The more the channels, the more the messages communicated to the public on the Independence Day. Underlying a message is the media group’s agenda and interest, but I see a lot of conflict within one channel’s set of messages sent out to the audience where dramas convey a message that exactly opposes the sponsored ones.
On the evening of 13th August, I turned on the TV after quite a while, with a hope that I see some sensible content in the 8 o’clock plays. Last episode of a play called “Mah-e-Tamam” was on air. I had never followed it before but the star casts made me stick to the screen. The man named Taqi was in an extramarital affair with a rich and ultra-modern lady who wanted to have a career, whereas his wife Shifa was seemingly a type that never looks beyond marriage as an aim in life. I see nothing wrong in it since we find both types here in Pakistan but why do Hum TV plays always have a working lady as an antagonist? The conversation that followed between Taqi and his girlfriend clearly reflected that all the ladies who want to pursue a career can never be a good life partner because our TV dramas define a good wife as someone who is available 24/7 for the service of her men and children. She must also believe in raising her girls to be wives and sons to be independent individuals.
The lady who played the girlfriend was trying her best to speak in an American kind of accent in order to deliver the Urdu dialogues that had a lot of English expressions mixed in, whereas Shifa looked and sounded ‘desi’ in every way. Even though, talking about the two ladies in this much detail would just be an assumption based on last episode only, but the point is that why is every female who drives to the office and speaks good English depicted as a villainess? Do ladies need to take a step back and never dare keep pace with the world in order to be accepted? I agree that Mehak (the girlfriend) should not be dating a guy if she’s not interested in marrying him, but it was her focus on work that made her a demon and Shifa an angel.
On the other hand, all the sponsored messages (advertisements) were really empowering, especially those with reference to the Independence Day. In the commercial break, the Sooper biscuit song celebrated the success of Pakistani women. Shan Masala also added to it by breaking the age-old stereotypes. But the drama kept returning just to force us back in time when the weaker gender had neither a choice nor voice. Of course, one can always ‘choose’ to work or not, but assigning labels to those who do, can never be justified. One thing more, Shifa was a good cook and that turned out to be one of the reasons behind Taqi’s decision to go back to her. Ridiculously immature, no?
Throughout the couple of hours that I sat in front of the television, the ads kept appreciating the women pilots, mountaineers, artists and entrepreneurs while the dramas kept reminding that these women can never have a good family life just because they stepped out to do something not every other woman does.