How ‘Help Me, Durdana’ is Pakistani cinema’s ‘Thank you Raheel Sharif’
KARACHI: A couple of years ago, one phenomenon that took the nation by storm was Raheel Sharif’s contribution to help curb terrorist activities in the country. People’s appreciation gave form to a phrase that went viral. Memes were made. Facebook posts were spammed. Twitter trends were set and everyone chanted in unison in all corners of Pakistan, “Thank you Raheel Sharif”.
Similarly, “Go Nawaz Go” slogan emerged and invaded our waking and sleeping nightmares. Memes were made. Facebook posts were spammed. Twitter trends were set, and be it in the streets or in bedrooms, everyone chanted “Go Nawaz Go”. And go he did, eventually.
This last month or so, another phenomenon has taken over. This time, it’s not the former army chief or the prime minister, but rather a fictional character that doesn’t exist. But who am I to say it doesn’t? It lives in people’s hearts. Memes are being made. Facebook posts are being spammed. And people everywhere are calling out to one person in time of need: Durdana.
When a difficult child isn’t eating his vegetables, his mother prays, “Help me, Durdana!” When a student is giving exams, and doesn’t remember any answers, he prays, “Help me, Durdana!” When an employee makes an error at work and is about to suffer his boss’ wrath, he looks up to heavens and says, “Help me, Durdana!”
But who is Durdana? Where did she come from? And why would she help us?
If we are to believe Fawad Khagga (Humayun Saeed) in Punjab Nahi Jaungi, she could be the messiah to lead the world. She could be an answer to Gormint Aunty’s complaints so that koi kisi ko mil ke bewakoof na banaye (no one fools anyone). She could even be Raheel Sharif’s spiritual successor and help cleanse the country of harmful elements. Or the solution to the global issues. Durdana could be the Wonder Woman who would help fight the war to end all wars. She may be our response to climate change, or Donald Trump.
I am quite sure if she weren’t able to, Khagga wouldn’t have asked for her help in the film. He saw in her the kindness to help him and the greatness to end worldly conflicts. He saw Durdana of House Butt as the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, and the Queen of the First Men. He saw in her the Breaker of Chains and the Protector of the Realm. My faith in Khagga redirects my strong belief in Durdana.
It is said when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That’s old and cliched. These days, Green tea is preferred over lemonades anyway. It is also said when life gives you lemons, grab tequila and salt. But obviously, that’s not halal. Now when life gives you lemons, you scream “Help me, Durdana” and she will give you chicken tikka so you can have your own little BBQ party.
Durdana is the national hero we need (but probably not deserve), just like the former chief of army, who cleansed Karachi of parasitic elements. When he made the city a better place, you screamed in joy, “Thank you Raheel Sharif”. But I have a feeling it was Durdana who sent Raheel Sharif to help her people, like only a true Protector of the Realm would.
It’s okay to call for Durdana’s help in time of need. But, if I may end this piece on a suggestion, don’t forget to say, “Thank you Durdana” after she helps you.