Sang-e-Mah's first episode may have won hearts but some Pashtuns aren't happy with their representation
Atif Aslam's debut drama Sang-e-Mah has his fans excited and everyone else curious to see how the singer will fare as a TV actor and while most viewers are singing praises for the singer's debut and the drama's cinematography and direction, many Pashtuns on Twitter are not happy with the way they have been represented.
The sequel to Sang-e-Mar Mar premiered in cinemas on Jan 8 and on Hum TV on Jan 9. The show attracted a lot of viewers who then posted their reactions on social media.
Aslam's character Hilmand had viewers "charmed" and the "enchanting world of Sang-e-Mah" reeled them in.
People loved every aspect of it.
Some even compared it to theatre.
Most, though, were Aslam stans.
Some were quick to notice Sania Saeed wearing a traditional shawl from Swabi and educate us on its historical significance.
Of course, ships were formed for leads Aslam, Kubra Khan, Hania Aamir and Zaviyar Noman Ijaz.
The drama also has a Turkish fanbase it seems.
However, there were also some critics who didn't think much of the show. This user said the drama is "cashing in on Aslam's success."
This Twitter user said it was too similar to its predecessor.
Netizens were quite pleased to see the drama start off with a scene at a gurdwara and see Sikh representation.
But there were also many netizens who were not happy with the Pashtun representation in the drama and claimed it was profiling Pashtuns. "Pashtun profiling. Cannabis smoker reciting third grade poetry... looks quite obscene. Cheap actors speaking broken and twisted Urdu. Swear words. Filthy countenance. What a useless plot the drama has. Is this really a family drama or a stage show worthy of being shown at a Punjabi theatre?"
A user said that "Pashtuns are always shown paranormally that leaves an impression of terror on the viewer" and that such misrepresentative dramas should be banned.
There have also been objections to the accents being put on by the actors. One user said they should "either talk in proper Urdu or cast real Pashtun actors."
Another user wanted to know where the idea of ghag came from. "The ghag custom shown in Sang-e-Mah, what area of Pakhtunkhwa is it speaking for? We have no such traditions."
Some even reminded "those who speak and understand Urdu" that the same "prejudiced and hateful treatment that Bengalis were subjected to is now being enforced on Baloch and Pashtun people and will have terrible repercussions. This behaviour is based on hatred."
There were also calls for protest.
While representation is important, it needs to be dealt with carefully in order to do justice to the reality of the people being shown as it can rightfully hurt sentiments. Remember — we need representation, not caricatures and the best way to ensure representation is to tell accurate stories of people and make sure those people have a seat at the table.