Mahwash.Badar.

Mahwash Badar

The author is a clinical psychologist, a mum to two boys and permanently in a state of flux. She tweets @mahwashajaz_ (twitter.com/mahwashajaz_)

Rasm-e-Duniya: Why are Pakistani dramas obsessed with weepy women and damsels in distress?

Rasm-e-Duniya, starring Armeena Rana Khan, Samina Peerzada, Sami Khan and Bilal Abbas, has faced a lot of criticism from audiences for resorting to the familiar trope – the dukhiyaari damsel.  Let’s break down the play. The protagonist is Haya (Armeena Khan) who is pressured into marrying Harib (Sami Khan) by her family. But the situation takes an ugly turn since Haya and Harib’s elder brother, Farris (Bilal Abbas), were in love with each other. Mussarat (Samina Pirzada) is Farris and Harib’s mother, and was incidentally in love with Haya’s father, Tabrez. Since Mussarat was unable to marry Tabrez, she is extremely bitter and wants everyone around her to ...

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Khuda Mera Bhi Hai: A game changer for Pakistan’s dramasphere

Pakistani dramas are always under fire for portraying the ‘weepy woman’ and the ‘naik perveens’ that seem to have no spine or are always victimised. People tell me that I must have nerves of steel to watch dramas that are full of tears and misery.  Well, I do. But that’s not the end of it. There is a gradual change that’s happening in the Pakistani dramasphere. Women are taking on risky roles and writers are writing scripts where women don’t have to spend at least 20 out of 24 episodes crying about their husbands and their mother-in-laws. One recent game changer that has aired on ...

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Why is Sana Safinaz plagiarising and giving copy-right notices at the same time?

Ever look at those expensive designer dresses in the display windows and felt sad? Ever felt left out because you couldn’t possibly afford to buy a Dior or a Balenciaga dress? Fret not, for Pakistani designers have a genius way of saving you of this misery.  No, no, I’m not talking about cheap knockoffs. Oh no. This is a strangely real deal. You’ll still be wearing designer clothes, probably might even cost an organ, but you’ll be halfway there on the social ladder. One of Pakistan’s leading fashion houses, Sana Safinaz is under the spot light once again and for the same ...

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Madiha’s only crime was that she was unable to bring a motorbike in her dowry

Madiha was a 22-year-old girl in Gujranwala who had just gotten married. You know how it is for newly-wed girls; the apprehension, the stress of adjusting to a new home, the worries about making everyone like you and leaving your family behind. For Madiha, these worries became small compared to the horror she ended up facing. Her husband, Amir, would beat her regularly. Madiha’s crime? She was unable to bring a motorbike for Amir in her dowry. Two months or so after the wedding, Amir and his family doused Madiha with petrol and set her on fire. She died within ...

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Karan Johar, Kangana Ranaut and male privilege

There is no doubt about Karan Johar’s immense talent. He sees Bollywood from a unique eye that captures its essence as well as its soul – what he creates on the big screen is nothing short of magical. In a gargantuan $4.5 billion industry like Bollywood, Johar and Dharma alone stand at $200 million. Johar combines the idyllic with the marketable. He is truly a dream merchant – whether it is when Shah Rukh Khan runs towards Kajol in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor dance at a wedding –Johar has a unique eye and an ...

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Congratulations Asghar Farhadi for winning an Oscar and for boycotting the event

Forty four-year-old Iranian veteran director, Asghar Farhadi boycotted his visit to the Annual Academy Awards where he won the award for ‘Best Picture in a Foreign Language’. His film, The Salesman, won in this category and Farhadi chose two accomplished Iranian-Americans to accept the award on his behalf.  His film’s leading actress, Taraneh Alidoosti, also boycotted the ceremony in light of Trump’s recent visa ban. Farhadi’s boycott comes at a time when the world stares at American borders in askance and confusion. A Syrian cameraman and rescue worker were unable to attend the ceremony because the Syrian government cancelled their passports. Trump’s visa ban, now jammed in federal court, ...

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Our society needs drama’s like Sammi

The most recent episode of the on-going serial Sammi is all about how brilliantly Mawra Hocane and Sania Saeed have performed. Sammi, airing on Hum TV every Sunday, talks about the prevalent custom of vanni in Pakistan. According to Pakistan’s Penal Code, vanni is a custom that is outlawed and has a fine imposed along with imprisonment for anyone who practices it. However, the state organs are weak and vanni continues to be practised in many parts of Pakistan. Simply because the cultural practice has a stronghold in the country and the predominant jirga system has now been given constitutional cover. Through these dramas, however, one can hope that more and more ...

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If you’re a die-hard Hrithik Roshan fan, watch Kaabil

The plot is simple. The clichés are common. There is an A-list actor in the lead. The Bollywood formula is locked and loaded. Aim at a public holiday and fire. Kaabil hit the screens on Indian Republic Day and gathered around 20 crores in its first week. *Minor spoilers ahead* Directed by Sanjay Gupta, of the Kaante (faintly copied from Reservoir Dogs), Zinda (Old Boy) and Jazbaa (the Korean film, Seven Days) fame, comes Kaabil which seems to be loosely adapted around the Korean film, Broken, where the protagonist’s teenage daughter is raped and murdered. In Kaabil, Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) vows ...

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Sang e Mar Mar: Truly a masterpiece

As most of you already must know, Sang e Mar Mar is now inching towards its finale with its plotline coming to a heartbreaking and poignant end. (Warning: spoilers ahead.) In a shattering episode, three deaths simultaneously occur: Safiullah kills Saifurrehman to take revenge of his brother Gauhar’s death, Torah Khan kills Safiullah at the same time to avenge the cruelty Safiullah’s father inflicted upon Torah Khan’s mother – and he does this to make it look as it was Saifurrehman who killed Safiullah. In another place, Gulalai is hit by a bus as she is coming back to the ...

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A domestic helper is not a slave. A child is not a servant. #JusticeForTayyaba

Exactly one year ago, a man heard a little girl cry out from the cold floor of a washroom in Rawalpindi. She is a 12-year-old domestic worker in Rawalpindi Cantonment. As the man tries to contact the police, he realises there is no proper method to save a child like that from a family that refuses to understand that such treatment towards young children, or any person, is nothing but inhumane. The man who heard this little child’s cry wrote about the incident in a piece published on January 01, 2016, with the hope that by this year, she ...

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