to help your spirits going high. As since they say that there still is hope, ‘Ho Yaqeen’ manages to strike the right chord. However, it’s not just the content. The direction, post-production and camerawork is no less than stellar by any standards. Sure enough, there will be people complaining about not giving in the minute details in the stories, but for videos that are around twenty minutes, the package is way more than you would expect.
Even if you haven’t particularly liked ‘Saving Face’; or deem Chinoy to be some sort of opportunist (for whatever inexplicable reasons), go watch ‘Ho Yaqeen’. Now! And you’ll be thanking Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy the next minute!