It’s official. HUM TV and some badass guts went on a brainstorming session and Udaari was born. And Sheedan from that awesome play is the mom every Pakistani girl, in fact, every girl on the planet deserves to have!

I’m absolutely in love with the play and all its characters from the children Jaazay and Zebo to the no-good mother and son duo of Durdana and Ilyas.

Ahsan Khan has already, totally bulldozed everyone with his villainous role because it’s not just a plain vanilla villain or even a psychopath killer or abusive husband. Nope. Dude had to go all out and portray a pedophile.

Like…dude! Hats off!

Ahsan must really be comfortable with his celebrity status to just shrug off the usual romantic protagonist roles he’d been playing up till now and delve into darker shades of not the anti-hero or the good bad guy but a really truly corrupt creep. He did give his viewers a warning though about this change with his recent Preet Na Kariyo but damn! Who’d have expected an outright lecher around the corner? Amazing!

However, as amazing as the Ahsans and Samiyas and Urwas of Udaari may be, the cherry on top of this cake is none other than the evergreen Bushra Ansari.

Bushra plays Sheedan; a village wedding singer. From everything to her facial expressions to her fluent Punjabi and rural gestures, Bushra reminds her viewers yet again what a treat she is to watch on-screen. Aside from the versatility of Bushra’s acting skills that bring Sheedan to life, whoever penned this character is pure genius as well.

Farhat Ishtiaq and creators of Udaari, please, take a bow.

Coming back to Sheedan, we have in her a gem of a character that puts all the other mom characters on TV to shame. A strong, fierce and proud woman that we all need so desperately to champion women in our suffocated society, Sheedan is a breath of fresh air on the recent Pakistani TV drama scene.

What makes Sheedan so special? Here are 5 reasons why I absolutely love and hail her.

Sheedan is financially independent.

She is the sole bread earner for her family. Her husband, though a good man, never earned much except for a daily wage for odd jobs and then he died in a road accident. While this aspect of financial independence isn’t alien to our women, it is viewed primarily as a man’s job. Sheedan’s attitude is what puts a spin on this mindset. Not only is she an earning hand herself, she doesn’t see it as a vice or a responsibility that she shouldn’t or wouldn’t shoulder given her gender. She is the sort of woman who knows she can lift up and carry her entire family on her shoulders, and she will because she can.

Sheedan is fiercely proud of her roots.

Being the village wedding singer, her profession deems that she and her family belong to the lowest of the low classes of that society by default. Belittling titles as domni, marasi, kanjar and bhhandare words from everyday conversation that others keep throwing her way without a care. She is invited at weddings and happy occasions to sing and dance and entertain the public but is never respected for her talent. Does that bother her? Not at all. Sheedan is a proud artist who takes pride in her talent. It is her family legacy and she doesn’t need anyone’s validation to respect it. She takes pride in her work and views it as a family enterprise that her children must be part of as well at some point. 

Sheedan’s pride in herself and her work determine her strength of character.

She knows where she stands and she owns the ground she stands on. She has the courage to say and do the right thing even in the face of severe criticism. This is the trait we see her portray when she is the sole supporter of her neighbor’s marriage – Sajjo, a widow who surprisingly lands a charming suitor, Imtiaz. While the world goes on to gossip and discourage Sajjo from considering Imtiaz’s proposal because social taboo, Sheedan stands by her side and fiercely advocates the union because, well, why the hell not? Everyone has a right to a happy life so who the hell cares what the people think?

Sheedan may be an illiterate singer herself but she recognizes the importance of education.

She determinedly sends her children to school. However, that doesn’t mean they can trample all over her profession with their big educated talk about how insulting it is to be a marasi. To Sheedan, education is supposed to make one sensible enough to recognize dignity of all labor, not be blind with arrogance. Don’t you wish all educated people thought like this sagacious domni?

And my favorite, Sheedan is the mother every girl deserves and needs!

Udaari episode 5 put a seal on it. After Imtiaz attacks Meera (Sheedan’s teenaged daughter) and she successfully escapes his advances to the safety of her mother’s arms, Sheedan proves that she really is a safe haven for her children. Not only does she march off to face Imtiaz and call him out not just to his face but to his wife’s as well, her absolute trust in her daughter shows how sure she is of her motherhood and the way she has brought up her children. She is the rock that her children can fall back on no matter what the circumstances.

Unlike our regular run-of-the-mill moms, Sheedan doesn’t question the integrity of her daughter because she knows better. She doesn’t go into a fit of rage welling in self-pity, believing the other party’s counter-narrative about how bad her daughter is or how she misunderstood the situation, bawling her eyes over not doing a better job with her kids and resorting to blaming her daughter for the actions of a lecher. Instead, she goes and punches the lecher in the face because that’s what you should do.

Sheedan’s actions confirm that she believes in the women’s freedom to live their life respectfully. She doesn’t blame her daughter for stepping out of the house. She believes in her daughter’s freedom to be outside and to be safe at the same time. And any moron trying to sabotage that is in for her wrath.

Momina Duraid and her team have set the bar high for women’s roles with Sheedan – no damsels in distress here but more like warrior women who can fight their own fight.

I admire that effort and I hope we will see more of this in the plays to come and that Udaari will only rise higher like the title implies, hopefully, with no disappointments in its future.

All the best Udaari! Much love.