Tribune Take: The year that could have been

What if things had happened differently in 2018?

Shaheera Anwar January 01, 2019

KARACHI: We know one thing for sure: 2018 was the year in which a lot happened - literally A LOT.

2018 saw some huge names of the entertainment industry leave us and never ending celebrity weddings take place. Even the #MeToo movement, which initiated in Hollywood last year, finally made its way to India and Pakistan - albeit on a lower scale. All of these set the precedent for a lot of things in the industry and in society. However, if you think of it, what would have happened if the situations were different? Hang tight!

If 'PadMan' was released in Pakistan?


One of Akshay Kumar's biggest films PadMan was released across the world at the start of 2018 - except in Pakistan. Members of the Punjab Film Censor Board refused to watch the film altogether so could not issue a clearance certificate to it. According to them, it had "taboo" subjects such as menstruation... which is a normal, hormonal process that goes on in a women's body that prepares her for pregnancy... TABOO?!

But not only that: The members of the censor boards also criticised local film distributors who had purchased rights to PadMan, stating that it was "ruining Islamic traditions, history and culture."

What would have happened if PadMan had not been banned? For starters, perhaps women across the country would not have to hide sanitary napkins in brown paper bags whenever they went out to purchase some. This would not only help them feel confident but also encourage a more liberal mindset because menstruation is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. After all, it only means that your womb is getting ready to bring another life into this world. No big deal, right? It probably would have been if it was men who got it...

P.S. We thank Akshay and the real life PadMan Arunachalam Muruganantham for trying to make things better!

If Meesha Shafi hadn't called out sexual harassment?


After #MeToo kicked up a storm in Hollywood last year, the movement made it's way to Pakistan. Singer Meesha Shafi took to Twitter and declared Ali Zafar had sexually harassed multiple times. A legal battle then started between the two wherein Zafar denied all such claims and filed a defamation suit against Shafi.

While the court is yet to give a verdict on the case, Shafi's accusations did help women across our country to open up about their own horrific experiences of being harassed.

But what would have happened if Shafi had never come forward? Women across Pakistan would still be getting subjected to sexual harassment. Oh wait... they still are.

What if Thanos didn't wipe off half of humanity?


Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War hit screens across the world back in April. Fans who flocked to the cinemas to see their favourite heroes save the world saw the antagonist Thanos wipe off half of humanity at the snap of his fingers instead.

What would have happened if he hadn't done so though? Of course, a lot of fans would not have been heartbroken. Winter Soldier Bucky would still be alive, along with fan favourite Black Panther and the soul-crushing Spiderman would continue to charm us with his adorable wittiness. Who knows, maybe Captain America would still have his beard in Avengers: Endgame and Tony Stark would not have to die in space.

If Humayun Saeed wasn't the lead in 'Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2?'


Time and again, Humayun Saeed takes the reins as the leading hero of local films. The 47-year-old, seemingly ageless actor wowed crowds with his performance in Jawani Phir Nahi Ani in 2015, followed by Bin Roye the same year and Yalghaar and Punjab Nahi Jaungi in 2017. Then the actor appeared as the lead in the sequel of Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2, romancing Kubra Khan.

While there is nothing wrong with that, what would have happened if, for a change, he was not cast as the lead? Yes, the film was produced under Saeed's production banner and that. But what if he had passed the mantle on to a younger star?

To be fair, Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 would probably not have fared as well at the box office as it did. Usually, sequels tend to under-perform, a concern that seemed to bother Saeed before the release of the film as well. But Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 managed to surpass it all.

While Saeed is partly to thank for that, the credit should be due-ly given to all the other stars of the film as well, especially Ahmed Ali Butt. Which begs the question: Can we please have him play the lead in  a possible third installment? Considering the franchise is now successful worldwide, how about have stand-alone stories for all the characters, especially to Hamza Ali Abbasi's character Saif.

If Strings continued to produce 'Coke Studio?'


Faisal Kapadia and Bilal Maqsood had been producing Coke Studio ever since Rohail Hyatt stepped down in 2013. However, their work was not loved by many across the country. Then the duo decided to hand over the reins to someone else.

This year, musician Zohaib Kazi and Ali Hamza - one half of Noori - took over as producers. Fans were ecstatic that they would finally get to listen to some good music but unfortunately, Coke Studio seemed to have other plans...

Even Kazi and Hamza failed to leave a mark with Coke Studio 11. That makes us wonder, what would have happened if Strings was still on board? They'd probably spend most of their time trying to justify Momina Mustehsan and Ahad Raza Mir's Ko Ko Korina to the people, which we know was... well, let's just not talk about it. Hawa Hawa by the original singer Hassan Jahangir and Gul Panrra, would have probably died a worse death - if it didn't already do so. While Strings does create groundbreaking numbers, even more so with their latest album 30, it's their Coke Studio tracks which have, more often than not, failed to impress.

If Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas hadn't gotten married?


The year saw a huge number of weddings: Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja, followed by the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and more recently, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh (finally). Even Priyanka Chopra announced her wedding with Hollywood singer Nick Jonas. But this last one shocked many across India and Pakistan because you know, "Haw hayye, aik tau itni bari larki aur itnay chota larka? Upar se goray se shaadi kar rahi hai? Tauba!"

PeeCee remained undettered though. The 36-year-old got married earlier this month and hey, managed to bring Nick all the way to India for the festivities.

What would have happened if this had not happened, you ask? Well, PeeCee probably wouldn't have become a role model for girls trying to muster up the courage to pick their own grooms. We all know that is considered an act of disobedience in many desi households, more so if the groom is not from the same religion or race. Who knows, families would have started refusing suitors based on the brand of clothes they wear or restaurants they eat at.

Chopra singlehandedly also normalised that marrying someone younger than you is A-okay. Otherwise, our teenage girls - or even girls who have not reached the age of 10 - would be getting married to men thrice as old as them. Oh wait... that still happens as well...

If Junoon didn't reunite?


2018 also saw the biggest rock band of Pakistan finally reunite after 13 long years. Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmed seemed to have resolved their issues and come back for "the sake of their fans" and performed together on December 25. But what would have happened if they hadn't?

Fans would still be crying for them to reunite. But Azmat and Ahmed would continuing on with their lives, - the former working on his music while the latter tweeting mysterious things which would not be understood by many.

All in all, 2018 was full of situations that could probably have been handled better. Or at least, helped shape the country and society towards something good. But hey, why do that when you stand up AGAINST all the right things, right? Bring it on 2019. But just please be a little more merciful than 2018...

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