In a recent interview with Fuchsia Magazine, actors Ali Abbas and Laiba Khan put in their two cents about public reception to romance portrayals on Pakistan’s TV. The celebrities addressed the online backlash and trolling against intimate scenes in TV dramas, labelling the outrage hypocritical.
The actors pointed out that Pakistani TV dramas often portray subtle and conservative forms of romance, such as hand-holding or gentle shoulder touches, yet these scenes frequently face harsh criticism from viewers. Simultaneously, these same viewers readily indulge in and appreciate more explicit romantic content, exemplified by their enthusiasm for shows such as 365 Days on Netflix.
“What do we show really? Just hand-holding? At most, we place our hands on someone’s shoulders?” he asked, contrasting local intimate content with Western media.
“Trust me, doing that despite being actors, we feel very uncomfortable,” he commented as Khan shared, “When the scene’s shoot ends, we laugh in discomfort like, what was that?” furthering how actors feel relieved when even slightly intimate scenes are done filming.
The Naqab Zan actor said, “You don’t mind watching romance on Netfix. Your views make series like 365 Days trend but if actors here even hold hands, the backlash is instant and strong,” Abbas said, referring to the intense vitriol from trolling strangers.
“My question to trolls is: Why do you watch TV? Why are you on Instagram in the first place? If it’s such an immoral platform, why don’t you delete your accounts?” Abbas remarked in agreement with Khan. “If a girl puts up a picture in shalwar kameez, her reach is small but if she shares a picture in sleeveless, she attracts a flood of likes, followed by the ‘moral police’ right below.”
“Who told you that girl is wearing sleeveless? This means you were there to scrutinise her like an ‘ultrasound’ so you could comment below that this looks very wrong,” the actor contended, slamming the moralising attitudes of netizens.
Khan discussed the curious tendency among hostile internet users where they frequently engage with content they deem objectionable. “You’ve followed that content; you’re going to talk about it as well,” she said, pressing on the need to change attitudes. “We have to understand that we should stop watching and talking about what we find wrong,” she stated.
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