Baaghi touches upon issues concerning women in rural areas
The Saba Qamar-starrer, Baaghi, inspired from the life of social media starlet Qandeel Baloch, created quite a stir on social media since the day it was announced. Baloch, who was killed by her brother, in July, last year, was more of a rebel who didn’t fit into the norms of Pakistani society, hence the play’s title – Baaghi. The first episode of the play, aired on Thursday, touched upon issues that confront women, especially young girls, in rural areas and Saba Qamar was every bit impressive in her portrayal of the young woman who defies odds and dares to dream.
The episode features Qamar as Fouzia Batool, a young girl from a small time village with very big dreams. She was unable to complete her education due to family issues but encourages her younger siblings to achieve something big in life, something she wishes for herself too. She is smart, she is vibrant, she is bold and beautiful and never lets anyone demean her, whether it’s her bitter sister-in-law or village goons who follow her around. She is a free spirited soul who doesn’t take anyone’s crap, including her family’s. And given Qamar’s incredible range as an actor, she pulls off the role effortlessly.
Behind the scenes: Saba Qamar as the free spirited Fauzia Batool with Saba Faisal (left) as her conservative mother in new drama serial, Baaghi that is inspired from the life of social media sensation Qandeel Baloch.
Her family members include her parents, elder brother, played by Sarmad Khoosat, sister in law, played by Nadia Afghan, and two younger siblings (one brother and a sister). Her elder brother plays a dominant role in the household but he is manipulated by his wife, who constantly brain washes him against his sister.
The main premise of the play is male dominance and how the general mentality in the village dictates that women shouldn’t be empowered and should remain confined to their homes. Domestic violence and emotional abuse, eve teasing and derogatory treatment of women is commonplace. And this is exactly what the play depicts. However, Fauzia Batool rebels against the conservative mindset that prevails around her and raises her voice against it. Fauzia’s behavior does take unnatural proportions at times but then Qandeel Baloch too was an extreme case.
Later in the episode, we are introduced to Ali Kazmi, a Dubai-returned shopkeeper who opens a cosmetics shop in the same area where Qamar lives and as soon as she visits his shop, he falls for her carefree air. Qamar, who snaps at every guy who approaches her, is also attracted to this one and as teasers for the upcoming episodes suggest, the two will end up getting married too. Kazmi does justice to the role of a rich, Dubai-returned small time businessman with a long moustache – something he has never done before.
The crux of the story remains how women are treated in rural areas and how young girls, who aspire to progress in life, have to struggle to fulfill their dreams. They are forced to lead their lives according to societal norms and comply with how society wants them to be. This creates a sense of rebellion in them and the results are mostly damaging, something we learnt from the life of Qandeel, who indulged in inappropriate activities and ultimately lost her life.
Baaghi – directed by Farooq Rind – may have been inspired from Qandeel’s life but it is not entirely about her. It aims to highlight incidents that took place in her life and what led to such an end for her. We hope the play tackles the issue with the sensitivity it requires and doesn’t just end up sensationalizing the issue in the name of Qandeel, which was the reason for all the hype about it in the first place.