Ms Marvel cultural specificity as been cited by many as the reason behind its relative lack of popularity as compared to the other Disney+ shows set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But there can be no doubt that the show has connected with its target audience, much of which is made up of the South Asian community.
That very demographic was pleasantly surprised and eventually deeply appreciative of the show’s fourth episode, which not only introduced Farhan Akhtar’s character Waleed, but took Kamala Khan to Karachi. There, she got in touch with her roots, and had a heart-to-heart with her nani about the Partition.
“My passport is Pakistani and my roots are Indian. And in between is a border, built with blood and pain. People are claiming their identity based on an idea some old Englishmen had,” Kamala’s nani tells her. Her words called for brotherhood and unity amid testing times, and they were appreciated by fans of the show.
Several of them took to Twitter to praise two-time Oscar-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chenoy and series head writer Bisha K Ali’s sensitivity in portraying such a harrowing moment in recent world history. The episode also features a flashback to the Partition, and shows the chaos at the Karachi railway station as people fled their homes.
“Kamala’s Nani described the Partition of India perfectly. It’s not just a significant historical event in world history. The long lasting horrific memories of that experience still terrorize millions of South Asians to this date,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “The scenes of the partition in Ms Marvel today was so chilling and are very real. Those memories have been told through generations. I’m glad they’re not shying away from these stories,” another fan wrote.
“I cannot believe my eyes, I just saw a stunning India Pakistan Partition scene in Marvel cinematic universe. #Marvel did more to dispel the myth about our differences and brought us closer than all poets writers and intellectuals could do in so many decades,” a third person observed.
This is not the first time that fans across the border have been united by the superhero show. Even though Kamala is of Pakistani origin, the show itself has numerous references to Indian pop-culture and its soundtrack is littered with popular tracks from both sides of the border.