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From Bol to Verna, here are 5 superb feminist Pakistani films that should be on your must-watch list!
When it comes to Pakistani pop culture, one thing that we can be assured of is quality content. What impresses me the most about it is not only the fact that it spreads awareness about different national, social and political issues but that they are also feminist and motivate women to take a stand for themselves.
When I watched Asim Abbasi’ s Churails (web series) and Cake (movie), the portrayal of strong female characters who live their lives on their own terms captured my attention. The director skilfully broke the “good girl” stereotype in both his works without villainizing any of the women.
Listed below are five of them:
The movie revolves around Zainub (Humaima Malick) and what forced her to murder her father. It opens with Mustafa (Atif Aslam) convincing her to share her story with the media as he believes it would change the lives of women for the better. He further says that to end a society’s evil, it is important to speak up.
Bol primarily highlights the patriarchal system’s unhealthy obsession with male children and the injustices women face at the hands of the men in their families. It also brings to light several other social evils such as the discrimination and abuse transgender children go through, how they are forced to suppress their real selves etc.
Towards the end, Zainub poses an important question as to why only murder is considered as a crime but not giving birth. We keep pondering over it but don’t seem to find a suitable answer.
Mary (Iman Ali) is British Pakistani girl. Her father forcefully gets her married to her cousin Sarmad (Fawad Khan). Despite himself being in a live in relationship with a British woman, he disapproved of Mary’s boyfriend Dave (Larry Newman) and wanted her to settle with someone from her own community.
His decision creates a barrier between him and his daughter. Mary tries to escape from her marriage but all her efforts go in vain. She eventually falls victim to marital rape and becomes a mother to a girl child.
As the movie progresses, we witness how she gets justice with the help of Maulana Wali (Naseeruddin Shah). Ultimately, she returns to the village where she was incarcerated throughout her marriage so that she could teach the girls there.
Noor (Mahira Khan) is a theatre actor and aspires to make it big in the film industry. But she could only manage to work in TV commercials despite trying hard to bag a role in movies. Her life sees a turning point after she comes in touch with a popular star Sameer Khan (Bilal Ashraf).
The two work together in an advertisement and eventually fall in love. When Sameer’s friend and filmmaker Shaan notices Noor’s versatility in her theatre performances, he offers her to act in his movie alongside Sameer. What comes as a shock is the latter’s never showing up at the shoot location as he leaves for India to work in a Bollywood project.
Sameer’s departure breaks Noor but she never looks back. In fact, she becomes a bigger name than Sameer Khan later in life. Superstar is all about chasing your dreams till you achieve them and not allowing any hurdle to discourage you.
Sara (Mahira Khan) gets raped by Sultan (Zarrar Khan), the son of the Governor running for the post of Prime Minister of Pakistan. She is determined to teach him a lesson but cannot approach the police as it would be life threatening for her.
On learning that her rapist has apparently fallen in love with her, she decides to spend a night with him to accomplish her aim. Her lawyer supports her and she approaches the doctor for a medical test the next day. In the course of the movie, we see how Sultan and his lawyer try to turn the case in their favour by producing false proofs in the court.
Finally, Sara, her husband Aami (Haroon Shahid) and sister-in-law Mahgul (Naimal Khawar) jointly capture Sultan and make sure that he suffers till his death. The movie raises a voice against a heinous crime and inspires women to fight for themselves.
A telefilm based on the life of Pakistan army’s first female three star General Surgeon, Nigar Johar, Aik Hai Nigar traces the ups and downs in the life and career of the army doctor. Throughout her journey, she faces numerous challenges and gender based discrimination but that doesn’t deter her from performing her duties to the best of her ability.
Nigar (Mahira Khan) gets one promotion after the other despite the fact that such senior posts were never held by women in the army. She goes out of her way to learn how to use arms to be able to save her hospital in case of any terrorist attack. The telefilm also shows how a supportive family can play a great role in helping a woman reach heights of success.
Image Source: Still from the movie Bol
I hold an MA degree in English Literature and I have a flair for writing. I mostly try to focus on issues faced by women on a regular basis and hope that one day the read more...
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Honestly, I made the mistake of judging a book by its cover by considering Janhvi Kapoor to be a stereotypical star, but she's worked hard on this one!
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