Sarwat Gilani Mirza, Yasra Rizvi, Nimra Bucha, Mehar Bano, Zee5
Asim Abbasi, A Glasshouse Production
Zee5 Series - Drama/Thriller
Directed by Asim Abbasi, Churails, a ZEE5 series shot in Pakistan, seemed promising from the first time I heard about it. In fact, I requested an interview with the four women at the centrefold of this project, Sarwat Gilani Mirza (Sara), Yasra Rizvi (Jugnu), NImra Bucha (Batool) and Mehar Bano (Zubaida) and Asim Abbasi. I was deeply intrigued but I had a sense that listening to these women speak would give me even more momentum to indulge in this series.
The show follows the lives of Sara, Jugnu, Batool, and Zubaida. Each come with their own baggage and the four women are quite different from each other, in terms of socio-economic class, the way they speak, and where they want to be, ultimately. It is not until a series of happenstances that the four of them end up at Jugnu’s place one night and come up with the idea of starting an agency – an agency that will teach philandering and teaching husbands a lesson. Under the guise of a fashion boutique, the four women hire on a team who, for various motives, will help them along the way with their primary objective. And through the journey, try to smash the patriarchy out of society.
Let me be very clear – this is not a series you can watch with your children. But at some point, one should watch this with their kids as they get older, for them to understand how deep-rooted the patriarchal system goes and how very casual commentary in relation to women and their roles in society are damaging and outright infuriating.
The highlights of the series are as many: from the direction to the visual settings – whether it be the polished home of Sara or the complex that Batool and Zubaida live in. Each place depicted has its own appeal – raw yet smooth. The voiceovers are filled with angst and dry humour, similar to the characters’ dialogues themselves. The foreshadowing is effective and the cuts used by Asim Abbasi are very well-executed. Each scene seems to mesh well together until the last couple of episodes where I feel things start to get slightly jumpy.
The principal actors are very well cast. Each one fits their character perfectly. While I felt Jugnu’s character took some time to develop, the other three characters’ conflicts were apparent in a strategic fashion from the very beginning of the series – something I like when I’m watching a series. I want to know where this character came from and where they may be going. That, I felt, was initially missing for me in relation to Jugnu. But as the series goes on, that complaint is diminished.
Nimra Bucha is outstanding. She has this understated vibe which is not overtly loud and it just works so well. Yasra Rizvi is bang on with the portrayal of her character – and completely owns any “societally perceived flaws”. I put that in quotes because who decided what were flaws and who decided the moral code of conduct for women? Sarwat Gilani Mirza gets the body language of her character right from the beginning and slowly develops into a very dear character in the series. Mehar Bano is a delight to watch. There is something about her that feels almost too real – that there is a sense of urgency in her acting that gets your attention right away. A huge talent.
Kudos to Asim Abbasi and his team for putting together a series that is brave, aggressive, and effective.