Bee Gul is notorious for writing strong female characters in scripts which highlight the plight of women in a patriarchal society. “Working Women” is her latest script, directed by the brilliant Yasra Rizvi, an actress known for strong roles now stepping up to lead as director. Starring Maria Wasti, Yasra Rizvi, Anoushay Abbasi, Srha Asghar, Faiza Gillani, Ilsa Hareem and Jinaan Hussain, “Working Women” is a story which only gets better with each episode.
With “Working Women,” Bee Gul comes through with her courageous writing once again, as we’ve seen with Talkhiyan, Pehchaan, Darr Si Jaati Hai Sila and Raqeeb Se in the past. Following the life of the lonely Anusee (Maria Wasti), who was in a long-over relationship with Zulfi (Adnan Jaffar), who is married – and yet the conflict continues. Her life finds purpose when Asha (Ilsa Hareem) winds up in her home – followed by four more women. This gives Anusee reason to register her home as a women’s hostel . With six women under one roof, their stories begin to come out slowly, their lives merging into one of companionship and support.
There’s a lot to unpack in this show. The story dares to highlight the plight of Hindu girls going through forced conversions through the character of Asha. The other characters not only support her, but we also see Asha asking her love interest, TT, if he would be willing to change his religion for her, leaving him speechless…..and the audience as well. This is a brave topic to tackle and “Working Women” is doing so in a thought-provoking manner. Sadia (Anoushay Abbasi) is the light of this show, a woman who is liberated to follow her dreams, coming from a small background and willing to do what it takes to move up in life. Anoushay is performing wonderfully with her light-hearted portrayal of a character who technically lives the darkest life, one where she could be taken advantage of. And yet, she’s a character who, instead of being taken advantage of, offers consent and does so as long as there’s self-progress connected to her actions.
Amber (Srha Asghar) is a troubled young girl who has left her mother’s home to escape her stepfather’s life. While Amber could be a victim, she begins working and strives to carve out a path for herself away from her family’s reputation. The sequences with Amber and her boss are truly heartwarming as he plays a supportive peer, encouraging her and protecting her. It’s wonderful to see strong male characters who align themselves with their female counterparts rather than play antagonist. Rosie (Jinaan Hussain) plays a nurse with a so-called fiancé who only takes, but never gives back. Rosie’s arc perfectly captures the stigma nurses carry in Pakistan, who are a hard-working member of society as the backbone of the medical community. There is also Hashmat (Faiza Gillani), a factory manager who has a stern demeanor and a mysterious past – along with a soft heart.
Now, everything in “Working Women” is not perfect. There are some real issues with “Working Women” from the get-go, namely being the convenience of the entire narrative. Yes, we love watching the female bonding in this story, watching women from different backgrounds coming together to share their stories – and their lives. However, the manner in which these women wind up under one roof is downright comical and not necessarily in a “funny” way. While the stories have gradually been warming our hearts, the first four episodes are slightly difficult to get past initially until the narrative takes off. Overall, “Working Women” is a strong subject with some well-written female characters and, at present with episode 12, it’s at an exciting point in the story.