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9 Sep

Is ‘O Rungreza’ dying a slow, misogynistic death?

We live in a male-dominated world, or at least that’s what our TV dramas would have you believe. While that may not be totally applicable in an ever changing world, it holds true in our television shows, where one play after another makes us realize it. The latest to do so is, of course, the Sajal Aly and Noumaz Ejaz starrer, O Rungreza.

While this episode – like the previous few – revolves around the philandering habits of Khayyam with Sonia Jehan, things take a rather disturbing turn when he asks his wife Mumtaz’s approval to get married to his mistress and despite being disturbed, she agrees.

While one needs to take such things as the fantasy they are, the perpetuation of male dominance in this episode is just a tad too much to digest. Of course, stories like this may exist in reality, but the overt misogyny of Khayyam in the show contrasted with Qasim’s [Bilal Abbas] sensibilities – which he compares to femininity by saying that Sassi will say [to him] “Hum Larki Hain, Mard Nahi Rotay” – define a lack of proper screenplay development and an overt dominance of one character.

That being said, one still has some hope from O Rungreza because both Sana as Sonia Jehan and Sajal as Sassi portray characters that are trying to break certain stereotypes. In a world where Khayyam wants his wife in submission, his lover in his arms, and his daughter in control, the female characters do seem to be trying to question the unquestionable or indisputable male superiority. However, are they developed characters? Doesn’t seem so, yet.

While we’re still going to wait for the show to develop and move on from the current stage, we hope that the female characters are given some agency. What would it take to stop O Rungreza from revolving around just every step that Khayyam takes? that’s a question we’re now asking.

Shahjehan Saleem

The author is Deputy Editor at Something Haute as well as a professor in the Media Sciences department at SZABIST, Karachi. Socio-cultural theories and geography fill up the rest of his time.