No television show in the current year has captured the imagination of Karachi-ites like DC Comics’ Gotham – not because it is based on the Batman comics but because it reminds them of their own city. Like Karachi, Gotham is one city that needs saving all the time. It is ruled by those who deserve to be locked up and is in no way suited to live in. To make matters worse, the only person who believes he can make a difference is a kid (Bruce Wayne who loses his parents at an early age and grows up to become Batman) and doesn’t have many allies – such is the way of the world.
As they say during the show, “However dark and scary the world might be, there will be light!” Hence we bring forth the similarities that have come alight during the show’s airing and make you realize that there is more common than what meets the eye between the fictional city of Gotham and the equally dark and yet hopelessly happening city of Karachi:
1- Corrupt Cops
Tag line: Fear doesn’t need conquering; fear shows you where the edge is.
And that’s the reason why Detective Jim Gordon fears no one in Gotham. He is hated by his colleagues, resented by his partner and mistrusted by the bad guys – all because he is an honest man living in a dishonest city. Doesn’t that seem closer to home where good people are hard to find and bad ones are harder to shake off? Like Jim Gordon, every cop in Karachi who doesn’t have oopar ki kamayi fears no one except the Almighty, and that’s the reason why the City of Lights now has a shortage of a few good men.
2- Maniac Mobsters
Tag line: You seem like a nice guy, but this is not a city for nice guys.
There used to be a dacoit nicknamed Commando in Karachi, there was one named Kaloo, another Langda, a Charlie and even a Ladla, who were killed in various encounters across Karachi recently. The names may seem to come out from a novel but these people actually roamed the city. So when you have people named Penguin, Mooney, Nygma and Kyle, don’t think of them as just freakish names. They are bad guys who roam around Gotham and can do you serious harm. We have to say that Karachi has just as many – if not more – ‘illustrious’ mobsters swarming the streets. Beware!
3- Powerful Politicians
Tag line: You can’t have organized crime without law and order.
Politicians who feed into a dangerous mob mentality and are disliked and mistrusted by the people whom they are supposed to serve. Now replace Gotham with Karachi and you get the truth because Karachi is ruled by mobsters (it’s an open secret) who can do anything, anywhere and anytime; and even get away with it. They have the politicians in their pockets, they pay the cops who matter to keep mum and don’t care whether the common man lives or dies; all they want to have is power, which they get thanks to the support of those who have the gun in their hand. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the biggest criminals occupy and exploit the biggest positions in the political arena.
4- Grumpy Ganglords
Tag line: Someday soon, I am going to kill that old man with my bare hands and my teeth.
Fish Mooney delivered this line and the old man she was referring to was Carmine Falcone, the father of organized crime in Gotham. She isn’t the only person who hates the old man; in fact, everyone does but no one can do anything about him since he is powerful, doesn’t leave a shred of evidence against himself and is a player who likes to keep an ace up his sleeve for rainy days. Reminds you of our politicians who always get out of messy situations by delivering an ace when the chips are down. right?
5- Na Maloom Afraad
Tag line: What’s nowhere but everywhere, except where something is?
When you talk of Karachi, you talk about the city’s biggest export to the world – Na Maloom Afraad! They are here, there and everywhere and even if you knew where to find them, you can’t. Similarly, in Gotham, you meet the Freak of the Weak in every episode and they range from kidnappers with ulterior motives to a vigilante Balloonman or an unknown creep who peddles a drug that delivers thrills but kills; everyone seems to live in Gotham. You can’t go out in the streets and feel safe because target killing is a norm, and not even the city’s elite (the Waynes) were able to defend themselves from a bullet when their time came. Be it Karachi or Gotham, it’s better to stay in if you value your life!