Another delayed review. It’s not really a review this time. Two scenes caught everyone’s eye in this week’s episode of Gul-e-Rana and I’m only going to comment on them. Both scenes are kind of correlated: they both address sexual and physical abuse but the take on the issue in each scene is poles apart.
I’ll start with the positive (somewhat) comment first so let’s jump to the end of the episode. Yes the Adeel-slapping-Rana scene. So Adeel was angry at Rana for calling him a beast (indirectly) in front of their servant. He tries to manhandle her and she pushes him away which leads him to slap her across the face. As Rana looked at him with tears in her eyes, Adeel stood in disbelief, staring at his hand. But she didn’t cry. Instead she shamed him for the weakling that he was, the typical man who asserted his ‘power’ by hitting women. It had even more impact when she brought in his hypothetical daughter and left him speechless.
The scene was pretty well-executed; the ringing silence made it pretty intense. Feroze Khan and Sajal Ali were both phenomenal as usual. At this point, these two are the only reason I will return to watch the next episode.
The reason I like the scene (except the slapping part of course) is that Rana’s speech on men’s ‘janwar-iyat’ was on point and needed. As I’ve said before, in a society like ours, drama serials have a huge impact. Domestic abuse is pretty common and men usually get away with it by claiming that women are responsible for angering the ‘superior’ sex and therefore shouldn’t protest. Rarely does anyone stands up and highlights the lack of character and control which leads a man to exercise abuse. Nothing justifies abuse of any sort.
This brings me to the other scene, where Adeel tries to rape his friend who is staying at his place for a genuine reason. She asked him for help because she was being stalked by strange men and he told her that she can stay at his place till the issue is sorted out. Come nightfall, Adeel barged into the room his friend was staying in and tried to force himself on her as she told him to get away from her. At that moment Rana walked in and the poor girl ran to her for help.
Now the ‘problem’ with this girl was her western attire. Owing to this reason, Rana accused her of ‘inviting’ men instead of condemning Adeel for his lust. Because, according to Rana women should sleep in a burqa. She went ahead to say that religion forbids a man and woman to be friends. I’m not going into the religious debate here but seriously, it’s not like Adeel is living in that house alone. Rana lives there too and for this reason, it’s ok for the girl to feel safe in his house. So much for Rana being a woman rights champion.
There’s a long list of things wrong with this scene so I’ll use a blanket term to cover all of it: victim blaming. Harassment is already a huge issue in our society and the pathetic excuse of women ‘inviting’ men is regularly used to justify abuse. By reiterating this mindset our writers and producers are doing no service to viewers. And this is why I have an issue with digest writers with brains the size of a pea writing dramas. There, I said it!
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