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Chup Raho – Sensationalizing Abuse To Get Viewership

Pakistan television dramas have always tried to touch upon tabooed topics in order to raise awareness about these issues and also to make people feel for the victims. Dramas like Roag, Mora Piya, Mere Dard Ko Jo Zuban Miley and many others dealt with the very sensitive topic of “rape”. The central idea of all these dramas was to show how the victim’s family and the victim suffers after such a tragedy. The perpetrator of the crime disappears into thin air but he leaves the victim and her family wounded forever without any hope. These dramas also showed the way people react when they hear that someone has been raped, mostly people are anything but supportive even if they are close relatives.

Chup Raho is a recent drama which is being aired on ARY Digital. The drama has been written by Samira Fazal, directed by Yasir Nawaz and produced by Six Sigma Plus. The drama tells the story of a girl Rameen who is raped by her brother in law Numair. The girl is asked to stay quiet by her mother but things keep on getting from bad to worse until there comes a time when she finds herself living in the same house with the man who raped her. Unlike all the other dramas that showed such a situation Chup Raho unfortunately lays more stress on the fantasies of the rapist instead of telling the story of the victim.

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There is excessive physical contact between the actors in all the episodes and the spotlight is on the victim being abused by different people over and over again. This abuse is shown as an everyday occurrence because the highlight of the play is showing the victim being abused in all ways possible. The integrity of women in this play has completely been relegated to the background. The women in this drama have been reduced to objects who are being used to sensationalize abuse. It isn’t only Numair who manhandles Rameen every chance he gets but even her husband physically and verbally abuses her. This is not the first time that the producers, writers and the director has relied on a woman’s helplessness and tears to get TRPs, it is apparently a formula that has been a huge success and is therefore followed by many but the difference is that this time it isn’t a saas/bahu or husband/wife situation but this time the situation is much more sensitive but it is not being dealt with responsibly.

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I would like to ask the producers what they had in mind while accepting this script. Were they trying to make money by showing people how a rapist thinks and how he can fool everyone? Giving an insight into the mind of the rapist helped building Numair’s character but showing the same thing over and over again merely depicts the obsession of the writer and director both with abuse and negativity. Is there any good coming out of this drama at all? A drama dealing with such a sensitive topic should be something more than merely a piece of entertainment….people do not watch rape stories even if they are dramatized to get entertained. Everyone who is watching the show expected more from it, the viewers thought that it would probably send a strong message of some sort but until now that has not been the case. Was it really necessary to show all the abuse in detail in order to make the viewers feel for the victim? In my opinion absolutely not! Scenes like the ones in the screen shots below are “promoted” on the facebook page of the drama in order to “entice” the viewers into watching it!

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Chup Raho is sadly a desperate attempt to make the viewers feel for the victim by putting her in the most horrifying situations for the past 14 episodes now but it does not have a strong plot or a convincing storyline. The director unfortunately did not shoot this drama with the right mindset, it is quite obvious that he relied on cheap thrills in order to get the attention of the viewers. Everyone knows that a false rumor of Sajjal Ali and Feroze Khan’s affair was intentionally spread on the social media in order to give the drama some much needed publicity, this is also something that points to what the makers of the dramas were aiming at! The approach with which this drama has been made is wrong on so many levels!

Do you think Chup Raho is a wasted opportunity? Do you think that this drama might be setting a wrong precedent? Kya hamein bhi chup rehna chahyeh or should we speak up? Do share your thoughts.

Fatima Awan

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