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Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad "An empowering representation of women"


Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad, a Nabeel Qureshi’s production, revolves around how to end corruption and some introspection to go with. Mr. Gulab (Fahad Mustafa) is a corrupt cop who falls in love with an animal activist Jia (Mahira Khan). Mr. Gulab’s actions has concrete justification that why he becomes so. Things take turn and Gulab turns into a good cop overnight. This film has many confusing scenes, feels like there’s something missing amid a storm of hype. The movie tries to give a social message by using “What-if” card. What if Quaid-e-Azam on your currency notes gets disappear because you have been a bad boy who’s involve in corruption? Sounds unbelieving. On the whole, Quaid-e-Azam is a thrilling watch that could have been so much better had it not been for the loop-holes and lacklustre storytelling. There are few themes that piqued my interest to write about, the film has brought to the fore-front. Revolutionary in its refusal to submit to the heteronormative and patriarchal institutions, Jia (Mahira Khan) is shown as a girl who stood for a “message,” whether it related to the harassment of women or human and animal rights. She is a girl who doesn’t think about social norms, rules that define acceptable and appropriate actions. She does what she wants to do and she has a very strong moral compass. She believes this is right and this is wrong. There’s a point in film when Jia is spraying pepper spray when she feels in an attempt to be physically harmed. So, it’s a good self-defense strategy, film has shown.


Another woman is shown as a food-cart owner selling bun-kebabs in the film. I really liked this depiction of women in the film. The stereotypes we see in films unconsciously shape our world-view. Seeing women given an empowering roles resets the prevailing idea of submissive women. The more these type of roles we get to see in films, the more our brains automatically associate “strength” as a feminine trait, and because of this, the more women will be treated as strong members of society. Have you watched Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad? What are your thoughts? Do you want to add something to it? https://youtu.be/rkm0txJVN9k


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Hi Ammara!

Thank you for penning down your thoughts on the film!

While yess, I agree with your viewpoint that Mahira Khan's character is portrayed as a strong woman who is bold and doesn't think much about conforming to social norms, I do think that her character needed to be explored more in-depth for us to call her an empowered woman. She is fierce, independent and is not your run-of-the-mill heroine that we typically see in Lollywood media. However, I think that she has very limited screentime, and she is actually depicted as a catalyst for change for Gulab's (Fahad Mustafa) personality. Her character furthers this narrative that "good" women can change "bad' men, which is already a problematic mindset…


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Thank you Aimen for sharing your insights on my blog! Yeah I agree that Mahira Khan in this film has given much shorter time than it should be. I read an article and wanted to quote point that seemed very triggering to me that reveals that in the biggest pan-national box-office hits from the past five years — on an average, “women have less than a third of the dialogue”. In other words, men significantly out-talk the women.

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Well written. I want to say that it was good that the movie pointed out these women empowering scenes, but for me, they were such minor roles that they had no significance. This wasn’t leaving any impact on the public that when they go back home so, they could think about such scenes., I believe empowering scenes should be made to the extent that even if you are done with the movie, even then, you keep thinking about their effect of them and process them in a good way. So, it shows how our society is still patriarchal.

Secondly, I still do not understand why the public liked the movie; honestly, it was a waste of time for me. Others…

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Well-articulated! Areej, I absolutely agree with you. For instance, in Dangal, a biographical drama centred on two female wrestlers or in PK featuring Anushka Sharma in a prominent role — there was an awful lot of talking by the men. “The narrator is a male and men speak much more dialogue in Dangal whereas in PK, Anushka spoke for approximately 35 minutes and there’s a full 45 minute segment where no women have speaking roles."

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Sabeeh - 24020369
Sabeeh - 24020369
Aug 04, 2022

Very well written Ammara! When I got to know about the film I actually thought it was going on to be a film about Quaid e Azam lol. That changed right after I watched the trailer of course but still very dumb of me. I like how you have written about the role of Jia and I personally think showing the use of pepper sprays in public on a cinema screen is a nice touch by the film. Of course, pepper sprays do not solve the problem but in a country like ours, promoting their use in public in a film is perhaps nice.


And you are right about how watching empowering roles in the media can create a nice…


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Thank you, Sabeeh! I'll absolutely watch Actor-in-law as I heard much about that film in a positive manner. My beginning lines debunked it clearly that this film has a lot of confusing scenes and some scenes are forcefully added. That makes the film not thrilling to watch. I believe a lot better could have done.


On your second point how women if shown in positive light ended up sexist undertones to the entire film. I think, Women are more likely than men to be shown wearing revealing clothes or simulating sex acts, being dominated or portrayed in films or media to attract attention from the viewers. And that's what viewers like to watch. Women are just used to add glamour…

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Rafay Abdul Razzaq
Rafay Abdul Razzaq
Aug 03, 2022

Thank you for sharing such an important blog Ammara! Particularly because I believe this film has been one of the most popular contemporary releases within the country. However, I would disagree with you and say that this movie had no element of female empowerment in it whatsoever. I totally hated every second of it and was forced to watch it lol because my Khala wanted to watch. The whole time I noticed all sorts of problematic themes.


Firstly, right after this scene you've pictured, Fahad Mustafa asks Mahira to drop him. She says where do u want to go and he says smirkingly 'Jahan aap jaa rahi hain wahan' he keeps annoying her and flirting with her on the scooter…


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I agree to the point that this film contains a lot of overt and subliminal misogynistic messages.

There are number of movies which got banned just because they were graphic or simply based on gruesome events. Pakistani film makers need to understand that we have grown now. Their source of inspiration "Bollywood" is failing miserably with these kind of movies then how come they think they will succeed? Its not 2010 anymore. Look at the content you guys are competing with. Netflix, prime video, disneyplus. People have been watching documentaries and listening to real crime podcasts now.

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Thanks for sharing! I honestly believe that I wasted my time watching this film. The examples you have shared are interesting takes on how gender roles are shifting and how the media is playing a role in educating the public. However, the female role was very much showcased as a subordinate character in the film. Educating is one thing, but fully educating is another. This is very similar to what we were discussing the other day regarding how Shrek 2, for example, came forward as an empowering movie for women and it was represented in a completely different thematic light. Yet, the main instincts or roots of the patriarchal society (male superiority, female submissiveness) were kept intact. So I agree…

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Thank you for taking time to reply, Mahnoor! Absolutely true! The film delves into Fahad’s character rather tactlessly, making him appear gullible from beginning till the end. However, it is disheartening that the music of Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad is passable. The most lit scene musically remains Fahad Mustafa and Faryal Mehmood’s shot where they dance to a tune, which was an ode to Govinda-Raveena’s Kisi Disco Mein Jayein. There are four songs in the OST by Shani Arshad, that either appear like a dream sequence or a dramatization of the plot, moving the story forward but adding little to no charm.

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