PEMRA is under the media and audiences’ radar yet again. Recently, it stated that TV channels and drama makers should refrain from showing ‘hugs/caress scenes,’ in future dramas. But is that really the way to go?
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) was under fire a few months back on its plan to ban Dil Na Umeed Toh Nahi because of its apparent content. But what was wrong with the content? It was based on real-life situations and showed the bitter realities of the world. Anyway, coming to recent events, our beloved PEMRA issued a notice stating a ban on hugs/caress scenes and any intimate scenes. You get the gist, right?
This Is What Started It
This Gets Us To…
We’re directly diving into the question: what about violence (every drama must have thappars & guns), twisted/sinister storylines? Shouldn’t these be under the radar too?
Dramas show extramarital affairs, from sisters-in-law to brothers-in-law, and even son-in-law to mother-in-law, the list can go on and on. It’s disturbing. Are Pakistani drama writers allowed to get away with objectionable storylines only if they do it without showing any proximity between the husband & wife?
Whether it’s Jalan where Meenu fell for Asfi, ruined her sister’s life, and married her husband in broad daylight, yikes, or whether it’s showing junooni aashiq in dramas, where actors threaten other characters with guns and blackmail, ahem ahem, hinting at Ishq Hai and Deewangi. This type of content is corrupting young minds and normalizing violence in society, like video games like Black Ops and COD weren’t already enough.
Also, showing unwanted saazishein and tension among characters is a red flag too. Why not a ban on them?
Oh, and those thappars. Almost every drama has them, even when totally unnecessary. Mehwish from (MPTH) getting that famous thappar from Shehwar’s wife, Maryam (Ramsha Khan) in drama serial Kaisa Hai Naseeban, got pushed, snubbed, emotionally abused, and slapped. A bit too much, don’t you think? This, normalizing in-laws and husbands putting girls or anyone for that matter, through emotional and physical abuse, is so not okay. It remains in the viewer’s mind and has them thinking ‘k oh acha ye theek hai.’
Why oh why, the toxic masculinity and the ‘saazishein. Instead of normalizing healthy relationships, toxicity takes over. Why though?
All This But Still Showing Affection On Screen Is A Big No. But Why?
Showing love, affection towards a loved one is normal whether between husband and wife, children and parents, friends, and those close to you. Dramas normalizing these things is a good thing. In fact, it might actually lead to building up some tolerance in a society plagued with intolerance.
“Hugs/caress scenes/extramarital relations, vulgar/bold dressing, bed scenes, and intimacy of married couple are being glamorized in utter disregard to Islamic teachings and culture of Pakistani society” is what PEMRA says. Let’s face it, our drama makers know their limits. It’s not like they’re showing anything explicit, remember ‘Mere Paas Tum Ho?’ We are very good at suggestive content, and the more you squeeze us into a corner, the more we’ll do it, PEMRA! So what’s the point?
Portraying a loving relationship between a husband & wife, people expressing their feelings is a good thing.
In Aakhir Kab Tak, Safiya’s character goes through so much at the hands of her husband and mother-in-law. It is only after her husband Ehtisham, falls sick and is unable to move, that she tells him what she had to bear. The scene where she speaks her heart out to him is the scene where she is sitting on the bed, holding his hand, and subsequently, she lays her head on his chest – these portrayals are critical in societies where marital relationships are often doomed because of joint family systems or the toxic mother in law syndrome.
Twitter Reaction Seemed To Mirror Our Thoughts
So basically PEMRA said that intimacy with your spouse and hugging your partner is unIslamic, whereas inflicting physical and mental torture on your partner is according to Shariah and the culture of Pakistan.
“waisay in all seriousness pemra wouldn’t ever speak against domestic abuse shown on tv but has the audacity to ban hugs?!!! konsi deewar mein apna sar maroon”
“sometimes I wonder what goes inside PEMRA’s head like “haan yeh domestic violence ho raha hai yeh theek hai lekin dehan sa koi hug na kar le mera wudu toot jaye ga”
We Hear You!
“Depicting married couples hugging each other & other acts of affection/intimacy = haram.
Depicting men physically assaulting women (without any content warnings) = halal.
Do The Good PEMRA. Let Creativity Run Free!
“Why is Pemra acting like Pakistan’s vice & virtue police? Who gave it the right to act as a custodian of public morality? It is not the job of a regulator to cross the red line between regulation and censorship. Television in Pakistan needs room for creative space, not claustrophobia.”
PEMRA needs to think about introducing drama age ratings, and airing adult content at a child/family-unfriendly time, is where the discussion should go. Also, depicting a husband & wife holding hands, or chatting romantically, sharing a gentle moment, does not make a society depraved – Are ‘Hugs/Caress’ Scenes Really Damaging Our Moral Fibre? It’s not that hard folks, we know the answer, but does PEMRA?