A promotional poster advertising the show, the iPhone app and the featured music album.
|Written by||Adi Abdurab|
Uzair Zaheer Khan
|Creative director(s)||Yousaf Ejaz|
|Voices of||Ainy Jaffri
Hamza Ali Abbasi
|Theme music composer||Haroon
|Country of origin||Pakistan|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Original channel||Geo Tez|
|Original airing||28 July 2013|
Burka Avenger is a Pakistani animated television series airing on Geo Tez a new channel of GEO TV Network. Created and directed by pop star Haroon and produced at Unicorn Black production studios, the show features Jiya, a teacher at a girls school whose alter ego is a burka-wearing superheroine who uses her martial arts skills to fight crime. The Urdu language series first aired on 28 July 2013.
Burka Avenger is set in the fictional town of Halwapur in northern Pakistan. It features a superheroine who wears a burqa to hide her identity while fighting bad guys. Her alter ego is Jiya, a mild-mannered teacher at an all-girls’ school. Jiya is taught "Takht Kabaddi", a martial art that involves throwing pens and books, by Kabbadi Jan, her adopted father. Together with children Ashu, Immu and Mooli, the Burka Avenger fights the evil Baba Bandook and his henchmen.
The main characters include three children, twins Ashu and Immu, their friend Mooli (named for the radish), his pet goat Golu, Jiya (the Burka Avenger), the villainous magician Baba Bandook, corrupt politician Vadero Pajero, and Jiya's adopted father Kabbadi Jan.
Episodes feature music from artists such as Ali Zafar, Ali Azmat, and JoSH, as well as Haroon. Rapper Adil Omar and Haroon released a music video featuring the Burka Avenger called "Don't Mess With the Lady in Black". Unicorn Black also produced an iPhone game and a musical album including songs from the series is in production.
Burka Avenger has received both praise and criticism for its take on issues such as women's education in Pakistan. The Burka Avenger is Pakistan's first animated female superhero. Reviewers have noted parallels between the series and Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani school girl who was shot in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen. The fundamentalists in the series who try to shut down the girls school have drawn comparisons to the Taliban who have destroyed hundreds of schools in Northwest Pakistan.
Much of the commentary on the series has focused on the burqa, which the protagonist dons while appearing as her alter ego. The show has been criticized for reinforcing stereotypes and upholding the burqa as a symbol of oppression. Former Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, commented that "she did not like the burqa" or the "feudal stereotyping", saying "a dupatta could have done the job." Journalist Marvi Sirmed commented that the burqa "cannot be used as a tool for empowerment." Pakistani writer Bina Shah specifically criticized the perception that a woman needs to be invisible to contribute to her community. Asked about the choice to clothe the superheroine in a burqa, series creator Haroon emphasized that the character Jiya does not wear a headscarf or veil. He explained "It's not a sign of oppression. She is using the burqa to hide her identity like other superheroes. Since she is a woman, we could have dressed her up like Catwoman or Wonder Woman, but that probably wouldn't have worked in Pakistan."
- "Meet Pakistan's Burka Avenger". Dawn.com. AP. 2013-07-25.
- Khan, Faiza S. (7 August 2013). "The Ridiculous ‘Burka Avenger’ Backlash". The Daily Beast.
- Kapur, Isabella (26 July 2013). "Burka Avenger: Pakistan’s First Animated Female Superhero Is A Teacher By Day, Crime Fighter By Night". The Mary Sue.
- Mahr, Krista (1 August 2013). "Burka Avenger: Conservative Pakistan’s New Animated Liberal Superheroine". Time.
- "Burka Avenger: cool or conformist?". NDTV. 31 July 2013.
- "Pakistan's "Burka Avenger" cartoon stirs outfit controversy". CBS News. 2 August 2013.
- Ehrlich, Richard (2013-08-09). "New Muslim superhero is a Wonder Woman-like education warrior". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
- "Lady In Black: 'Burka Avenger' Fights For Pakistan's Girls". NPR. 31 July 2013.
- Official website
- Developer Website
- Burka Avenger at the Internet Movie Database
- Burka Avenger on Facebook
- Burka Avenger on App Store