In the recent episode of Sang-e-Marmar, we see that two women in Gulistan Khan’s family are hit by the men. Torah Khan attempts to choke his wife, Bano, as a threatening tactic and Safiullah hits Shireen, his second wife, in a fit of frustration with his relationship with his first wife and their fertility problems. A lot of people say that Pakistani dramas pander to stereotypes and show bad things happening to women all the time – and while some of that is extremely true, yes, some dramas do rely on ‘bechari’ women getting more and more ‘bechari’ by the minute, it’s dramas like Sang-e-Marmar that do more than just showing women being abused.
What’s great about the writing and direction of this play is that it shows the victims and abusers as human beings – it sheds light on just how abusers start their abusive behaviours and how domestic abuse can be a generational behaviour pattern. For example, we see in this episode how Safiullah looks up to his father, who was abusive towards his wife, and then ends up being abusive to Shireen. In the same way, we see a contrast in Aurang’s character where we see that he is disgusted and shuns the idea of hitting a woman. He says in one scene, “Hitting a woman is not manly, it’s extreme cowardice” when he is talking to his mother about his brother hitting Shireen.
So perhaps the idea, for playwrights and creators, is that if they are showing abuse and relying on stereotypes to tell their story, they should make sure that the plot and characters are developed enough for the audiences to understand and accept the story as real and provide incisive insight into the stereotypes that are being projected. So far Sang-e-Marmar has been able to really do this effectively – it has been able to create a good exposition and set a frustratingly true narrative about the dynamics of a family where tradition and values often supersede human rights and empathy.
Here is my review of Sang-e-Marmar’s 15th episode.