The title of Saba Qamar’s newest album, Jins, comes from the Urdu term for gender. Jins is a captivating poem that goes into the terrible emotional terrain between two opposing spectrums, much like the crisis of an individual locked between binaries. This performance honors the history of Urdu literature and was staged in Lahore at the National College of Arts (NCA) Auditorium. Jins, directed by Shiraz Malik and produced by the gifted Saba Qamar, presents an intricate discussion of gender roles.
Muhammad Bilal Awan wrote and sang Jins with the well-known Saba, showcasing his immense talent and poetic sensibility. Each line deftly guides the larger story of tyranny that both sexes have experienced. Bilal and Saba make magic with just a poem and some acting that seems like a conversation.
Saba’s portrayal of the nameless, self-assured woman in Jins is powerful. Dressed in an all-white saree and accessorized with a huge silver hairpiece, she personifies the enticing and alluring qualities of femininity as seen from a masculine perspective.
Her personality, however, is one of strength and agency, one that questions accepted standards and provokes deep discussion. It’s hardly a fluke that her forearms are encircled with silver bracelets. Clearly, a lot of care went into Saba’s character, since the offering resembles the chains that imprison even powerful women.
Bilal, in the guise of the anonymous man, exposes the problematic features of masculinity and its justifications. This in no way implies that the artwork condones or excuses harmful behavior by either sex.
Both the benefits and the risks of maintaining the status quo, which overwhelmingly favors men, are emphasized. Bilal laments the emotional toll that these perks take on males while also being aware of the harm they cause to women. He illuminates the ambiguities and tensions inherent in gender norms through his performance.
The fact that the two protagonists are unidentified increases the video’s universality. It’s the universal experience of every man and woman. Replete with exchanges of intimacy that are rarely achieved but always necessary.
Jins is an absolute masterclass in storytelling and aesthetic expression. It deftly negotiates the tangled web of gender dynamics, illuminating the common experiences of male and female victims of persecution. Everyone who gets a chance to see this show is in for a treat; it’s a tribute to the effectiveness of poetry and acting.