Intense and illuminating
90%Overall Score

Churails is a Pakistani series set in Karachi that revolves around a diverse set of women who come together to make cheating men pay for their wrongdoings. They set up their own fashion boutique, Halal Designs, as a front for a detective agency that specialises in investigating philandering men. The incisive show has been aptly titled; it points to the fact that even today, independent and liberated women are considered threats.

Karachi’s undercover lady detectives

Fate throws Sara (Sarwat Gilani), a trophy wife who gave up her career in law for her family; Jugnu (Yasra Rizvi), an event planner; Batool (Nimra Bucha), an ex-convict and Zubaida (Mehar Bano), a poor girl with disciplinarian parents and a yen for boxing, together. And for good reason. Each of these women has experienced the pull and tug of patriarchy. When circumstances bring them all together one night, Sara comes up with a plan to take revenge on lying, cheating men.

Together, they set up an agency called Churails to root out infidelity. Their front is a fashion boutique, Halal Designs. A motley group of men and women join them, from members of the LGBTQ+ community to hackers and prisoners who’ve finished serving time for various crimes. They take on cases from suspicious wives and begin making tons of money. At this point, the show brilliantly explores the manner in which women talk about other women as though they’re “witches” who lay traps for their poor husbands – as though it can’t be the husband’s fault at all.

It’s all smooth sailing until one of the group’s ex-members goes missing. This sets the team on a chase that brings them face-to-face with dodgy cults, murderous men and dangerous crime rackets. From here on, the show transforms from a breezy, fun watch to a dark and rather disturbing roller-coaster ride.

The women cast a spell on you

Churails has been superbly cast, with each actor complementing the other beautifully. Jugnu’s alcohol-swigging, couture-wearing character is offset by Batool’s intimidating, slightly barmy one. Sara’s poise and elegance crackles against Zubaida’s feistiness and short temper. This is a group of real women. Their friendship isn’t contrived, but seems natural. It’s as if you’re watching an actual set of girlfriends coming together for a shared cause.

The dialogue sparkles and the characters are vividly sketched and brimming with raw emotion. The moments in which tough-as-nails Jugnu breaks down, Sara allows her composure to shatter in the face of her husband’s treachery and Zubaida refuses to let her parents’ callous behaviour affect her are gut-wrenching.

The show is not just another feminist tale. It’s a cheeky, emotionally wrenching story about women who are  tired of being punished for speaking their minds. Plus the Urdu is music to the ears, as is the background score.

Creator: Asim Abbasi
Starring: Nimra Bucha, Meher Bano, Sarwat Gilani, Yasra Rizvi
Streaming on: Zee5

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