Quizzing Religiously: Review of Geo TV’s Religious Quiz Show ‘Alif Laam Meem’

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Geo TV is showing a religious quiz program titled ‘Alif Laam Meem’ hosted by Junaid Jamshed everyday during Ramadan and on Mondays otherwise. The program follows Islamized version of the ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ format. Islamized in the sense that instead of the signature music and dramatic sound effects it starts with a recitation of ‘Alif Laam Meem’ which are three words from the Holy Quran with esoteric meaning. When a participant picks the right answer from the four options while answering a question the audience say ‘Subhan Allah’ or ‘MashAllah’ instead of clapping and of course the participants can win tickets for ‘Umrah’, ‘Hajj’ or an apartment in Saudi Arabia apart from the prize money..

It is claimed that ‘Alif Laam Meem’ is the first ever religious quiz show on any TV channel produced on a big scale.

The basic aim of the program is to create such entertaining and socio-religious program, which expands religious sphere as well as entertains viewers and audience while helping spread knowledge at the same time.

Junaid Jamshed is an icon. He was an extremely popular and commercially successful singer when he decided to quit the music

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convictions. By then he has concentrated on reciting ‘nasheeds’ (moral or religious songs.) Sometimes he participates in talk shows, he has delivered talks on religious topics and now he has become a quizmaster too. His fashion clothes retail chains are also doing fine across the country.

The participant has three life-lines to start with. These are ‘rahbar se madad’ (a religious scholar readily available to give clues), ‘shura se mashwarah’ (audience poll) or ‘rafiq ko call’ (phone a friend). After answering five questions another life-line is added to the combo that allows the participant to flip a question.

Now since Junaid Jamshed has no prior experience as a quizmaster, which is a specialized job, so he fumbles a great deal. His interaction is not smooth. Also he lacks originality as far as his personality is concerned. It seems he imitates a religious scholar who has influenced him deeply. Otherwise he has an engineering degree under his belt too and has a lot of exposure. He acts like a typical ‘mulla’ (typical Pakistani Islamic cleric.) There is nothing wrong being a mulla but imitation does not look good at all..

The weakest part of the show is the design and selection of questions according to different levels. If we look at the programs aired for the last two weeks we will see that seldom a participant makes it to the fifth question. Average prize money given to a participant is PKR10,000 only i.e., minimum a participant can win, which looks ridiculous.  Participants almost always resort to life-lines options after first or second question which indicates there is a design flaw in the preparation and selection of the questions. Usually in this type of quiz programs quiz gradually becomes difficult.

Interesting factor is that audience polls often mislead the participants. Last night a young girl was doing great as a participant until she used audience poll as a life line on the fifth or six question and audience yet again came up with a wrong answer.

The duration of the program is also not right i.e., just 35-40 minutes or so of total transmission time. The program Herunder presenterer vi en av disse metodene:Martingalesystemet er en kjent og veldig popul?r strategi (hold deg til nettkasinoer om du bruker denne metoden, da den fort kan fa deg kastet ut fra et vanlig kasino fordi den funker sa effektivt)Klikk her for a spille pa Betsson!Metoden gar enkelt og greit ut pa at du satser et belop (eksempelvis $5) pa enten ROD eller SORT, og hver gang du taper dobler du innsatsen din pa samme farge inntil du vinner. ends after 7 or eight questions as there are too many commercials to fill in the air time.

In this type of quiz program it is imperative to have good selection criteria for the ‘barq raftar’ (fastest finger) rounds. This way right type of participants can be selected to sit on the hot seat. Audience may also to be invited carefully because in a way they also participate in the program.

The program has a great deal of potential and Junaid can improve a lot with the passage of time. Only if the prize money may be enhanced and the selection of questions be brought in line with

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the levels reached by the participant, than the program be made more balanced and judicial.

  2 comments for “Quizzing Religiously: Review of Geo TV’s Religious Quiz Show ‘Alif Laam Meem’

  1. August 16, 2011 at 11:11 am

    So what would they come up with next: A Qawwali competition modeled on American Idol? Funny, that increasingly all aspects of Pakistani life have become permeated by a pseudo-religiosity.

  2. alqaria@gmail.com'
    whh
    August 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Sensei kindly allow me to say that to me it’s not religiosity, it’s pure business…

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