Apr 5, 2015

Afghani drama challenging taboos about women through a strong message

The first feminist TV drama is due to be aired in Afghanistan amid growing and persistent violence against women with the latest lynching of a woman in Kabul shocking Afghanistan and the world.

The TV drama “Shereen’s Law” focuses on empowering women and struggles of women in Afghanistan by portraying a strong female character, according to drama actress Leena Alam who plays Shereen.

The story is based on a 36-year-old woman who brings up three children on her own while forging a career as a clerk at a court in Kabul.

“It is the first such drama — that is about women that is about empowering women that is about the struggles of women in Afghanistan” Alam told AFP.

The series also attacks the Afghan judicial system, where rampant corruption is hidden behind a wall of silence with several actors saying no to storyline they found just too challenging.

Alam admitting that defying entrenched conventions in such a country comes with a risk. “It’s a bit dangerous, even for myself. Yesterday we were shooting outside. When… I’m waiting for the shot I’m always scared that somebody may throw acid on me or somebody may hit me with a knife,” she told AFP.

Now the only medium which is thought to be influencing people and changing their minds is Television and the producer has chosen the most influential mechanism.

“It takes a lot of courage to write something like this and it takes a lot of courage to play something like Shereen,” Alam, a producer who has also appeared in several Afghan films, said.

“But I think it’s time, after more than 30 years, to move on and educate people and give them the information as bluntly as Shereen,” she added.

The director and writer of the drama Max Walter, an Australian who came to work in Afghanistan, says took advice in advance on how to avoid drawing too much attention from conservative clerics.

“There’s been an enormous consultation, an enormous review of the script and of the whole storytelling process to make sure that it raises these issues, but it doesn’t raise them so bluntly and so offensively that it’s going to make the program go off air,” Walker said.

Women empowerment is needed in all over the world but the need for hour is to make people aware of women rights and advents of equality. In which television can play vital role. Hope this drama gives a positive message to Afghanis and many other people come up with such ideas who can make women’s lives better.

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