Portrayal of women in Pakistani Films

Essay by hennasaeedUniversity, Master'sA+, November 2014

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Saeed, H. Female portrayal in Pakistani cinema


" All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl"

Jean-Luc Godard 1

For years I believed that media, be it television or cinema, is a

mere reflection of the happenings in one's society. And as

Marjorie Rosen (no date) also puts it, " …more than any other

art form, films have been a mirror held up to society's porous face…".2

For some societies this might hold true, but when I see Pakistani films… well this perception is totally

shattered. From skimpily dressed dancing queens to lacha (skirt) worn fighting vagabonds: these

women represent vulgarity and cheapness, unlike the Pakistani society that thrives on values and


My methodology research tends to investigate the portrayal of women in popular Pakistani cinema.

From pictorial representation to their unrealistic roles in the storyline: a brief analysis about the

manipulation of the female gender while focusing on the Pakistani cinema in the last five years.

The reason for choosing this topic is my background in film reporting but more importantly as a

filmmaker I believe that regardless of its artistic

value, cinema by definition is a cultural document,

if properly organized, can be used as a resource

for the study of a nation's collective psychology. 3


A related study was carried out by Rabia Hussain

in 2008, where the researcher concluded that

illiterate Pakistani film makers misrepresented the

perception of Pakistani women from civilized, to vulgar and materialistic. Her results comply with my

research and yet guided me to take a different study path. 4


1 Godard, J. L. (no date) Quotes on Cinema. Quotations Book. [Online] [Accessed on 19 November 2011]

http://quotationsbook.com/quotes/tag/cinema/ 2 Rosen, M. (no date) Quotes on Cinema. Quotations Book. [Online] [Accessed on 19...