If someone asks you about famous male characters in our Pakistani dramas, some names like Ashar from Humsafar, Zaroon from Zindagi Gulzar Hai or to take a more recent example, Danish from Meray Paas Tum Ho, are bound to cross your mind. As audience, we tend to ignore the toxic traits of these male protagonists and celebrate their charisma on the silver screen. Pakistani dramas have clearly blurred the lines between cuteness and dominance.
After constantly being fed the same doses of toxic masculinity, seeing some unconventional male characters in our recent dramas left me astonished. Here is my top 5, who broke away from this norm.
5. Munshi Jee from Pyaar ke Sadqay (2020):
Whether Abdullah is your favourite or not, there isn’t anyone who isn’t fond of Munshi Jee AKA Mahjabeen ke abba. His wife might be considered one of the most fortunate wives in the Pakistani dramas, who isn’t belittled by her husband rather her inputs are appreciated and her husband confides in her. When on one hand we see Imtiaz Bhai from Kashf never missing an opportunity to disparage his daughters, Munshi Jee had a soft spot for Mahjabeen, despite being familiar with her eccentricity & mischiefs. He is a man who cared more about his family and resisted giving in to Sarwar’s evil intentions to save his repo!
4. Saad from Ehd-e-Wafa (2019):
Saad deserves admiration for normalizing a girl’s single mother living with her at her in-laws. His character is empathetic and doesn’t compel his love-interest, Dua, to marry him. He won her heart (and ours too) by showing continuous support, respecting her ambitions and confessing his feelings in the most decent manner. Isn’t he just perfect?
3. Shayaan from Cheekh (2019):
Not sure if we all loved Shayaan more or started fangirling over Emaad Irfani after his performance in Cheekh. Shayaan is undoubtedly the ideal husband of Pakistani dramas, who stood by his wife through the thick and thin. Such a person would be labelled as joru ka gulaam in our society, leaving his family & wealth behind, to support his partner, but did our Shayaan care about log kya kahenge? No! He cared only about Mannat & her well-being!
2. Wajdaan from Kashf (2020):
I don’t recall seeing a man voluntarily working for (and under) his love-interest and forgoing his ghairat (the most favorite word of Pakistani men in dramas, jbtw). Wajdaan is definitely an exceptional case. We had expected him to cut all ties with Kashf after being insulted countless times by her father and their engagement also being called off. But, our dearest protagonist understands pressures from Kashf’s family & neither holds her accountable nor puts forward uncalled for demands. From what we know about his character, it would be too early and unfair to judge his marriage with Zoya, which is being indicated in every other episode. Let’s see what more twists the story unfolds!
1. Hassan from Sabaat (2020):
How could the new heartthrob of Pakistan not make it to our list!? The majority did not see him developing into such a compassionate and pragmatic character. He gives his wife, Anaya due credits for knocking some sense into him, when he was turning into Miraal’s puppet, helps her around with ghar ke kaam, and chose his wife’s self-respect (which was being compromised) over a life of aish o aram (luxuries and comforts). Regardless of the ups and downs we have seen or will see of this character, we cannot shut our eyes to the mesmerizing moments between Hassan and Anaya & their lovely chemistry.
Honorable mention: Aziz Sahab from Sabaat (2020):
Sabaat gave us yet another character to cherish. This father-daughter duo has captivated us. We realize Anaya is more comfortable sharing and discussing issues with her father, even after her marriage. He is not only a father but a confidante for Anaya too. Moreover, his emphasis on his daughter’s education and the scene where he encourages her to initiate a women’s rights campaign at university beautifully depicts their relationship. Although Fareed Sahab (Hassan’s dad) too showed endless affection for his daughter, his love became toxic for other characters, such as his wife & son. We really want Fareed Sahab to take some notes from Aziz Sabab!
Which is your favourite male character from our recent dramas? Do you think our dramas are now showing a more progressive thinking and moving away from illustrating typical controlling men?