Silence and madness : resistance in Pakistani drama serials
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This MA Report examines the drama serials Dastaan (2010) and Humsafar (2011-12). Although Humsafar is set within contemporary Pakistan, Dastaan is a period piece about the 1947 Partition. Audiences have drawn comparisons between both serials due to the actor Fawad Khan's involvement. However, my site of analysis will be the main female characters within these serials. As women primarily make up the audiences for serials, drama serials tend to be about their everyday lives in domestic spaces. Dastaan deviates from this, however, as it is more a serial about the main character Bano and her relationship with the nation-state of Pakistan. Dastaan subverts the colonial and Partition era notion that women's bodies are representations of the nations and communities they come from; instead, each of the main male figures in her life become representations of Pakistan's contradictory dimensions. This liminal space of conflict and contradictions within the newly independent Pakistan robs Bano of her "sanity." Alternatively, Humsafar is about the trials the main character Khirad faces when a misunderstanding disrupts her marriage. Khirad’s strategic utilization of silence drives the serial's plot forward. I argue that both serials demonstrate ways that women enact resistance against normative notions of nationalism by breaking away from the hegemonic languages of sanity, patriarchy, and nation.