Wali VS Adeel: who is the ‘Hero’?

Just a couple of months ago, Tuesday, the second most hated day of the week, became many people’s favourite. Reason: Diyar-e-Dil . The onscreen magic cast by Osman Khalid Butt and Maya Ali as Wali and Faarah have kept people hooked even though it’s been months since the serial has ended.

Wali’s character is, without a doubt, memorable. Who wouldn’t love a strong willed, educated, good looking, traditional man who prefers family over everything else? He can even give up the love of his life if necessary. The perfect hero, in short.


If Wali is the most beloved of all heroes, Adeel from Gul-e-Rana is the most hated one. Stubborn, abusive, misogynistic, narcissist, chauvinist, manipulative, you can go on and on about Adeel’s faults. He makes the audience want to strangle him with bare hands every time he tortures Gul-e-Rana (Sajal Ali). Feroze Khan’s brilliant acting makes it even easier to hate his character that he brought to life so effortlessly.


So let’s go over what Adeel did to make us all hate him. He kidnapped Rana, threatened to kill her, assaulted her both physically and verbally, forced her to marry him, made her position suspicious in front of her mother and yet, everyone around thinks of him as an angel. And we all know that despite all that Adeel did, at the end, Rana will not only forgive him but fall in love with him. All will be forgotten and we’ll have a happy ending because the Pakistani audience loves happy endings no matter how irrational they may be.

But Faarah too suffered most of what Rana did at the hands of Wali. He insulted her, shoved her maid away, literally dragged her out of her house, threatened to kill her and forced her to sign a contract to live at a place she didn’t even want to visit. At the end, Faarah didn’t even consider holding any of the above against Wali because she realised she was wrong and fell in love with him. Even him calling her ‘badtameez’ repeatedly didn’t bother her because he was being ‘romantic’.

I know this doesn’t make Wali a bad person because he was in a tough spot when he kidnapped Faarah and probably thought he had no other choice. But it’s still no justification for his actions. Everyone gets angry, doesn’t mean they get a ticket to kidnap their better halves. Yet, many thought of it as romantic. Some even consider Adeel’s violent behaviour romantic and an expression of ‘love’, which is disturbing to say the least because he actually is portrayed as a villain unlike Wali.

Fact is, the characters of Wali and Adeel both took advantage of the privilege that is bestowed upon them because they are men. Since Adeel is portrayed as the bad guy, most hate him without reservation but Wali is easily exempted of all charges because he is the ‘hero’. He is free to tell Faarah off for not wearing a dopatta in front of the gardener because that hurts his mardangi, but tackling her, dragging her out of the house, forcing her on a boat and insulting her in front of the boat riders, pushing her on a bed like she is a stick figure didn’t raise any question marks over his ghairat. How is it any different than what Adeel does to Rana?

So what are we reducing our women too? Puppets that can be played around with at will? Who are required to forgive everything at the end because that’s what makes them a true mashriqi aurat? How long will it take for us to stop romanticising violent behaviour? A female viewer said, ‘Rana bhi ab extreme horahi hai’. What makes her comment sound worse is that she is married.

That ghairat though!

I know entertainment serials shouldn’t be considered as moral lessons but in our society where abuse is already a huge issue and where many actually take dramas as a depiction of truth, they do send out a message intentionally or unintentionally. So it is time our producers and writers take some responsibility and try to change viewers’ perception of what is acceptable and what’s not.

Email: farwa.rants@gmail.com

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5 thoughts on “Wali VS Adeel: who is the ‘Hero’?

  1. Wow, finally a piece of writing which actually points out Wali’s flaws as well. I did find it quite annoying when Wali was mostly painted as a perfect hero who did no wrong when in fact he actually had and I’m not just talking about the so-called “kidnapping” incident. But did you ACTUALLY compare Wali to that Adeel?


