It's no surprise that the controversial drama Meray Pass Tum Ho has broken the internet with its disparate storyline and character dynamics unfamiliar to the conventional ‘desi’ audience.
Naturally, the weekly episodes created havoc and audiences were excited to witness the karma that would come the protagonist’s way.
However, in the midst of chaotic debates and heated conversations, Adnan Siddiqui parted ways with his audience acknowledging that the project had loopholes in the script.
"I understand the dialogues had some problematic leanings, and sometimes went a little far, sometimes quite far in painting women with a single brush stroke - I understand and take all of that on board. I wish the drama had consciously added nuance to the storyline," he wrote on Instagram.
While infidelity, adultery, broken marriages and inflicted childhood traumas are very real concerns that need to be addressed in a society that hushes important discourses under the umbrella of ‘shame’ and ‘honour', we’re concerned about all the ways in which the issues brought forward were gendered rather than societal.
For us, cheating should never be condoned irrespective of who does it, and anyone involved in this betrayal, be it a man or a woman, should be called out for it. With this understanding, we hope the actor makes wiser cinematic choices in his upcoming projects.
Here are a few times Meray Paas Tum Ho's writing transgressed the boundaries of entertainment, and seeped right into discomfort.
Shehwaar: “Tum kyun lower-middle class larkiyon ki tarahsochti ho – muhabbat karne ke liay shadi ki duaein maangti ho.”
(Translation: why do you think like middle-class women who think marriage is a prerequisite for falling in love?)
Apart from being classist, this dialogue reeks of stereotype against what middle-class women are believed to romanticise.
Not only does it make them look desperate, clingy and regressively conservative but on the contrary implies that any woman belonging to a higher socioeconomic strata of society would probably be okay in exchanging sexual favours or love outside marriage. A correlation between companionship and finance is beyond us.
Shehwaar: “Khuda pe mat chorna, who talaq leni wali aurteinse khush nahi hota. Tou jo bhi karna us se bacha ke karna.”
(Translation: Don’t leave your matters on God – He is not pleased with women who opt for a divorce. Whatever you need to do, make sure you hide from Him.)
Conveniently enough, this one sentence shames all divorced women under the false pretext of religion. Not only does it point a finger at the millions of women who walk out of abusive marriages, stand up to domestic violence, voice their protest against their ill-treatment and protect their children from toxic households but also puts the blame of that on the victim.
It disregards the struggles of all those women who were forcefully left because they couldn’t conceive children, because they couldn’t get enough dowry, because they gave birth to only daughters, or because the tribal ‘watta-satta’ exchange could not work out for the other party – and unapologetically tells each one of them that they have made God unhappy.
We find this misinterpretation of religion and a very merciful God offensive and unjust.
Hania: “Dekhna chahti hoon – kya aisi aurat dikhnay mein aurat hoti hai?”
(Translation: I want to see if a cheating woman looks like a woman.)
A cheating woman is not an anomaly. A cheating woman is as much a person as a cheating man – or any cheating individual irrespective of his/her gender. A woman looks like a woman. A man looks like a man. A cheating woman also looks like a woman – and a cheating man also looks like a man because lucky for us, the sins we commit do not appear on our faces.
Hania: “Mardon se apnay haq zaroor mango, lekin unke huqooq se hissa na mango… aurat ke liay maaf karna asaan hota hai kyunke aurat apni kok se bachay paida karti hai.
(Translation: Ask men for your rights – but do not ask men for a part from their rights. It is easier for a woman to forgive because she gives birth.)
By spewing cheesy, pompous views under the pretense of broken, paused dialogues – Hania’s character attempts to sound philosophical while telling the audience that women are born with a forgiving gene simply because they have the ability to give birth.
The problem with such a statement is that it glorifies motherhood to a pedestal at which any error is considered hostile and unworthy of redemption. It places the burden of parenting solely on the mother, absolves fathers of their parenting duties, and further perpetuates the idea that men can get away with the ‘mistake’ of infidelity simply because of their gender. We do not understand the basis of this blatant discrimination.
Tahira Abdullah said it best when she said, "I am born from the same woman a man is born from and when I come into this world, I bring my rights with me, just like I'm born with a body, soul, brain and heart, they are a part of my existence. And those rights are protected by the Constitution of Pakistan. No one is going to give me my rights nor do I have to ask. Why should we ask men for them? We were born with them!"