A group of women living alone in a house (without a man), a Muslim boy falling for a Hindu girl, a TikToker, a factory worker, a nurse and a young girl unlucky in love who grew up too fast – Working Women should not be as woke as it is – this is 2023 after all, but you know what, it still is!
So many women living alone in a house and earning their own living without the help of a man is indeed dare devil feminism at its most defiant. They say there is a fine line between stupidity and daring and the men in the drama, especially Zulfi aka Adnan Jaffar would have us believe that it is the stupidity that’s taking over. As Noshi played by Maria Wasti turns her home into a women’s hostel, she not only invites in a few lost souls but also their complex lives, the issues they are embroiled in and a whole lot of trouble her way.
Is she geared to deal with the repercussions? Is she being overly courageous, and perhaps, unwise in biting off more than she can chew? Zulfi is the voice of the nation, we may say, or all the so called level headed, responsible men who want to protect the women in their lives, feel they can’t do it alone, need a man’s (ahem), very broad shoulders to cry on and perhaps, lay all their troubles on his feet, because, you know what, he CAN take charge.
A Modern Take On The Men Who STILL Want To Rule Our Lives!
Working Women has subtly interwoven the manifestation of the modern man in Zulfi who is okay with his lady love being emancipated, wearing the attire she wants to, working, running her life but … still believes deep down inside, that she needs a man to solve her problems.
Well played writer Bee Gul.
Maria Wasti plays Noshi, the emancipated woman who feels she doesn’t need a man in her life, yet, Zulfi is a constant presence in hers. Noshi’s feminist soul is not about escaping from domestic abuse or handling a troublesome mother in-law, it is about telling herself and the people around her that she doesn’t need a man in her life to get things done. Her choices are anything but orthodox, neither is her lifestyle. Her friends, a bunch of free-spirited souls ironically shackled by their own life choices, one married friend rushes off to be with her husband while the other, Zulfi, is besotted by Noshi yet expecting a child with the wife he’s married to.
The drama might be considered a take on men like Zulfi who want their happily married life and their mistress, both sorted in neat compartments, but then we have Sadia, the TikToker who doesn’t believe in love anymore, Amber, the one who was tricked in love and ended up leaving a comfortable life and rishta to eke out a difficult living on her own, Hashmat who is an intangible blend of lilting melodies and a tough inner soul, and Rosie, who works day and night to make ends meet, in love with her fiance, but not totally sure if he’s worth it.
There is a point in the drama where Noshi contemplates: Majboori or choice? And one wonders, how often do we give our majboori the label of choice, or, vice versa? Are we all, in fact, living in a delusional world? The drama (and Noshi) perhaps asks more questions that it will answer now.
Is Working Women a feminist narrative? Or is it just showing us the mirror?
If that’s not all, the story reveals another twist as Ayesha and TT forge a quiet bond, at least till he realizes she belongs to the Hindu Faith. The concept of forced marriage enters the narrative with Ayesha’s past, and one wonders where the makers will take this one as both TT and Ayesha are drawing closer to each other despite the fact that neither of them are ready to forsake their Faith. Curious to know where this will lead?
So are we.
Working Women is not everyone’s cup of tea.
In each of the characters, one sees glimpses of people we know, have met in passing or maybe, even ourselves to some extent. Each character is fighting a storm within herself (himself too if we include TT and Zulfi), and unsure where they’ll end up. The stories are in a state of flux, yet it is moving to see how this band of mismatched women hailing from widely diverse backgrounds are gradually forming a sisterhood of sorts.
In answer to our question above, is the drama a feminist narrative? Not really. Or maybe it is, depends on how we choose to see it. Working Women is definitely about women supporting women though, and we hope, it is also about men supporting women, or rather, facilitating their journey to be who they want to be, lead the lives they want and in the process, meet a triumph of the woman soul – sounds simple but sometimes, that’s all a woman fights for all her life; sometimes she wins, and sometimes, she gives in to the multiple pressures society throws at her.
Yasra Rizvi’s execution speaks of a project that’s worked from the heart. Overhead shots as Sadia talks to Amber and thinks out loud in bed, creating a mood in candlelight that’s just plain simple, yet emanates a womanly warmth as they rally together in song and dance, are just some of the ways the storytelling balances the tone and feel of the episode – from intense to heartwarming and then, throws us the perkiness of Sadia complemented by the sadness of Amber. Every character has a feel of its own, thanks to fully fleshed out scripting and sensitive direction.
Where will our band of Working Women (and men) go from here?
The story teeters at an intriguing crossroads. Every episode throws a new challenge. Watch for the heartfelt performances, raw feel and direction from Yasra Rizvi, her second directorial project to date. Fab performances from the ensemble cast, with special mention for Anoushay Abbasi aka Sadia who’s lighting up the screen!
Working Women airs every Wednesday evening on Green Entertainment, It is penned by Bee Gul, directed by Yasra Rizvi. The ensemble cast includes Maria Wasti, Anoushay Abbasi, Srha Asghar, Faiza Gillani, Ilsa Hareem, Jinaan Hussain, Adnan Jaffar and more.