• Neelam Jat

CHURAILS: A CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED SHOW

Director: Asim Abbasi

Cast: Sarwat Gilani, Yasra Rizvi, Nimra Bucha, Meher Bano, Omair Rana

Cinematographer: Mo Azmi

Editor: Kamal Khan, Kamran Shahnawaz

Streaming: Zee5

Churails is a ten-episode show available on Zee5. At first glance, it’s a whimsical show about four Karachi women banding together to form an agency called ‘Halal designs’ (a boutique store) a front for a detective agency for slighted women (rich and poor alike) with the tagline ‘Mard ko Dard Hoga.’

Often women who are depicted as revolutionaries tend to be void of all romantic love and vulnerable emotions. As if to imply that to bring real change in a man's world you need to be a man or at least not a woman. Despite all its ambition, none of them frays away from femininity or romantic interest to imply that they are strong.

The way they operate a business is also not entrenched in bravado, rather it is more confessional. For reference, a booth is established for the privacy of their organization, but there does lie a column just to hold hands to comfort these women.

No doubt that their aspiration is driven by money but they aren’t void of empathy, they do care. And I can’t stress how rare these touches are. We are constantly bombarded with media that subliminally represents no-good South Asian models for success or for shades. On the rare chance when they do, they seem so out of touch that the characters don’t feel real. This deemed ‘weakness’ is used by the show to weave the narrative instead of looking down upon it.

The show addresses the brewing rage in every woman. Rage that can engulf everything in its path. And I agree at times the presentation of it is not justified, but when was the subjugation we have suffered for aeons justified either? Why is exacting proportional revenge a responsibility of womankind? Why are we expected to be fair when all we have been subjected to unfairness?

Just because patriarchy and adultery are not crimes under the law that doesn’t mean that they aren’t crimes at all. They do hurt women. It pushes a woman's sense of self over the edge into a freefall. A sense which might have taken years to form DESPITE the society.

Patriarchy vultures on women until there is nothing left of them to rip off. Their pride, self-worth, occupation, everything is snatched away from them. Why shall women not be angry?!

The appreciation of beauty, and in particular, the beauty of women is a big theme in the series. It goes to convey how women’s lives are completely consumed in the persuasion of this illusion. As if we aren’t people with souls or minds just mere flesh for consumption.

And just when a woman takes these ideas literally- by slaughtering her cheating husband for consumption- all hell breaks loose. I don’t endorse these actions but I never shall look down upon it either. It can be considered an overreaction but why does it discount the fact that we have been provoked for generations, groomed for slaving away, been treated less than an individual, when all of us knew that while innately we are different, we are always equal.

The Churails are presented with a moral quandary. If they should expose a cheating husband who is gay? He too is marginalized and is being asked to live a lie. But does that justify his cheating?

On the other end, lies the wife who has devoted years of her life just to please him. When his cheating intertwined with his sexuality is revealed, it sends shockwaves through her sense of self. All the life she had built with him was a mere illusion. The years that she has slaved away to make him happy, just to come to the realization that she could never truly do that.

It’s this betrayal that drives her into madness. In her mania, she slaughters her husband's neck to seek vengeance for the emotional pain he has inflicted on her. This goes to prove the point, that one cannot provide justice when everybody is a victim of the system. There lies no right answers but only varying degrees of lesser wrong ones.

The show never pretends to know the answers or at times even be politically correct. All it does is pose a question why is it okay for men to do evil and get away with evil but not for women? Why is a man’s rage expected and acceptable while governing countries and waging wars but not a woman’s even in a show? It questioned my prejudices about how I limit a woman’s capability even if it’s for evil.

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