DUNK – was it really needed?

FYI takes a look at the new talk of the town serial.

FYI takes a look at the new talk of the town serial – Dunk.

The drama focuses on the aftermath of false allegations, and how the accused person suffers on the forefronts of his professional and personal life.

The ARY Digital drama stars Bilal Abbas Khan as Haider, Sana Javed as Amal and Nauman Ijaz as Humayun – the professor. The first episode acquaints us with the Professor, who is accused of sexual harassment by one of his students. Media is involved and they, alongside different students,condemn the university and the professor. All of this eventually results in Humayun losing his job without a fair trial.

Dunk is a multi-layered story, with plenty of intrigue and suspense. A particularly striking scene is the one where Haider puts black ink on professor’s face in front of the whole university. Meanwhile, the acting too, seems like it going to be top notch, throughout the serial’s run.

However, the million dollar question, of course, is that did we really need this narrative right now? In a country where as per the producer of the show himself, Fahad Mustafa “95% of harassment cases are genuine“, did we really need a drama refuting the seriousness and validity of survivors’ and victims’ claims?

Fahad Mustafa went on to say that “But in some cases, people are falsely accused, we have to tell every kind of story. Dunk is a tribute to the victims of false allegations”.

Fair enough. We can actually completely understand that. Storytelling ought to be diverse and look at all angles. Except that in a country like Pakistan, despite most cases of harassment being genuine, the victims are still disbelieved. It is still their reputations which are slandered, it is still their lack of justice that haunts. The accused mostly tend to get away scot free.

We have to wonder then, that in a cultural environment where harassment allegations are already not taken seriously, won’t a drama like Dunk just further perpetuate the narrative that all women are liars? Shouldn’t we first create a cultural narrative where allegations are treated honourably, before rushing to tell ‘all sides of the story?’  

It is easy to see in this light, why a lot of social media is irate over the drama, for spreading a story which may become the reason for future victims not to speak up again. A few people have also rightly pointed out how  demoralized they are, wondering as to why the media completely is determined on delivering stories against women, whether showcasing them as damsels in distress or gold diggers and now, who play the V card.

All said and done, we hope the drama lives up the hype. But even more than that, that our media houses make it a priority to create responsible storytelling, because their influence is too far reaching and wide to underestimate.

By: Fatima Humayun

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