Takes on victim blaming on TV
Gohar Rasheed has revealed that the reason he took up drama serial Laapata is the viral slap scene through which he could prove that oppression is a “choice”.
With its first episode, Laapata created quite a controversy after a scene that shows Ayeza Khan’s character wrongfully threatening a shopkeeper with harassment allegations caused anger online and set off a debate on sensational content. And now it is Gohar’s own reason for taking up the project that has prompted response from Sharmila Faruqi, who had denounced Laapata’s problematic harassment scene in July.
A scene from the latest episode shows Gohar’s character Daniyal slapping his wife Falak (Sarah Khan), who slaps him back with a fierce warning.
“I hate the display of physical abuse on television,” Gohar wrote, sharing the clip on Instagram. “This is why I have always refrained from doing it in at least my own characters.”
Gohar lamented that violence has been shown on the screen frequently enough to become a subconscious reality. The actor remarked that men get away with domestic violence and misogyny just like his character had thought before being given the taste of his own medicine.
“It may sound strange but the Thappad scene was the only reason as to why I took up the character of Daniyal, to prove that oppression is a choice. If any insecure man with his fragile ego tried his so-called muscles on you, make the choice that Falak did, without any fear.”
The post was met with a mixed response. Some people lauded the scene, some disapproved of showing violence, and others were of the view that Gohar’s post carried a positive message but he should reconsider his “oppression is a choice” remark.
“Oppression is not a ‘choice’, but a hard reality,” Sharmila Faruqi commented. “Thousands of women are oppressed daily not because they choose to be oppressed, but because they don’t have the choice to hit back or leave…”
Sharmila argued that child marriage, domestic violence, acid attacks and marital rape are rampant in our society because victims are physically and financially helpless.
“They suffer in silence,” she said. “And those who do muster the courage to fight back are either silenced, murdered or divorced with nowhere to go.
Sharmila added that victim blaming is a “vicious circle” that never ends.
Gohar defended his statement by saying that the reason women tolerate injustice is fear.
“And now this fear is becoming a mindset for these women and the only thing that can change this mindset is an idea,” he said. “An idea of not being oppressed, tolerant or fearing any injustice or abuse by the spineless men of our society.”
Laapata premiered in July on HUM TV. It stars Ayeza Khan, Sarah Khan, Gohar Rasheed and Ali Rehman Khan among others.