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24 Apr

Pyar Ke Sadqay: 5 lessons Mahjabeen taught us about harassment

Mahjabeen

Quite a few Pakistani dramas in recent times have been made around the very serious issue of harassment, but not many have actually contributed to the subject or started a conversation around them, let alone enlightened the viewers. Most of the stories straggle from their tangent and wander aimlessly. Then came Pyar Ke Sadqay (PKS), which is like a breath of fresh air; a drama that will make you laugh, cry, clap in excitement, cringe, question, sometimes reminisce and most importantly, it will make you think without giving you a sermon!

Undoubtedly, the script is king or queen, and we can feel the difference in our viewing experience. Finally, we have a prime time drama with a decent script, which is telling a new story. After the writing and direction, its core strength lies in its actor and PKS can be credited, amongst other things, for great casting. From Yumna Zaidi as Mahjabeen and Bilal Abbas as Abdullah to Atiqa Odho’s portrayal of Masooma and Omair Rana’s menacing Sarwar. We also appreciate Salma Hasan as Mahjabeen’s mother, Malik Raza as Munshi jee and kudos to Gul e Rana as well.

The recent episode of PKS showed a lot of development in the storyline. But what stole the limelight were the subliminal messages given to the audience, that we as a society often brush under the carpet. Here are 5 important lessons that we learnt:

 

Mahjabeen gave Sarwar a shut up call

 

 

We appreciate that they showed that even a naive girl like Mahjabeen felt something was wrong with Sarwar’s intentions and she gave him a shut up call (in her own innocent way) when he got too close. It was heartening to see that Mahjabeen was trying to make sense of why her strange father-in-law was behaving so odd. We also liked how she called him “Uncle jee” in frustration and put him in his place.

Lesson 1: Don’t hesitate to set your boundaries.

 

She explained the difference between good and bad touch

 

Mahjabeen

 

The way Mahjabeen explained the difference between good and bad touch to Abdullah was the most unsettling scenes of last night’s episode. It was crucial because we loved how she innocently explained what was making her uncomfortable but at the same time, it was gut wrenching to see how disturbed she was. Kudos to the actors, director and writer for this one!

Lesson 2: If it makes you uncomfortable, it isn’t right!

 

When elders don’t take harassment seriously

 

 

We were shocked to see that Mahjabeen’s mother was still expecting the best from Sarwar. Despite Munshi jee’s encounter with Sarwar, she is resolute that because they married their daughter with good will and she is innocent, nothing is going to happen to her. She may have some sound reasons; for instance, she is unaware of how Abdullah is being manipulated by Sarwar. However, it made us uncomfortable in our skin to see that a mother who knows how naive her daughter is, rubbishes her husband’s concern by saying: ‘Aap pur sukoon hojaen… fikar nahi karein… kuch nahi hoga! [Stay clam and don’t take tension, nothing will happen]’.

Lesson 3: Abuse has many forms, it is not necessarily physical. Harassment is very real. Do not underestimate!

 

She told her mother about Sarwar

 

Mahjabeen

 

Maybe Mahjabeen is just simple-minded that’s why she told her mother about Sarwar but the whole sequence between Mahjabeen and her mother explained a lot. She has been brought up in a way that she doesn’t know anything about life and the real world. Young minds like her are naturally trusting of the adults around them and will extend friendships towards strangers without any qualms; we have seen that in Mahjabeen’s earlier interactions.

Lesson 4: One should always have a confidant to confide in.

 

When we realized that Mahjabeen knows nothing about pregnancy

 

 

Lastly, her pregnancy might only be a light-hearted track in the play and another goof up by Mahjabeen. She felt sick and conveniently assumed that she was pregnant. We know that she was bad student in school but what was her mother thinking? This makes us wonder that how many girls in our society get married with zero knowledge about sex and pregnancy.

Lesson 5: Sex education is important.

 

PS: I saw few comments on YouTube and other social media platforms, which complained that this drama is no longer fit for family entertainment due to Sarwar-Mahjabeen’s track. I would like to ask these people if the domestic violence, cheating husbands, evil sisters, scheming mothers-in-law and twisted mind games, that are commonly shown in our dramas, are good for family entertainment? While parental discretion is indeed advised while watching any TV content, I would like parents to understand that children should also know what constitutes as harassment or abuse.

 

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Syeda Zehra

The author is Assistant Editor at Something Haute. A journalist by profession, the writer has a penchant for films, fashion and music.