Saturday, February 24, 2024

Reasons for Bulbulay The Show being Highly Problematic

Repetitive dialogues, monotonous storyline laced with misogynistic undertones


The only drama falls in this category is the Television Series “Bulbulay”. Bulbulay first aired on television in 2009, and had the highest TRP. For those who are not aware of TRPs, it stands for Target/Television Rating Point. It is a metric scale for calculating the targeted audience by advertising or other such campaigns. The Bulbulay TV drama holds the record for the longest running TV show in Pakistani history.

There are four main characters in the show, Nabeel, Khoobsoorat, Momo and Mehmood. The show is mostly about the family having bad luck and keep on getting conned by everyone. The story was interesting in the start but now it lacks the spark. Khoobsoorat runs away from her home on the night of her wedding and goes to a friend’s apartment where she meets Nabeel and her friend is away for some time. When she bumps into Nabeel, he told her that his friend had allowed him to live there and take care of it while he is away. Turns out Khoobsoorat’s friend and Nabeel’s friend were married. Nabeel, in his friend’s absence had sublet the apartment to Mehmood Sahab. After some time Mumtaz, Nabeel’s mother, played by Hina Dilpazeer, enters the show where she advises Nabeel to marry Khoobsoorat. Khoobsoorat lies to her father that she has married Nabeel and there is nothing much that can be done now. Whereas, Mumtaz finds Khoobsoorat to be perfect for Nabeel, who introduces her as the maid of the apartment. In all this frenzy, Khoobsoorat and Nabeel get married and Mumtaz marries Mehmood Sahab as well. They all shift to a house that is bought by Khooboorat’s father and he starts supporting the entire family financially. He sets up an interview for Nabeel for a job, Nabeel goes but refuses to work there as he demands a salary of 3 to 4 lacs considers himself made for better things.

The story kicks off further with both main couples having kids, a boy and a girl and how they get conned, looted, kidnapped and exploit Khoobsoorat’s father who is Siddiqui Sahab etc. The show started off with quite a bang and there can be no doubt for it reaching highest TRPs. But with the passage of time there is seen a certain amount of a ‘drag’ in the story.

Let’s start with Nabeel’s character, Nabeel is a self-centered, ignorant and selfish human. He feels no responsibility towards his family and especially his wife in general. He cannot be considered as a respectable family man because he often found flirting with other women or even trying to get married for a second time. He openly flirts with other women without feeling remorse and does not mend his ways even for the betterment of his relationship with his wife. His relationship with his father-in-law is only that of check and balances as he is financially dependent on Siddiqui Sahab. He has no plans to take a job and earn. Although he will find ways of scamming people and in the end become a victim of it as well. He wants Khoobsoorat to respect his mother and also do all the chores. He showcases a backward conservative patriarchal mentality.

Mr. Mehmood has almost the same character as Nabeel. He marries Nabeel’s mother Mumtaz and lives with Nabeel and Khoobsoorat in the same house. They also rely on Siddiqui Sahab for rent, food and basic necessities. They get scammed to a great extent. Mehmood Sahab and Nabeel often fall for the same girl and start flirting with her.

Khoobsoorat, the daughter of Siddiqui Sahab, has a slight vague character. She cannot live without Nabeel and therefore is still with a man like him. She openly does not acknowledge love for him but also does not treat him right. She scolds him all the time but sticks with him. She is the smartest one of them all although the bar is quite low for smartness in this season. Yet she threatens to leave Nabeel but does not want to. She puts up with the entire lot and even takes their side in front of her father.

Mumtaz is a lost cause in the entire show. She pulls the weirdest tricks and has the same lines almost in every episode of the entire series. Her character shows no improvement, no concern for others. She also has a little selfish streak in her. Mix that with pure ignorance and slight dementia, you get “Momo” aka Mumtaz. She has little tussles with Khoobossorat and becomes a typical mother-in-law. She smothers Nabeels to the extent of spoiling him. And always supports him in all the wrong decisions he makes.

Overall, the show has several problems embedded in it. First of all the drab storyline is highly repetitive. It has no spark, and has lost its magic. The show is highly predictable, from the start to finish. Everyone is aware of the outcome of every scene in every episode. The behaviour of the characters is the very same as it was at the start of the show. There is no character arc or development in the characters. The personalities are dull and showcase mediocrity. There is no lesson to be learnt and even though some people share the opinion that humor does not necessarily need a lesson. But is it not important in this era of hyper-awareness that people be taught and educated through a medium that is nearly present in each and every home now? That Pakistan’s beloved sitcom, although humorous at the end, gives us a strong message. The show has millions of followers and includes children, men, women alike. It impacts our day to day thinking because we watch it day to day. With Pakistan’s burgeoning issues related to women today, can’t Nabeel’s character through action teach our men to be kind  to their wives? Can’t his words instead of “bakwas band karo Khoobsoorat” transform to those of compassion and respect such as “Tum kaho Khoobsoorat, mein sun raha hun”. Instead of Nabeel not working, can’t the directors and producers show him working a middle class job where he wants to support his family but has trouble still manages to do his  best job.

This portrayal of these characters in such a negative and backward light is setting the bar so low for our future generations. What is the purpose of this show when it cannot cater  to modern issues? This is not how we want our future generations to be raised. This show demonstrates the power of the media and how it can be utilized to its maximum capacity which the directors of the show fail to see.

It would be considered an understatement to say that our younger generation will grow up watching a highly problematic show and not be affected by it in the long run subconsciously. The directors and producers can still make use of this platform to its greatest extent only if they realize the problem soon.

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Category: Entertainment

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