Udaari Changes the Trajectory of Drama Serials in Pakistan
Television dramas, as opposed to films, are conservative in nature owing to the fact that their target audience are families, predominantly women and thus the issues that they highlight are also traditionalist and conventional.
However, Udaari proved to be an exception. It redefined the boundaries of what was considered ‘ethical and moral content’ as it pushed forward progressively to grapple with the issue of rape, class system and stigmatization of the ‘Marassi’ community in Pakistan.
Udaari is a realistic depiction of the state of affairs in the society. The drama raised the issue of victim shaming and presented rape victims as survivors as opposed to victims.
The drama was criticized initially for airing content that projects a negative image of the country. It was said that the society is not mature and ready for such content. However, PEMRA rescinded its decision after the showcase notice due to a social media backlash and the drama went on to make significant change in the media landscape and the overall society.
The content proved to be thought provoking for the audience, although, some of the scenes were overbearing but overwhelmingly realistic. It showed resilient women in powerful positions challenging patriarchy, fighting for justice despite the stigma surrounding rape and Mirasi community. The drama also highlighted how politician’s negative support and bribing police are the ills of the society.
With its larger than life and flamboyant characters, it was the perfect example of infotainment. The leading actress Urwa Hocane referring to rape and PEMRA’s ban very rightly said;
“It is about time for women to talk about this. I think Udaari has brought a change. The people who wanted to ban it couldn’t because of the people who wanted the drama to bring about a change. Girls don’t speak about such things.”
The drama serial has ended successful leaving its mark on the audience informing, entertaining and educating them. The strong messages have altered the public discourse around child abuse and shattered conventional sensibilities.
Edited by Ramsha Hasan.