Winner takes all_ Who benefits from game shows and by how much_ - Herald.pdf

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  6/17/2019Winner takes all: Who benefits from game shows and by how much? - Herald WHATSAPP Winner takes all: Who benets fromgame shows and by how much? Abid Hussain Updated May 08, 2019 01:36am   Illustration by Rohail Safdar and animation by S Asif Ali Current Issue  6/17/2019Winner takes all: Who benefits from game shows and by how much? - Herald D ozens of people are gathered outside Shamsi’s Film Studio in Korangi Industrial Area ona sweltering Karachi evening this June. They are all pleading with the guards to let themin. “We were told that entry passes are available at the gate, but they are not,” says an elderlywoman with two children, without clarifying the source of her information. “We have comehere from so far, please don’t send us back,” she adds, to no avail.Inside the rusty brown gate is a crowd of nearly 200 people, standing restlessly in azigzagging queue. They are fanning themselves with their entry passes and are beaming fromear to ear, as if they are going to get the goose that lays golden eggs. They are the lucky few,randomly chosen through a computerised draw out of almost 20,000 people who hadregistered themselves through dedicated phone lines to nd an entry pass.The object of their desire: that day’s episode of Inaam Ghar , a game show that forms one half of a duopoly — the other being  Jeeto Pakistan , hosted by actor Fahad Mustafa on ARY Digital. Inaam Ghar  is the agship show of Geo Entertainment channel (part of Geo TelevisionNetwork) and is hosted by Dr Aamir Liaquat Husain, a televangelist-cum-entertainer, who cansometimes be as controversial as he is popular.Both hosts have developed their faithful followers. Many members of the audience –regardless of age, gender and income group – attend the shows only to have a sele takenwith Fahad Mustafa or Amir Liaquat HusainThe pass says the gates will open at 5 pm (the show starts at 7:30 pm) but, the summer heatand the fasting month of Ramzan notwithstanding, many of the selected entrants have arrivedat the studio hours earlier. Some say they are here early because they want to avoid getting trapped in trafc that becomes chaotic as the moment to break the fast draws to a close.Others have a reason that remains valid irrespective of how long they have to travel to be atthe show and which month of the year it is. If you arrive early, you get to enter the show’s setearly and, thus, you get to be seated where Liaquat may notice you sooner than he doesothers, explains Ameer Fareed, a resident of Karachi’s Khudadad Colony. He knows how thesethings work because he has been to the show before, along with his wife and child.  6/17/2019Winner takes all: Who benefits from game shows and by how much? - Herald This is not the only method the audience uses to attract the host’s attention. Some women inthe queue are dressed like they would for a wedding — made-up and bedecked with jewellery.Some people are carrying placards with laudatory messages for Husain. Others have madeartworks to pay tribute to him.Inside the show’s set, gaudiness matches the excitement of the crowd outside. Everything seems over the top. A huge wooden ship forms the backdrop. The oor is made of gleaming white tiles which vigorously reect the overhead lights. A giant roulette wheel is painted inthe middle of the oor. Rows of motorcycles are lined to one side, a few cars to the other. Thehouse band occupies one side and, on its opposite side, a staircase leads to where theaudience is seated.Husain walks out on the oor to thunderous applause, whistling, hollering and yelling. Heresponds to the crowd’s welcome in the same coin — exuberantly. The excitement levelsurges beyond measure. Everyone starts shouting and beseeching: Start it from here, pick usrst.  Audience in queue for Aamir Liaquat Hussain's show Inaam Ghar  during Ramzan | Courtesy GeoEntertainment  6/17/2019Winner takes all: Who benefits from game shows and by how much? - Herald Husain makes his way through the crowd, asking questions. (Who was the rst femalecandidate for president in Pakistan? The correct answer – Fatima Jinnah – wins someone agold ring.) A young man named Hammad stops Husain in his tracks.“I know the family tree of the Prophet of Islam,” he says.“So what do I do?” Husain asks.“Will you give me a motorcycle if I recite it?”“I’ll give you whatever I like.”The two start bargaining. Hammad is adamant that he will not accept anything other than amotorcycle; Husain instead offers him other prizes, including some cash. The two arrive at aconsensus after an eight-minute long banter. Hammad nally gets what he has come here for.In another episode, a middle-aged womanchases Husain, waving her sandal at him,around the stage. After having won onemotorcycle already, she is asking him to giveher another. In a high-pitched voice, shethreatens him: “You have to give me themotorcycle. I shall see how you don’t.” Husaingives in.Such frivolity is common on the show. It, however, does not always win prizes. A participant in a show this Ramzan rst makes Husain greet her brother and father. She thentells him that she wants a car. She asked him to give her a dare instead of asking her aquestion. Husain informs her she will get the car only if she answers his questions correctly.“Please, please, ask me an easy question — from the stories of the prophets.”“Questions about the prophets? For a car?” He puts away his ash cards and says he will askquestions on his own. “I’ll ask you ve questions,” he says.  A woman chases Husain, waving her sandal at him,around the set of Inaam Ghar
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