The power of cinema and television mustn’t be shied away. We often forget the magnificent capability the visual arts hold, and how they can help catalyze change. The process might be slow, and it might take a lifetime, but subconsciously they can have a tremendous effect on molding a mindset, however rigid, and however innately wired in. Pakistani dramas, as I have said countless times before, are impeccable at most in script, acting and harnessing social issues so brilliantly, you really can’t help but marvel. In recent light of what’s happened, it’s important to not shed light on those dramas that have made incredibly admirable attempts at highlighting the sheer injustice that plagues our society.
Here are 13 dramas in particular that touch upon social issues in a very commendable manner.
The drama dives into sexual abuse, with Sajal’s character as the woman raped by her brother-in-law but is forcefully hushed so that she doesn’t ruin her sister’s marriage. Starring Feroze Khan and Jibran Syed, the Yasir Nawaz-directed drama brilliantly showcases the sad truth of women raped and left utterly voiceless.
‘Khudgarz’ is currently on air, and raises the topic of forced marriages and misogyny that is incredibly ripe in Pakistan society. Sami Khan’s character is vile, ruthless and shown to be the epitome of a chauvinist. It dives into intra-family politics that are very common, with male domination and going to extreme lengths to protect one’s honor.
Starring Maria Wasti and Sania Saeed among others, Dhund’ addresses a multitude of taboos rooted in Pakistan, from honor killings to ruthless sectarianism, single parenthood and adoptive tribulations too. The drama isn’t all dark; in fact, there is a lighter premise throughout the story so as to dampen the unfortunate gloomier counterparts.
Dar Si Jaati Hai Sila
Yumna Zaidi and Noman Ijaz lead this stellar drama about child abuse. It’s uncomfortable to watch – exactly why it must be watched really. Marital abuse and rape are also overarching elements woven into the story. Joi (Noman) is the antagonist who has ill thoughts towards both child Sia and mother Sadia – an important foundation in a country that is very prone to child exploitation. The women are forced to stay mum as per the norm in a drama that projects the most pressing (and current) matter in the country.
Aisi Hai Tanhai
Nadia Khan and Sonya Hussyn star alongside Sami Khan in new drama ‘Aisi Hai Tanhai,’ about how a Western culture has seeped into all classes within Pakistan. It’s a twofold storyline, first with the problems a more ‘liberal’ mindset has in a heavily religious society; and secondly how social media is more profound for the women of our country. The issues the drama raises are twofold; firstly, the fact that western culture seeps into Pakistani society; and secondly, how it unravels the hypocrisy so prevalent against our women.
Possibly the most famed drama to highlight social issues, ‘Udaari’ took on child rape and class prejudice as its horns. It ripped through these two plaguing taboos spectacularly, showcasing the struggle a single mother has to bring justice to her daughter’s rapist. Ahsan Khan was lauded for his terrifying role as Imtiaz, the child rapist who sought out to seek revenge on his victim’s mother. While this was the undertone, the drama also divulged other issues at hand, stemming from our unfortunate reality.
Zahid Ahmed and Saba Qamar impress in ‘Besharam,’ a drama keying in on the trials a struggling model in Pakistan must face as she gnaws her way to the top of the societal food chain. Zahid plays a politically driven individual who marries Saba’s character and forces her to change – considering being a model is not an honorable profession in
his most eyes.
‘Sammi’ brilliantly explored the theme of a poor girl being tossed around after her husband is murdered on her wedding day. Women are continually defeated, and that’s exactly what they’re discussing. Mawra Hocane, Adnan Siddiqui and Sania Saeed star in a fantastic telling of lower class battles with corruption.
Another drama about child rape, ‘Muqabil’ stars Kubra Khan, Asif Raza Mir and Mohsin Abbas Haider who collectively tell the brutal tale of Kubra’s character growing up with a startling revelation that she was raped, and seeking revenge by marrying her rapist’s son. Warning – the drama is triggering, because of the raw essence with which it is depicted. It’s brilliant, and heartbreaking at the same time.
‘Daldal’ is by far starkly different from any other drama thus brought forth. Starring Zahid Ahmed and Armeena Khan, ‘Daldal’ focuses on illegal immigration and how it shapes a poor family, desperate to earn enough money to survive in Pakistan. Zahid’s character is also abusive towards his wordless wife, and this issue too is brilliantly approached.
‘Gul-e-Rana’ primarily dealt with abuse, with Feroze Khan’s character the sadistic psychopath who marries his cousin and subjects her to incessant violence. It boldly and wonderfully showcases Sajal’s character as a fighter and someone who won’t be cast into the shadows by her husband. Class conflict also arises, with parent mentality kicking in as choosing rishtas for their children based on material wealth and not character.
Have you seen any of these dramas? Are there others you would like us to add?