Welcome the Churails

FYI looks at the significance of the new web series for the future of Pakistani digital and television landscape.

The buzz around the show, ever since the first teaser, has been immense. Everyone’s sensing that this may just be a game changer for Pakistani content. And rightly so!

While the majority of our drama serials still tend to be dominated by themes of marital or domestic strife, and black and white characterizations, Churails appears to be operating entirely in shades of grey. It’s giving us an insight into another kind of portrayal of Pakistani society and women, which we rarely see in our content otherwise.

Naturally, ‘women empowerment’ is the buzzword, but it’s too shallow to look at it purely from that lens. Sure, the history of the world tells us that women are and always were respected only when they finally stood up for their rights, rather than just politely requesting for it. But what Churails seems to be doing is tapping into the emotions that drive the motivations of the characters in it.

Since centuries women have been objectified, signed off of their rights, opinions subjugated…

They are called names like ‘crazy’, ‘psycho’, ‘a little too much’ or being termed as ‘difficult’ when in fact, what’s happening is that we have created a norm where it’s not normal for a woman to show any other emotion than a porcelain doll smile of docile gratitude.

Churails is blowing the top off of that and showing that women can get angry. Should get angry.

Why this is so important for Pakistani content is because for too long, we have seen women being portrayed as one-note in our drama serials. Subverting the very name, Churails, the web series is about a group of women from different backgrounds, who form a vigilante group of sorts – a qualified non- practising lawyer, a high society event planner, a convict who’s spent decades in prison, and a boxer who’s struggling to live her dreams as a professional player. They team up as a result of being provoked to bring out their inner churails in order to get justice and help women in need who’ve been done wronged/cheated upon by men.

Women helping women portrays another significant reason why this show is so important for the future of Pakistani content. This is allowing us to see that women can be trusted and can work towards something great if given a chance. Women aren’t always each other’s enemies as normally shown in our drama serials.

In a way, therefore, this series is primed for the Pakistani audience who are not used to seeing women standing up for themselves even when things get messy. They’re too used to seeing women stuck in saas bahu conflicts or how to steal other women’s men. It’s about time Pakistani content should be about more. More than just the surface. Pakistan is filled with women of all kinds, those pursuing their dreams, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives – those who let the men in their lives get away with everything, and those that don’t. It’s time we see a fictionalized account of the latter in the form of these churails who show us what women are capable of if you mess with them.

Whether the Pakistani audience is ready for this kind of content is another matter. But this should not stop creators and writers from trying to think outside the box now. They should be opting for a change in order to stand out and to make Pakistani content more than just banal fluff.

With contributions by Fatima Humayun

Don’t forget to catch our full review of ALL the episodes, next week!