Sabohat Haitmatova, Art Critic
Eleonora Ganieva, Art Critic
The cinema and television by taking up one of the main niches in the information and entertainment space have a great influence on the audience, and sociological functions of the ‘blue screen’, still have to be studied thoroughly and in detail. Particular consideration requires the subject of miniseries fiction films, which is rapidly transforming into a national television series, and the problems arising in connection with this process.
Historical transformations that have involved our country in recent decades have paved the way for creation of new ideological space, development of democratic state and civil society in Uzbekistan. Transformations have occurred in many sectors, including the mass media, as one of the main and effective factors in formation of the modern world perception in the minds of the people. All this requires us to study the miniseries television films and its subsequent derivative – the national television series, the value of which “from a cultural point of view is in its form of mass communication that to a significant extent allowing accumulation of knowledge about the life of society” (1, p. 15), its culture and traditions.
Uzbek miniseries film as a kind of the stage art was formed in the 1970 – 1980s across the country, adopting the already established certain cliches and rules of their creation. Famous Uzbek masters of cinema studied the best examples of films for a small screen by their colleagues from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Thus began the gradual creation of the TV miniseries for Uzbek television at the Uzbekfilm studio according to the orders of the Gosteleradio (State Radio and Television Committee) of the USSR. The television films like “Testament of the Old Master”, “Chinara”, “It happened in Qoqand”, “Meet me in the high mountains”, and ultimately, “The Fiery Roads” have been broadcasted many times at the end of the 1970s – beginning of the 1980s on the Central Television of the USSR, evoking the positive feedback of the press and the audience.
In the 1990s the miniseries are gradually replacing almost all other forms of the films, filling the television space and getting restructured and upgraded. In the programs of TV channels appear the TV series – a relatively new phenomenon, at the origins of which are not the filmmakers, who were implementing the orders of the Soviet television management (for example, the aforementioned large project of Shukhrat Abbasov, “The Fiery Roads”, consisting of 17 episodes), but those humble productions of the television filmmakers (“Uzbektelefilm”), who already in the 1990s made attempts to create in this new format of television as TV series.
The history of the modern Uzbek TV series traces back to the showing on the TV screens of our country the 20-episode film “Charhpalak” (“The Wheel of Fate”, the script writer – Sh. Boshbekov, director – Sh. Djunadullaev, 1997 – 2000). Each episode was fitting well into the format of the television program (45 minutes). This intriguing and dynamic picture was filling the free time of the spectators with a story, as if taken from their own lives, not the foreign exotic ones like the Latin American telenovelas “Slave Izaura” or “Esmeralda”, the American “Santa Barbara”, and Australian “Return to Eden”, etc. The national TV series are becoming popular already at their first appearance. Traditions of the “Charhpalak” were continued in such films as 15-episode film “Diqqat, motor!” (“Attention, action”, director F. Davletshin), 15-episode film “Mekhrobdan chayon” (“Scorpion out of the altar”, director M. Mukhammedov), 5-episode film “Adolat manzili” (The Justice bus stop”, director F. Khaydarov), etc. These were the tentative steps, however these films have served as the next step in further development of the national TV series in the television framework on the technical basis of the unitary enterprise “Uzbektelefilm” of the National Television and Radio Company of Uzbekistan.
Traditionally priority subjects of the TV films were declared by the requirements of the epoch: restoration of the historical truth, spiritual and cultural heritage, traditions of Uzbek people, moral values of the national character, education of new generation in the spirit of patriotism and pride for their homeland.
The first half of the 2000s saw the creation of a number of TV series matching the objectives set before the state television. In the programs of the Uzbek television channels appear (at first not as often as would be necessary) the miniseries of the ambiguous artistic sounding. They have yet to accustom the audience to the national TV series. These include such television films as “Uwaysi” (6 episodes), “Zanjir” (“The Chain”, 7 episodes), “Lawz” (“Conscience”, 6 episodes), “Kaytmas” (“No Way Back”, 6 episodes), “Bogh” (“The Garden”, 7 episodes), “Taqdir Yullari” (“The Paths of the Destiny”, 4 episodes), “Khurshida” (4 episodes), “Imon” (“Faith”, 7 episodes) and “Maftuna” (5 episodes).
In 2006, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan has adopted a resolution “On the comprehensive creative and production program “The National TV Series”, in which were the main areas for development of this kind of screen art have been outlined. The principal areas are as follows: cultural and educational objectives; revival of the national traditions, historical and spiritual values; rooting democratic values in the minds of people; formation of the younger generation in the spirit of patriotism, love of country, and universal values. Adoption of this resolution has significantly changed the situation. It resulted in the quantitative breakthrough and growth in the temporal dimension, the broadcast of the state television channels such as “O’zbekiston”, “Yoshlar”, “Toshkent”, “Sport”. Thematic content of the TV serials created in these years was taken into account according to the requirements of each individual channel.
