The Dra-Maa Queens of Our TV Screens

By Falak Amaar Khan & Rabia Mughni
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Whether the step-maa, the nani (maternal grandmother), the dadi (paternal grandmother) or our most beloved, the saasu maa (mother-in-law), as we watch the drama-serial-maa`s in our Pakistani and Indian dramas, we either find ourselves loving them as reminders of our own mothers, or hating them, unable to fathom how anyone can be so £?$%!. Sometimes we are amazed by their cleverness, sometimes irked by their cowardice. More often than not, though, we admire them for their courage and resilience.

No matter how dramatically each drama-serial-maa is characterized, she does reflect a reality that many of us can relate to, or have come into contact with. So, who are these drama-serial-maas`s?

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The miskeen Maa – qurbani ki bakri

She makes us wonder how many tubs of glycerine the producer had to use while shooting her role.  Clad in a white sari, or some other depressing attire, with constantly tearful eyes (think Shama, Khuda ki Basti), her sabr and rondhi shakal will probably annoy the wits out of you. Nevertheless, there is always light at the end of the tunnel – this type of maa emerges victorious in the end. Jeet mahaan maa ki hi hoti hai. So, chances are, you will see this maa smile in the final 2 episodes, but, stopppp… you won’t believe it, even her smile is accompanied by teary eyes. This maa is nearing extinction (aren’t we glad!?), so you might see a rare appearance of this breed in 1 out of 35 drama serials.

All said and done, we do appreciate this maa as we see a little bit of our older generation grandmothers, and even some of our mothers, in this maa.

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The annoying but humorous Maa

Then, there are the likes of Saima Chaudhry (the Barat series) which crack you up 1 minute, and make you cringe the next second. Remember the forgetful and intensely irritating Momo from the never-ending Bulbullay? This maa gets away with saying the most inappropriate things with extreme ease, often showing up in the most ridiculous situations at the worst possible time. This maa is a breath of fresh air, and gives us the much-needed entertainment we all crave for. We cannot help but get hooked, so the best advice is, don’t even try to resist.

You will find your jaw wide open at the incredulous vocabulary and jokes of this maa, laughing to yourself even after the absurd humour has passed.

We love this maa and don’t want to change anything about her. After all, a bit of humorous exaggeration is desperately needed to balance out the endless number of sad stories in our drama serials.

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The Star-Plus-inspired conspiring Maa

This type of maa has come into being in the last 5 years or so, and are the most conniving of maa`s. You can also call her the kameeni maa. The most commonly-used adjectives for this maa include two-faced, meethi chhuri, shaatir and makkaar. She is often well-dressed, on top of her game and manages to deliver the most calculated moves and compelling dialogues, leaving everyone desperately trying to give a strong-enough comeback. This maa is capable of fooling the entire khandan beyond belief.

How naturally this maa manages to fake a pregnancy report in Shuk. How stealthily she planted a male cousin in the kitchen with her bahu to ruin her izzat just by touching her dupatta in Humsafar. And how cleverly she joined forces with the villain to teach her son a lesson in Maryam.

Ladies, and all potential maa`s, please don’t try these at home!

While this maa brings interesting suspense and suspicion into our dramas, helping the story unfold, our request to producers is to release them upon us in small doses. After all, drama serials and other media is able to shape mindsets and attitudes … and we really don’t need more of this maa type in our societies.

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The Maa who is always there

This maa is obviously our favourite, because she strikes a balance like no other. Throughout the drama serial, we look up to her for the reassurance that all will be ok (think Nani in Shehrezaad). She defies society and supports her child no matter what i.e. Zindagi Gulzar Hai. Though, we do have to admit, we question if this maa type really does exist. Can any woman really not have an ounce of jealousy or contempt towards the wife of her favourite son? She is the best friend, the problem-solver, the pillar of strength … in other words, the Barbie of maa`s – perfect in everything. Hmm … Producer Sahib, ye sab ek saath hona zarra mushkil hai. Voh bhi Made-in-South-Asia maa?

This maa’s pearls of wisdom help you admire the brilliance of the scriptwriter and director, keeping the faith alive that all is not lost in the drama industry in terms of content production (Sang-e-Mar-Mar).

So, while we may have a love-hate relationship with them, the mothers in our drama serials are absolutely vital, and we won’t have it any other way. A very Happy Mothers’ Day to all our Drama-Serial-Maa`s.

Which maa type is your favourite?

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