I just finished watching the last episode of the Pakistani drama Baaghi and my heart is heavy with so many emotions: sadness, mourning and regret. Saba Qamar did a phenomenal job depicting the life, trial and challenges of the lead character. Baaghi was based on the life of social media sensation Qandeel Baloch who tragically became a victim of honor-killing in 2016.
Qandeel’s death sparked just as much intrigue and debate, as her life had. There are many polarized opinions about Qandeel’s means to fame. Qandeel Baloch became one of the most well-known names in Pakistan after rising from a small village in Punjab. Baaghi was her story and gave us an insight into her life behind the selfies and the viral videos.
The drama used the name, Kanwal Baloch, for the main character. However, it was quite clear that the events were all from Qandeel Baloch’s life. Watching the poverty, depravity and hardships from Qandeel’s life gave more dimensions to her story. How easy it is to mock, pass on moral judgements and write self-righteous status updates on our smart phones, as we sit on comfortable sofas in our air-conditioned houses with a full stomach. To empathize with the other, be in their shoes, imagine sleeping on that hard charpaye in hot summer nights, bitten by mosquitoes all night and with the smell of the neighbouring cattle, is the less comfortable option. So we judge, we mock and we categorize people as black and white.
I felt sad for the end of Qandeel’s life. I mourned that she (and many in her similar situation) do not get a chance for amends. I regretted that we as a society judged her and passed on hate through our social media shares, comments and discussions. The worst part is that we still continue to do so. We hate, we mock and we ridicule without understanding and without compassion.
A big shout out of Osman Khalid Butt and Laila Zuberi for showing us an example through their characters of how to be different and dare to accept the circumstances of others.
Baaghi finished on a note of introspection, leaving us with many questions. They stretched the drama in the middle and kept some questions like the involvement of Mufti Qavi out of the drama. But overall Baaghi was a thought-provoking story and a lovely attempt by the whole team. Did you follow the story? What did you think?