A strong female lead is no longer an extinct TV creature, thanks to a few progressive writers and producers, however she still is a rarity. Therefore, few things in life are as gratifying as seeing a strong women lead taking center stage in a drama serial. A woman who has the reins of her life in her own hand and is not a door mat in anyone’s life, be it her family, in-laws, friends, a lover or spouse.
Thankfully, amidst all the sob stories ruling our idiot boxes, there are always a few dramas every season that tell stories of complex, dynamic and diverse women who challenge the stereotypical representation of their gender. They are not necessarily protagonists or exemplary characters but a force to be reckoned with.
Here is a list of 6 multi-faceted women who we can see on our TV screens these days:
- Urwa Hocane as Guddi
- Zara Tareen as Zulekha
- Anoushay Abbasi as Fari
- Ramsha Khan as Samiya
- Hira Mani as Kashf
- Mawra Hocane as Anaya
Guddi – Urwa Hocane
Guddi, played by Urwa Hocane, is one of the most interesting characters on TV these days. She is the beating heart of Mushk that adds a new rhythm to an otherwise slow ballad of a drama. Urwa has performed the role with a distinctive quality that makes Guddi endearing rather than annoying. She is a chatterbox yet a silent observer who can manipulate anyone into submission, but she has her reasons. Urwa is a product of her circumstances and comes with heavy baggage of her own family problems; she has garnered experiences that are beyond her age. So she has transformed into this bold, brave, street-smart as well as caring girl, who doesn’t shy away from calling a spade a spade. After seeing a glimpse of her firecracker persona complementing Adam’s (Imran Ashraf) calm demeanour, we now wish to see their jori hit it off!
Zulekha – Zara Tareen
Another charismatic woman, once again in drama serial Mushk, is Zara Tareen who’s in a never-seen-before role. She’s playing a shrewd tayyi and mother of two daughters, who has a bed-ridden husband who she is slow-poisoning with the help of the village doctor, who by the way she is also having a not-so-secret affair with. These traits certainly don’t paint her in an inspirational light but even so, one has to admire her for her character strength. Zulekha is a woman who has ridden against odds; she was a young girl married to an abusive husband thus she turned to her survival instincts. Eventually, she has taken control and now she is scheming and plotting for her survival. She is a grey character, but she also has her weak moments when we can see a glimmer of virtue in her. All Mirzapur fans will get some serious Beena vibes from her.
Fari – Anoushay Abbasi
All female characters in the Prem Gali universe are empowered women, leading their lives without much help from men. However, I particularly loved Fari (played by Anoushay Abbasi) who set the right example for girls by taking a stand against giving dowry to her in-laws. Fari is shown to be a girl, who despite the absence of a father figure and luxuries of life, doesn’t give value to materialistic things. Apart from her, Shireen (played by Saba Hamid) and Rahat aka Nani (played by Shamim Hilaly) are also two strong and resilient women in the drama.
Samiya – Ramsha Khan
It is indeed refreshing to see Ramsha Khan diversify and move away from the roti dhoti mazloom girl she often gets to play in dramas. In Ghisi Piti Mohabbat, Ramsha plays a strong-willed girl Samiya who lives life on her own conditions. She may cry a bit when her heart gets broken, but she stands up, takes a decision on principles and gives a shut up call to her amoral husband, Riz (Wahaj Alley). Like every human, she will falter and make mistakes but she springs back and proceeds with a healthy, fighting spirit.
Giving credit where it’s due, the recently concluded Kashf and Sabaat also set some great examples for the portrayal of independent and strong female protagonists on television.
Kashf – Hira Mani
Hira Mani in the titular role of Kashf did most of the heavy lifting in the drama. Her brilliant depiction of a resolute yet demure Kashf stood out. Hira is indeed a gifted actor who aces realistic roles with ease so much so you can feel their discomfort, agony and pain almost like you’re experiencing it. In Kashf, Hira played a scarred girl who is blessed with a unique power but to her it is as a curse. Her unfortunate end showed the real face of society where kind and selfless souls are often abused. We wish there was some reward for her in the end.
Anaya – Mawra Hocane
Mawra Hocane breathed life into Anaya’s character and made it a role model for young women. Anaya was pragmatic, smart, obedient and respectful but not submissive. She was open-minded, independent but carried herself with grace and integrity. She was slapped twice by Miraal but she didn’t respond, not because she couldn’t, but because she was raised right. She walked away from toxic people and relationships with dignity, without creating any fuss. All these qualities are rarely seen in female leads on TV and we loved her for showing us that!
Fasih Bari Khan (Ghisi Piti Mohabbat), Faiza Iftikhar (Prem Gali), Imran Ashraf (Mushk), Kashif Anwar (Sabaat), and Imran Nazir (Kashf) are the brains behind these strong-willed and powerful women. And while the credit goes to actors and directors for their significant hard work, an applause is due for writers, who at least once in a while, write meaty roles to show multi-dimensional women on our TV screens.
Which female character do you love the most?