Name of the show: Utho Jago Pakistan
Date of broadcast: October 10, 2013
I was totally caught off guard on Thursday night by the theme of Shaista Lodhi’s (formerly known as Shaista Wahidi) show in which she discussed the trauma a woman undergoes during a divorce. She invited Farah Hussain, a morning show host on ATV who had recently been through a divorce and together the women discussed the issue at length while shedding buckets of tears.
Shaista has been notorious for centering her shows on the elaborate rituals of marriage and setting the trend albeit in an unhealthy manner. Following the herd mentality other morning shows, Nida Pasha on ARY Digital comes to mind, too started to copy the format all hoping to raise their TRPs.
Beginning her career as an announcer for PTV, Farah Hussain’s claim to fame was a drama serial Bandhan and her role as Dil Aapi. In the show she discussed her background, her career paths, challenges of working on a state controlled TV channel, why she quit acting to become homemaker and finally how she ended up as a host for a morning show on ATV.
The subject of divorce came into discussion when Farah Hussain told her about a cybercrime in which a young boy had somehow managed to get her cell number and imitating her voice would call up celebs, politicians, and other high-profile people and started online affairs and procuring expensive gifts using her identity. Farah complained to the FIA, and she said through the efforts of former IG Afzal Ali Shigri, the boy was caught red-handed. She does not say whether she filed a case against him.
Shaista then narrated that she too was maligned on the social media and at a time when she was going through one of the most painful time of her life, her divorce. “We were being legally separated even though we were living apart for quite sometime.” Not taking names, she said that her name was linked to someone and based on those false allegations there were things written on the social media. She said she was grateful that her organization (meaning Geo) took a firm stand and took action (meaning legal notices) against the offenders. As a result the false news on social media were taken off.
But she pointed out a pertinent matter: that of the damage it wreaks on one’s family. Shaista who has three children said that one day she was questioned by her son about these alleged rumors. Another societal flaw she pointed out was just because she and other women appear on TV they are easy targets since some people wrongly believe that they have no family and hence no izzat.
Farah Hussain, now Farah Sadia, spoke about her former husband’s relentless pursuit of her and how she fell for his charms and relented and married him. When amid tears Shaista asked her why she thought her marriage fell apart, Farah blamed it on bad luck.
However later as the show progressed, Farah gave lot more details about the end of her 14-year marriage. It seemed her husband and her in-laws were unhappy with her showbiz career. However her husband did not perhaps have a proper job and they went through tough times and she had no choice but to go back to work to support herself and her two sons. When Farah told her that things were so bad that sometimes she didn’t have money to buy pampers for her babies or even food, Shaista broke down and at this point the show became a tear-fest and felt as if one had intruded into someone’s privacy.
After a while Shaista spoke to her other issues such as the challenges one faces as a divorced woman raising two sons, the stigma of being divorced and the assumption that hosting morning shows means an end to one’s marriage.
Other than her breakdown, which is understandable since she recently was divorced, Shaista was pretty much in control, spoke less and let her guest do the talking. Farah was quite frank but her curious mix of English with smattering of Urdu was most annoying and she would not finish narrating one anecdote when she would jump to another one was surprising considering that as a morning show host she would be aware of such pitfalls.
Links to the show: