With an unconventional kinship and a path of self-discovery, will Pinky Memsaab shatter Pakistan’s ‘maid culture’?

Published: November 2, 2018

Although still struggling, Pakistan’s cinema has started pulling filmgoers to cinema houses and making waves in the international film market. By taking baby steps to reshape the film industry, local filmmakers are working hard to capture the beauty of life on screen, to transform the portrayal of their motherland through persuasive storytelling, and to foster national identity and pride that hasn’t been experienced for a long time.

In this regard, Pakistan’s indie filmmaking scene gives the impression of being more rousing and vivacious than ever, with new storytellers along with unrivalled concepts surfacing the cinematic galaxy. These avantgarde indie movies are not only audacious in nature but also engaging, and one such film ready to be released soon is Pinky Memsaab.

Directed by Dubai-based writer and director, Shazia Ali Khan, Pinky Memsaab seems to be a poignant feminist expression with a mixture of a thought provoking anecdotes, impressive performances and heedful entertainment. It gives an account of self-discovery while having propensities of love, contentment, sorrow, friendship and savagery cultivated in the double-standards held by our society. It is a journey about how to contemplate one’s strengths and weaknesses.

With performers from Pakistan, India and UAE, Pinky Memsaab’s recently released trailer has already made waves amongst film lovers. The trailer begins with Maan Jao Na famed actress Hajra Yamin’s narration; giving insight to spectators regarding how she got the sobriquet “Pinky”.

“As a kid my cheeks were tomato red, and so I became…Pinky”

The trailer further tells us that Pinky got married to an uneducated village fellow. Her married life turns out to be nothing but filled with monetary restraints. Things at home were not in favour, so she travels to Dubai to work as a maid in order to earn some extra bucks. Upon reaching Dubai, she meets her memsaab (madam), a fashionable socialite called Mehr, played by Kiran Malik.

Under the influence of Mehr’s extravagant routine, Pinky’s life changes from a simpleton rural woman to a desi maid who develops a peculiar friendship with her memsaab. Mehr teaches Pinky everything, from speaking English to wearing stylish clothes and makeup. She guides her in every aspect, from basic home chores to meeting other socialites. As soon as Pinky becomes accustomed to her new urban life, she starts thinking in a different way and one day declares,

“I don’t want to be a maid anymore…”

While her memsaab has a wholly different point of view,

“Some things are meant to be admired from afar; you go close, and it’s just not the same…”

The memsaab’s training transforms Pinky in such a way that even Mehr’s acquaintances fail to recognise her as a maid. On the other hand, the preview also shows Mehr’s sour relationship with her highly paid banker husband Hasan, played by Adnan Jaffar.

The trailer further showed tinges of distrust, envy, ill-treatment and a lack of care in Mehr’s life. It seems that these constraints played a vast role in developing a close unconventional bond between Pinky and Mehr. This association helps Pinky in her self-discovery and understanding what she wants from life.

One can easily take a note from the snippets of the trailer that amidst the lavish lifestyle, the characters of Pinky and Mehr actually stand-up to counter the biased conceptions and implicit social barriers to ascertain their own identity.

Although the film is all about Dubai’s exotic lifestyle, the main subject still resonates well with daily life in Pakistan, where female domestic helpers are a significant part of every household. In the presence of such ‘maid culture’, the film’s subject echoes that an unconventional kinship between a maid and her affluent employer, irrespective of their diverse milieus, is quite possible if they share similar snags, sentiments and believe in subsistence. They can enjoy tranquillity in each other’s comradeship without any class difference or social status coming between them – only a mutual affinity when it comes to life-changing revelations.

All in all, Khan’s directorial debut seems like a simple yet complex story of two women from two different social backgrounds who connect with each other on the basis of a mutual perception of life and exploration of their inner self. The film’s quartet characters of a naïve maid, socialite wife, ambitious husband, and happy-go-lucky chauffeur, are not only multifaceted but also intriguing in nature.

If you are looking for a combo of drama, glamour and humour in one film, then Pinky Memsaab is the perfect choice.

Pinky Memsaab is set to release on December 7, 2018.

All photos: Screenshots

Tanveer Khadim

Tanveer Khadim

An avid reader, freelance writer and a blogger, Tanveer is pursuing fashion designing. She has a passion for cooking, attended cookery courses and tweets as @TheFusionDiary (twitter.com/TheFusionDiary)

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