A New Era in the Pakistani Drama Industry
Recent times have shown an increase in the diversification of Pakistani television, with social issues penetrating plotlines in order to create an impactful experience. The yesteryears were marked with relentless projection of rigid socio-cultural norms, which have been cemented within the crevices of society through such plotlines.
With 2016 being a year perceived as a global failure, Pakistani television took a turn for the better with the advent of dramas addressing social issues, the most notable being Udaari and Khuda Mera Bhi Hai. Hum TV’s new drama Sammi features Mawra Hocane as the lead. The theatrical play is based around the practice of Wani in rural areas.
Wani is a cultural custom in the predominantly tribal areas of Pakistan which involves young girls getting forcibly married/ offered up for marriage as a part of a penal arrangement for the criminal behavior of a male relative. This entire custom is overlooked by the tribal leaders in Jirga. A bail of sorts, if interpreted in crude terms.
I assume many reading this article have come across this word Wani for the first time, which is an indicator that you are a fortunate individual in a privileged position. Consequently, you must understand the importance of the knowledge being imparted to us through dramas such as these. Plotlines of such dramas illustrate the undeniable value of education and increased awareness. The drama depicts an illogical socio-political system drenched in patriarchy, a norm we must try and change in order to progress as a nation.
The drama depicts women as a commodity, with endless dialogue referring to submissive character Sammi as a property. In a variety of scenes, her father calls himself her “maalik” (owner) which shows the inherent and crude patriarchal structure within the tribal areas of Pakistan. The drama shows a lot of promise as an indicator of rising social awareness within the urban classes of Pakistan.
The initiative to tackle such bold issues is truly admirable, and is a sign that our industry is making slow but steady progress. They say it only takes an idea to change the world, and the initiation of discussion within society is the first step towards tackling social issues in a manner that results in mutual respect, benefit and a culture that provides equal opportunity.