First aired: December 2010
Beamed at: Hum TV
Writer: Sarwat Nazeer
Director: Babar Javed
Cast: Asif Raza Mir, Saba Pervaiz, Fahad Mustafa, Aamina Sheikh, Faisal Qureshi and Anita Camphor
Abdul Qadir (AQ), the title role is played by Fahad Mustafa, an actor who is frequently seen on television these days in drama serials and as the screaming host of the dance show Nachley, which is in its third season.
Abdul Qadir is basically a story of a lonely boy who is looking for love, but his dominating workaholic mother (Saba Pervaiz) spurns him, his corrupt girl-friend (she introduces him to smoking and alcohol) dumps him for someone much more good-looking and smarter than him. Heart-broken the once innocent AQ goes abroad as in London where he drowns himself in booze and partying (note: all this is due to the bad women in his life). He goes through an image makeover as in loosing his T-shirt and baggy jeans for more hip outfits but he is still sad and lonely. He then meets up a black british indian girl Nell Ibrahim (Aamina Sheikh) who works as a maid for him. She questions him about his moral and religious values which sets him thinking over his actions. Nell, a saintly woman, has Aids which she contracted when she used to be a sex worker, and eventually dies leaving AQ crushed, as he had fallen in love with her, marries her and he then turns to religion whole-heartedly and in the process becomes a maulvi-type chap, complete with the shariah beard and the shalwar kameez and returns to Pakistan. His mother is shocked over his turn around is rightly concerned that he will be singled out and be victimised.
While this is an interesting and challenging role for any actor considering the trajectory that he has to travel which Fahad does attempt to give justice and occasionally he does well, my objection is to the black and white characterisation of AQ. So if a person is drinking and partying there is no way he/she has or can have any spiritual connection? Yet there are people around us who are supposedly immoral and spiritual at the same time. While there are loads of people among us who are supposedly religious and so corrupt that it defies belief. Such simplistic exploration of religion means that it is catering to the lowest common denominator and refuses to challenge people’s perceptions.
Another objection are the portrayals of the women in Main Abdul Qadir Hoon. The mother working is equal to a neglecting narcissistic materialistic bitch who couldn’t care less for her family. While there may be such women in our society but it is highly irresponsible of the writer and the director to portray women as such with not an iota of goodness in them. It also accuses professional women of unable to balance their home and professional life. It is a sexist view that needs to be discouraged. Similarly AQ’s girlfriend is seen as this corrupting influence again it is very demeaning to women plus doesn’t AQ have any brain cells to make it his decision to smoke or drink and let him take responsibility for it. But one thing that is commendable is for the protagonist to have a romantic liaison with an Aids victim, giving the message that it is possible to have a relationship with such people.
All in all a disappointing drama serial that perpetuates most stereotypes rather than defying them.