For the first time in the history of Pakistani drama, the audiences stand divided on the issue of domestic violence. It’s not an issue that is new either to our masses or our media. It has been discussed on many forums and countless dramas has been produced based on this issue. The audiences have always related with the victim and have unanimously condemned the abuser but for the first time, a considerable number is not only defending the abuser but is also justifying his motives and reasons. What is the reason behind this shift ?
For those of you who aren’t following this drama, this is the story of Kiran and Sikender. Kiran belongs to the lower middle class and Sikender comes elites financially well off family, their paths cross and they end up getting married to each other before they even get a chance knight to know each other. Initially every thing goes well but as soon as conflicts start arising, Sikender responds to Kiran’s arguing by hitting her. She is shocked and confronts him later on for his behavior, he apologises and assures her, it will never happen again but the promise doesn’t last long. Now Kiran is faced with the tough question, is she willing to sacrifice her self- respect for the sake of her marriage ?
The main reason whey our audiences and especially female audience is having mixed feelings for Sikender is simple. This is an unprecedented phenomenon. The usual wife beating husbands that our viewers are familiar with, mostly belong to either the lower class or lower middle class, they are rude, loud, illiterate, shabbily dressed, critical. They are so easy to dislike and even hate but kudos to Umera Ahmed for breaking that myth and bringing to our screens a complicated and complexed character like Sikender.
At first glance he is a well dressed, soft spoken, cultured and highly educated guy, in short a thorough gentleman. But behind the mask of a charming young man is a monster, whose temperament can get out of control at any moment and then you can expect the worst from him.
Adding to this already complicated situation is the out spoken, stubborn, emotional and immature Kiran. If she had been a typical mazloom , satti sawitre, naik parveen, khamoshi say her zulm ko apne qismat ka likha samag ker qabool karnay wale mashraqi larki, then Kankar would have been a very average and repetitive story. Initially I had dismissed this serial as one such drama but leave it to Umera to present ordinary stories in an exceptionl manner.
Kiran is a college girl, emotional and immature but she will not compromise on her self esteem and self worth. She knows domestic abuse is not to be put up with even if the guy is proclaiming his love for you afterwards. If he is showering you with luxurious gifts after every beating instead of just sitting down with her and trying to find some common ground. She is being highly criticized, partly the audiences are justified . Her age and lack of both experience and proper guidance is further making matters worse.
Like I said, Umera has done a brilliant job in bringing to light the issue of domestic violence and particularly showing a completely different aspect of it. Hopefully, the audiences will soon realize that it takes two to tango, if Kiran is provocative there are still other options for her husband on how best to handle her. Beating your suppose does not solve anything, it only increases the distance in a marriage. Kiran is also a character that our audiences aren’t used to watchinonion our dramas. They are still at a loss, whether to paint her as a victim or a rebel.
The only attraction for me in this serial are these two complicated characters, hid they were painted in black and white, the story would have been very boaring.
Hopefully, the story will end on a positive note and the audiences will dfare to come out of their comfort zone and view this story from another perspective, rather than the one they are used to. Hopefully, this serial will open the eyes and the minds of many people.
Written by Kiran Akther