KARACHI – Celebrated Pakistani musician Bilal Maqsood has unveiled an innovative online puppet show, 'Pakkay Dost,' tailored exclusively for Pakistani children.
This show, he emphasizes, uses humour as its educational tool to entertain and enlighten young minds.
Maqsood, renowned as the co-founder of Pakistan's iconic pop-rock band 'Strings,' decided to embark on this creative journey after the band's remarkable 33-year career concluded in March 2021. The idea to create engaging content for children had been germinating in his mind for quite some time.
In the past year, Maqsood dabbled in creating poems for children, but his latest project is a more significant and dedicated effort, culminating in the launch of 'Pakkay Dost' on his YouTube channel.
Speaking passionately at the show's launch event in Karachi, Maqsood shared his motivation behind this venture. He recounted how the absence of Urdu language songs for children troubled him, a sentiment that took root with the birth of his son, Mikail, who is now 26 years old.
"This was my life-long passion project. When Mikael, my first son, was born, I used to wonder why don't we have songs for children in Urdu," Maqsood expressed during the launch.
He continued, "We grew up listening to Sohail Rana's music. Even today, when we hear his songs, it takes us back to our childhood. These songs keep us connected to our values and our culture. But when my kids were growing up, there wasn't any such thing. They instead listened to Sesame Street, Mary Poppins."
In the mid-70s, Pakistan's state TV featured the iconic children's show 'Kaliyan,' starring the beloved puppet character, Uncle Sargam, created and voiced by the renowned puppeteer and television director Farooq Qaiser. To this day, Uncle Sargam and Maasi Museebtay are considered Pakistan's legendary puppet duo, but the country has seen little production of similar shows since.
'Pakkay Dost' comprises four episodes, each with an average duration of 15 minutes, exploring diverse themes that range from educational content like alphabets and names of days to important life lessons. A dedicated team of over 100 individuals worked on the project, which showcases six key characters.
"The show combines humour and valuable messages, making learning an enjoyable experience for children," Maqsood explained. He also revealed that they are already hard at work on the second season of the show.
To create 'Pakkay Dost,' Maqsood diligently studied Disney and Sesame Street songs, aiming to grasp the "science behind it." His goal was to craft local content with a "foreign sound," and in just three months, he developed an array of characters in collaboration with Canada-based puppet maker Allison Ewert that perfectly complemented his songs and vision.
For the show's art direction, Maqsood enlisted the talents of the husband-and-wife duo Umer Adil and Beenish Umer, who have a three-year-old daughter. Their experiences as parents were invaluable in shaping the show's content.
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Sarwat Gilani, a renowned actor and a mother of two, was also present at the launch event. She praised 'Pakkay Dost' for addressing the needs of both children and adults. "As a mother, it is very tough for me to teach the Urdu alphabet to kids. But teaching Urdu alphabets through this in the form of a rhyme, mothers will thank Bilal for this," she said, emphasizing the show's potential to bridge an important gap in children's content.
"When great minds work hard, show perseverance and dedication something spectacular is created, such is the story of “Pakay Dost” a first of its kind Urdu Edutainment content for children, where they can learn values that define us, sheds light on urdu as a language covering years of gap in the area of educational entertainment for us and our children. I recommend every parent in fact every Pakistani to watch ‘Pakay Dost’ on YouTube, feel proud of it and thank the team for thinking of this much needed content."
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Pakistani currency remains largely stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 24, 2024.
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.5 for buying and 282.55 for selling.
On Saturday, Euro stands at 302 for buying and 305 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 352.5 for buying, and 356 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.1 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.35.
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