Those who follow DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter closely would remember that I blogged about ZEE5’s show, Churails, during their trailer launch. I had promised to watch the entire webseries and review it for you. Read on to discover what I felt about the web series.
Before I tell you about Churails, a web series from Pakistan, here is something I want you to do:
For a moment, close your eyes and think of the impression of Pakistan that you have in your mind. Keep in mind that the entire impression is about to change.
If you were not told that Churails was a webs series featuring Pakistani characters and set in Karachi, you would easily believe that this was India. The setting, characters and their behaviour are relatable and the plot’s relatability can be extended globally. Director Asim Abassi and his entire team have taken great pains to show that Pakistan is like every other city in the world.
Churails is about the life of four women from different walks of life.
- Sara (Sarwat Gilani), a lawyer that gave her career up to be the “perfect wife”
- Jugnu (Yasra Rizvi), a wedding planner
- Zubaida (Mehar Bano), a boxer seeking independence and love
- Batool (Nimra Bucha), an ex-convict who was sentenced to twenty years in prison for murder
They cross paths when Sara discovers that her husband has been cheating on her. Jugnu suggests that they set up an agency that will provide relief to all women. She lays down that they will remain committed to catching husbands who cheat on their wives. This is a secret mission that they run behind the front-end of Halal Designs. They call themselves, ‘Halal Designs’ with the tagline, ‘Mard ko dard hoga.’ The plot takes the audience through many twists and a vast array of characters, each one having their own story that keeps the audience hooked. The beauty of the narrative is that Abbasi does not stretch each subplot like a chewing gum. Each character reaches a logical end but the end of the series. Churails takes a turn when one of them goes missing and they enter a world that depicts the worst side of human nature.
There are so many relatable characters in Churails and some of them make me introspect: Kya #MainChurailHoon?Tweet
Among a flood of powerful scenes, DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter has curated 10 hard-hitting scenes that explore the myriad shades of womanhood.
Here they are:
A female teacher who looks down upon another woman’s capabilities
Sara, a lawyer who gave up her career to be the ‘perfect wife’ lives with her rich husband and 3 boisterous kids in a plush bungalow in Karachi. She storms into the teacher’s office to complain about a little boy who has been feeding sex education tidbits to her daughter. While the teacher (also a woman) finds nothing wrong with it, she advises Sara to take up knitting because its therapeutic. What does an irate and usually composed Sara do next?
A toxic mother who believes that she is doing best for her daughter
Zubaida, a boxer seeking independence and love, runs away from home when her father discovers her boxing gloves. After a few days, her mother lovingly calls her daughter back home. She tricks her daughter into dressing up in fine jewellery with make-up et al. She then displays her daughter to total strangers. Zubaida can see her dreams vanishing in the hungry eyes of the strangers while her mother smiles as if she had won a battle. Her spine-chilling smile will pierce your heart like a million daggers. What happens next? Who saves Zubaida from disappearing into a society’s vortex?
A battered housewife who seeks refuge from Churails
The Churails break-in to what looks like a normal household. They wake up the sleeping couple and tie them up. Churails note down the bruises on the lady of the house, including a missing nail. She says she slipped on the steps during the day. They leave after taking the man’s nails and threaten to return if his wife ‘falls from the steps’ again. When they leave, the man fearfully asks his wife whether they will return. She innocently replies, “only if I fall from the steps. But I won’t fall from the steps now, will I?” This scene gave a meaningful end to so many battered housewives across the globe. I loved the way the director touched upon the pertinent issue of domestic violence through this scene.
A drunk, paedophile father meets his fate
There are several stories that run parallelly in Churails. However, this one brought was the most gripping. Ex-convict, Batool is remembering her horrific past where she was married off at a young age to an alcoholic, sex-crazy, wife beater. One day, after she refuses sex, he turns to his 5-year-old daughter to satisfy his carnal desires. What will any mother do in such a situation? Batool’s reaction resonates that of every mother who has faced this real threat. The hatred for his actions and her justified behaviour introduces you to a whole new facet of woman’s liberation. Does society understand and accept Batool for what she did?
