Airing every Friday and Sunday, two episodes down, I do feel that Pakistan Idol deserves a comment or two. And my first reaction is wholehearted approval. I did intend to avoid the cliche but cannot help myself from saying that in a country where conservatism seems to be seeping into lives and styles, it’s pleasing to see parents encouraging their sons and daughters to perform on television. It’s heartening to see husbands pushing their wives to sing and even for the youth, it brings on a smile to see music make their world go round. You may argue that a lot of what we see is orchestrated and perhaps it really is, but when this ‘reality’ is aired to millions of viewers, it is bound to have a positive effect.
However, while the idea of bringing the Pakistan Idol franchise to Pakistan may be welcome, the program isn’t without flaws. Mohib Mirza makes an energetic host. On the judges’ panel, Hadiqa Kiyani is stylish, precise and encouraging. Ali Azmat is the generous rockstar, willing to forgive flaws and yet take a jibe every now and then. But Bushra Ansari I am not entirely convinced by. It seems that she has been chosen for her comic timing and mass popularity rather than her musical expertise. A classical singer of the likes of Sajjad Ali, Shafqat Amanat Ali or Rahat would have been much more effective.
Besides the judges and the occasional editing flaws – clips from the ‘first’ episode made it to the second episode, apparent in the judges’ wardrobe repeat – the Pakistan Idol soundtracks are my biggest bone of contention. I don’t think contestants should have been limited to singing only Pakistani songs – that would be curbing their creativity – but I do strongly feel that music included in the show should have been purely Pakistani and not Bollywood driven. Certainly and absolutely not. And while we’re on the topic, Farhad Humayub of Overload has been complaining on Facebook that no one from GEO took permission or paid any sort of royalty for using his music. I’m sure someone will investigate this further.
While ethics seem to have been compromised, I have to come full cycle and say that it’s brave to take a music reality show to the masses all over Pakistan. As the show makes it’s way to Sialkot I do know that it has been to Peshawer and Quetta as well.
Looking forward to more from Pakistan Idol…