Lately, we have had a slew of superheroines! Let’s see who these Pakistani heroines are who have changed the narrative and are carving the way forward for the audience.
From Aiman in ‘Pardes’, Asma in ‘Dour’ to Noor in ‘Aakhir Kab Tak’, our ladies are in the driving seat! Or else they are like DilNasheen in ‘Fitoor’, taking her sweet time, in landing that Karate chop aka stopping that slap. Either way, they are knocking us off our feet!! Even Nargis in ‘Pehli si Mohabat’ is proving to be The Rock! We wish we could say the same about Rakhshi and Zohra but sniff, sniff, we cannot, yet. Read on to find out why…
1. Noor, Aiman, Asma – Girls Take Charge
In the drama ‘Dour’, Asma is shown giving advice to her father about re-kicking off their puppet show. This is refreshingly different from the fathers that are typically shown, dictating their daughters’ lives. A partnership is shown between the father and daughter! Moreover, in episode 3, we see the daughters, oh so outspoken and their father, oh so polite to his daughters. Nice!
In ‘Pardes’, Aiman states, no holds barred, “I will get married, to who I want, right here in front of my father, you people don’t need to worry.” I wish more heroines in our dramas would take charge and act less bechari, as Aiman is shown in episodes 17-18, part 2. Full marks to Durre Fishan, Marina Khan and Sarwat Nazir for giving our girls such a positive role model.
In ‘Aakhir Kab Tak‘, Noor tells Basam, very confidently, her complete lack of interest in his rishta. She also steps up, as the very timid Fajjar’s elder sister and her protector. What a refreshing change from the sister rivalry theme that our drama writers and production houses, love so much.
2. Aiman and Asma – It’s Ok To be Self-Centered
In patriarchy and in our dramas, women are as good as the services they render. For example, bearing children, cooking, cleaning, supporting, getting used (or abused) and being somebody’s “izzat“. Sasu ma, sister in law, brother in law, the neighbours and everyone’s wants are seemingly much more important to our heroine than her own needs.
Our dramas are giving this unfortunate message to our girls that they need to focus more on other’s wants because that’s the purpose of their life. Says who? Not surprisingly, only evil women are shown selfish.
In ‘Pardes’ and in ‘Dour’, both Aiman and Asma are focused on what they want, not so much on the “greater good of mankind”. Can we say we love this? Absolutely!
Does anyone remember “Wannabe” by Spice girls? That’s what we are talking about…Atta Girl!!
3. Rakhshi and Zohra – Stop Being Apologists And Own Up To To Your Desires
Our heroines are shown to be apologists for their own desires! If at any time our heroine does gather enough courage to state her heart’s wish, she usually does it in a very weak voice without much conviction. Soon enough, she crumbles and reverts to her “default” status – the sacrificial lamb. Someone, please feed those energy bars to our anaemic ladies.
Should we call Rakhshi in ‘Pehli si Mohabbat’, a loving daughter or an apologist for her heart’s desire? Well, if you ask me, she needs to grow a backbone! Sadly, it does not look like she will because she is too busy flooding our TV screens with her endless tears. I don’t recall her making even a single attempt to own up her heart’s desire for Aslam, to her father. Our fearless hero Aslam, on the other hand, is taking beating upon beating. Oh hold on, our heroine tried once to murmur, whisper something, didn’t she? But then she promptly fainted…Tsk Tsk…Someone, please hand a B-Complex to Rakhshi!
Zohra in ‘Raqse-bismil‘ is also a classic example of being an apologist for her desires. Moosa’s dad asks her but she says Yes – to what Moosa’s dad wants for her…What???
4. Dilnasheen Goes Rogue And Acts Human!
Dilnasheen, in the latest episode of ‘Fitoor’, does the unthinkable. Sure, it only took her 34 episodes to find her voice and stop Haider’s slap. When Dilnasheen caught Haider’s hand in mid-air, I could hear women around the world, clenching their fists with excitement. Not only did our girl stop Mr Haider, but she also went rogue, in our aunty language and crossed red lines, tauba tauba!! She cold calls Hamza bares her heart and soul to him and even goes to see him!
So, what can we do?
Should we judge or excuse our heroine for going rogue and rebelling against society’s notions about a wife’s loyalty? Remember the tortures she has been through – Maimal’s Machiavellian scheming, her own mother’s very unmotherly aggression, Haider’s maddening double standards and her mother in law’s casting aspersions on her character. Uff…I am getting tired of just talking about Dilnasheen’s tortuous marital life. However, I would like to applaud Dilnasheen, for finally giving herself permission to rebel. Heroines are human too, you know!
For a moment, let’s switch Dilnasheen and Haider’s roles. Would we be as quick to criticize? Somehow, I get the feeling our desi culture will be harsher towards Dilnasheen than Haider. Sad!!
5. Nargis Is The Rock – With Convictions and Clarity
Nargis, from ‘Pehli si Mohabbat’ is not the heroine. But in my opinion, she has a much stronger portrayal than Rakhshi, who is a little too busy crying. Nargis ma’am makes her own decisions about what she wants and when. While her ex-flame does return and Nargis is shown, thinking about him, talking to him and even meeting him, in the end, she stays true to her convictions.
6. Aiman – Cut To The Chase Already!
Aiman, in ‘Pardes’, minces no words when she tells her relatives what they should do next for her father’s operation – sell the house! She has no issues calling a spade a spade and calling out her father’s bother and sister for their selfishness. What a contrast to her mother, who in my eyes is equally responsible for the mess by being such a do-gooder.
Aiman stays in character and says “No” to the rishta, when she learns that her cousin will be going abroad. She gives more importance to her childhood fear of “abroad” than her ailing father’s wishes. Yes Sir! I can hear our community disapproving that she needed to be sensitive to her father’s condition! Let’s remember her fears exist because of her parents’ decisions. They needed to be sensitive to their children’s needs. Touche!!
To sum it up, we are absolutely loving our superheroines. They are driven and not taking any prisoners! We only hope, their journey ends on a powerful note, as well. Writers, are you listening?
Lubna Zia is Director, Portfolio and RPA at a large multimedia company in New York. She loves writing, baking, coaching, gardening and along with her husband, travelling around the world. She has also edited a travelogue on Dubai, by Sher Azam available @ Amazon, by the name of “DUBAI, No Problem : Maafi Mushkil“. She has grown up watching Pakistani dramas and that’s why she is here @ FUCHSIA!