Churails Review - Bringing down patriarchy one toxic man at a time
Aparnna Hajirnis -
‘Churails’ narrates the story of four self-proclaimed Churails who come together to open a covert detective agency to expose cheating husbands amongst the city’s elite. As their operations expand, they come to be saviours of abused, harassed and mistreated women. The gripping and fast-paced storyline covers myriad issues such as child abuse, sexism, domination of class and race.
CLICK TO STREAM Format: Original Series Platform: Zee5 Movie Rated: 18+ Genre: Adult, Drama Language: Hindi Digital Premiere Date: 11 August 2020
What is it about?
Based in Karachi, the series is based on the lives of a cheating politician's wife, a socialite wedding planner, an ex-murderer and a wannabe pugilist. They all come together to form a vigilante group that exposes cheating husbands, husbands who beat their wives. Together they address a lot of issues in the marriage system including child marriage, child sexual abuse, homosexuality, human trafficking, and marital rape. But things don't always seem hunky-dory for the 4 social vigilantes. They have to operate a Niqaab store as a front for their activities, some of which are illegal- like stalking people, breaking and entering houses, recording conversations and taking photographs of people without their permissions. They come under fire when a client murders her husband and their cover almost gets blown away. Also, when one of their own goes missing and they try to find out more about her, they realise there might be something more sinister at play as some of the most influential names seem to be behind it. How they deal with the crisis forms the rest of the story.
Churails is a powerful show coming from Pakistan. A lot of content for women in the sub-continent is mostly related to marriages and in-laws. But Churails shows that the society, in general, is ailing from several issues. The character of Zubaida is beaten up badly by her father for wanting to be a boxer and is allowed to go to college only if her brother accompanies her. Director Asim Abbasi, a British citizen has taken on the bold subject of same-sex relationships which are banned in Pakistan. The characters are also shown frequently drinking, smoking, and swearing which again is very bold content to come out of Pakistan. However, the cast is diverse. They have a transgender actor playing a trans character thereby levelling the playing field. The title of Churails basically means 'witches' which is slang for women who are liberated and dare to live life on their own terms. That is what our heroines set out to do. While the first half of the show is focused more on vigilantism, the second half is concentrated more on unearthing the truth behind certain influential people and politicians in Karachi. In one line, director Asim Abbasi has presented an extremely gritty, binge-worthy and compelling series. It is perhaps one of the best shows to come out of Pakistan.
Sarwat Gillani, Mehar Bano, Nirma Bucha, and Yasra Rizvi play the four protagonists - Sara, Zubaida, Batool and Jugnu. The strength of the show is the terrific acting by the cast who portray their roles well. Mehar Bano will remind you lot of VJ Bani, as she too plays an athletic character. The performances by the rest of the cast too are top-notch. Nirma Bucha, who plays Batool a woman who kills her own husband is the best of the lot. While the initial episodes don't have much focus on her, after episodes 4 and 5, we get a glimpse of her marvellous acting chops.
Music and other departments
The music is one of the strong points of the series. The makers have used a lot of Bollywood tracks such as Da Da Dasse and some other Pakistani songs in the background. The cinematography too is on par with several international shows.
The show highlights a lot of social evils. It starts discussions on how women are fighting for equal status and treatment in society. Even though the show is based in Pakistan, the questions they have raised are valid even at this side of the border. The protagonists come from different backgrounds and classes, yet they bond over the way they are treated by society. It makes a compelling statement on child marriage and child sexual abuse. The marital rape plot involving Batool is by far one of the most gutting visuals I have ever seen. Also, the part where the women decide to come out wearing hijabs and hit back at protestors and stone-pelters is the most powerful statement any show has ever made on any OTT platform.
The episodes are too long. Every episode is almost 60 minutes long and it becomes too tedious to watch all of them at one go. There should have been crisper and finer editing so that the episodes could have been shorter. For eg in the first half of the show, there are several sub-plots and storylines that have been stretched for no reason. The sense of urgency and finer editing comes in play only in the second half of the show.
Did I Enjoy It?
Churails is a compelling and gritty watch. It is also an example of masterful storytelling.
Do I Recommend It?
Yes, this is a show you should definitely not be missing.
This show has been reviewed on the basis of the art and content presented to us. This series has a lot of controversial and sensitive topics and we want to steer clear from commenting on the social, political and religious choices of any individual or country. Our review is purely on the basis of the series we watched on Zee5 and does not target any individual, religion or country.