For a country where the majority population is rooted in patriarchal norms and customs, and crimes against women are alarming, our dramas don’t do a lot in trying to eradicate the misogynistic morals demanded from a woman. A woman in a patriarchal society is often burdened with the responsibility of carrying the family’s honor all on her own and Pakistani dramas continue to further mindset by introducing increasingly problematic tropes.
The female protagonists in the Pakistani dramas always seem to have the entire world standing against them and now their own family has joined the ranks as well. For instance, in many recently released dramas, the trope of a father not being able to handle his daughter’s misfortunes and ending up dead because of it, is being repeated a lot. And the said misfortunes are often associated with the daughter’s married life. It really is an unfortunate development of recent times that mainstream media has further escalated the regressive mindsets about the parental burdens of a daughter.
Some recent dramas have shown sequences of a father suffering from a fatal heart attack because of the disgraceful situations that arose due to the daughter’s actions or misfortunes. For example, Meherposh shows the female protagonist’s father getting a heart attack the moment Mehru’s husband divorces her in front of her entire family in a very distasteful dramatic sequence. The father dies as he couldn’t bear the dishonor his daughter’s misfortune brought the family. Another death by heart attack happened in Yaariyan when the father, upon realizing how his one daughter toyed with the life of his other daughter, is unable to bear the burden of the truth and ends up dying.
Drama serial Jhooti shows Nirma as the trouble maker of the family. She emotionally blackmails and tortures her family for various reasons after being incited by her conman husband. The resulting family feuds lead to her father dying from a heart attack. Nirma’s mother is also shown to have died previously due to constant disturbances created by Nirma in the house.
Geo TV’s Uraan shows the father of one of the central female characters getting a heart attack while he is driving from his nephew’s house, who threatens to forcefully marry his daughter if she doesn’t consent to the marriage willingly. The heart attack leads to his demise. Ghalati also had a sequence where the female protagonist’s father dies of a heart attack after he sees his daughter being divorced amidst a family gathering.
And if the fathers are not shown to directly drop dead because of their daughter’s misfortunes, the dramas push them to death by indirectly making the daughter the culprit for it.
Ruswai shows a father of a gang-rape survivor dealing with how the incident has shaken up the lives of both his children. He tries his best to settle things however, he is unable to do so. He feels helpless and in an emotionally burdened state, he loses his life in a car crash. Later in the same episode, it is revealed that the father wanted to commit suicide. Pyar Ke Sadqay shows the female protagonist’s father being falsely prisoned due to his daughter’s step-father in law who wanted to use this opportunity to manipulate her into marrying him, in exchange for her father’s bail. The father gets a heart attack while imprisoned which leads to his death.
Tum Ho Wajah also has a similar situation where the father, weakened by his daughter eloping, ends up dying after getting a heart attack. Nand shows a father dying in a car crash because he is chasing after his daughter, who has been forcefully taken from the house by her husband in the father’s absence. The father’s disturbed psychological state leads to a fatal car crash. The father in Zebaish dies trying to save his daughter from falling victim to the evil plans of the villain.
The trivialization of ethos attached to a daughter’s married life for a dotting father has been brutally dramatized and exploited by the scriptwriters for cheap thrilling sequences in the drama. The death/attack sequences are also used to justify juvenile twists and plot changes. Why are the fathers of only female characters shown to have such terrible consequences due to their daughters’ actions or their dwindling married life?
Parents, especially fathers, are supposed to be the biggest support system of a girl. But our Pakistani dramas have made the parents yet another way for a female character to face more miseries. They are pushed to death or shown to be out of their senses to either punish the female character’s wrongdoings, for instance, Jalan, or just to add some more misery to the female character’s life.
Better examples to follow
There have been a couple of dramas that have shown a more positive and progressive role a father plays in the female character’s life to uplift and empower her. Inkaar was a brilliant drama where a father becomes his daughter’s biggest support system and stands with her as she faces the uphill battle of getting justice. Durr-e-Shehwar is another drama where the father writes encouraging letters to his daughter and they become her guidance and strength as she struggles to settle in with her in-laws. Sabaat showed a healthy bond between a father and daughter where the daughter has such immense faith in her father that he would always support her, that she doesn’t hesitate on walking out of a toxic marriage.
These are some of the better examples of fatherhood shown in dramas that should be followed more. Daughters are supposed to be blessings and they should be shown in the dramas as such. Not as a burden that ultimately crushes her parents to death.