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4 Mar

Ruswai: Did Sameera really need to be gang-raped for the writer to make a point about vatta satta marriages?


Ruswai‘s latest episode has confirmed that the story is too far gone to do any justice to its base narrative. With a drama that had such a strong buildup towards showing a rape survivor’s story, the writer has failed to do justice to it. What is essentially happening in the drama right now, could’ve been shown regardless of whether or not there was a rape victim in the show.

The reason being that all Sameera (the victim) has done for the past few episodes is sit in the sidelines with non-existent dialogues while the story focuses on just about everyone else.  The entire motivational angle that Sameera’s character had taken after separating from her husband, went away as fast as it came. The show has now shifted focus on Salman (Sameera’s ex-husband) and his sister Warda (who is married to Sameera’s brother).




What we don’t understand is why did they need to show a triggering rape case for this story to unfold. All of this run-of-the-mill household dramatics could’ve happened anyway. This not only shows irresponsible storytelling but also how showing abuse in TV shows is done simply for ratings.

Ruswai is following in the footsteps of many shows that have taken sensitive topics and failed to bring any kind of justice for the culprits and the victims. For example, Naqab Zan, starring Saboor Ali and Ali Abbas followed a similar theme. The show had marketed itself to be a strong story of a rape survivor. However, it took the concept and milked it shamelessly with no sense of responsibility. They not only showed the victim forced into being married to her rapist but also showed her being further tortured with marital rape after that.

Other shows like Sangat have also taken the idea of rape and glorified rapists instead. Surkh Chaandi was also a show that took a sensitive topic like acid attacks and focused on how the victim was ostracised, for the entire duration of the show, instead of showing her as a fighter – which only happened in the last couple of episodes.

There are so many other dramas who are capitalizing on sensitive topics simply to gain momentum but failing to put in the required work that comes with such a responsibility. Ruswai creators have wasted the talent and the resources they had at their disposal. Even if they try to bring back Sameera’s motivation to fight for herself, it’s not only irrelevant to the story but also unnatural now.


Eman Lakhany