‘Wali’ as the quintessential Pakistani hero ?

Osman Khalid Butt as Wali in Diyar-e-Dil                                     Osman Khalid Butt as Wali in ‘Diyar-e-Dil’

This article was also published  here at http://www.hipinpakistan.com/news/1148666

As the year 2015 comes to an end, it may be relevant to ask who and what the quintessential ‘Pakistani hero’ is or should be. At this point in time, Pakistani dramas seem to have gained universal outreach and accessibility around the globe. Not only is Pakistani content being aired internationally on Pakistani media houses but also on major South Asian networks like Star Plus and Zee TV. In this context, it seems relevant to analyse the traits and qualities which stand out among popular Pakistani characters or which seem to define the arche-typical Pakistani hero in recent productions.

So at a recent event held at NYU we wanted to discuss who and what the symbolic new Pakistani hero would be, given the current assortment of popular heros that one comes across on Pakistani television. In our search for the ultimate Pakistani hero, the media bandwagon trail led us to the wildly popular character of Wali in Diyar e Dil . Given all the recent hype about Diyar-e-Dil, the play’s plot and character portrayals seem very useful and appropriate to frame the conversation about how such popular on-screen characters contribute to the notions of self hood and translate into meaning making in public culture in Pakistan.  Continue reading

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‘Love for Fawad Khan vs. Jihad against Love’

This article by Charu Gupta originally appeared here http://kafila.org/2014/11/03/love-for-fawad-khan-vs-jihad-against-love-charu-gupta/  and here http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/our-love-for-fawad/

Fawad Khan, a Pakistani Muslim male, has become an endearing and enduring metaphor, a fascinating icon, the new heartthrob and fantasy of Indian girls and women. Zindagi, an Indian entertainment television channel, launched just four months ago, which telecasts cross-border serials from Pakistan, has captured our imagination. The central idiom of the channel has proven to be Fawad Khan, who besides having looks to die for and undeniable charm, portrays a sensitive, emotional and mature lover and husband in top of the charts serials Zindagi Gulzar Haiand Humsafar. He has entered Bollywood through the film Khubsoorat. Fan mails from women have poured over websites. One of them says: ‘You have to be living under a rock if you have not heard of Fawad Khan yet…. Did your mother just tell you she has a crush on Fawad Khan? Your female colleagues are probably head-over-heels in love with him too…. Women maybe have more photos of Fawad Khan in their phones than their own.’ Describing the film Khubsoorat,Shobha De articulates: ‘So, who is the real “khubsoorat” in the movie….Any guesses? You’ve got it! It’s a slim, bearded bloke from across the border…. He’s as yummy as those irresistible Lahori kebabs, and desi ladies want him.’ Continue reading