Cinema in general lacks representation of people with disabilities, which pushes them into a box labelled 'other' rather than normalising their struggles and making people aware of them. But that might be changing with Geo TV's new show Fasiq, which features a character with disabilities played by Hira Tareen.
Tareen is making her comeback to the small screen after two years to play this role.
“'Don’t judge disability by its visibility.' Playing the character of a girl who has it all yet her disability is looked at as a weakness by others was definitely a challenge I wanted to take up, and that’s why I finally decided to be back on screen," the actor captioned photos of her character on Instagram.
Tareen's character Sawera needs the support of a crutch while standing and the actor called depicting the real life struggles of a person with disabilities a difficult job. She explained how it is challenging to do justice to it "in the format of a TV show" due to technical limitations but said, "I did my best to portray it in the best way I could for you guys."
"Hope you guys are watching Fasiq and liking Sawera so far. Stay tuned as things unfold and become more interesting in the upcoming episodes. Lots of love to you all who encouraged me to be back on screen, you know who you are," she added.
Fasiq, a Seventh Sky Entertainment production, tells the story about sacrifice and patience in love as well as the antagonists’ struggle with unrequited love and rejection. It premiered in Nov 2021 and the cast includes actors Sehar Khan, Adeel Chaudhry, Sukaina Khan and Haroon Shahid. Tareen's character Sawera is not one of the main cast.
There are miles to go where inclusivity is concerned — we're still waiting for a show that casts people with disabilities in the lead rather than featuring them as side characters. But this is still a step — albeit a small one — in the right direction. Shows like these not only create awareness in people who are not very educated on the subject, but also normalise the existence of people who have disabilities. We just hope the show makes sure to tackle the subject sensitively.