Sibling’s love-hate relationship

This article has already been published on Geo Vision website. I wrote this article for the website and now sharing a few chunks over here on my blog so that my readers can read. This was a different drama of its time produced by Pakistan Television Industry. 

meri behan maya“Our women are strong but in our serials, they are depicted as fragile and connivers,” states Hasina Moin, an acclaimed writer who has also written some of the epic dramas including Tanhayein, Ankahi and so on. After taking a long break, she started with the serial ‘Meri Behen Maya’; a story of two sisters where you saw the bond of love and support which unfortunately lacks in our dramas now-a-days.

So, what was the main concept behind writing Meri Behen Maya (MBM)? According to Hasina Moin, I feel really hurt to see women cry and wallow over petty issues, and unable to stand up for their rights, this is one of the significant reasons that compel me to resume writing again.

Women face domestic violence, they are harassed outside their homes and are treated as suppressive beings. Hasina Moin asserts that this is not the true picture that we see; she is of the opinion that these women have the potential and strength to uphold all the hardships with courage.

x1080-LeSMoreover, the other idea behind the serial is to defy the wrong depiction of sisters’ relation that promotes only hatred and nothing else. Hasina Moin believes that sisters do not deceive each other; rather they protect each other against the world. In her serial, she projected the positive side of sisterhood. One of the primary reasons to resume writing was to clear misconceptions regarding women, Moin adds.

MBM promoted the love-hate relationship between two sisters who at one moment were seen fighting with each other and at another moment they were sharing interesting stories while munching popcorn.

The portrayal of sisters in this serial was played by two female protagonists who are fearless and lively, and believe in living on their own terms. Annie Jaffri played the character of a younger sister Maya; she is upfront and bold, also expressive and does not conform to anything that she cannot relate to. According to Jaffri, the character is more like me, I am outspoken and love outings, even her family relate to her role.

Whereas Neelam Munir played the role of older sister Zarmeena; she is sensible and tries to cover Maya’s mess. Munir is the complete opposite of her character, and therefore she had to work on her body language, style and the behaviour. Munir shares her experience that to perform it accordingly, she observes her elder sister which helps a lot in understanding her character in the serial.

meri behen 5In replying to the question regarding the ‘look’ in the serial, both Munir and Jaffri say that western attire was more preferred for their characters, the decision was made after having a thorough discussion with the team.

However, when asked about the atmosphere on the sets and how did they find working with each other? Both female protagonists spoke highly of their team and they found it very helpful. Though Jaffri’s association with Azfar Ali is not new as she has also worked in Dreamers with him, so far it’s been good for her. Moreover, the teasing which was seen onscreen of both sisters was only for the serial, quips Munir and Jaffri with a smile; nevertheless on-set they both had a very congenial relationship.

The script was a refreshing one and every actor had performed well. Moin is all praise for the team. She had a very good working relationship with Iqbal Ansari who is also the Project Head of MBM; overall it had been a good experience.

untitledMoin signifies the importance of making children bold and confident, so that no one sabotages their rights and fight for themselves.

Seconding Moin’s opinion, Jaffri also says it is important for young girls to be strong in these times and do not give in. Munir on other hand believes that fathers should avoid second marriage and do not try to impose step-mothers on their children, it leaves a bad impact on the minds of the kids.

In a nutshell, dramas are always a revelation of our society, whether it’s good or bad but these days, where every other drama emphasises more on negative side of our society, Meri Behen Maya highlighted the ups and downs of familial relations.

 

 

 

Reality Over Fantasy

This article has already been published on Geo Vision website. I wrote this article for the website and now sharing a few chunks over here on my blog so that my readers can read. This was a different drama of its time produced by Pakistan Television Industry. 

682581_home_banner“People make a world of their own fantasy, especially girls,” says Zanjabeel Asim Shah the writer of the drama serial ‘Saat Pardon Mein’ (SPM).

Media make stars and ordinary people idolise these superstars. These fans not only follow them blindfolded, they are so crazy that they may even go to any extreme for a mere glimpse of their most loved celebs. Some admirers fantasise spending time with their icons; a dinner date or a ride at seaside is just few to name.

There are some unusual fans that fall in love with their favourite celebrity; nevertheless the scenario gets quite weird if someone is not allowed the outside exposure to the world. Thus, at this time what one will do in this case?

saatAsim opines that a girl more likely to fall in love with the characters of the actors; at times they are so much obsessed in their love that they forget about the reality and this is actually what you will also witness in this serial.

However, every drama is made for a reason; either to portray a particular aspect of the society or to entertain. The reason of SPM is to bring change for the viewers in terms of creativity and presenting a wide canvas, says Noor-ul-Huda Shah, the Project Head of SPM.

She states that Geo TV is a trendsetter channel and it is the only channel that tries to work on content no matter how strong it may sound. There is a dearth of genuine writers but the narration of Zanjabeel in this drama is phenomenal, says Shah.

She further reveals that by this drama, she wants to break the trend of cheap dramas that have destroyed the taste of viewers; her main priority is to give a good drama to the audience.

Moreover, Yasir Nawaz, the director of SPM says, “My motive to direct this play is firstly because of Noor Appa who narrates a story in a way that I cannot resist the temptation and secondly, it has a substantial message.”

x1080-iqrThe hardest part is the delicacy of the subject which needs to be treated well but in order to hook the viewers, the serial has certain entertainment punch that adds a filmy mood to the drama, elaborates Nawaz; in fact it is the demand of time.

