Ahsan Khan’s winning speech at Lux Style Awards 2017 made headlines, and it was not because of the popularity of his much-lauded role of Paa Imtiaz (Villain of the great Hum Tv Drama Udaari).
Actor amassed praise from the folks for raising voice on the issue of Mashal Khan, Abdul Wali Khan University student who was lynched by his fellow students for committing blasphemy.
While receiving his award from the iconic actress, Sahira Kazmi Ahsan Khan said, “Television is such an effective medium, and there is so much happening around you that you have to make socially aware content. Take the Mashal Khan incident for that matter.”
If Ahsan Khan’s move to talk about a social issue in his acceptance speech was just a way to follow the likes of Hollywood actors such as Leonardo De Caprio, who talked about adverse effects of climate change while lifting his Oscars trophy for The Revenant then it is alright, otherwise putting this idea into reality wouldn’t be such an easy thing.
Why making such drama is difficult?
Ahsan gave his statement, received applause, supplied headlines to the news websites, but the issue he raised has left the drama industry affiliates scratching their heads they don’t whether it would be easy to take the Mashal Khan incident or not.
Highlighting the tragedy occurred to innocent Mashal Khan through a drama would be harder than openly criticizing government through media in Zia era. The reason is apparent, a significant portion of Pakistanis that form the audience of Pakistani dramas wouldn’t easily welcome a discussion that may weaken the fabric of their strong faith by urging them to deviate from a path of violence by putting an end to the prosecution of dissidents.
Unfortunately, not everyone understands the fact that “Debate on Blasphemy is not the blasphemy.” Picking up such a sensitive issue is likely to call the wrath of a Pakistani audience which is not accustomed to watching a content that would commit audacity to challenge their beliefs while urging them to see things with an unbiased and more open perspective.
It has always remained challenging for media and entertainment industry to come up with the bold issues when the government keeps an eye on the kind of content, the case is evident from the limitations of Pakistani showbiz industry faced during the dictatorship of Zia-ul-Haq. Exploitation of religion by General Zia gave him an edge to abuse the masses.
So, coming up with a drama to highlight cruelty on Mashal Khan would require dealing with sentiments powered by strong faith and presentation of any notion against these beliefs would certainly result in sacrilege.
Ahsan’s drama Udaari, made him receive admiration from across the border for the brilliant acting and boldness while daring to talk about social issues. It brought into limelight the curse of child abuse that was gulping the Pakistani society. It had also seen the ban by Pemra for showing inappropriate scenes. Now, to present a drama on a topic that has an ability to offend the sentiments of masses would be a great challenge.