Fifty-Fifty: Not Pinglish, But Really Funny

Posted on April 22, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Humor, Pinglish, TV, Movies & Theatre
10 Comments
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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
04:11

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. Rehan says:

    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.

  2. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:

    Hope it is not off the subject. TV channels in Afghanistan are running comedy shows and satires on Musharraf and Pakistan these days. I wonder what our brothers across our western border are saying about us.

  3. shayer says:

    [quote comment=”44492″]Absolutely hillarious…..

    what i do wonder off course is that while there have been so many and so wonderful comedy shows in Pakistan in yesteryears, we havent really had any good ones in the last 10 – 15 years. Actually its true for all types of Tv drama… The only Pakistani comedy show i liked in the last 10 years was family front by Dr. Younus Butt, and even that became repititive after initial episodes.

    The question is, what happened to the talent out there?[/quote]
    Because nowadays corruption is very rampant in ptv. people who don’t even have an undergrad degree are working as directors and producers just becasue they’ve good connections.no wonder people like sahira kamzi and shoaib mnsoor resigned from ptv because they were being treated unfairly.

  4. Faraz says:

    Absolutely hillarious…..

    what i do wonder off course is that while there have been so many and so wonderful comedy shows in Pakistan in yesteryears, we havent really had any good ones in the last 10 – 15 years. Actually its true for all types of Tv drama… The only Pakistani comedy show i liked in the last 10 years was family front by Dr. Younus Butt, and even that became repititive after initial episodes.

    The question is, what happened to the talent out there?

  5. Daktar says:

    This is absolutely hilarous. And, yes, very well done. Glad for the chnage of topics here.

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