Why Zoya Farooqui Of Qubool Hai Is So Popular On Indian Television

Posted: June 13, 2015

Zoya Farooqui of Qubool hai was one of the most loved characters on Indian TV, but her daughter Sanam doesn’t match up. Here’s why the audience loves Zoya.

Zoya Farooqui of Qubool hai was one of the most loved characters on prime-time Indian television. So, her demise on the small screen was rather depressing to all her fans. The TV show Qubool Hai received high TRP ratings during 2012-2014, due to the chemistry between Zoya, and her love interest, Asad Ahmed Khan (played by Karan Singh Grover). But it was Zoya who stole the whole show.

Surabhi Jyoti, who portrayed the vivacious Zoya, received instant fame. The depth of her character, her innocence, and optimism won the hearts of millions of Indians. But after Karan Singh Grover’s exit, and Zoya’s death in Qubool Hai, the ratings plummeted. Sanam, Zoya’s daughter, who is also played by Surabhi Jyothi, is now the female protagonist of the show.

Despite the same female actor playing the lead role, it has failed to spark the interest of the masses again. I believe that it has something to do with the female protagonist.

Personal life vs No life

Zoya has a personal life that revolves around herself and her interests, unlike Sanam. Sanam’s life revolves around nothing but her husband, Aahil. We don’t know anything about Sanam’s hobbies and interests, but we know of Zoya’s hobbies and talents. We also know that Zoya is the kind of person who likes to explore, while Sanam doesn’t seem to want to do anything, other than fight evil and serve her husband.

Novice cook vs The Master chef

There are many girls who can’t cook these days. Such girls are berated to no end by Society. Though cooking is a mandatory skill all Indian women are expected to possess, Sanam possesses this skill and Zoya doesn’t. Zoya doesn’t yield to anyone’s expectations. She has made various attempts to master the culinary arts, but Sanam seems to be born with it. Zoya only dabbles in the kitchen to experiment, just for the thrill of it.

Personal style vs traditional style

Although Zoya and Sanam’s upbringing and financial backgrounds are different, Zoya triumphs in style. How many times have women worn random clothes because they were too busy helping a family member dress up? Well, Sanam’s sense of style is rather questionable while Zoya’s jeans made a clear style statement. Zoya actually wears what she’s comfortable in while Sanam doesn’t look in the least comfortable wearing her churidars.

Spunk vs Languidness

Zoya is bold. You never once feel sorry for Zoya because she’s an orphan. She also doesn’t expect sympathy from anyone. She’s talkative, loud, friendly, active and smart. Throughout her 385 episode reign, Zoya’s vibrancy never diminishes. She’s not the typical quiet, shy, Indian girl, as the Indian society expects its girls to be. You can never get bored when you see Zoya onscreen. She’s not afraid to speak her mind or point out the flaws or mistakes of others when necessary.

There’s nothing special about Sanam, but Zoya has the X factor. Sanam garners nothing but pity from the audience.

Sanam, on the other hand, is not spunky. She’s too busy doing the right thing. Her character is dull, bland, uninteresting and lacks vigour. There’s nothing special about Sanam, but Zoya has the X factor. Sanam garners nothing but pity from the audience. All eyes were on Zoya when she was onscreen, but in season 2, all eyes were on the antagonist Tanveer, who emanated more spirit than the protagonist herself.

Independence vs Dependence

Zoya comes to India, to begin her quest to find her estranged father. Despite being in a foreign land, she managed to traverse the city of Bhopal without hesitation. She doesn’t stand nonsense from anyone and always does things by herself. She’s more capable of handling herself and most situations when compared to Sanam. Whether it’s cooking or investigating, she only asks for help when she thinks that she absolutely can’t do it. Zoya takes down antagonists Tanveer and Raziya by herself, with a little help from her sidekicks. Only in very exigent situations did Asad help Zoya.

Sanam is the damsel in distress, whom Aahil always has to rescue.

In contrast, Sanam is unable to handle Tanveer by herself without the assistance of her twin sister and friend Rehan. Sanam is the damsel in distress, whom Aahil always has to rescue. Seher and Rehan have to extricate Sanam from perilous situations while Zoya deals with any kind of impending doom and constantly emerges unscathed. She knows what to do, but Sanam is clueless as to how to deal with many situations.

Modernity vs tradition

Zoya is obsessed with her iPad, just like the young girls of this generation. She knows the importance of gadgets and is a gizmo genius. She wears modern clothes, yet never shuns traditional Indian clothes, or Indian traditions. She has ample knowledge about her religion and is religious.  She quickly grasps the ambience of the Indian Muslim community and tries to follow rules and regulations that she finds reasonable. She hasn’t renounced her culture or religion but is a judicious mixture of both Indian and Western philosophy.

Zoya hasn’t renounced her culture or religion but is a judicious mixture of both Indian and Western philosophy.

But you can never imagine Sanam wearing jeans, or breaking any Muslim norms. She wouldn’t dream of it. She doesn’t question unreasonable mores unlike her mother, Zoya. Religion dictates Sanam’s life, while Zoya believes that religion is a part of life. Sanam’s prayers are laments and desperate cries for help. Zoya’s prayers are heartfelt desires and wishes for herself and others.

The realistic woman vs the idealistic daughter-in-law

As a female character, Zoya is realistic. Many of us young girls share the same traits as Zoya, hence we relate to her. Her unyielding tenacity, and need to achieve her goals is what we can learn from. Unlike the typical bahu Sanam that we see on TV, Zoya’s family does not take over her entire life. Sanam is constantly compromising for everyone’s needs. Asad’s family accepts Zoya’s ways, and doesn’t expect her to change in any way.

Sanam is either cooking, serving, cleaning or scheming to take down the evil forces, just like every other bahu onscreen. What makes Zoya distinct, is  that Zoya accepts her flaws and doesn’t try to be the ‘ideal bahu’.

Womanist vs  Servile misogynist

Zoya has her own identity. She doesn’t change her clothes, nor her lifestyle to suit her new environment, and this holds good, even after she gets married. She doesn’t accept that men are better than women in any way. She physically and mentally defends herself from misogynists and emerges as a formidable force to reckon with. She remains unaffected by the comments on her clothes and free personality. She helps women and helps them gain self – confidence throughout the show.

Sanam changes her clothes, and alters herself to fit and match her husband’s lifestyle. She believes that she cannot live without her husband, unlike Zoya, who remains strong despite her various break-ups with Asad. Sanam believes that her husband is her God, reinforcing ‘Pathidevobhava’, while Zoya considers her husband her partner, and not her reason for existence.

Sanam doesn’t have time to help any woman in trouble, as she’s a danger magnet herself

Sanam doesn’t have time to help any woman in trouble, as she’s a danger magnet herself. She can’t defend herself, nor can she help anyone. She willingly accepts the male overlordship.

Zoya and Asad are equals while Aahil wields all the power in the relationship with Sanam. Sanam obeys Aahil’s commands and does what is expected of a wife, but Zoya helps Asad only when she feels it’s necessary.

Zoya stands up to Asad every time they have an altercation, and always has the last word. Her counterattacks are often pragmatic, and Asad can only remark on her clothes in his defence. But Sanam is servile, and often loses an argument with Aahil. Sanam wants to make peace, and hence, remains quiet, instead, the tough Zoya proves her point, one way or another.

It just proves that women want to see their real selves portrayed on television, rather that the idealistic version of what the society expects. That’s why we can relate to Zoya  in so many ways. In my opinion, she is truly inspiring to all women, telling them to be true to themselves and not demean yourself because you aren’t the ‘perfect woman’.

Zoya from Qubool Hai image via Facebook

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