It isn’t common for actresses in Pakistan to take up powerful characters, especially in TV, where the more you cry, the better it is received by the audience. However, there are some who choose a different path or are fortunate to be offered roles that aren’t conventional. One of them is Sana Javed, who continues to make an impact with every character she plays on the small screen. First in Khaani and now in new drama serial Dar Khuda Se, the actress makes sure to convey important social messages through her work/roles.
Dar Khuda Se went on air on Geo Entertainment last Tuesday, with the second episode scheduled for tonight, and tackles the subject of harassment at workplace. Sana as Afreen represents all those working women out there who have been harassed at their workplaces by bosses or colleagues on one or more occasions. How she deals with it in the play will help create some awareness and will give courage to those facing it.
Instep got in touch with Sana to find out what made her opt for the role in the first place and what does she aim to convey with such roles. Here are excerpts from the interview.
Instep: How is Dar Khuda Se different from the many plays on TV where women are used, abused and harassed at home and at work?
Sana Javed (SJ): A lot has been done in the past to create awareness regarding this particular issue (harassment). Usually, a woman, who gets harassed at work, doesn’t file a complaint or speak up about it. This happens because of the fear of either bringing disgrace to the family or the most often cited reasons include not wanting to be seen as a victim or attention-seeker. Besides, women fear losing their jobs particularly when they don’t have an alternate source of income. However, in Dar Khuda Se, the girl (Afreen) refuses to stay quiet and rather takes a bold stand against it.
Instep: With just one episode out, the play has managed to catch viewers’ attention. What made you opt for this script?
SJ: The drama explores the consequences of sexual harassment that a middle-class, young woman, who is the sole breadwinner of the family, has to face at her workplace. This is the main reason why I opted for this script. I think it’s about time we try and create a safer work environment for women.
Instep: How did you prepare for the role after you did an equally strong character in Khaani?
SJ: I learned a lot actually. While I was working on this project I did my research about this issue and I came across so many cases where women have to suffer just because their families were not supportive or didn’t trust them. Therefore, I feel it’s very important for parents and family members to trust their women, to support them and to give them the confidence they need to raise their voice against it.
Instep: Does Dar Khuda Se be aim to create awareness for women to speak against harassment at workplace?
SJ: Yes! It definitely will. The drama clearly shows possible consequences of harassment at workplace and through my character, I hope and wish I am able to empower a lot of women out there to break through and have the courage to put an end or at least raise voice against it. I hope men in our society also take notice of their actions through this narrative.
Instep: Given that your character in Dar Khuda Se faces harassment at workplace. Did you ever face harassment of any sort in the entertainment industry?
SJ: Thankfully, I’ve never faced it myself because I have been blessed to have worked with the best. But I do understand that this problem exists everywhere, around us and with projects like Dar Khuda Se¸ I would like to contribute to eliminate it.
Instep: The drama also reflects the #MeToo movement that has given hope to many victims of sexual harassment across the globe. Do you think the wave is catching up in Pakistan now?
SJ: Yes definitely. This movement has empowered a lot of women and this has created a sense of awareness in Pakistan as well. Women everywhere, in general, are now more aware and refuse to tolerate any inappropriate behavior now.