Sarwat Gilani has distanced herself from TV because she's done playing the damsel in distress

Sarwat Gilani has distanced herself from TV because she's done playing the damsel in distress

The Churails actor said we need to tell stories about strong women and their success stories.
22 Jun, 2022

Over the years, you may have realised that you've seen less and less of Sarwat Gilani on TV — if you ever wondered why, the actor has finally voiced her point of view and addressed her lack of interest in TV.

In an interview with Something Haute posted on YouTube on Tuesday, the Churails actor talked about her preference changing to independent projects over commercial ones on television. She said it was due to her becoming more vocal about some very important issues that were not being given their due in these TV serials.

"With time I got into speaking up on women's rights, against child abuse, against so many serious real-life topics that I felt that if I'm talking about it, if I'm believing that that's a certain thing that should be practised in our society I cannot go back to being the mazloom sisakti hui aurat [damsel in distress] because I just don't believe in that."

The Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam actor said that Pakistani women are incredible and there are many examples that deserve recognition. "We need to tell those stories, those success stories, and not have a premise of an entire season or serial of 26 episodes. Whether the girl is good enough to be married to this guy and whether she's good enough to be accepted by the in-laws — life is way beyond all of those things, for women [especially]. And [they] are really breaking boundaries to get out of that stereotype," she said.

The Naulakha actor explained that television was holding her back in that regard. "I did television for 20 years — and I did play the mazloom sisakti hui aurat but I felt like enough of that. I did Khasara (2018), that was my last television [role] and in [it] I played a really strong woman. That is the kind of substance I want to portray, that women are strong [and that they] are great examples of leaders."

Gilani's latest project has been a role in Joyland, an independent film produced by Saim Sadiq that was featured at Cannes 2022 — Pakistan's first competitive entry — and ended up bagging two awards as well. She has also been seen in Zee5 productions Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam and Churails.


Soniye tu auder te la Jun 22, 2022 06:00pm
She's definitely on the high calibre side of the Pakistani showbiz, which is jam-packed full with mediocres. People of her class are in small minority, literally can count them on fingers.
zarmeena azeem Jun 22, 2022 06:12pm
The truth is bibi, you are not getting the meaty roles. Its not a question of right and wrong, the public wants the damsel in distress roles. They don't want the strong women roles that you want to portray because you are now mature. Hard fact of showbiz, you get old you get tossed aside.
Ehsan Jun 22, 2022 06:21pm
That’s the kind of stand everyone needs to take- actors and audiences as well
jq Jun 22, 2022 06:31pm
recently finished churails. it was very good. netflix needs to buy it, and give us another season of it.
Imran Jun 22, 2022 06:49pm
@zarmeena azeem Wow. Tell us how you really feel.
Johnpauljonesljones Jun 22, 2022 07:18pm
She’s a classy stunner.
babar Jun 22, 2022 07:49pm
Great initiative Sarwat. Its high time TV dramas should move away from "afsana" type stories to practical and outside home life stories with women in more positive roles and/or outcomes and highlight their challenges and/or successes in education/work life.
Malz Jun 22, 2022 08:52pm
@ zarmeena, it’s just extremely ubfortunate that women in Pakistan would want to watch women on television suppressed all the time instead of encouraging someone that decides to take the higher road. No doubt Pakistan is where it is, with this prejudice and gender inequality
Rami Jun 22, 2022 08:57pm
Sarwat is a mature woman, she should not be given young girls roles , there should be stories written on married women with children working, single mothers, divorced women! Etc !
Rehana Bounse Jun 22, 2022 09:35pm
@zarmeena azeem no I don’t think so. Look at the Pakistani drama story line; same saas/ bahu. We have to showcase our problems & other important subjects . Uplift women & young people with practical & life inspiring stories & events. Show the problems in our culture with great & respectful presentations . Also highlight the positives & do not make make elderly people so cartoonish but how they are regarding experience & worldview.
Rehana Bounse Jun 22, 2022 09:43pm
@Rami what do you mean young women roles? She needs not “afsanawee” roles but every day woman who works hard for her family be it at home or workplace. Women have this unique ability of balancing their outside work ( job or other responsibilities) as well as home & family. So this & their strength & patience should be showcased in our dramas.
Pandu Jun 22, 2022 10:41pm
Pakistani men are afraid of strong women.
Rebirth Jun 23, 2022 01:15am
Her career choices must be oh so empowering for women. Before you know it, she’ll become the first female president. I mean they’ve made it as far as VP, right? Sorry, wrong country. Never mind. Just focus on becoming a doctor and finding the right rishta till you get your well-deserved spot from Lahore as an MP on a seat reserved for women. And when you do, you’ll get invited to very empowering meetings with foreign emissaries wearing pant-suits, who’s country probably never had a female leader. That’s one criteria for female empowerment. And, how legal is abortion and freely available are birth control pills. Domestic violence and 60 ladies a month (#SOTU2021) is so boring to talk about. It’s more fun for foreign female diplomats, who let themselves go in their teens, to patronize third world female savages. Women are more caring and make judgments based on their feelings. And that’s why there’ll be fewer wars when they rule. Queen Victoria and Catherine the Great need not apply.
Syed Hasni Jun 23, 2022 02:39am
I don't even remember which paly she worked in but her selfie with beau Mirza at the Trevi fountain was a smash hit. They should do one more on the Spanish steps The “Anywhere But The Mouth” Kiss, you understand what I mean. Let the Kids take the selfie.