The latest episode of Saraab reveals two different sides of the society where educated parents stand by their children whereas illiterate ones blame others for their own failure. The viewers are educated in the art of slapping (pun intended) and that it exists in the domain of ‘illiterate’ parents, no matter how well-to-do they might seem. For five weeks now the audience have been guessing what’s wrong with the central character with nothing concrete revealed, and it’s time that the audience’s suspense is ended. Otherwise, they will grow tired and move on to dramas that might quench their thirst at the appropriate time.
Asfand Yar (Sami Khan) wants to know why Hoorain (Sonya Hussyn) is avoiding him and his family; before he could meet her and seek answers, her mother (Fareeda Shabbir) goes to Asfand Yar’s house and insults his mother (Kinza Malik), blaming her for everything that is wrong with her daughter. Asfand Yar’s father (Sajid Shah) wants to know why his sister insulted his wife but before he could talk to Hoorain’s father (Aurangzeb Leghari), he witnesses him slapping his youngster daughter for simply saying what she believed was the most appropriate thing to say to her father.
Earlier, the eldest sister Warda (Ghana Ali) brings her brother in law Sufyan (Jehanzeb Khan) to meet his fiancée Hoorain but Namal (Nazish Jahangir) doesn’t let him meet her. She had also slapped Hoorain earlier after she heard her talk to Asfand Yar and explain to him that it was on his insistence that she got engaged to Sufyan. A bewildered Asfand Yar could only just look at her and wonder when that conversation took place!
Sami Khan is the star of the episode for he plays two Asfand Yars – one real, one imagined – at the same time. In our TV dramas, a double role is either a long lost twin, two unrelated people, or a father-son combination that somehow looks the same but Sami Khan’s portrayal is different and fresh at the same time. He is convincing as both the characters, although one is visible only to Hoorain and the other is visible to all. Sonya Hussyn’s performance was topnotch especially in the scene where her elder sister slaps her and warns her about breaking her engagement; Sonya's response as well as the reaction of Nazish Jahangir was both spontaneous and fiery, with Sonya delivering her best with ease. What she said to her and how she said has already set the tone of what is going to happen to her in the coming episodes. She looks every inch the ‘disturbed’ person she is playing, be it on her return from the mazaar or her stare when her mother blames her phupo without having the facts.
One must mention Kinza Malik here who plays Sami Khan’s mother in the play; her reaction to Fareeda Shabbir’s taunts as well as her onscreen kids’ anger was perfect. She may be the crying woman of the drama but she cries because she is strong, not because she is weak. She knows the importance of her relations with her brother’s family and vice versa since her husband is also the brother of her sister-in-law. In Inkaar she stood with Rehan Sheikh’s moulvi and here she does the same with Sajid Shah who plays the calm father who might lose it in a couple of episodes if things don’t end the way he expects them to end. The impressive background score must not be forgotten especially since a female chorus was added to make it even more haunting for the audience.
The worst thing about the episode were the two slaps delivered on Sonya Hussyn’s cheeks – first right and then left – which could have been replaced by something else, like a scolding, a shouting contest, or simply a raised hand, like in the older days. Why did her elder sister slap her when she sort of knows that Hoorain isn’t normal? Why did the father hit her like a madman when he knows that his daughter is capable of ‘speaking’ on a phone that’s not working, that she is a little different from the rest of her sisters, and that there is something wrong with her. Did her two scenes that precede the slaps demand such a treatment and if yes then on what ground? Why was the second slap so over-dramatically executed? It would have been better had Sajid Shah’s entry been kept a mystery and revealed in the next episode from his POV (Point of View) than having him in the same shot, where so many things happened simultaneously.
Thank God there was no mother in law character in the entire episode but also missing was Shafqat Khan and Mohsin Ejaz, the former being the only character who speaks the audience’s language and the latter playing dual games for some reason. Fareeda Shabbir continues to irritate as the loud mother and needs to calm down before her character passes away from hypertension. And finally, nobody likes to see a bathroom on their TV screen until it’s very essential to the script. In this episode, there is a ‘bathroom’ scene that might have some relevance later but didn’t have any at the moment.
The Verdict – Saraab Gets Interesting, Abusive & Intriguing At The Same Time
Saraab had lesser points this week due to multiple slaps; no matter in what year we are, a slap is unacceptable and should be discouraged. Unlike the previous episodes, this one ended in a typical fashion and it remains to be seen how Sajid Shah’s character saves the day if he saves the day. Director Mohsin Talat is an experienced campaigner and the sooner he reveals Hoorain’s problem, the better. On the whole, he has done a good job with Edison Idrees Masih’s script that has become interesting and intriguing at the same time, but abusive as well for some reason. The drama is amongst the better ones on air at the moment and it can do away with slap-like gimmicks. Here is hoping to a return to normalcy in the Saraab universe that took suspense to the next level and raised the bar before hitting dirt temporarily!