so I don’t usually watch Pakistani dramas, not to sound cool or ‘trying to be elitist’, but mainly because 80% of these dramas have 50% crying women and the other 50% make the former cry. Like a typical anti women literature, women are either evil or saints, there is no in between, the normal women a blend of both.But like almost every other Pakistani house hold, my family watches almost all TV serials and than discusses and feels sad and happy about them.
And this drama Ranjha Ranjha Kardi had a huge buzz in my house, so much so that I followed last five episode with my youngest sister and got to know the background story from her. Though the drama was really well made, it kept suspense, chewy dialogues and good acting till the almost very end and got huge praise from all viewers including my family, but not from my extremely critical thinking mind.
This drama is exactly what other dramas have been and that’s how it repeated the narrative of typical Paki dramas:
1- a woman always needs a man to survive. Noori always begged Sahir to bring her into his life, and though once she was deceived by him she could have been shown to have an independent path but no she had to look for another man, to even survive not just be respected, even if he is not slightly normal.
2- a woman trying to make something of life has her biggest achievement to get married into a strong family.
3- Worst of all, women are glorified in our dramas to compromise on biggest of injustices in the name of marriage, Noori suffered a marital rape and only then she looked back to Shair for help because that seemed only option to get rid of her mentally unstable husband, rather than actually showing an injustice happen to her and making her move out of the situation, she is shown to have happily settled in her situation. Marital or non marital rape causes so much damage to ones brain but nah this dramas shows that she got over it and over joyously celebrated her pregnancy.
4- Not just that, our dramas glorify women who settle and compromise with their painful, tragic and unfair situations. We tend to reflect these women as home makers, spiritually guided idols who give up on their own, their dreams and live for their families, how unfair is that! Noori just because she was about to have a child compromises to live in the same family where she is raped, doubted and at one pointed asked to leave because of adultery (though she was not adulterous,she tilted towards Sahir cause she wanted an out from her situation)
5- The drama seemed to justify or rather make everything weirdly logical by making Bhola a little mentally stable at the end. How we make our women feel and convinced that they should be ok with having half of life and half of respect is hurtful and problematic.And sadly the problem is that most women of the country seem to be conditioned into believing that this is the right way.
for me the alternative ending could be
1- Noori left the house where she was raped.
2- got away from Sahir cause she understood his vile character
3- and lived as a mother by working small jobs, even as a maid or cleaner but a strong respected woman that she always wanted to be.
4-showing Noori a woman who earned respect on her own not by marriage or men.
Hopefully, gradually our entertainment media will move to not showing the popular narrative but the correct discourse that is needed so badly, and that will happen if we as viewers raise our voice and concern over these problematic stories.