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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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Loved to read this piece! In traditional Pakistani media, women who engage in partying or alcohol consumption are often depicted negatively, serving as a means to portray them as morally flawed or "bad" characters. These portrayals reinforce societal judgments and stigmatization around certain behaviors. However, Jugnu's character breaks away from these stereotypes by presenting a woman who is unapologetically herself and defies the traditional expectations placed on her.

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A very engaging piece indeed!

It is interesting to note how even the word “feminism” can perpetuate hatred among some people. It is feared that somehow “feminism” is a threat to masculinity and creates certain misconceptions and stereotypes. The creation of Jugnu’s character, however, does not reduce it to alcoholism but it is rather dependent on how one perceives it. Exploring why some characters are the way they are is also important, or seeing whether it has been a conscious choice of the writer to show one as they are?


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Mubashir Mémon
Mubashir Mémon
14 jun. 2023

Loved the read! I would also like to point out the portrayal of her relationship with a character that hails from an African background, highlights the struggles faced by couples who defy conventional societal norms, offering a poignant commentary on the unaccepting attitudes that persist. The cultural backdrop against which Jugnu's relationship is portrayed reflects a society where rigid notions of beauty and conformity prevail. The preference for fair skin and Eurocentric beauty standards is deeply ingrained, leading to discrimination and bias against individuals who do not fit these ideals. Her partner being 'black' becomes a source of discomfort and judgment for those around them, revealing the prejudices and ignorance that exist within our culture.


I've also had the opportunity…

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I think what is striking about the show is not the multi-faceted and unorthodox characters portrayed by the women in Churails but rather the audiences' reaction to these characters' portrayal. The huge censorship campaign that went on after the show's release because the show was deemed as unIslamic because of the representation of women in a certain light. The Pakistani Media Industry has time and time again let down the roles of women in TV shows by showing them conforming to the patriarchal ideal of a woman. A large reason for the shows' backlash is simply due to this reason. The consumption of alcohol has been practiced in Pakistan despite its illegal and religious connotation, however, when we see its…

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Reageren op

Completely agree! And I feel like Churails has done a decent job in trying to make sure that female characters are not reduced to such characteristics. They still have emotion, character and a sense of relatibility that people can feel with them.

Also your point about it's reaction is VERY TRUE. It reminds of how there is this Haya March that comes in response to the Aurat March every year on the 8th of March. It's funny how much of these feminist narratives tend to produce such extreme reactions from people who feel threatened from something that is barely intended to do any such thing.

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engaging, precise, and to the point...Loved the read! it is no doubt that the media plays a massive role in shaping, categorizing, reinforcing, or in Churails' case, challenging the socially and culturally constructed norms around the idea of a good and bad woman in our country. the society is well aware of the existence of alcoholism in all genders but the moment a woman is associated with anything remotely close, she is subjected to all kinds of demeaning and ruthless titles however that does not stop their consumption of alcohol. it is sustained and is growing only behind closed doors. the character of jugnu is an attempt to address this for it exist rather than promoting it which is where…


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