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Jugnu, Churails: The Alcoholic Woman

In 2020, the Pakistani web series, Churails, created much stir with its release. After backlash received over the show, the Pakistani government was quick to ban the show. Much of this backlash revolved around the discomfort the Pakistani audience feels with empowered female characters and feminist plotlines. Such is the hate that anything that gets the term “feminist” attached to it automatically becomes “non-Islamic” and “inappropriate.”

Jugnu: Character Review

Although some critics like Aimen Rizvi believe that it is an outstretch to call the show “feminist” for it barely capitalizes on the idea, Churails has undoubtedly brought strong female characters on screen. Jugnu, played by Yusra Rizvi, is a wedding planner who is struggling to have her business survive. One thing that is striking about her character is her alcoholism. Jugnu is presented as an alcoholic who doesn’t hesitate to take a sip in broad daylight. Within the very first episode, with all the characters being introduced, Jugnu’s character has repeated scenes of her indulging in a drink.

One can argue if Jugnu is truly representative of Pakistani women, or if the show reduces her character to alcoholism or not. But one thing that can be accepted for sure is that it is a unique character, compared to usual Pakistani representations of the party woman. In many ways, portrayals of the woman who parties never allow them to be the lead. Women who indulge in such practices are framed as bad within a single second. In fact, in many representations, to show how bad a woman may be, a scene of her partying is attached. With such representations, in mainstream Pakistani television, Jugnu’s character in many ways challenges the stereotypes presented.

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