Shoaib Mansoor is a man known for making movies on topics that not only touch the crudest realities of our society but also show us the mirror. From Khuda kay Liye, to Bol, and now Verna which turned out to be to be the most awaited movie of 2017. When Khuda Kay Liye and Bol were released people reacted to them the same way as they have responded to Verna, however, the majority do not understand how serious the issue of rape is.

Rape is used as a tool by many people influential or otherwise to impose their power on the victim, and has been done for years; be it in state institutions, wars, family relations or panchiyat/jrga verdicts that sanction and condone rape. There are many cases where not only close relatives have molested children but incest has also been done. The victims usually remain silent because of the power the molester holds over them and their surroundings.

Verna is based on the story of a rape survivor who becomes a victim of a governor’s son’s lust and arrogance. Later due to peer pressure for ignoring and hushing up the issue she takes a stand herself and steps up for revenge. Sara, played by Mahira Khan, is the wife of Aami, played by Haroon Shahid, who is a polio stricken musician from a Pathan family. The story opens with the couple and Aami’s sister leaving for a vacation in Hunza but end up at the capital park Islamabad where Sara is kidnapped and kept by her kidnapper for three days and raped.

Upon return, she wants to report the case to the police, but the family does not support her. Even her husband raises fingers at her and questions her integrity. She takes this and accepts all this silently. On top of it she is shamed for wearing western dresses and accused of being the cause of the rape. This can be well understood as this happens in reality also; in majority of the cases women face the same hurdles despite the fact that they want to take revenge.

Families believe that if they disclose the ordeal of their daughter they would lose their ‘honour,’ apart from accusing the victim for 'provoking' the rapist due to her dress. Also the police and the process of reporting such cases makes people prefer to brush it under the carpet than to expose themselves to more trouble.

When Sara’s abductors return with gifts and message of ‘love’ from the rapist, Sara loses her control and plans revenge. Remember she was not supported by her relatives – even her mother. Considering she transforms into a wonder woman who hit backs at the rapist in her own way, in reality no one would follow the method she adopts but if we look at it as fiction it was nicely done.

The movie in a flash back shows Sara, Aami and her sister in law stuck in a traffic jam due to VIP movement. Sara steps in front of the governor’s car and tells him that their VIP movement is causing problems for everyone, and adds that her family will not vote for them again. This is an important message for the masses to choose their leaders wisely for the 2018 elections as everything in the country cannot run on the basis of ‘Power Di Game’ any longer.

The scene where she goes back to the rapist to collect evidence especially with her lawyers connivance seems odd, however, considering her determination to get justice it seems to be the only option. If Sara had the support of her family she may not have taken such a step. Once she goes for her medical examination the doctor asks her to forget it as “100% cases are taken back by the brothers and fathers and settle for money in return”.

Another unfortunate part is that on return from the second time she asks her husband to inflict some scars on her so it seems like struggle and rape. That is another issue where until scars are evident no one believes rape happened. The court proceedings are close to reality. She is shamed and asked questions to shake her determination but she says that "fear is not in her DNA". The way people manage to switch and steal evidence, and how people manage to leave the country when they are in trouble is very amply showed.

Even though the closing scenes dragged a bit yet we should understand that a woman undergoing the trauma would want to put the perpetrator in the same pain she experienced.  A good point is that the husband and wife relationship has a message. Considering our society it is not surprising how Aami reacts and behaves and shows the reaction of a majority of our male folks. However, on seeing his wife’s determination, he gains confidence and supports her in the end.

For many Pakistanis it is difficult to digest how a woman takes things in her hands instead of depending on the men of the house. Mostly in such cases women are let down by their own ‘protectors’. Sara has given a message to women to take a stand for themselves because they are woman first and then daughters, wives or mothers.

The movie no doubt would've done great with better acting and selection of the male lead actor but that is not as important as the topic of the story. Its high time rape should not be considered a taboo any longer. We have spent many years hushing up important issues and not grown up and lost ourselves in today’s world. It is time children are taught about good and bad touch in schools, and parents should take responsibility for educating children.

Rape should no longer be taken as a joke; if someone is raped we should know it is never the victim’s fault. The rapist should be punished for it, the victim should be helped and given hope to live again. It is time people are sensitised about taboo subjects. It is not going to hurt our fake bubble of ‘ghairat’ but save generations to come ‘Verna’ it will be too late.