In a society which doesn’t give much weight to a woman’s consent, Inkaar was a brave effort to shine some light on this plight. The show started with much valor but ultimately the climax didn’t do justice to the cause.
Patriarchy is deep rooted in the Pakistani society where men can get away with almost anything. There are hundreds of cases still pending in court where victims are still waiting for justice; cases ranging from harassment to honor killings. Inkaar‘s plot was about one such victim fighting to get justice via the country’s legal system. Instead of the show demonstrating the trials and tribulations a woman faces when she goes out to seek justice, and ultimately coming out triumphant, Inkaar ended up showing the victim, a woman who had to face awful physical and psychological torture, taking the high road of forgiveness.
Inkaar means “to refuse”. In the contextual sense, this word alludes to the concept of consent, a concept that not many understand. We live in a society which glorifies stalking, where movies encourage wooing a woman even against her wishes, and where ultimately the heroine marries the person hounding her. There is a thin line between pursuing and harassing and the show was doing a great job of explaining that to the audience but the end nullified all the build up. Here’s an overview of the drama itself.
Inkaar was produced under the Momina Duraid production and had an amazing star cast. Yumna Zaidi gave a brilliant performance as Hajra Iliyas; so did Sami Khan as Shayan and Imran Ashraf as Rehan Chaudary. Rehan Sheikh plays the role of Hajra’s father and nobody could have depicted a tired yet a brave father better. Zaidi is a powerhouse of talent and is a delight to watch on screen. She and Imran Ashraf are the heart of the show. If you want to follow the series for its cast, you won’t be disappointed.
I have always been a fan of Zafar Mairaj’s writing and Inkaar is no different up until the end. The show follows the story of a young girl who piques attention of a warp minded rich man hailing from a strong feudal background, Rehan Chaudhry. Rehan gives attention to Hajra and expects her to fall into his lap. Hajra does fall for Rehan’s charms but when he takes advantage of her affections for him and tries to harass her, Hajra manages to escape his trap at the last moment and breaks all ties with him. Enter Shayan. Shayan likes Hajra and his genuine love and respect for her make Hajra overcome the trauma of the incident with Rehan. She agrees to marry Shayan but then the true nature of the deeply tangled relationship between Rehan, Shayan, and Hajra is revealed.
Rehan continues to pursue Hajra despite her engagement with Shayan, and refuses to take Hajra’s, “No!” as a definite answer. On the night of her nikkah, Rehan, in a bout of anger, plunges scissors into Hajra multiple times because, “tum meri nahi ho sakti tou kisi ki nahi ho gee.“ Hajra survives the attack and decides to fight for justice. Fast forward to the ending: Rehan is found guilty by the court after the case goes through many ups and downs, but Hajra forgives him because, “jail mein jaa ke kon seedha ho sakta hai,” and instead sends him to his mother who lives in a village (slow claps).
An Unsatisfactory Ending
Criminal justice system is set in place for a reason. People found guilty of such heinous crimes go to jail for a reason. The show’s ending, in all honesty, has made a mockery of all such cases and women who are brave enough to fight their perpetrators. It is a brilliant show with a thoroughly unsatisfactory ending.
All in all, I think Inkaar set out to change minds and could have done a better job at it if the climax wasn’t so anti-climatic. What did you think of the ending? Should Hajra have forgiven her offender?