Incestuous Overtones in Mehreen Jabbar and Bano Qudsia's Laal Baig

Muhammad Ali

  • Muhammad Ali Government College University, Lahore
Keywords: Incest, Jocasta Complex, Oedipal Complex


This paper argues that the Pakistani telefilm Laal Baig carries incestuous overtones. Written by Bano Qudsia and directed by Mehreen Jabbar in 1999, Laal Baig is based on a conflict between a mother and her daughter-in-law. However, if it is critically revisited from a psychoanalytical perspective, it is realized that the distancing between the husband and wife stems from an incestuous relationship between the mother and the son. The specific terms extracted from the psychoanalytical theory include Oedipal Complex coined by Sigmund Freud and Jocasta Complex coined by Raymond de Saussure, considering that inclinations from both the mother and the son manifest themselves in the dramatic production under scrutiny. The telefilm's authentic file uploaded by the director herself on YouTube has been retrieved for analysis, while a 'reading between the lines' methodology has been applied on the dialogues of Laal Baig to procure the underlying ideas of the story and find answers to the following questions: What are the hidden reasons behind Begum Siddiqui's hatred for her daughter-in-law? Does this hatred find its roots in a tabooed feeling? If this is the case, then which dialogues from the telefilm insinuate an incestuous relation between Begum Siddiqui and Zafar? The study draws to a conclusion with the idea that Laal Baig provides a psychological justification for the common issue of Pakistan's married couples, that of an unfriendly relation between mothers and daughters-in-law.