Such national TV series, well known to the viewer, as “Dil Payvandi” (“Unification of Souls”, 7 episodes, director S. Babaev), “Kaytar Dunyo” (“Everything Comes Back”, 15 episodes, director Sh. Djunadullaev), “Umidingni Sundirma” (“Do Not Give Up Your Dream”, 30 episodes, director Sh. Djunadullaev), “Qaldirgochlar Yana Kaytadi” (“The Swallows Will Come Back”, 31 episodes, director B. Agmedov), “Chempionlik Orzusi” (“A Dream of Becoming a Champion”, 7 episodes, director A. Afrin), “Serjantlar” (“The Sergeants”, 15 episodes, director N. Kasymov), is an evidence of the rapid response from the side of the cinema art functionaries to the resolutions of the government.
Within the past ten years, television series have gained the major share of the television screen, becoming a significant component of the mass culture. There is a trend in the national television of the growing rating of the serial production and a great demand for it from the side of the audience. Today, virtually every channel of the National Television and Radio Company of Uzbekistan broadcasts from 5 to 8 TV series daily, adopting the “Latin American model of broadcasting the TV series, that is… the daily show of the episodes at day time and at night” (1, p. 20).
Significant quantitative and qualitative success of TV products in the last five years is also noteworthy. Along with the standard TV series with the length ranging from 15 to 30 episodes, we can talk about multi-episode serials that are able to draw the public’s attention during several months. These are the “Tutash Taqdirlar” (“The Intertwined Destinies”, 54 episodes, 2009, script writers N. Eshonkul and Z. Beghimkulova, director Z. Beghimkulova) and “Opa-Singhillar” (“Sisters”, 140 episodes, 2011 – 2013, screen writers N. Eshonkul and Z. Beghimkulova, director Z. Beghimkulova). This is a significant achievement in the history of Uzbek TV series.
However, despite the positive quantitative dynamics of the serials, the TV series of recent years are diverse rather in their themes, but unfortunately, not in the terms of genre. The same trends are occurring in the national cinema. Drama, romance and comedy are the main genres of the national filmmakers, while in both the public and private cinema sectors.
Familiarization with the TV series produced within the period of 2009 – 2014 has showed quite predictable trend of creating serials about a particular field of professional activity of the characters. Such TV series as “Fidoyilar” (“Devotees”, 30 episodes, 2011, script writers Z. Kurbonova, A. Mignorov, director A. Mignorov) is about the self-sacrificing work of the doctors helping their patients in the remote rural areas, “Arzular Fasli” (“The Time of Desires”, 19 episodes, 2011, script writer N. Azim, director M. Hamroeva) about the employees of a PR Agency, “Oltin Davrim” (“My Golden Age”, 20 episodes, 2013, script writer I. Shomurodov, director F. Shamsimatov) about the life of the students of the National University of Uzbekistan full of adventure and new discoveries.
The comedy films are successful as well. The most notable in this genre are the TV series “Mehmonjonlardan Aylanai” (“My Dear Guests”, 15 episodes, 2009, script writer E. Hushvaktov, director M. Hamroyeva) narrating of hospitality, tolerance and the national traditions of Uzbek people.
Popular with the audience are the melodramatic and dramatic TV series: “Djiyda Guli” (“The Flower of Date”, 21episodes, 2010 – 2012, the script writers M. Suleymanov, K. Turamurodov, I. Rasulov, director I. Rasulov) telling about a love story of the main characters that have passed through many obstacles in order to be together. The subject of the complicated family relationship between the older and younger generations (in particular, a clash of the interests of the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law) is being examined in the TV series by Z. Beghimkulova. At the same time, the serial “Opa-Singhillar” (Sisters) unassumingly, through a prism of the daily life of the main characters, shows the transformations that took place in our country within the last quarter of the century, the opportunities and significant social reforms in the sphere of healthcare and increase of the standards of life of Uzbek people.
The contemporary television industry also produce the TV series in the genre of fiction, including the serials for children like “Kuch Birlikda” (“The Strength is in Unity”, 15 episodes, 2014, script writers F. Turahodjaeva, M. Khramova, director A. Afrin) that serve for the cognitive and educational purposes.
The national TV series to date have widely asserted themselves, gaining a significant portion of the television audience in the country. However, it should be noted that there are problems of the artistic nature as well: weak dramaturgy and direction, low professionalism of the cameramen and actors (“Kaminaning Oilasi” (“My family”), “Jiblajibon” (“Wagtail”), “Kainona va Kelin” (“Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law”) and others). Therefore, all these problems of creating the full-blooded art works of the television film genre have to be addressed today, to which end the implementation of the “National TV Series” program, adopted by the government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, is required.
Keywords: TV film, transformation of the television film, miniseries, the national TV series.