Actor Javeria Saud recently sat down for an interview with Independent Urdu to speak about her most recent role, Shabnam Bibi, in the web series Aurat Gardi, set to release online on June 4, 2021. The show, also starring Alyy Khan, will follow the life of a feisty female politician in a male-dominated world. The series has gathered a fair bit of criticism ahead of its release, mainly due to the overtly feminist themes and motifs.
Reflecting on the social media frenzy, the Nand actor said, “Look, I always say that some people think positively, others think negatively. And artists, especially, are always criticised for everything they do. So, love and positive comments that fill me with motivation, as well as the prayers are enough.” Javeria spoke of how Shabnam Bibi is a character, and not who she is in real life. “This is a character. People play all kinds of characters. I played a role. It doesn’t mean that’s what I’m like.”
Commenting on the inherently negative nature of the character, the starlet shared, “She is a negative woman who is sitting in a positive place and getting her work done from there. Something must have happened to her in the past that turned her so bitter, because no person, until they’ve seen bad times, ends up looking at the glass as half empty.” Addressing the claim that the character was influenced by a real-life political commentator and activist, Javeria noted, “I don’t think so. I just took the character written by the writer and tried to perform it to the best of my abilities. I think performing a negative role, and showing people the negative side of it, of any character, I take it as a way of spreading awareness. People like this exist and do things like this.”
After Javeria was questioned on whether portraying the female politician in such negative light would hurt the position of women in Pakistan, which is a patriarchal society, she responded, “I just take it as a story and a character and I feel as though the people here tend to become extremists when it comes to everything. People don’t consider a drama as a drama or a film as a film. So, I think, we are trying to entertain people and spread awareness, side by side.”
Referring to the “dark side” of feminist politics, she stated, “Everywhere, whether you talk about Aurat March or Aurat Gardi, both good and bad people are present. So, we’ve shown the negative side of things.” Elaborating on her stance when it comes to Aurat March, Javeria continued, “I am of the opinion that speaking and raising banners and shouting slogans is good for nothing. If you want to do something for oppressed females, go to them and fight for them and stop the injustice happening. Do something practically. Because all the women in Aurat March are well-to-do and educated, and they shout slogans for the oppressed and that’s great, but I have never seen any results. I’ve never seen them help any oppressed woman.”
She went on, “There are a lot of women who fight for their own benefit and end up destroying their homes and their futures, but I say that your family comes first and then your future. If you are married and have a family, you have to prioritise that instead of your own future.”
On the #MeToo movement, Javeria said she believes those who sexually harass and assault should be named and punished. “If a woman has suffered any injustice in the past or recently, and anyone who does such despicable things to them, she should call that person out with their name, so that the man can suffer as much as the woman has. I feel as though this crime is equivalent to taking someone’s life. So, yes, when it comes to sexual harassment, women should speak up and take the person’s name as well,” she concluded.