Bulbulay: Bursting Nabeel's bubble
Bulbulay is a Pakistani TV show which has been airing for more than the past 13 years and has released more than 600+ episodes. Despite being highly popular at the time of release, the show has gained a bad reputation over the years. Its jokes have become stale and the plot lacks originality and is very predictable. From misportrayal of feminism to inconsiderate jokes about Pashtuns, Bulbulay has seen its fair share of controversy. However, for this blog, we will be focusing on the character of Nabeel and how it contains misogynistic undertones.
Nabeel can be best described as a lazy man who refuses to earn money himself and is dependent on his father-in-law as a source of income. He also lacks a general responsibility when it comes to everything pertaining to his household, with him having little to no contribution.
The portrayal of such a character is not necessarily problematic, however, when we contrast this behavior with his attitude toward his wife (Khoobsorat), the misogyny presents itself. Not only is he relying on Khoobsorat’s father for money, but instead of showing gratitude, he pushes her to do all the household chores. This reinforces gender stereotypes and shows his misogynistic mindset since the woman is expected to do all of the work while nothing of such sort is expected from the man. He also insists that Khoobsrat respects and takes care of his mother, something that he himself struggles to do. Furthermore, Nabeel is often seen flirting with other women. Certain episodes have shown his desire to marry another woman. This mindset is typical of Pakistani men who have the desire to marry multiple women while taking care of none.
Bulbulay, despite its flaws, continues to be popular to this day. Since a lot of impressionable boys watch this show, they might view Nabeel’s character and not realize the problematic nature of his behavior which can hide behind the “comedic” nature of the show.