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Pakistan 'Shuts Down' Web-Series 'Churails', Internet Asks if This Will End Rapes

'Churails' poster

'Churails' poster

The ban comes after a clip from the series went viral showing Hina Khwaja Bayat's character Sherry talking about sexual favours she gave to men to move up the ladder of social class.

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Buzz Staff

British-Pakistani director Asim Abbasi has alleged that his critically acclaimed Pakistani web series “Churails” has been “shut down in its country of origin”. The series, backed by Indian video on demand service Zee5, garnered favourable reviews in India with critics praising the show for a fresh feminist take on intersectional patriarchy.

The ban comes after a clip from the series went viral showing Hina Khwaja Bayat's character Sherry talking about sexual favours she gave to men to move up the ladder of social class. The scene enraged the netizens who said that such content promotes vulgarity and should be banned. However, Pakistan's telecommunication regulatory body PTA has said that they haven't blocked the show, but Zee5 has removed it due to objections on the content from the public.

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, London-based Abbasi expressed dismay over "artistic freedom squashed" with his show’s unavailability in the country. “How strange for #Churails to be lauded internationally, and now be shut down in its country of origin. In the very country where hundreds of artists came together to create something that could initiate dialogue and open doors for new narratives,” the director, also known for his dysfunctional family drama “Cake”, wrote on Twitter.

Abbasi said the move is “predictable, and yet, still disappointing”. “Artistic freedom squashed because it is wrongly perceived by some as a moral threat. Predictable, and yet, still disappointing. For this is not just my loss. This is a loss for women and marginalised communities that this show meant to re-represent.” This is a loss for all actors, writers, directors and technicians across Pakistan, who were hoping for OTT platform to be their saviour, the filmmaker said.

“And it’s a home-run for all the misogynists who have once again proven that they are the only voice that matters,” he added.

The move has evoked strong reaction from Pakistani actors, filmmakers and other celebrities.

Churails (witches), which started streaming on the digital platform from August 11, follows four Karachi women — 'perfect wife Sara (Sarwat Gilani), wedding planner Jugnu (Yasra Rizvi), boxer Zubaida (Mehar Bano) and ex-convict Batool (Nimra Bucha) — start a detective agency for wives with cheating husbands. The women face a lot of flak for their work and fate leads them to the ugly realities of a man's world that objectifies women and sets precedent for the 'perfect woman'.


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