A spited woman can turn on those who helped her
A happily married home-maker who is also a great cook approaches Churails. She hesitatingly shares how she doubts her loving husband. The plot thickens when they discover her husband’s second life. She punishes him in the most gruesome manner and when she gets arrested, she conveniently places the blame on the Churails. Her lawyer (also a woman) ably supports her to wriggle out of her legal mess. Do their actions lay the path for Churail’s doom? You will love the underlying narrative and sub-text through this sub-plot.
Women’s condescending attitude towards skin colour
This scene is a perfect example of how the director subtly weaves in a social commentary in a high-drama thriller. It’s beautifully placed within the narrative and leaves its mark even though its just 11 seconds long. The owner of a salon instructs her assistant to apply a shade that makes the model look fairer and emphasizes how the shade needs to look even across the face and neck. What’s appalling about the scene is that the other women present find nothing wrong with what’s happening. We live in a society where dark colour is looked down upon and the catalyst for the same are women themselves.
The duality of family dinners; where actions speak louder than words
This is a classic scene with an unconventional twist. It leaves one wondering who the real Churail is in the scene. The scene opens into a terse dinner conversation between the matriarch, her son, and daughter-in-law. While the matriarch talks about being a family and sharing their problems, her actions are cold and condescending. The director has aced this depiction with panache. A typical high net worth individual’s home where the matriarch rules the roost and has high expectations from her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. The climax of this scene is epic! It will leave you with a sour taste that will linger for long. You may even introspect on your relations with your family members.
A wife who knows when to wear the pants
Zubaida goes missing and Sara comes looking for her at the owner of Juice Talent agency with whom she was last seen. His wife enters the when Sara is questioning him and fiercely protects her husband. Once Sara leaves, one sees a calm wife who lovingly speaks to her husband, who sheepishly makes efforts to show his innocence. She suddenly explodes for an unrelated issue thus telling the audience she knows everything but is quiet for the sake of her son and her family’s peace. This brief scene shows the power a woman has over her home and her man. It conveys that a woman knows when to wear the pants in the house and how she allows the man to take control, making him believe that he is superior. Fantastically depicted scene that will leave you wanting to know more about what happens next.
Powerful women seeking support from each other
Throughout 8 episodes, one sees a complicated wedding planner, Jugnu bravely battling her inner demons and external enemies. In the first episode, she plants the idea of Churails in Sara’s mind and till the 9th episode her character goes through a lot of upheavals including a broken marriage, abortion and betrayal by loved ones. She is the uncrowned leader of Churails who always seems to know the right thing to do. She finally breaks down in the 9th episode and reaches out to Sara. She asks Sara to be the leader she was meant to be’. This is the point in the web series where everything just seems to come together. It’s the much-needed calm before a great storm that unleashes into the climax.
So many powerful and different characters within the same gender
This shot is my favourite shot in the web series. One suddenly realises that there are so many characters that have lent their strength to the plot of Churails. The sensitive and detailed description of LGBT characters, an ex-convict whose heart aches for her daughter, a boxer who is trying to break society’s shackles and so many other characters all handled with panache. In one publication, director, Asim Abbasi says, “Because we are showing such a diverse range of women, it was important to show the entire spectrum of sexuality. It would have been wrong if they were all straight because not all women in Pakistan are straight.”
You will fall in love with every character in Churails, even the negative ones fall out of the boundaries of traditional stereotypes yet have a universal appeal. #MainChurailHoon.Tweet
Overall, Churails is a web series is a perfect for those who love thrillers, fast-paced narratives with strong female characters. #MainChurailHoonTweet
I loved how the director has also depicted men of so many types in the plot. However, there are two distinct types of men that have emerged in the series, one, the typical male chauvinists and the other, the modern man who respects women folk. Within these two extremes, the writer and director have cleverly woven multiple shades of men throughout the narrative.
Be ready to binge-watch this one. Let me know your views in the comment box below.
Image source: ZEE5
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter takes no responsibility of the content quality, endorsements or information put out by ZEE5 or its associates. We have published the above review because I loved the trailer and the webseries. DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter urges readers to take their viewing decision independently after doing their own due-diligence.