Tag Archives: Pakistani serials

Love for Fawad Khan vs Jihad against Love: Charu Gupta

Guest post by CHARU GUPTA

Fawad Khan, a Pakistani Muslim male, has become an endearing and enduring metaphor, a fascinating icon, the new heartthrob and fantasy of Indian girls and women. Zindagi, an Indian entertainment television channel, launched just four months ago, which telecasts cross-border serials from Pakistan, has captured our imagination. The central idiom of the channel has proven to be Fawad Khan, who besides having looks to die for and undeniable charm, portrays a sensitive, emotional and mature lover and husband in top of the charts serials Zindagi Gulzar Hai and Humsafar. He has entered Bollywood through the film Khubsoorat. Fan mails from women have poured over websites. One of them says: ‘You have to be living under a rock if you have not heard of Fawad Khan yet…. Did your mother just tell you she has a crush on Fawad Khan? Your female colleagues are probably head-over-heels in love with him too…. Women maybe have more photos of Fawad Khan in their phones than their own.’ Describing the film Khubsoorat, Shobha De articulates: ‘So, who is the real “khubsoorat” in the movie….Any guesses? You’ve got it! It’s a slim, bearded bloke from across the border…. He’s as yummy as those irresistible Lahori kebabs, and desi ladies want him.’

Fawad Khan’s religious and national identity is not hidden or muted; it is explicit and out there. But Indian women, most of them Hindu, are totally disinterested or unconcerned with the fact. While the ‘love jihad’ hysterics are crying themselves hoarse, Indian girls are not giving a damn whether Fawad Khan is a Muslim or a Pakistani. Instead, they are dreaming of having someone like him in their lives to romance and to love, who can make them feel so very special. This swooning over Fawad Khan by Indian girls and women of all ages reveals a religious and national liminality that can stump the hysteria over the constructed bogey of love jihad. The representation of Fawad Khan and the construction of love jihad, both in very different ways are part of fictive imaginations, myths and rhetoric, spectacles and obsessions. At the same time, they undercut each other, reflecting women’s desires on the one hand and Hindu male fears on the other. Love for Fawad Khan personifies allegories of intimacy and romance, while the love jihad campaign embodies hatred and anxieties. One contests power, the other attempts to reinstate it. It is these disjunctive representations that make their juxtaposition stimulating. Continue reading Love for Fawad Khan vs Jihad against Love: Charu Gupta