What is the importance of parenting styles in the emotional wellness and success of our children? “Pinjra” tells a wonderful story of how the attitudes within a household can affect their overall growth and future. Starring Omair Rana, Hadiqa Kiani, Sunita Marshall, Zhalay Sarhadi, Adnan Bashir, Sohail Masood, Furqan Qureshi, Ahmed Usman, Aaina Asif, Aashir Wajahat and others, the show has been written by Asma Nabeel and directed by Najaf Bilgrami.
Abhan is now experiencing childhood depression due to his state of extreme stress and anxiety. This is a child who is creatively gifted in many arenas – sketching, musically, singing and is full of compassion towards animals, even aspiring to open a shelter for strays. And yet, it’s not enough for his ambitious father who wants a traditional path for his son. How many of us have let go of creative paths for the more stable career option? And while many move forward, many are unable to fathom the idea of a boxed-in life – and Abhan is one such child. He feels trapped in the role he’s forced to play, unable to pursue his interests and passions. In this state of depression, he is now finding comfort outside of his family with the wrong sort of crowd and falling into bad habits, alarmingly turning to substance abuse. It’s heartbreaking to see this and the young child actor, Ahmed Usman, is doing a fabulous job in this role.
Azaan is honestly the best character in the entire show. This young man is the brother everyone wishes they had – and yet, he’s also a young man who has had to grow up well before his time. He may be the prized son, the apple of Javed’s (Omair Rana) eye and the easy, unproblematic child for Khadija (Hadiqa Kiani), but he is now facing his own struggles as he grows older. He can see how his parents’ attitude is affecting both Abhan and Abeer (Aina Asif) and is forced to play the role of second parent, trying to handle the problems of his siblings and conceal them from his parents at the same time. He wants to support his siblings and protect them from their parents, particularly Javed. Ashir Wajahat is a very sweet, convincing actor and makes the role of Azaan all the more lovable.
“Pinjra” is the sort of show that so many South Asians can connect to, adults and children alike. So often, parents who have been molded in a certain way educationally are likely to pass down those same ideals. A show like “Pinjra” forces us to not only connect with the Abhan character and acknowledge what possible injustices we may have faced ourselves, it also creates a moment of reflection towards our own parenting styles and how we may be passing those “traditions” on unintentionally. It’s interesting to watch Javed, played by Omair Rana, who is not a “bad guy,” but is very traditional. We see this in his attitude towards everything from education to his ideas of the female role within a marriage and his ideas on working women. He is terribly narrow minded and though he loves his wife and children, he believes old-world ways are the best ways, even encouraging his boss to marry off his 17 year old daughter. Omair Rana is playing this role very convincingly, as always, and it’s a testament to his performance how much we dislike Javed as an audience. Of course, Hadiqa Kiani is wonderful too as Khadija. Khadija is a very harsh mother, but it’s clear that this comes out of stress and the pressure she feels from her husband. She sees herself in Abhan, so she has a very soft corner for him – but her own talents have never been encouraged, so it’s almost as though she’s ashamed of the artistic talents Abhan has inherited from her and wants to shake them out of him. Khadija is a fascinating character, because she does have these talents, but she’s also an equally oppressive force in the household, not only stopping Abhan, but stunting Abeer’s emotional and social growth. Honestly, the entire cast of “Pinjra” is fabulous, from the kid actors to Sunita Marshal as Wajiha, who is just the most wonderful “balancing” character in the show – and so convincing in her role. There is just so much that could be discussed and analyzed about this show. “Pinjra” is a must-watch for all!