Pakistan's Ramadan TV specials drop lavish prizes

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 29, 2020 - Duration: 02:01s

Pakistan's Ramadan TV specials drop lavish prizes

In normal times, Pakistanis hungry for entertainment during the fasting month of Ramadan would avidly watch television game shows as contestants, urged on by rowdy studio audiences, compete for lavish prizes.

But this is not a normal time.

Libby Hogan has more.


Pakistan's Ramadan TV specials drop lavish prizes

The elaborate set on one of Pakistan's most popular TV game shows is sitting empty.

"Piyara Ramazan" meaning "Dear Ramadan" is only shown once a year with crazy giveaways.

It's decked out with glittering chandeliers and contestants would usually sit in ornate leather chairs.

They'd be shocked at the ostentatious prizes: From new cars, a private jet and on two separate occasions they even surprised two couples with orphaned babies.

TV viewership in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan usually rises drastically especially in the hours before sunset, when Muslims get ready to break their fasts.

But this year as Pakistan's wide lockdown and movement restrictions continue, game shows can't let in studio audiences.

Companies like Express Entertainment, are stripping back the excess, says 'Dear Ramadan' producer Manager Adeel Suri: (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) GENERAL MANAGER PRODUCTIONS, EXPRESS ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION, ADEEL SURI, SAYING: "Basically, the prizes used to play an important role to engage viewers with the transmission.

Now .

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Everybody is being told that they should return to a simple life.

When all these things are implemented into everyone's life, the programme transmission has also moved towards simplicity." The programs have responded - but the audience will still take part in a socially distant way.

(SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) GENERAL MANAGER PRODUCTIONS, EXPRESS ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION, ADEEL SURI, SAYING: " This time, the audience will not be part of the show physically but they will become part of the programme while sitting at their homes." Contestants now appear by video-link on some shows while on others they phone in their answers, or send a text message.

Pakistan's televised spectacles have shifted to reflect a more somber national mood.

Suri says that's partly out of a drop in advertising sponsors.

But Pakistan's media regulator has also stepped in.

They've said given the the state of the world, glitzy displays during Ramadan game shows would not be tolerated.

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