A particular drama serial has come under fire for unjustly taking advantage of a motorway rape case survivor’s sentiments. Hadsa has been heavily ridiculed for allegedly disregarding the feelings motorway rape survivor, who reportedly lamented about Hadiqa Kiani’s portrayal of her life onscreen. However, the director of the show has now taken to Instagram to make his own statement in response to backlash.
The story of Hadsa revolves around Taskeen, played by Hadiqa, who is also subjected to a heinous crime and her story towards justice. Directed by Wajahat Rauf, the serial was brought into question when journalist Fereeha Idrees took to X to share a rather distressing conversation with Z – the survivor of the actual motorway incident – that revealed she had never allowed for such a serial to be produced on her life, let alone to have to relive it while watching the show. Since then, many have taken to social media platforms in condemnation of the team responsible for producing the show.
Kiani was the first to speak up in defence of the project, stating that the story was not about one specific incident but aimed to tackle the larger reality of the crime at hand. Recently, Wajahat also made his case as he chose to take to Instagram to voice that while the series did have an element of familiarity as it, too, displayed an incident on a highway, other elements and dynamics were fictional. “The drama is not based on the motorway incident. The protagonist, her husband, her three children, the family dynamics, the police officers who investigate the crime, the reason behind the crime, and the trial are all fictional. The only thing common is the part that the incident occurred on a highway,” Wajahat pointed out.
The Chhalawa filmmaker went on to speak of how crimes of this nature are “heinous” to no extent and that the screenplay aims to “raise awareness.” While addressing the claim of insensitivity in the series, Wajahat stated, “The last thing we would want to do is be insensitive towards someone who has been a victim of this brutal crime. It is our opinion that it would be far more insensitive towards the victims if we did not adopt a condemnation tone; in that case, one might argue that we are not at all familiar with the trauma that a rape victim goes through.”
The director went on to say, “Our writer did speak to actual victims who were willing to talk about their trauma and how they eventually coped with it and that is what is reflected in the play,” later going on to write, “A character should be judged after seeing her entire role. Judgement shouldn’t be passed on the basis of a glimpse of social media posts. Writers and directors can show temporary weakness to show long term strength of a character that develops.”
Finally, Wajahat also took the time to address speculation about whether the story was being told for ratings or general awareness. He penned, “If we wanted ratings, we would have gone with a sure shot saas-bahu [mother-in-law to daughter-in-law] or a toxic husband story.”
He added, “We passionately tell stories that create awareness on sensitive issues be it Guru (a story about an intersex who sacrifices everything to raise an abandoned child), or Daamsa (a story about child trafficking), Pinjra (a story about parenting and favouring one child over another), or Parde Mein Rehne Do (a film about how families more than often blame the woman for not being able to conceive without getting the appropriate tests done).”
Produced by Wajahat and his wife, Shazia Wajahat, Hadsa stars Kiani alongside Aly Khan, Romaisa Khan, Ali Dayan, Zhalay Sarhadi, Saleem Mairaj and Juggan Kazim, among others.