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_)

The hits and misses from the Pakistani drama industry in 2017

When it comes to Pakistani dramas in 2017, there has been a diverse range to choose from. There are dramas that fray towards the whimsical side, as well as those that have empowering messages about relevant social issues. A conversation about Pakistani dramas, however, is incomplete without criticism on the portrayal of the roti dhoti aurtein (miserable women) of our society. Listed below are the top and flop dramas of 2017 so far: Baaghi The drama is consistently scoring high Television Rating Points (TRP) and gaining a strong word of mouth due to its incredible script. Saba Qamar’s portrayal of Fouzia Batool aka Qandeel Baloch is one ...

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The “Maasi” competition only celebrated the weaknesses of our domestic help by using them as props for a privilege-fest

We had a helper at home who we called maasi (maid). We never thought it was wrong or degrading. That was up until someone called me that word during a fight and I felt deeply wronged. I was 14, easily hurt, and crying about it to someone and they consoled me by saying, “Maa-si: Maa (mother) and si (like). Being a maasi means like a mother. What is there to cry about?” That stopped my tears momentarily and gave me something to think about. Mai. Maasi. Kaam waali. Bhangan. Choori – these aren’t just job titles designated for the lowest and the most disenfranchised women of our country; ...

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So far, Baaghi is authentic and impactful – but will it continue to be so?

Currently airing on Urdu 1 and starring Saba Qamar, Ali Kazmi, Sarmad Khoosat, Irfan Khoosat, Nadia Afghan and Saba Faisal, is a drama called Baaghi. This drama explores the life of Fouzia Azeem aka Qandeel Baloch, the social media superstar who was murdered by her brother in the name of honour. Qamar plays Fouzia Batool – a sparky, witty woman residing in a small village in Punjab. She’s not your average village damsel; she harasses her harassers and talks back to anyone who dare oppress her. Filled with an inviting antagonism and natural charm, Fouzia’s personality is a firecracker. She dances at weddings and sings Noor Jehan songs. ...

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In Ramazan, the piety curtain falls and the ratings go up, but not for Mansha Pasha

Aah, Ramazan. Shaan-e-Ramazan. Ehtram-e-Ramazan. Naimat-e-Ramazan. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Hold your horses. Because in few minutes it will be, “Moti moti auntiyaan kidhar hain?”  (Where are all the fat aunties?) “Aam khaye ga aam?”  (Do you want to eat mango?) And my personal most favourite, “Who are you to question Jinnah?” Pakistani television shows during Ramazan are complete madness. And anyone who has had the displeasure of watching these shows would agree that each year they try to outdo their own madness and each year they succeed. From giving away children to planes, Aamir Liaquat is on some kind of unreal dare to prove that shock value generates money. Forget ethics or standards of ...

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Sangat proves that mothers will always force their daughters to stay silent about abuse

Written by Zafar Mairaj who has also recently penned down Muqabil, another drama that deals with a victim of sexual abuse, Sangat has hundreds of snags and a few redeeming points. The plot Ashi (Saba Qamar) is a cheerful, bright woman married to Adnan (Mikaal Zulfiqar) and lives with him in their house along with her sister-in-law, Farah (Kiran Haq) and mother-in-law (Samina Ahmed). It’s all hunky dory. Adnan is a doting husband, Ashi is a dutiful wife. But they can’t have kids because Adnan needs to undergo medical treatment in order for Ashi to conceive, a matter which he is delaying. ...

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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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