HUM’s drama ‘Fairy Tale’ cemented itself as a household name with a hilarious storyline, stellar performances by actors and a compelling love story. The series had audiences, especially young women, applauding the growing change in how drama’s are abandoning sexist tropes to make empowering stories where for once, the women are smart and men aren’t chauvinists.
For a lot of women, ‘Fairy Tale’ provided relief that somewhere, some one was listening to them about what they wanted: a feminist rom-com where the male lead respected, cherished and catered to the woman he loves. Farjaad (played by the talented Hamza Sohail) was described by many as a benchmark in how women wanted men in dramas to be: supportive, caring and completely the anti-thesis of what typical male leads in Pakistani dramas are like. In some of the viral clips from the drama that were garnering applaud on social media, Farjaad was considerate of Umeed’s independence, empowering her and stepping up to help her rather than shoving her inside the four walls.
Which is why discussing the finale is important because rather than following through with the expectations and ending with a bang, with Umeed finally accomplishing her dream by opening a chai cafe and being married to Farjaad, it took a U-turn.
The drama followed Umeed’s desire to break her father’s restrictions, a feat she manages to accomplish by participating in a game show through which she wins Rs2 crore and becomes the breadwinner of the family. Through Umeed, a lot of Pakistani women found catharsis because finally, a female lead who is financially independent? One, who empowers the women in her life, and doesn’t think twice before schooling a man who tries to lecture her? Is passionate about making her own path and establishing her own business, when currently one of the leading dramas in Pakistan involves slaps and suicide attempts *cough cough Tere Bin*? Umeed was an anomaly, reminiscent of the kind of characters who led the dramas of the 90’s when Haseena Moin was alive, and she was quick to win the audiences over.
However, these accomplishments were for naught when by the finale, Umeed decides immediately that she isn’t interested in making more money, and gives a speech about how she would rather become an obedient daughter and get married to Farjaad. Like, why bother taking us all for a ride? Why would you explore 30 episodes about a young woman discussing business initiatives, ending with her choosing to give up all of it, and settle to marry?
Through Farjaad especially, it was rare to see a man in a Pakistani drama own up to his actions, and empower the women in his life (READ: extremely rare), but that finale was a double-take for many audience members because in the first part he threatens to break up with Umeed if she chooses to go on and participate in the game show, something that was unexpected from a guy who told his love interest that he would keep supporting her. Then, when Umeed arrives at his office to apologise to him (why?) he taunts her for being in love with AK (played by Ali Safina). Even though he does apologise for this as well and admits that he isn’t perfect, shouldn’t the finale have ended with Farjaad owning up to his promises by helping Umeed setting up her business?
These lose threads dangling from the plot will keep fans of the drama anxious about whether asking for a feminist rom-com was too good to be true, or maybe since Season 2 has been announced, some hope is left.
But had the show kept true to its promise and given women what they wanted, a drama about a woman rejecting patriarchal norms and her father’s strictness to make her own dreams come true, it would have been much nicer.
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