With Pakistani audiences developing a taste for digital web-series, a number of groundbreaking productions have been witnessed in recent months, many of them leaving a positive mark on the audience.
“Shameless Proposals” is one such digital series. It has been produced by Saadia Jabbar and is based on the toxic proposal-solicitation culture in the country where women often have to silently put up with super awkward and downright ridiculous situations. The series takes a deeply satirical look at many of these situations through different types of suitors that women may encounter.
In the first episode, the potential groom is rather macho, body-beautiful but misogynist from the inside. The boy’s family happily puts up with all his ‘mard’ shenanigans, which include verbal and physical abuse of immediate family members, which the girl’s dadi terms as the sign of a true, assertive ‘mard’. The girl’s parents want the rishta at all cost so they try to weasel their way out of what is very apparent – that the guy despite having a great physique has an ugly personality is going to put their daughter through some horrible physical abuse. Thankfully, our heroine takes a stand for herself with a bitterly truthful rant that lets the potential groom, and the society at large know that this will definitely not be on.
The second episode introduces us to a ‘tharki’ suitor, who will mouth the most obscene expressions and gestures at the women around him, not even sparing the dadi, who seems rather elated initially at the (wrong) attention she is receiving. However, the situations and language in this episode strike one as rather alien, although the clear inspiration seems to be Bollywood. If you can sit through this inane awkwardness, the larki towards the end once again steals the show with a blistering monologue that will no doubt put all the tharki mards in the society in their place.
Overall, the series does a decent job with its tongue in cheek take at one of society’s rather questionable practices. The production quality is quite slick, and director Hunny Haroon has done a commendable job with the writing.
Shameless Proposals so far seems to be on the right track, however the writers can make their point by sticking to real, true to life situations relating to the rishta culture that one encounters frequently in the society. We can recommend this show for a one time watch, which may lighten up your evening with a few laughs, although the humor at times may be cringe-inducing.