It would be incorrect to rate Saraab as a routine drama on TV; in a world of Saas Bahu sagas, this psychological thriller grows on you with every episode. It tackles the extremely important issue of mental health as well as how to handle people suffering from the disease, something we usually leave to either documentaries or doctors. Director Mohsin Talat has executed Edison Idrees Masih’s script to perfection and it seems that in the coming weeks, the twists and turns will surprise and educate the audience in a big way.
Hoorain (Sonya Hussyn) continues from where she left in the last episode and hallucinates that Asfand Yar (Sami Khan) is always with her, talking to her in a romantic tone at all times. To her surprise, she meets the two ‘Asfand Yars’ one day, one who was in her room talking to her and the other outside the door waiting for her to open it so they can study together. The conversation that followed makes Asfand Yar a little worried and he shares his concerns with his friend (Shafqi) who convinces him that nothing is wrong with Hoorain.
However, there is something wrong with Hoorain, a fact that is strengthened when her elder sister (Nazish Jahangir) witnesses her suspicious behavior twice, once where she is fully dressed up in front of the mirror after midnight, dancing around for no reason and the second time when she is talking to herself (while imagining Asfand Yar in front of her) on the roof. While Asfand Yar tells his parents (Sajid Shah and Kinza Malik) that he wants to marry Hoorain, Sufyan (Jahanzeb Khan) also tells his mother that he will marry only Hoorain, after she tries to show her some pictures of prospective bahus.
Sami Khan and Sonya Hussyn steer the episode from romantic drama to a suspenseful thriller; the Asfand Yar, in reality, is like most of us whereas the hallucinated one is single-track Romeo who keeps telling his lady love that no matter what happens, he will always be there for her. The expressions of both Asfand Yars are different as one is usually confused when Hoorain talks to him, whereas the other one brings the best out of Hoorain. Sonya Hussyn’s performance gets a perfect ten since she manages to convince the audience that there is something not right with her character, but she is okay with it, whatever it is. How she handles talking to the real and the unreal Asfand Yars is the best part of the episode and reminds the audience of a similar scene in Superman: The Movie where Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) was first made to wave to a 'flying away' Superman and the next instant opened the door for Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve) who were one and the same person (if you didn't know).
Model turned actress Nazish Jahangir is also to be praised for her performance for she plays the middle sister perfectly, one who cares about her youngest sibling and has feelings for her cousin Asfand Yar who doesn’t even notice her. Her convincing her mother to accompany her to Hoorain’s room seemed quite natural as it could have ended up as either being bitchy or overly concerned for her sister. Ghana Ali plays the eldest sister with ease, and although her confrontation with her mother in law reminded us of the typical Saas Bahu dramas, the way she conducts herself was exemplary. Edison Idrees Masih’s script doesn’t have many loopholes and it seems he understood the subject before he ventured into the domain. Director Mohsin Talat’s flawless execution is what keeps the drama moving in the right direction, making it interesting even for those who don’t regularly watch local dramas.
Film and Theatre actor Shafqat Khan, who plays Sami Khan’s friend, should have had a proper introduction as his character came from nowhere, especially since he is to play an important part in the drama. The Mohsin Ejaz – Ghana Ali scene should have been a little explanatory as the audience kept guessing if the man was to be blamed for not conceiving a kid or he wasn’t interested at all in becoming a father.
The actress who plays mother to both Mohsin Ejaz and Jahanzeb Khan performs well when she is talking to her younger son but becomes too loud while conversing with her daughter in law; why the sudden change in behavior confuses the audience as well as make them realize that a better actress would have done wonders in the same scene. And then there was the casting issue – while Sajid Shah seems too young to be Sami Khan’s father, Aurangzeb Leghari looks too old to be Sonya Hussyn’s dad. Maybe there is an angle to it as well and we have to wait for it, but one thing is certain, the drama is on its way to give sleepless nights to many.
The Verdict – Saraab’s USP is not being a run of the mill drama
It was always going to be difficult for Saraab to fill the gap left by the successful Pyar Ke Sadqay but thanks to a well-researched script and a well-directed project, it has managed to grab the audience’s attention. With Sami Khan, Sonya Hussyn and Nazish Jahangir doing a stellar job, Saraab has covered a lot of issues in its short stay. It has been established that Sonya Hussyn’s Hoorain has a problem; she is in love with Sami Khan’s Asfand Yar who has no clue that she imagines talking to him when he isn’t actually around. Will Hoorain get married to Sufyan to save her eldest sister’s home, will Asfand Yar’s parents convince Hoorain’s mother that he is the best option, and will Hoorain be cured once she gets married, the next episode promises a lot. Till then, let the psychological warfare take place in the audience’s mind!