Fifty-Fifty: Not Pinglish, But Really Funny

Posted on April 22, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Humor, Pinglish, TV, Movies & Theatre
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Adil Najam

My deep affection for the PTV comedy skit show Fifty-Fifty – and especially for its early years – is well known to our readers. Here is another video comedy clip that could easily be a candidate for the very best of Fifty-Fifty ever.

Fifty Fifty – Bashira in Trouble

But after you are done with laughing also focus on the ‘translation’ and the craftsmanship of the translation. It is, in fact, quite striking how much thought and attention to detail has gone into it. These were the show’s ‘perfect years’ not only because the full team of artists – Majid Jehangir, Ismail Tara, Bushra Ansari, Zeba Shahnaz – were still there but also the writing duo of Shoaib Mansoor and Anwar Maqsood were at their best.

This is not just getting a laugh off an intriguing idea – Punjabi into English (but not really Pinglish). This is thinking through the phrases we use. My favorite is when Bushra Ansari talks about ‘birds and passengers’ (panchi tay pardesi) never returning. But it is not just the words being ‘transferred’, it is the inflictions, the pauses, the tone and the expressions.

I guess I appreciate it even more now after I have seen a few of the many ‘home productions’ of dubbing English films in Punjabi. The original idea and execution by Farooq Qaiser were, in fact, masterful (and we should write about them hopefully). But much of the new ‘home video’ stuff is vulgar and shoddy and distasteful. This, on the other hand, is anything but.

10 responses to “Fifty-Fifty: Not Pinglish, But Really Funny”

  1. Watan Aziz says:

    Very funny.

    But how about this?

    keeping all air-conditioners shut in offices till 11am.

    A perception that the government had enough electricity but was denying it to the people was rejected by all participants.

    A decision about continuing with two weekly holidays or otherwise will be taken on July 30.

    And this is from Dawn today!

    However, there is a guy who posts at ATP. He has only 10 keys on his keyboard. He is a a regular riot. And most likely helps in indexing keywords just the same.

    What whay!

  2. Qausain says:


  3. Malik says:

    I hope 50 fifty start again, Bushra, Ismail Tara, Moin can still preform there best and off course if Anwar Maqsood write script.

    This episode called Dubai chalo was really good -comedy-dubai-chalo/

  4. Nizar says:

    A brilliant piece of utter intelligence! loved the entire thing! awesome! :)

  5. shayer says:

    [quote comment=”44606″]I spoke with a writer of this show some time ago. I asked him why there had never been another “50/50.” He said that there could never again be a should of this quality because of media saturation, commercial pressures, and ratings wars. Think about it: this show aired on public (government) TV in an era when Pakistan was losing, but had not lost, all its innocence. Competition was limited so our best actors could go nowhere else but to PTV. Writers and directors were given tons of discretion and time. Great comedy requires lots of time, aside from talent. And look at the sets. They consisted of one set, with limited technology. Today’s shows excel in set design and visual and sound effects. They only lack one thing: a soul.[/quote]
    Actually, in those days there was much more competition than today .There was only one channel that is PTV which meant you had to be exceptionally talented to come on tv because that was the only platform for artists in the whole country. Now, there are so many odd channels that nearly everyone can get a chance to work on tv. add to that ,the uneducated producers private parties who’re just interested in making profits and have no interest and training in this field whatsoever.
    secondly, ptv was a government funded channel so the employees(directors,writers etc.) knew there was a stipulated amount of money they could get hence there was no greed for more money. that allowed them to concentrate on the quality of the product withot making any compromises.

    thirdly, that generation(our generation and the ones before us) was different from this generation. this one is more materialistic. I think it’s true that our present day programs do reflect the tastes of a supericial , over-ambitious, materislistic , and mcdonald fed generation that has last touch with the happiness and purity of simple life.thats why so much glitter and no soul in the programs.

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