Ramzan TV Sightings- mostly pathetic and same old

July 2013
Channels: Geo, ARY digital, Abb Takk, Hum2
Amaan-Ramzan-dr-aamir-liaquat

Inevitably one had to see what the slick self-styled Islamic televangelist Amir Liaquat was up to in his Geo Amaan Ramzan show. Looking dapper in a sherwani, must say his looks and gut are taut even to this day, he goes up to a kid, celebrating her roza khushai, first fast celebration, and asks if her mom made her clothes. The kid said her mother bought it for her. To which Sick Liaquat says with a patronizing tone of course, didn’t you wish your mother had stitched your clothes?!!!

The show has already garnered controversy when in during an episode he played the role of Bilquis Edhi, the humanitarian’s wife who gives away babies for adoption, Prick Liaquat also gave away two babies for adoption. In another episode he invited an Internet singer sensation Tahir Shah and was reportedly obnoxious towards his guest.

amjad_sabri01_4

On Hum2 Amjad Sabri, who hails from the illustrious family of notable qawwals –the Sabris, tarnished the art when while doing his naqqara he invited youngsters to dance and one of the youngsters ended up doing a nagin naach (snake dance) to a qawwali and other little kids did their Bollywood thumkas. His father Ghulam Farid Sabri and his brother Maqbool Sabri, one of the topmost qawwals of their time, must have been turning in their graves when their scion did this blasphemous act.

ali haider ramzan
Abb Takk, the new entrant in a sea of TV channels, has pop singer now sufi artist Ali Haider, helming a show Ya Rehman Ya Rahim Ramazan. With a pleasant voice, handsome face, donning well-fitted gorgeous sherwanis on his ageless physique, Ali is a wholesome host asking interesting questions from the panel of ulema that come to his show. Blessed with a melodious voice he often sings a religious song along with an accompanying qawwal groups. He takes live calls from callers who are troubled with trivial religious questions and is giving away gifts for answering questions correctly in his show.

shan-e-Ramzan-waseem-badami-junaid-jamshed

JJ aka Junaid Jamshed and Waseem Badami host the Sehri transmission on ARY digital. The first part of the show is all about the self-styled Islamic scholar JJ, his thoughts and explanations about religious matters and as other Islamic scholars who in order to emphasize that they are truly Arabicised, pronouncing the ains in the Arabic fashion, JJ too utters words such as ashiq, arif, abid in an Arab manner except that it is unnecessary and sound pretentious. Not one to let go of his singing voice he regaled his mostly female audience with Naats and Hamds. Scholar sb in his sharaiee dadhee (shariat beard) and solid colored shallu kameez with the shallu also adhering to shariat along with Waseem Badami chat with a panel of Ulema about conceptual religious matters such as Ibadat and take audience’s questions who are more concerned about practical matters for instance what part of namaz to say if one has had an accident and the likes.

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GEO & ARY RAMZAN PROGRAMS ARE GAME CHANGERS

While the liberal-minded journos and celebs and the rest of the progressives are puking all over social media condemning the comeback of Amir Liaquat Hussain and Maya Khan on Geo and ARY respectively, and the discontinuing of Veena Malik’s Astaghfar program on Hero TV, the fact of the matter is that the channel proprietors who probably are closeted liberals themselves, don’t give two hoots about what the miniscule minority think. They have hit the jackpot by bringing these hosts back who by the way like it or not are extremely admired by the masses.

The very public who has been severely hit by high inflation resulting in their increased poverty, an all-time-high unemployment and if through these hosts and especially through these Ramzan shows they are obtaining cash handouts, rickshaws/motorbikes/car, education for their daughters, treatment costs of their ill spouses, you can’t blame them for appreciating Amir Liaquat and Maya Khan.

Also quite shrewdly, the concept developers have strategically developed a kind of inclusiveness by sharing in the grief of the public and mitigating their suffering by asking easy Islamic knowledge questions and gifting them expensive cellphones, LCDs, microwave and other high-end gadgets. With the masses being subjected to repetitive onslaught of commercials on TV screens depicting upper middle class lifestyles and with celeb-dominated red carpets wearing fantastic costumes and having a jet-set lifestyle, it is a life that the masses cannot partake and hence to target them as their audience via these Ramzan shows is deliberately clever and also socially conscious even arguably it is at a superficial level.

