#MachoMan #Saynotophysicalviolence. These are the hashtags that have been used to launch the first episode of Shameless Proposals. The producer of Balu Mahi steps into the digital world this year with satire and sarcasm as ‘Shameless Proposals’, runs its first episode. The teaser gave us a host of of humorous incidents that a girl and her family have to face when the ‘boy’s’ family visits to propose an arranged marriage. The trailer gained instant interest as the focus on social issues spirals on social media. Also, this is the age of digital, hence any content put ‘out there’ has potential to go viral – such is the nature of the rapidly growing market!
Shameless Proposals will be delivered as a 7 part short episode web series that feature the trials and tribulations (and histrionics) faced by a desi girl while she meets the families of her potential in laws. The boy’s family is shown in exaggerated (or perhaps not so exaggerated tones) as they display their pride and (blind) admiration for their son, and focus all efforts on sourcing themselves a perfect Bahu.
The first episode ‘Haiwaan’ was aired on YouTube this Saturday. The title itself is not only heavily-laden with sarcasm but also exposes our misogynistic culture to its ‘finest’ – How, having a son in the desi culture means that parents get to treat him like a king and whatever he says and does is not only forgivable but also very amusing even if it’s domestic violence.
The episode opens onto a drawing room scene (we’re all familiar with THAT one) of a muscular man sporting a tank top, with a continuous pink-red key light flashing upon his shoulder (which indicates from the very start that the man is bad news). Parents of the ‘boy’ are normalizing his behaviour by giving it a macho shade, as if that is what actually makes him a ‘strong’ man. Parents of the girl, are underplaying the boy’s very obnoxious behaviour (and whatever they are told about him), because they simply want their daughter to be married.
Shameless Proposal introduces a storyline that has broken new ground in content. Showcasing social issues digitally is a unique way to show them lightheartedly, and yet, drive home some very pertinent points. Finally the barriers of screen acceptable content has been lifted and it’s such a great thing for the coming generations to not fall into the Saas Bahu content trap that threatened to swallow our screen time!
This series stands apart from the rest in its effortless portrayal of a middle class family. None of the characters look like they are trying too hard to fit into a middle class set up. The makeup and wardrobe need a thumbs up for this attention to detail – a solid production is the back bone of quality content and Sadia Jabbar deserves a pat on the back for following through.
The characters are very relatable, from the girl’s grandmother, asking her not to speak too much, to the parents, who seem to be compromising on the entire situation, the cast holds it together with a believability that makes it humourous and yet keeps it real for the viewers:
“Kya samajhta Hai, … Rishta lenay aaya hai ya Punching Bag khareednay?”
Heed these lines from the first episode folks, they hit home with undeniable force. – sachai kabhi kabhi karwi lagti hai!, and Shameless Proposal has definitely said it like it is! This writer has chosen to speak about a very grave issue with a heavy dose of humour, and it seems to be doing well so far!
Production wise, the background music spoilt it a bit for me. Although it supported the situation and the storyline, it was a tad too loud at times where it could have been a little toned down as well (to underscore the situation). Also the camera work felt like it was hand-held the entire length of the episode, which is not a bad thing, however, some shots were a bit too shaky – something to pay heed to for future episodes.
The series sheds light upon a burning issue in our society: Arranged marriages should not ascribe to the mentality that the girl’s parents are supposed to ‘agree’ to whatever the boy’s parents say, and the girl is also supposed to accept whatever is offered her way. A woman is not only objectified throughout the rishta process but also are forced to compromise (her and her family’s dignity) for the sake of finding an ideal partner.
The socially ingrained concept that there is a lack of ‘good’ enough potential partners for a girl must be thrown out the window. And hopefully, Shameless Proposals serves as a conversation starter on an issue that’s very close to our hearts!
Watch the drama here.
Anum holds a Bachelors Degree in Media Arts from the University of Karachi, Pakistan. She passionately pursues a career in freelance film-making and content writing. Anum has worked with Ideas by Gul Ahmed, SIUT and Sukoon. She plans to launch her own web channel one day. Her Motto in life, in her own words: "Live in the moment, as it will pass, like everything else in life!"