Six Pakistani dramas that revolve around female friendship
Pakistani dramas aren’t the first option one would think of when looking for strong female representation and well written, complex characters. Pakistani screenwriters and drama creators have for long refused to acknowledge the power of storytelling. They refuse to believe it is necessary to have positive depictions of women on screen rather than relying on the same age-old mantra ‘aurat he aurat ke sabse bari dushman hoti hai.’
Our television screens are littered with tropes that demonize women who actually seek their own independence rather than being obsessed men. Characters like the gold digger, the career-obsessed heartless woman, or fighting saas/ bahu are the norm. It seems like most dramas are obsessed with getting the right amount of misogynist and sexist content in order to get better ratings.
However, there are a few dramas that were able to get representation right and give the viewers depictions of what wholesome friendships can do to a woman’s life. In the spirit of the upcoming Aurat March, here is our selection of Pakistani shows that have gotten female friendships represented properly.
1 Akhri Station (2018)
Written by Amna Mufti and directed by Sarmad Khosat, the series is a wonderful depiction of how women suffering from abuse and trauma can come together to revel in their pain and find their catharsis together. At a train station in Lahore, a group of women meet up and begin opening up to each other about the kind of suffering they had undergone. Produced by Kashf Foundation, the mini series didn’t shy away from exploring tabooed topics like sexual abuse, mental illness, HIV/ AIDS and acid attacks.
2 Churails (2020)
Written and directed by Asim Abbassi, the drama made waves across Pakistan when it was released in 2020. It is now regarded as a powerful feminist drama that centers around women coming together to take revenge on their abusers. When stay-at-home mother Sara Khan finds out that her husband, Jameel, has been cheating on her with several women, she vows to get back at him. After blackmailing him to send her money, she and a group of close friends open a secret agency, disguised as a boutique, where they help other women who are suffering from abuse or are unhappy in their marriages.
3 Sar-e-Rah (2022- on going)
One of the most well-rated dramas currently playing on ARY, it accurately captures how one woman who breaks away the shackles of patriarchy can help other women do the same, regardless of being from different backgrounds. When Rania’s father suffers a heart attack, his family loses their source of income. She decides to step up and follow his footsteps to become a taxi driver. At first, Rania faces immense difficulties because of harassment and backlash from strangers, as well as from family members who keep taunting her with ‘log kya kahenge’, but she refuses to let harsh criticism keep her from becoming the breadwinner. Soon, Rania is able to use her power and knowledge to help other women suffering from the same issues.
4 Tanhiyaan (1985)
When it comes to powerful dramas, Tanhaiyaan will always remain part of the discussion for being one of the earliest dramas depicting women living their lives to the fullest, and refusing to obsess about a man’s approval. The legendary Haseena Moin had written powerful, complex female characters and championed social issues in her dramas. The show revolves around two sisters, Zara and Saniya, who are visiting their aunt in Karachi when they find out that their parents have passed away in a car accident. Because of their father’s debts, the sister’s lose their home and have to adjust to their new life in Karachi, while Zara fixates on becoming rich and regaining the house and furniture she had lost.
5 Raqeeb Se (2021)
Penned by the powerful Bee Gul, the drama revolves around the issue of domestic violence and women finding solace in each other’s company to escape their abuse. Sakina escapes her abusive husband’s home by arriving at her former lover Maqsood’s home with her daughter, where she meets his wife. Seeking shelter and rejected by Maqsood, it’s his wife, Hania who helps Sakina find ground in their new home.
6 Kuch Ankahi (2022- on going)
If you’re reminiscing about the days of PTV dramas that had not held back from addressing social issues, then this drama is the perfect blend of comedy and social awareness. The plot revolves around the three elder sisters and their home in Karachi, where their father is facing pressure from his siblings on the ownership of their home. The eldest sister, Samiya is being pressurized by her mother to marry someone and facing taunts about her age, and her siblings, as well as phupoo, help her find her own voice.