Basically, the story revolves around an unusual fan, Darakshande Badar (Sohai Ali Abro), a name so unique but an ordinary girl, who belongs to a small town of Bahawalpur. She is madly in love with a famous drama actor Ahsan Murad (Meekal), who is charming and adorable as chocolaty stars need to be.

x1080-uqDDarakshande lives in a conservative environment where she faces restrictions from her big brother and father. This is one of the reasons that she has made a world of her own fantasy where only love blossoms and everything is sweet and simple, and to win her love she will break all the barriers by running away from her home as well.

Interestingly, the name of the leading character in the drama is rarely heard so why Darakshande? Some names are attached to you for life long, says Asim and this name reminds me of the small girl which inspires me to write this story.

Sohai Ali Abro is the leading face of SPM, and she is doing it first time as main lead. It is not easy to find Darakshande, states Nawaz, we had several auditions after which Abro was selected. She is novice and choosing her was a big risk, though he believes that she has done better and he is satisfied with her performance. Seconding Nawaz, Shah also adds that Abro is the breath of fresh air in the drama.

This is not only the story of crazy fan, there is also an interesting angle to the story and that is Ali Khan who plays the role of Badar Suleman. On the surface, he is a famous producer and friend of Ahsan in the serial but deep down inside, he imagines himself to be a female who is confined in a man’s body.

hqdefaultTransgender is not accepted in our society and many people are against the idea, says Asim. She maintains that it is more or less related to our perceptions, and sometimes considered as a disease.

Doing a role like this needs a lot of guts, it is a very sensitive character, and no one can do better than Ali Khan, emphasises Nawaz. He also adds that Ali Khan was purely chosen on the basis of his acting skills, and there is no other reason of his selection.

“The role of Ali Khan is not a conventional one; and therefore we wanted a performer who can play the role well,” states Shah. Besides, she points out that Ali has an ability to carry the manly looks along with a slight touch of femininity easily.

For Asim, both Nawaz and Shah have high hopes and consider her to be a strong drama writer in her coming days. Asim is happy with the end product and for the viewers, she says that life is not a bed of roses, therefore following fantasy is ridiculous.

Furthermore Nawaz mentions that issues are not shown to ridicule any one, it’s just a reality and he urges people to see in a positive light.

Shah aptly says, “Viewers need to change the perspective towards dramas for the development of society and instead of hiding behind the cover of fantasy, it is more important to see the issues in real picture.”

 

Ki and Ka: Another Failed Attempt in Countering Gender-based Stereotype

Ki and Ka

“It’s not a conflict between man and woman or who works more and who not, it’s about who bring home money,” summing up the entire concept of the movie.

In our Asian culture, a woman’s place is in the kitchen and man has to go outside for earning. A man who does not have job is considered worthless or in other words impotent whereas woman who is ambitious and wants to pursue her dreams is regarded as selfish.

R Balki’s new release ‘Ki and Ka’ challenges these gender stereotypes that have hijacked our society for so long. There is no denying that the movie portrays a noble concept but is it really about breaking gender stereotype or merely a story of role exchange?

The movie sets the pace with the first scene where Kiya (Kareena Kapoor), an independent career woman, was gulping down booze at her friend’s wedding. Over there she heard the trite conversation between her friend’s in-laws and her parents of how the new bride would be likearjun-kareena759 a support system to her husband. Kiya cannot tolerate of such nonsense and right there and then she out rightly snapped back on a patriarch mindset.

Unlike other girls, Kiya doesn’t want to settle down and raise kids; she is a strong-headed corporate achiever who wants to have a name of her own.  On other hand, Kabir, an MBA topper, aspires to be like his mother-a homemaker, in his words an ‘artist’.  He is a modern atypical man who is not afraid of showing his emotions publicly.

They had their first encounter in plane where Kabir was sobbing by recalling his mother. Rather empathizing with him, Kiya makes fun of him. However, the brief bantering led up to conversation and with that they started meeting each other. Both end up marrying each other where Kiya became the man in the relationship and Kabir, having no ambitions to work in a cut-throat environment, stayed back at home.

Kiya’s mother (Swaroop Sampat) was all right with their thought a2process but Kabir’s father (Rajit Kapoor) was not happy at all. He also taunted his son by saying who man wants to stay at home and live-off on his wife’s money.

Ki and Ka narrative falls short of projecting unconventional and tough relationship goals while the movie is just another extension of Bollywood cliché.  Being an independent woman is not about having no pregnancy or fretting over it. Or being a home-husband doesn’t mean that you have to clean, cook or look after home.  The idea of gender equality in a relationship is more about working out together for the same goal and not limit them with mere role exchange as depicted in the movie.

The movie deludes you into thinking that Balki may be challenging the status quo but the change is purely cosmetic and superficial.  It is just story of role reversal where man stays at home and woman goes 426704-ki-and-ka-collageoutside to work. That’s about it. By nature Kabir is a man and Kiya is a woman. His reactions are men’s reactions, no self-loathing, confident and being rationale while Kiya overreact, thinks too much and an emotionally driven person.

The brilliant cameo of Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan in the movie underlining the gender debate let you re-evaluate the situation carefully.  It questions the gender equality by posing some serious questions.

There is not much to say about Kareena and Arjun’s acting. The performance lacks depth and is just bland.  The narration is a reflection of Balki’s inconsistent writing. The characters lack lucidity and few 461252-ki-and-ka-ssscenes were just a drag in the movie.

The idea of one being superior to the other is deep-rooted in our psyche which needs to be changed. But if you think that Balki’s movie will bring that change so you are wrong. It may have touched the subject of role reversal but it’s not a strong voice against gender stereotyping. In fact it doesn’t touch any chord of your heart.

Watch it only if you want to have a few laughs and want to see a husband doing cleaning and looking after a home for a change!