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Pakistani Dramas Normalizing Suicide; A wakeup call for production houses

Pakistani Dramas Normalizing Suicide!

Have you noticed how many Pakistani dramas have portrayed the suicide of the main character in recent episodes?

4 different dramas showing suicide in a month send shock waves, that how conveniently, the writers and producers of big entertainment houses didn’t find anything wrong in it for Normalizing a Suicide. What are the moral obligations of a producer? Commercialism and running for high ratings have corrupted us all.

The association between the portrayal of suicide and contagion suicide goes down in history and is regarded as a stigma in our society as well.

Just think about how television has constantly changed the way society perceives what is acceptable and what is questionable. It may not seem that deep, but it is most definitely this deep.

For people who are in a venerable state of mind,  particularly those who have suicidal thoughts, such dramas can act as a catalyst.

A pseudo world, portrayed with all the bling and glam, where characters pursue hate revenge and when things go south, suicide is just the solution for everything could trigger self-harm among vulnerable viewers by romanticizing suicide and portraying it as the only option to cope with negative experiences.

Which of which Drama showed Suicide? Have a look:

In the recent episode of Hum Tv’s Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay, one of the lead characters Mishaal played by Kubra Khan commits suicide all of the sudden and blames her cousin while leaving a letter behind.

Saas bahu jhagra, extramarital affairs, plans to terminate pregnancies were not enough to cash the ratings.

Well, it seems like, a new hit formula writer has been created for making the Drama hit. Show a suicide, and the episode and the actor instantly become a trending topic on Twitter. Voilà,  producer, and the channel couldn’t have thought more than that!

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Well here comes the latest, newly stated drama at ARY Digital, Baddua in its second episode shows a character named Mohsin is heartbroken and commits suicide after his love rejects his proposal and humiliates him.

Berukhi, another ARY Digital’s newly started drama shows the suicide of a father who can stands humiliation over his daughter’s marriage and elopement.

Let’s go a few weeks back, a jealous Nimra had lost control of her emotions, after an unsuccessful attempt to kill her rival finished her life in the last episode of yet another ARY Digital drama Azmaish!

It’s quite alarming to see popular and experienced writers opting for such vulnerable issues, especially when our Tv shows air without any age restriction and trigger content warnings, that too in Prime Time slaughts.

Here the point is not whether the show describes reality or not, but rather that its popularity is due to its depiction of very important aspects of the lives is being taken so causally without considering mental health aspects.

Media houses need to revisit their strategies badly than ever before. Due to a TV show or specific content, people can develop anxiety triggered by some risk messages. Also, a TV show can unknowingly stigmatize some populations by continuously describing their medical conditions in pejorative ways.

These dramas need to be canceled for normalizing suicide and hate revenge.

Also, a wake-up call to PEMRA, if the regulatory body too has noticed the content of these drama serials.

Saman Siddiqui

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