Red, White and Black

The Drag Queen
24 April, 2006, 3:35 pm
Filed under: general, Pakistan

Guardian carried an interesting story about Pakistan's "Chat-Queen".

By day Ali Salim has stubble, scruffy jeans and a taste for cigarettes. But at night he pulls on a sequinned sari and high heels to become Begum Nawazish Ali – catty chatshow queen and South Asia's first cross-dressing TV presenter.

The show pushes the boundaries of the acceptable – and, critics say, the tasteful – in conservative Pakistani society.

The show is at the cutting edge of a heady television boom that started with deregulation under Pakistan's military leader, General Pervez Musharraf, about four years ago. More than 40 channels have sprouted, of which the larger ones now wield clout in news and politics.

You can check the short movie clip on the show here. And Ali Salim has the guts to model as Begum Nawazish Ali too! We surely have a long way from the days, when PTV dramas used to be taken off air for the slightest criticism of the government.

ps. I don't know what's up with these zeros. WordPress seems to be having some problems.



11 Comments so far
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Nice! Waisey is cross dressing morally forbidden? I don’t think so 😛

But still, given the program’s wide acceptance, seeds for a liberal society are already sown.

Comment by BD

This host is one heck of a guy. I’ve seen a few episodes of the program and yes, it’s advancing social liberalism in a big way. I wonder on the silence of the conservatives on this show and other programs. Probably it’s because of the wide acceptance the show has recieved.

Comment by Syed Sibgatullah

BD, no it is not morally forbidden. Possibly a social taboo.

Sibgatullah, that might be because he is so convincing that not many people realise that he is a cross-dresser. And then to be really fair to him, the show isn't all that bad. At times he does push the limit with his innuendos and veiled pun, but it's good fun to see him rilling and flirting with the guests. And oh his references to her close friendship with Benazir Bhutto are priceless.

Comment by ayesha

Free press, free media are all indicative of a free nation!

Comment by IMeMy

Tasteless entertainment and petty talk. Just what Pakistan needs.

Comment by Osman

Osman, I don’t see much wrong with the show. Is it tasteless, just because of the cross-dressing or what? Every now and then, a country needs to let its hair down. And frankly its not all petty talk on the show.

Shows like this deserve to be aired as much as shows like pachaas minute.

Comment by ayesha

Hi Ayesha — sorry, I was talking about the trend of these shows, not this particular show. I also think that it’s not ‘every now and then,’ but that it has become a permanent attitude on our part. I think self-expression etc is good, but not when it becomes an uncontrollable urge or need. It’s a bit like the case of majority of hindi movies, for instance. Exposure for the sake of exposure — it all seems a bit silly. What’s the point? So, sometimes things are a bit friviolous, and vulgar in terms of lack of culture & good taste, and I don’t see why they need to be this way. I miss the old Pakistani entertainment (programs, shows, soaps) we used to have while we are growing up. There was much more meaning to it — now it has mostly become a joke. . .

Comment by Osman

Dont you think we need more acceptance from the society for such shows to be appreciated ?

Comment by Ajay

I think we are sacrificing culture – not our culture, but culture in general.

I guess it’s a matter of taste, but we have our own traditions, philosophy, insights, Muslim/Mogul/Persian/Provincial intellectual & cultural heritage & history – my fear is that we are just erasing everything by copying & accomdating, instead of creating something *valuable* of our own. This is all incompatible with our old values of dignity, haya, adab. . . True, things change with time, but I think change in our society is happening mostly because of our inferiority complex w.r.t the West or our moral/intellectual weakness in general. The latter effect is seen in the case of the influence of the post 90s hindi culture. We are either mullahs on one extreme, or Americanized/Indianized on the other. Whatever is *Pakistani* now is getting closer & closer to disintegration. There are empty slogans, and boasts about being a Pakistani. But what does this word mean now? There are Muslims in India or America or China — what sets us apart? Is there any philosophical or meaningful basis anymore, or is this boundary merely drawn on grounds of certain political differences which are not that important/serious anymore?

I’m talking about 2/3 generations down the road. After all, what exactly would the generation that is in kindergarten now believe in? Yes, we need to be accomodating, but must one suffer these fools when everything is failing and there’s a need for massive reforms in each & every department of our national life?

Again, these are general thoughts/comments – no direct criticism intended.

Comment by Osman

hi i dont know yeh show kaesa hay i think acha hay han but i must say my baba jan like it a lot han Ali is going good but wo kia hay na maeri amma ko thora ghusa aata hay us per

Comment by shaheryar ali

bus aur kia kahoon kuch nahi Bus

Comment by shaheryar ali

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