    Okay, Wali is no saint but do you really think his manhandling is of the same kind as what Adeel does to Rana? Not that one is better than the other in any way but really? THAT’S your argument? Wali was a lot of things to Farah but I don’t particularly recall him being utterly disrespecting to Farah’s privacy as an individual. Adeel is a stalker who follows Rana around the house and mouthing lines like, “pehle meri khwahish thi, ab zidd ho.” Adeel basically negates any and all rights that Rana has an individual person. Whereas Wali never ever FORCED Farah to do anything. Yeah, “kidnapping” her wasn’t actually giving her a choice. But when he had laid down the option of going to haveli with him, she said yes on her own. What compelled Farah to follow Wali to haveli wasn’t threats or a gun to her head, “Come with me or die.” It was a simple contract which wasn’t even done on the basis of equality but which favored Farah’s interests so much. I suggest you go watch that bit again or ask someone who has watched it and you’d know there was no forcing Farah to sign the contract. She could’ve easily said no and Wali would’ve silently left her back home. But she signed the contract cuz she saw HER interests in it. She signed it ON HER OWN FREE WILL. When has Adeel ever given Rana that liberty?

    Yeah, Wali was a bit pushy-draggy with Farah and that is something which can never be excused. But here’s the thing that Adeel severely lacks – that despite his anger, Wali knew where to draw the line. His threats to Farah mostly always backfired because she would always retort and give it back to him and never kindly. But later when she did do anything, it wasn’t because Wali told her to do it. Never that. She did it on her own free will. She couldn’t have cared less about Wali’s opinion. And what romance was talked about here anyway? WHO thought that Wali kidnapping Farah was romantic? WHO actually said that him manhandling her was romantic? The only romance we got between Wali and Farah was in the last episode that too AFTER Farah confessed her love for him. That was the whole point! Wali didn’t want to conquer Farah or have her cuz they were bound by nikaah. Farah was no object for Wali. He saw her and loved her as an individual and wanted her to do the same to him; he wanted Farah to accept him for he was rather than who their fathers were or how they were legally bound because of a piece of paper. And that’s the last thing on Adeel’s mind.

    Look, I’m the first one in line to point of Wali’s flaws but sheeeeeesh, please have some clear context. I know Wali and Adeel are THE rage on tv but no way in God’s mighty universe are they two characters which can be compared. Cuz there’s NOTHING common in them. I can understand your intentions with this article that a hero’s “mardangi” always comes at the price of degrading a heroine’s self worth. And it’s wrong. It’s high time violence should be seen as for what it is – VIOLENCE, without finding any romantic connotations. At the end of the day, Wali is at least infinity times better than Adeel and nothing can change that. Fact remains there’s nothing redeemable in Adeel. He’s a vile and disgusting character and no amount of putting Wali down will work in Adeel’s favor. Because guess what? Wali wasn’t made a “hero” because of what he did to Farah. Wali was a hero because of who he was around everyone.


    1. Hey, thanks for the feedback 🙂
      I’m not saying Wali is Adeel. I’m only pointing out that the patriarchy has given them the power to control. Maybe it’s not clear, but I did mention that Wali did what he did because he was in a tough spot. What I’m saying is, he still got away with it. Wali is 100 times the person Adeel is, there’s no arguing that. My only reason for picking these two characters, that are nothing alike, was to point out that whether they are good or bad, men in our society always have the upper hand and it’s portrayed in our serials too, which in a way has made women in our society think that abusive behaviour, to an extent, is acceptable because ‘mard ko to ghusa aa hi jata hai’. I hope you see my point now. Cheers.


  2. I think your points are very valid . The reason Wali gets a pass is that despite the fact he kidnapped Faraa it wasn’t to take advantage of her it was to get her to meet his grandfather ,Agha Jaan . After Faraa calmed down he offered her the divorce he even insisted when Faraa did not want to get divorced at all . BUT You are so right we cannot just ignore the gun he used and the threats etc .. It was so out of character , in the novel Wali never did anything of the sort and that is reason number two people give him a pass as they keep his character from the book in mind . I think Adeel is as you descibe him but my objection is to way he is being glamourised . Yes Feroz looks cute despite the awful clothes and acts well but the director has made a royal hash of this and that is why everything looks of kilter . Sigh all the good directors are off making movies .


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