New web series to explore why desi rishta proposals are both awkward and offensive

Published: November 6, 2018


KARACHI: As Pakistani cinema witnessed a new dawn, social dramas such as Verna, Josh and Bol ruled alongside mainstream films. A similar trend is developing on the digital front.

Titled Shameless Proposals, a new seven-part online series will address the taboos attached to how women are ‘presented’ to their possible in-laws like commodities.

“The theme of Shameless Proposals is to deal with the objectification women in a desi society by presenting them as products when a proposal is considered for an arranged marriage,” producer Sadia Jabbar told The Express Tribune exclusively. “The web series also sheds light on how parents would agree to almost every condition by the boy’s family in order to ‘accept’ their daughter.”



She went on to add, “This is the background we have chosen to highlight this pertinent issue. Shameless Proposals seek to explore seven different types of proposals through the lens of arranged marriages.”

The Balu Mahi film-maker further commented that her upcoming animated series will tackle the stereotyping of women in our society.

“One more thing that we have discussed is how Pakistani women of today refuse to be succumbed into silence. She wants to raise her voice,” Jabbar shared. “If we talk about arrange marriages now, girls wish to have their say in the matter. They would inquire bigger questions. They would rather turn down an offer to marry someone who would just want to spend their life based on how they look.”



The producer is of the opinion that today women are more interested in a partner who has an identical mindset, subscribes to a similar ideology and whether he is willing to support her career or not.

Furthermore, Jabbar believes that digital is a great platform for film-makers. “I believe web series is a brilliant initiative for people to discuss social issues. They can be used to raise their voice. The television shows are limited to a certain audience. Theatre and feature films have a different genre. Web is free of such restrictions,” she continued. “Web series, however, is a very good window since its budget friendly.”



The digital platform has become a medium of immediate release worldwide and we are just warming up to the potential it promises. “Pakistan has just stepped in this medium. Yes, people are working on it but we haven’t completely explored this avenue,” she said.

Talking about the cast, Jabbar added that the web series is still in the initial stages of production. However, she promises to bring back some old gems of the industry and offer opportunities to newcomers.



Apart from Jabbar, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy also has a series of animated videos that highlight issues faced by women in Pakistan. Titled Aagahi (awareness), the public service campaign aims to educate women about their legal rights.On the other hand, Jami Mahmood and Wajahat Rauf are also working on their respective web series.

As an industry, we are moving forward both in terms of embracing the digital space and making content that has the ability to trigger social change. Only time will tell, if such projects prove to be successful in Pakistan and live up to their goal.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Nov 6, 2018 - 5:40PM

    whats wrong with arranged marriages. They have a better chance of survivial. Arranged marriages are not forced marriages. Recommend

  • Kamal
    Nov 6, 2018 - 10:45PM

    I am enjoying my arranged marriage. 20 Years!Recommend

  • Dracula
    Nov 6, 2018 - 11:01PM

    Not everyone goes to the university, not everyone gets to have an affair. Stupid feminism; a fine hobby for the privileged. Recommend

  • WTef
    Nov 7, 2018 - 7:45AM

    Have been in one from a year and found it not that bad!Recommend

  • Mahy
    Nov 7, 2018 - 8:01AM

    I had an arrange marriage and my husband is definitely far better than any person I have ever met in my entire life. But yes this proposal thing sucks big time, I remember how humiliated I felt when I was presented in front of bunch of people. Recommend

  • chaudhry saab
    Nov 7, 2018 - 10:11AM

    There couldn’t be a better objectification of a desi female than the one in the cover above.Recommend

  • Zain
    Nov 7, 2018 - 10:47AM

    ‘parents would agree to almost every condition by the boy’s family in order to ‘accept’ their daughter’ this does not happen in majority cases now, please stop making money by showing our culture in bad way. Recommend

  • sheeraz
    Nov 7, 2018 - 10:58AM

    welcome to ‘Modern Western Civilization’Recommend

  • sani
    Nov 7, 2018 - 11:30AM

    Can someone narrate the stories of “love marriages” as well. I have arranged marriage and have not a single issue with it since my marriage.Recommend

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