Channels often demand abusive storylines: Shaista Lodhi

Actor and popular television host Shaista Lodhi recently appeared on BBC Urdu to talk about her latest offering, Samjhota. According to the Pardes star, her latest offering has an unconventional storyline based on finding love at an older age and that is exactly what drew her in.

Upon being asked why she chose to work on Samjhota, Lodhi said, “Whenever I’m offered a project, I try to make sure that it is on a subject that can be relatable to a lot of people. So when I heard about this story, and read its script, I felt like it was necessary to work on it because we need to address this issue in our society.”

She further added, “This show depicts a heartwarming love story between two elderly people. People often tend to think aging parents are only around to take care of their kids or grandchildren and this show breaks that stereotype.”

Lodhi also detailed the need for such a storyline on television. “The script questions the barriers set up in our society for older people. Many are left alone if their partners pass away and their children are usually busy focusing on their own lives,” she began.

“It’s also a common perception amongst children that we can’t think of anyone else with our parents. It’s either our mother or father; no one else can take their place or find love again. For us, our parents are only parental figures, with no separate lives of their own and that’s the issue. While we aren’t able to give them any time, we also expect them to behave in a certain manner. So I thought this story would serve as an eye opener and decided to star in it,” Lodhi commented.

She then highlighted the ageist mentality that exists within society. “It’s necessary for us to show our elders that there is a life beyond your kids. Why do we want to see our parents in poor health and only our servants being able to take care of them, why not anyone else? Why can’t older people have a career or be active members of our society? We project the idea that a person’s life is over after retirement.”

The Waada actor was also happy to notice that the audience has managed to forge a personal relationship with her onscreen roles. “I have a great time interacting with my fans and receiving their feedback. Once, I entered an airplane and someone shouted, ‘Nargis, please sit next to me’. People are involved in this show and are in awe of the beautiful relationship between the two leading characters,” she shared.

Before the interview was over, the host asked Lodhi if she had ever felt the pressure to get high ratings for dramas. In response to this, she said, “Yes, whenever a drama airs on television, there’s always a call from the channel requesting that you make the character look more helpless or add abusive elements to juice up the storyline. Unfortunately, you have to accept their demands regardless of your own opinion.”

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