I will not get into the past shenanigans of Amir Liaquat and Maya Khan and their hypocrisies and their double standards as several columnists or bloggers have written about those vociferously. (Here are some reminder links just in case you want to jog your memory: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=223683767719939, http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/7508/dr-aamir-liaquat-defamation-of-faiths-dr-jekyll/#.Tkp8IKa-xAw.twitter). I will also not get into their audacity to preach to the television viewers about piety and forgiveness during their Ramzan transmissions, this too has become passé and tiresome. I will also not get into the content of their programs which by the way is a conglomeration of a quiz show cum summer camp cum cooking show cum fund-raisers cum naat competition cum let’s-convert-the infidel show-cum soup kitchen cum roza kushai cum calligraphy contest cum health show cum let’s-peddle-my-heartfelt story.

What I am going to attempt in my blog is to speculate the overall cost of Amir Liaquat’s Pehchan Ramzan’s program and Maya Khan and her co-host Shahid Masoods’ Faizan-e-Ramzan Shahr-e-Ramzan’s program. I am blogging about this because I am awestruck by the extravagance of both the sets, the likes of which have never been seen on local television especially during Ramzan transmission. Never mind that extravagance, boastfulness and materialism are contrary to the teachings of Islam! But then Islam has become a commodity and these programs are a mere reflection of that. Moreover, Amir Liaquat’s showmanship and entertaining hosting skills notwithstanding his daily five-hour show (3 pm to 8 pm) indicates his incredible amount of stamina where he is running around the humongous hall managing 14 different segments. Plus he also does sehri transmission in the same location every single day.

Exotic animals are a part of the extravagant Ramzan sets

Amir Liaquat’s Pehchan Ramzan production has been set up in Ramzan City. Now according to my reliable source that Ramzan City is none other than Expo Centre in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Karachi. The Trade Development of Pakistan (TDAP) built Expo for holding exhibitions to attract buyers and sellers. It makes sense because Geo’s studios are not expansive enough to accommodate around 500 people daily whereas Expo has three large halls each measuring around 6,690 square meters or 7,2010 square feet. Now this large area of space will obviously burn a hole in the pocket. According to TDAP’s 2006 rates the renting out of its halls range from anywhere to 1,60,000 to 2,40,000 rupees per day. In addition 50,000 rupees are to be given as caution money, which is refundable. On the set a mammoth a Noah’s ark replica has been placed. Since I cannot determine the type of material used to create it, the ark could probably have created using cheap wood or formica and then painted all over, let me guess its cost to be 50,000 rupees. Then exotic animals such as peacock, deers, turtle and other birds are seen strutting their stuff. According to an independent exotic animal online seller, peacock prices range from 20,000 to 25,000 rupees. Prices of deer from Dera Ismail Khan costs 1,25,000 rupees per animal. And on Amir Liaquat’s show they are a minimum two if not more. Artificial ponds also have been created complete with garden fountains and studded with live fishes in both Amir Liaquat’s and Maya Khan’s shows. These too could according to my guess be around a lakh rupees. The overall cost of Amir Liaquat’s set comes to around 73 lakh rupees. And I haven’t even added the cost of the pond, other exotic birds and other things that I m sure I must have missed out. I even badgered a friend to ask her friends from the television industry to ask about the cost of Ramzan set design and she came back with a figure ranging from 60 to 80 lakhs for Ramzan sets of other channels. So I m guessing that Amir Liaquat’s show could be over a crore rupees (probably the most Geo has ever spent on a show) and Maya Khan’s show could be under a crore rupees.

Turtles are starring in Maya and Amir Liaquat’s shows

My guess is that next Ramzan other channels will have to step up their game to keep up with Geo and Ary Digital.

Most expensive films/TV series

 

  • Waar, a Hollywood-Lollywood film collaboration is estimated to have been made for 17 crore rupees
  • The first 10 episodes of Game of Thrones had an estimated budget of 60 million US dollars
  • The pilot of Lost cost 14 million US dollars
  • NBC forked out 180 million US dollars for the final season of Friends