Ek Thi Marium – this is what empowerment looks like

Published: September 21, 2016
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Ek thi Marium shares the story of a spirited young woman whose struggles, diligence, unshaken faith and conviction made her the proud recipient of the Tamgha-e-Basalat (Medal of Good Conduct) post her martyrdom.

Steering away from the melodramatic genre of our drama industry – which continually encircles around the ‘bechari aurat’ (oppressed woman) – projects like Ek Thi Marium attempt to bring about a much needed change showcasing the true meaning of the commonly misused term: woman empowerment.

The project is a biopic of the first Pakistani woman fighter pilot, Marium Mukhtar, who was martyred whilst in the line of duty. The gripping narrative, crisp direction, and deep dialogues have made this telefilm both moving and inspirational; two qualities which our monotonous sagas continually lack.

Pakistani woman fighter pilot, Marium Mukhtar
Photo: Reuters

Ek thi Marium narrates the story of a spirited young woman whose struggles, diligence, unshaken faith and conviction made her the proud recipient of the Tamgha-e-Basalat (Medal of Good Conduct) post her martyrdom.

Marium Mukhtar, while fighting stereotypes, made the courageous decision to become a GD fighter pilot for the Pakistan Air Force – a field presumed to be a man’s profession.

Photo: Facebook

During the 120-minute telefilm, we see Marium transcend from a cadet to a PAF fighter pilot. We see her struggle and overcome the harshest of circumstances, deprived of all the blessings we so casually take for granted.

Sanam Baloch
Photo: Screenshot

She is forced to shape herself in accordance to the Air Force standards, and comply with orders that separates her from her natural self.  Apart from the mental stress, we see Marium partake in strenuous physical exercises that push her to her breaking point, like her male colleagues are expected to do as well. But like a true hero, we see her rise to every challenge.

Sanam Baloch
Photo: Screenshot

Marium’s story plays a big role in breaking the unspoken barrier between civilians and soldiers, who just can’t seem to connect with one another on the societal front – with the assumption that it’s due to their discipline, principles, petite attire, and intimidating personalities.

Ek Thi Marium shows viewers the other side of the stern face that one associates with soldiers, and illustrates the struggles that one goes through to finally reach that dignified stature. The movie creates a connection and illustrates a more humane aspect of our soldiers, who we unintentionally take as selfless and courageous individuals, lacking any sort of emotion other than patriotism.

Photo: Facebook

The star of the telefilm, Sanam Baloch, does complete justice to her character and her much awaited comeback, effortlessly portraying a very real yet heroic figure. Hina Bayat performs beyond everyone’s expectations in her concluding speech, when she becomes the proud mother of her shaheed (martyred) daughter. The film is tear-jerking to say the least and will leave you with a heavy heart.

Sanam Baloch
Photo: Facebook

“Hamari Marium tou qaum ke naam par qurbaan hogai, magar aap ke gharon mein ek ek Marium hai. Aap sab se bus itni ilteja hai ke apni apni Marium ko, qaum ki amanat, aur Allah ki rehmat samajh ke palein – Shukriya”

(Our Marium sacrificed herself in the name of her nation, but in each of our homes, there is a Marium. I humbly request you to understand that your Marium is an asset of the nation and a blessing from God, hence, raise her accordingly.) 

Sanam Baloch
Photo: Screenshot

Ek Thi Marium shares very important social messages. Marium’s parents empowered her to live her life based on what she wanted. They stood by her, against all social pressures and believed in her when she lost faith herself – these are the moral values that our society should preach.

Sanam Baloch
Photo: Screenshot

Photo: Facebook

Women like Marium Mukhtar, Muniba Mazari, Musarrat Misbah and Fatima Bhutto are the ones that deserve to be role models of our rising youth. This is what empowerment truly looks like! When a woman can stand alongside men and contribute to the most heroic task – safeguarding her beloved nation.

Umana Khan

Umana Khan

The author is an A levels graduate, full time travel writer and blogger. Read her travelogues at www.sastaticket.pk/blog/. She tweets as @UmanaFKhan (twitter.com/UmanaFKhan)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.