A story worth retelling

October 1, 2023

With its attention-grabbing plotline and star-studded cast, Razia is a must-watch

A story worth retelling


azia, a new play, is bound to send the TRPs through the roof due to a number of reasons; the first being the versatile and beautiful Mahira Khan in a hitherto unseen role. The second is the fact that the drama immediately commands the interest of the audience.

The drama serial begins with a frame narrative in which Mahira enacts the part of a storyteller, ravi, and narrates the story of Razia, a girl whose father, upon her birth was asked to choose between the mother and child in the event of complications. “The child, if he’s a boy,” responded the father.

However, both the child and the mother survived and to everyone’s great dismay, it was a girl. Her paternal grandmother was extremely disappointed as she had set her heart on a grandson. She greeted her daughter-in-law coldly and expressed her disappointment at the fact that her daughter-in-law had borne a daughter and not a son.

She instructed her son to start trying for another baby straight away and told him categorically to divorce his wife if she failed to bear a son the next time round. The little girl grew up, unwanted and uncared for. She was an unwelcome and unwanted addition to the family.

After three years, the daughter-in-law finally bore a son. Unfortunately, just as the grandmother was about to take the newborn into her arms, she passed away.

There was a stark contrast between the way the two siblings were raised. While the father, essayed by Mohib Mirza, doted on the son, spoiled and pampered him thoroughly and fulfilled all his wishes, Razia was a silent spectator. Sometimes, she asked her mother about this treatment. The mother evaded the question.

When her father refused to buy her a bicycle, she collected all the bottle caps at a wedding (after hearing that a bicycle is being offered as a reward) and after peeling them all off, finally managed to win a bicycle. In the process, she befriended Mannu, a boy who lived in her neighbourhood and tried to help her.

The two became close friends and Razia, having exceptional cycling skills, won a competition against a couple of boys from the neighbourhood. She nurtured dreams of competing in the Olympics one day and winning a gold medal. Cycling was her passion.

Razia’s is a world full of contradictions; hers’ is a household where the best pieces of chicken in the gravy are reserved for men; where she is hushed unceremoniously by her father when she tries to compare how she’s treated with her brother; where her bicycle is sold off, even if it represents the death of her dreams.

However, her father forbade her from cycling in the streets as she grew older. Her friendship with Mannu was also not looked upon favourably by her parents.

The play depicts the reality of many households in the country. It brings to the fore the glaring gender divide and how it involves bad parenting.

Razia’s is a world full of contradictions. Hers is a household where the best pieces of chicken in the gravy are reserved for men. She is hushed unceremoniously by her father when she tries to compare how she’s treated with her brother. Her bicycle is sold off, even as this represents the death of her dreams. This is a bitter pill she is forced to swallow. She realises that she has to down many more.

The script and direction are excellent. Kudos to all the young actors for portraying their parts so convincingly. Mahira excels; so do Mohib and Momal in roles that appear tailor-made for them.

Will a girl child be forever viewed as a liability? The play portrays a regressive mentality and hypocrisy prevalent in the society, which has double standards for men and women. A girl child has long been viewed as a liability by people having a particular mindset.

Growing up, she has to contend with all types of social stigmas and restrictions that are extremely confusing for a young female mind to absorb and come to terms with.

The part is played convincingly and leaves a mark on the audience. Momal Sheikh and Mohib Mirza portray a typical couple forced to carry out the conventional roles assigned to them. Voices of rebellion are swiftly silenced. Women are expected to be subservient creatures having no right to question or argue. If they do, they are dealt with severely.

Will Razia manage to emerge unscathed? How will the world treat her? Will she shatter glass ceilings? All these questions and many more will be answered as the must-watch drama serial progresses.

The writer is an educationist. She can be reached at gaiteeara@hotmail.com.

A story worth retelling