The Case Against Ali Abbas As Zain In ARY Digital’s Angna

Even though the narrative on television has changed plenty in the past few years, and we are pleased to see diversity in content and infotainment being presented on the screens, still, there often come dramas that bring about subjects and characters that you dislike to the core, owing to their toxicity and manipulative nature. The character of Zain, in the drama serial Angna, on ARY Digital is currently one such character. Although Ali Abbas is doing a splendid job making his character convincing to the T, his character, Zain, is absolutely gruesome.

The Troubling Factor

No, Zain isn’t outright negative and he cares for his wife Eshaal, played by Rabab Hashim, but he is still a sadistic husband who makes his wife shed copious tears, all because he cannot take a stand against his mother. There is a backstory to it, and the makers are trying to bring that to the front. Perhaps, this is an issue of childhood abuse by the mother that is being highlighted through Zain’s narrative.

Zain’s obsessive obedience to his mother and his consequent harassment of his own wife isn’t really winning hearts amongst the audience, as many have spoken up against the many scenes which show Zain oppressing Eshaal and physically assaulting her only because he cannot answer back to his mother.

The Viral Clip

The clip that has recently gone viral in particular is extremely troubling. Where, on one hand, society is fighting for the rights of women, at the same time, we have drama makers and writers who insist on showcasing a husband slapping his wife out of sheer fear of, and obedience to his mother. What exactly is the lesson here?

Perhaps it’s the makers and writers who ought to be questioned, for constantly churning out toxic narratives, instead of the actors playing the character. Perhaps, there is shared accountability.

A lot of the ensuing negativity is being directed towards Ali Abbas on the internet for this one scene, but it is also important to ask why showrunners – most of them – keep churning out these tired narratives.

Poor Taste

What we fail to understand is the fact that even if the makers had to show a grown-up man obsessively controlled by his mother, showcasing abuse in a landscape where abuse is rampant was not the only way to do so. The narrative could have had a different depiction altogether. In a society where women are tormented physically for a plethora of reasons, was such an abusive depiction of a husband in good taste?

Rubina Ashraf portrays a mother who is controlling her son psychologically. His behavior is constantly admonished without any praise and that has made him subservient to his mother’s desire. He blindly follows each and every command and panics if he cannot control the situation that ensues.

Red Flags

Often, it is relatively easy to pick out negative characters on television, because they usually happen to be the ones behind all the chaos. But what about characters, that slowly and gradually poison the lives of others without coming into the limelight? Negative characters are selfish, and their selfishness seeps into the lives of others without them showing any remorse for their actions.

However, this Zain is from another breed of characters, that stay away from being the main antagonist, come across as fairly positive, but turn out to be equally manipulative, self-serving, egotistical, and uncaring because they are under constant ‘pressure’ from others. Zain has remorse; he appears to be caring and appeasing and yet, it is him who is absolutely destroying Eshaal’s life in ‘Angna’.

What do you have to say about the entire narrative? Share your opinion in the comments below.


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