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18 Aug

Baaghi’s 4th episode gives a voice to women

Fauzia Batool is once again pleading her case to not marry her sister-in-law’s lafunga brother; she tells her father, the haggard Imam Din, that with her paranda making earnings she will handle her own expenses. Her marriage or her removal from the home by marriage is a way to get her aging father out of the financial hardship of keeping her under his roof. Her father, less than impressed by her independent thought processes – even those that would, in theory, benefit his empty pockets – blames Fauzia for the constant arrival of her married (ABUSED) sister in their home – saying her answering back (to a man of all things, gasp!) has influenced Nazia to push her husband to react. “Men will be men,” he casually comments.

In this episode, Abid, Fauzia’s admirer, urges her to reason with her parents – a plea that in most dramas end silence with a doomed nikkah. But Fauzia has been vocal from the start.

She has told her family that she will resort to drastic measures if they force her hand. In a show that takes place in the rural areas of Pakistan, we are getting to know a character who has done what the paray likhay of contemporary dramas have not – stand up for themselves and refuse to be a victim of circumstance.

In a move that apparently no one in her possibly deluded family saw coming, Fauzia is missing come nikkah time, and it leads to shock and utter disbelief from her family. Her brother and her (unwanted) fiancé round up Abid and head over to the village elder Chaudhary Sahib’s to hear his fate for, they assume, stashing Fauzia amongst his other possessions, “as men do”. What they and the withering Imam Din do not count on, is Chaudhary Sahib being perhaps the most sensible character to ever hit the screens in Pakistani drama history. He’s too good to be true and we’re keen to know whether such a man actually existed in ‘Fauzia’s’ life or is he fictional?

Fauzia Batool takes a stand for this man, but will he be worth it?

Standing in the safety of the big man’s haveli is none other than our slippery protagonist. The Chaudhry lets all these men who are making decisions for Fauzia know that they cannot marry her off without her consent. In a hilarious exchange Fauzia’s brother pleas for the respect of his brother-in-law, prompting the Chaudhary to guffaw that he would care more for the respect of a lech than the life of his own flesh and blood.

The family, particularly the mother and weeping sister-in-law, are enraged, humiliated and can not process what to do next but the village elder makes their decision easier by not giving them a choice. Chaudhary Sahib (who is the best) explains to Imam Din when he comes to retrieve his daughter that in this day and age, you can’t force someone’s hand and if she wants to marry Abid let that happen with blessings. As we close the episode, Abid and Fauzia get their wish, an engagement happens but we close out the episode with Abid’s mom eying the posters of ‘scantily clad’ women on her walls with disgust, a look that does not go unnoticed by Fauzia who believes she’s marrying a man who won’t separate her from her big dreams of one day being pinned up on another hopeful siren’s wall.

Sabah Bano Malik

Sabah Bano Malik is an editor, writer and big fan of Wifi. Reach her at sabahbanomalik1@gmail.com