This year every channel’s pre-iftaar transmission looks like a spinoff of the other. TV channels have chosen to sleepwalk through the 2:00 pm to 7:30 pm money spinning slot. The mantra being: Stay calm and let the ratings roll in because a Ramazan transmission is a Ramazan transmission is a Ramazan transmission.
Aamir Liaquat, Ramazan Shareef on Geo TV
After desperate attempts and disastrous mango-eating misfires in order to raise the ratings of the Ramazan transmission at Express Entertainment last year, this year Dr Aamir Liaquat jumped ship and returned to Geo to host Ramazan Shareef. And boy does he look relieved to be back. We all need lessons from this man on how to walk out unscathed from an inferno. And other TV hosts could learn a thing or two about how Liaquat makes being oily a virtue and still rakes in top ratings. One thing you can’t fault Dr Aamir Liaquat for, is ownership. His lucky bosses at Geo get a plum deal as the doctor has his finger in every pie, and singlehandedly does what it takes five people to do at other channels. The workaholic doctor conducts marathon stints, hosting both the Ramazan transmission and the Inaam Ghar game show post-iftaar, sings the naats AND the OST and often speaks for the guests on his show too. Phew.
Waseem Badami and Junaid Jamshed, Shaan-e-Ramazan on ARY Digital
You probably thought 2014 was the last you saw of this popular duo on Shaan-e-Ramazan, right? Yet, after leaving ARY soon last year and spending his last year at BOL, motormouth Waseem Badami is back at ARY almost as if he never left. And what about the controversy that fuelled his departure? What controversy? Badami’s departure was followed by Junaid Jamshed’s blasphemy-induced escape to the UK last year. Surprise surprise then as both resurfaced in Shaan-e-Ramazan this year. Unfortunately for us, that was where the surprised ended. Apart from having Iqrar-ul-Hassan host the new charity Naiki segment (which isn’t really new, if you think about it) this year’s transmission made it clear that the channel was content heaving a sigh of relief and merely sleepwalking through the Ramazan slot, rehashing the roza khushais, the charity routines, the quiz shows, the mobile-phone and lawn jora chucking….yawn. Same old, same old.
Ahsan Khan, Noor-e-Ramazan on HUM TV
In his second year as the host of Hum TV’s Ramazan transmission, Noor-e-Ramzan, actor Ahsan Khan looks happier in his straitjack… oops sherwani. For someone who is not a natural talk show host and often awkward, Khan has been managing to carry the show on his shoulders for two years running. Guests such as veteran quiz show host Tariq Aziz and actor par excellence Bushra Ansari were spotted on the sets of Noor-e-Ramzan and the offering managed to stand out even though it lacks an in-house host/religious figure.
Maya Khan, Ishq-e-Ramazan on TVOne
It’s official. Controversy creates TV show hosts. Best remembered for getting fired from SAMAA for moral policing in Karachi parks, Maya Khan never quite regained her following. After hosting shows on ARY and Express Entertainment, this year she has been conducting marathon hosting stints on TV One’s Ishq-e-Ramazan set from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm. In her element and bubbling with energy and enthusiasm, Maya eclipsed her co-host’s presence on the show. You wondered, was there a co-host? (Sorry Waqar Zaka, she beat you to it). To the TV One team’s credit, they at least tried to be a little (but only a little) creative with the games. They even had the odd spinning wheel and mock jail as props on the stage. But they killed it with the tackiness that generally hangs around their productions.
Abrarul Haq, Muhabbat hai Ramazan on A-Plus:
Will it be the main lead in an action flick for Abrarul Haq? After his stints as a singer and politician, this year we have had the misfortune of witnessing him try his hand at TV spirituality. Fail.
Saud and Javeria, Subhan Ramazan on Express Entertainment:
One expected more zing in a show hosted by a former Lollywood star (Saud) and his Lollywood-star-in-spirit wife, Javeria.
Shahrezad Samiuddin is a screenwriter and a pop culture junkie.