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A new TV show is trying to mirror the reality of changing attitudes in society, and what it means for men and women. Zindagi Gulzar Hai is a breath of fresh air on Indian Television, says this post.
I’m probably the last person on the planet to watch a television soap opera but on the insistence of some friends, I recently checked out a Pakistani romantic drama called Zindagi Gulzar Hai. The series is unlike the run-of-the-mill Indian television shows. Instead, this one was far closer to the truth and surprisingly, also very modern.
Pakistani culture is a lot like our own – and if you think the gap between the rich and the poor is stark in India, it’s several times more across the border. It appears that the wealthy class in Pakistan keeps going off to Dubai for vacations, usually complete their higher education abroad, and young girls make no bones about partying late into the night. This was all quite an eye-opener for someone even as close to the territory as me!
It’s this very liberation of its women – many of whom are shown working, returning to their homes at odd hours, and not feeling the need to be answerable to their families – that seems to irk the men in their lives, and becomes the prime source of conflict in their relationships.
The show addresses this new shift in lifestyle consuming Pakistan’s upper crust currently – and how men and women are coping with the transition. At the same time, it shows the lower class continuing to remain conservative and ‘clinging to their values’ – a character trait that finds favour with the same affluent men who are peeved off with the newfound freedom of their sisters, mothers, and girlfriends.
To some extent, the serial reiterates the cliché propounded time and again in Bollywood films like Cocktail. The simple girl who prays and dresses right (read the ‘good one’) gets the guy in the end, while the forward-looking, freethinking, and unfettered one is the ‘vamp’.
Looks like it will still be some time before these mindsets about women change – and we no longer use such parameters to judge them as human beings.
While most conventional stories end with the girl and the boy getting together and living “happily ever after,” this serial shows a completely different (and perhaps, accurate) side of it all. And that’s exactly what makes it genuine.
Post marriage, the hero and heroine struggle with their very distinct personalities – not to mention, the huge class divide that separates them. The typical man is shown suspicious about his wife’s whereabouts and loyalty, while he still stays in touch with his ex-girlfriend. Common, day-to-day occurrences are narrated, depicting how situations are often perceived dissimilarly by men and women – leading to misunderstandings between couples.
Moreover, it provides insight – suggesting that marriage is no promise of a bed of roses, and needs to be worked on with responsibility and commitment every step of the way. At a time when we are exposed to so much falseness in popular media, a portrayal of such harsh realities comes almost like a breath of fresh air! It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time – let alone on prime-time television.
Overall, Zindagi Gulzar Hai is a bold attempt at baring transforming attitudes in an otherwise regressive society.
Neha Kirpal is the author of "Wanderlust for the Soul," a collection of short stories
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