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6 May

Kashf disappoints with its irresponsible portrayal of mental health issues and sexism

Kashf started with a strong premise about the interpretation of dreams. It’s a topic many people have pondered over, especially within the Muslim community where people look for answers to life-altering questions in their dreams in the form of Istekhara. However now, with just 5 episodes in the show, it is losing all its credibility with the irresponsible portrayal of social issues like mental health and sexism.



The recent episode has left us confused and agitated over the way the writer and director have portrayed the stigma around mental health. While shows like Yeh Dil Mera, brilliantly portray how asking help for mental health is necessary, Kashf does the exact opposite.

During the episode, we see a distressed Kashf (Hira Mani), traumatized by her dreams to the point that she doesn’t want to sleep at all. Worried for her well-being, her fiancè Wajdan (Junaid Khan) takes her to a psychiatrist, hoping for a solution. When Kashf finds out where they are, her immediate response is anger towards Wajdan. “You think I’m crazy?” she asks in an effort to defend herself. To add to this ridiculousness, we see the psychiatrist joke about Kashf’s ordeal as well.

 

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Was this really necessary? In a time where there is so much stigma around getting help for mental health issues, there were a million ways the writer could have handled it better. We still don’t understand the importance of this scene to the story. Are they implying that medical professionals are a joke? Either way, this seems like extremely irresponsible behaviour by writers and storytellers, who have the chance to actually make a difference.

Read: Kashf ep 1: A promising story about the interpretations of dreams

Another prevalent issue that seems to be a joke in this drama is the blatant sexism in society. While it’s already a struggle for women to make a mark in this society, the drama shows a casual conversation between Kashf’s father and another man talking about how the birth of daughters can be avoided. The man says, “Who told you to have daughters. Look at me, I warned my wife from day one that if you have daughters, I’ll throw you out along with her.” To this, the father replies, “I should have done the same.”

Are they seriously implying that pressurizing women can change the gender of the baby? It seems like we just went back a hundred years. Even if the characters are supposed to be uneducated, the writers should be conscious of the after-effects of such dialogues. Domestic problems surrounding the birth of girls in South Asian societies have always been a major social issue. Is this how they’re choosing to make a comment on it?

 

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Dramas in Pakistan have always shown problematic behaviors in households, but it is encouraging when the writer at least show one character disapproving these actions. However, is no one going to correct the characters in Kashf that this isn’t how conception works or that psychiatrists aren’t supposed to joke about their patient’s issues! The show is heading towards a sharp downward spiral and we’re anxious to see if it’ll redeem itself in the episodes to come.

If you haven’t already, watch the latest episode here:

 

 

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Eman Lakhany
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