Instep Today

Giving daughters a level playing field

Instep Today
By Buraq Shabbir
Fri, 05, 16

It’s a common belief that only a son can take charge of family affairs after the father has retired or expired, particularly in our part of the world. This is, after all, the root of all male-chauvinistic stereotypes and patriarchal systems. But defying stereotypes is Geo TV’s new drama serial Shaam Dhalay, which comes across as a breath of fresh air in its portrayal and freedom given to women.

TVTalk

Ongoing drama serial Shaam Dhalay empowers women and defies existing stereotypes.

It’s a common belief that only a son can take charge of family affairs after the father has retired or expired, particularly in our part of the world. This is, after all, the root of all male-chauvinistic stereotypes and patriarchal systems. But defying stereotypes is Geo TV’s new drama serial Shaam Dhalay, which comes across as a breath of fresh air in its portrayal and freedom given to women.

Playing upon the theme of family politics, Shaam Dhalay revolves around the story of a small and happy, well-off family that includes a couple and their three grown-up daughters. The eldest, Alina (Marjan Fatima), who has completed her studies and plans to pursue her career, shares a strong bond with her father (Usman Peerzada) and got engaged on his wish despite not wanting to. Soon after her engagement her father passed away, leaving behind some bitter truths they (his wife and three daughters) never knew existed. They find out that they have an elder step brother Khizar (Taifoor Khan Niazi), and while going through major financial crises they realize that their brother is the legal heir of the house they’re living in.

While the mother (Parveen Malik) is still coping with the loss of her husband and the younger sisters Mariam and Shanzay are too difficult to deal with, Alina is the one who takes charge of the situation and tries to make sense of what is going on in their lives. She is not only handling the overall situation but also takes care of her mother and keeps an eye on her sisters, just like an elder brother would in a typical household. Amidst all these challenges that confront Alina in this tough time, one realizes that if a daughter is raised well and given the freedom and confidence to face the world, she is as capable of running a family as a son.

Directed by Nadia Afgan, Shaam Dhalay challenges the beliefs that prevail in our society and makes people think otherwise. Six episodes into the story, the play turns out to be extraordinary in its portrayal of women if not anything else. Will it continue this way or end up strengthening existing stereotypes, only time will tell.