KARACHI: The British-Pakistani director of a new groundbreaking Pakistani TV show that aims to put the spotlight on stereotypes about Pakistani women said he hopes men too will watch the show and develop a more empathetic attitude towards women’s problems.
The ten-episode 'Churails', which is the Urdu word for witches, releases on Tuesday on the Zee5 app. It stars top actresses Sarwat Gilani, Yasra Rizvi, Nimra Bucha and Mehr Bano as four women who start a detective agency to expose cheating husbands behind the facade of a burqa boutique.
“After watching it, even on a marginal rate, [if] they [men] become empathetic towards what a woman goes through and understands them better, I think my job is done,” London-based Asim Abbasi said in an interview with Arab News.
Abbasi said he had titled the series Churail to subvert the meaning of a word that has long been used to label women 'negatively'. In his show, Churail is a woman who opposes oppression and is liberated emotionally, physically and sexually, he said.
“I have put forward the issue of the status of a woman in a patriarchal society without giving moral judgement on it,” he said. “Churails is not just about how a woman should stand up for her rights but also how she is downplayed in our society through acts of child marriages, domestic violence, abusive attitude, and judgement on her physical appearances.”
“Mainstream media all over the world generally portrays a woman in a very suppressive and deprived state, who needs a man as her savior and a guiding force,” said leading lady Gilani, who plays the role of family woman Sarah who finds out her husband is cheating on her, which leads her to meeting the three other women with whom she sets up the detective agency.
“But in Churails all these women uplifting and supporting each other in fighting their battle," she added.
Yasra Rizvi, who portrays the role of event planner Jugnu Chaudhry, said her character was “breaking all the stereotypical portrayals of women in our media.”
Mehar Bano, who portrays Zubaida, a young girl from a poor family who wants to be a boxer, said she took boxing training to play the role. In the play, her father beats her after he learns that she wants to box.
“At that point, the Churails squad rescued her and then inspired by their mission, she also became their part,” Bano said.
Nimra Bucha, who plays a self-determined woman from a middle class background, described her character as such: “Batool has had enough to bear from men and the society and now leads her own life on her terms and conditions.”